Italian Style Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash

Do you love Italian food?  I love Italian food. 

But it gets me into trouble.  My derriere cannot support all those carb calories!  Hahaha, actually the problem is that my derriere IS supporting all those extra carb calories.  Enough said!  That's why I love a recipe that gives me my Italian food fix without overdoing the carbs.

Enter the Spaghetti Squash:

Making this dish using spaghetti squash reduces the calories and carbs without skimping on taste.  Oh yeah, and it's good!

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound Italian style pork sausage (chicken or turkey sausage can be substituted)
  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey 
  • 2 cups  crusty bread, torn and packed (I used my Daves Killer loaf heels)
  • 1 cup milk  
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Oregano
  • 4 Tablespoons Parsley flakes
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan/Romano cheese mix
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil for cooking
  • Spaghetti Squash

Put torn bread into bowl and pour milk over.  Push all bread down into the milk, cover, and let it soak until the bread is broken down completely.  Mix other ingredients while your bread soaks.

Finely chop garlic cloves then add salt, fresh ground pepper, oregano, and parsley.  Mix well.

Mix the three meats together in a large mixing bowl.  Add your soggy bread/milk mixture and stir together completely.  Next add the garlic, seasoning mixture, and the grated cheese.  Combine well. 

Add eggs and mix just until combined.
Take a small portion of the meat mixture in the palm of your hand and gently roll into a meatball.  This is where you decide if you want BIG meatballs or little meatballs.  I go for medium - about an inch and a half in diameter.  Place gently on a dish until you've made all of the meatballs.
Heat oil in a large frying pan on medium-low.  Place meatballs carefully into pan, leaving some space between them so they can easily be turned.  

Keep turning the meatballs until all sides are browned.  About 20 minutes.

Once meatballs are browned on all sides you can place them into a large pot with your tomatoe sauce, spaghetti sauce or marinara and cook for about 10 more minutes.  *If you are freezing the meatballs skip this step and put meatballs on papertowels to cool.  Once the meatballs have cooled place into a freezer bag/container and freeze for later!

Now onto the spaghetti squash.  Cut the squash in half lengthwise.  It's a tough shell so you will need a big, sharp knife and some muscle here!  Now remove the seeds and strings with a large spoon(it's a lot like a pumpkin inside, just not quite as slimey).
There are several methods of cooking spaghetti squash.  You can find some HERE.  But for time and convenience I like to microwave mine.Put the cleaned half of spaghetti squash open side down into a microwave safe dish with a few Tablespoons of water in the bottom. 

Cover and microwave for 8-10 minutes.  Remove carefully (HOT) and let sit for a few minutes. 

Remove squash from baking dish and use a fork to scrape from stem to back end of squash...lifting the "spaghetti" from the shell.  Place into shallow bowls and add sauce, Italian meatballs, and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. 


 VoilĂ !

Dinner is Served
Printable Recipe

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Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Recently Heather from The Beating Hearth shared her favorite stuffed mushrooms and gave me mushroom fever.  Her recipe sounded scrumptious and was low-carb too! 

My favorite mushroom recipe would not be considered low carb at all...
But they are a special treat.
That's why I only make them a couple times a year...something to anticipate!

Mmmm...mushrooms!  I love the savory, earthy taste of them.  There are so many ways to enjoy mushrooms.  I like to add them to casseroles and pastas, saute them with butter or wine to top steak, burgers or chicken with, slice them into salads, or as a pizza topping.

My absolute favorite way to enjoy mushrooms is crab stuffed.  If you've never had them this way ~ you have got to try them!  They are so delicious.  I had my very first crab stuffed mushrooms at a party at my Brother-In-Law, Chris' house.  I popped one of his mushrooms into my mouth, not yet realizing that it had crab in it.  It tasted divine!  Of course, this was no surprise since Chris is an amazing cook.  We feel so spoiled when we go over there for a get-together.  Chris was very generous to share his recipe with me way back then.  Well, verbally anyway.  I'm pretty sure it went like this...stuff mushrooms with a mixture of crab, breadcrumbs, cream cheese, Parmesan and seasonings. 

How simple is that? 

Here's how I made mine:

I Took 25 - 30 small to medium sized white mushrooms and removed the stems.  I can never resist popping a few stems into my mouth at this point. 

I put the mushroom caps onto a baking tray.  I used mini pizza trays.  They're just so darn cute, and I was able to cook them and serve them on these trays as well.    

I gathered my stuffing ingredients: 

a pat of butter
1/4 cup parsley (fresh would be nice but I only had dried)
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 cup of crab meat, more or less
1/2 cup of cream cheese
1/2 cup of Parmesan & Romano mix
1/4 cup of bread crumbs

I diced the mushroom stems and sauteed them in a skillet with the butter.  Then I added them to a mixing bowl with all the other ingredients and mixed with a fork. 

I stuffed the mushroom caps to overflowing with this mixture and placed them on my baking trays.  This is a good time to pour yourself a glass of wine because they'll need to cook for about 20 - 25 minutes.  Well, that's what I did anyway.  ;)

They went into the oven and I sipped my wine.

They came out of the oven smelling rich, earthy and buttery. 

They tasted even better than they smelled.

These make great appetizers at dinner parties.  Perfect for this upcoming holiday entertaining season!  You can prepare them early then put them in the fridge until you are ready to cook them. 


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Inspiration Cafe ~ Spanakopita Crescent Rolls Recipe


Today it's Mary's turn to share over at Inspiration Cafe!

She is sharing what inspires her.

She is also sharing her yummy 

Spanakopita Crescent Rolls Recipe...

Head on over, we'd l.o.v.e. for you to visit our cafe...


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Cooking with Wine ~ with Grace Grits & Gardening

Not sure how to cook with wine?  Head over to Inspiration Cafe today 
for a great Guest Post by Talya from Grace Grits and Gardening, to
answer many of your questions!   

Talya's blog shares amazing stories from her life with humor, 
and grace, and she even throws in some delicious looking 
recipes for good measure! 

"Usually when thinking of food and wine, most people are only 
worried about which wine pairs best with a particular meal. But 
if you follow a few simple guidelines, cooking with wine can 
enhance your dish."  

To


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Join Gooseberry Patch's Halloween Link Up Here!

It's a Halloween Party!!!

Gooseberry Patch has opened up their regular Wednesday Link Party to ALL Halloween themed recipes, crafts, costumes and decorating ideas!  Link up your Halloween projects here for Gooseberry Patch!!!!

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Hallelujah (The Happiness Agenda)

I've been searching for the secrets to happiness. 

Aren't we all?

It's an intriguing subject.  We could all go on for hours listing things that make us feel happy.  And the list would be a little different for each of us.  But most of us have learned that things don't provide a true and lasting happiness.  You can collect beautiful things, eat delicious foods, hang with cool people, take fancy vacations and still not feel content.

Doesn't it seem sometimes like Happiness is a secret place we strive to reach?  We've studied the map.  We're sure we know how to get to our destination, but...
No matter how hard we try, we keep getting waylaid, or hitting road blocks.
Just when we think everything is going good ~ something happens to suck the joy right out of our day.
If only there was a secret technique to eliminating sadness, fear and anxiety.

A way to live a life free of pain, heartache and troubles.

I haven't found one. . .

But I do believe the secret to feeling genuine happiness is not living a life free of these struggles.  That happiness remains in spite of our troubles.  We can't expect to live a perfect life.  I mean, COME ON.  Let's just be real.  There will be tough days, and sick days, flat tires and dead batteries, arguments with spouses and children, disappointments at every turn. 

I don't have a perfect life, a house filled with expensive things, a perfect job or family...  And that's okay.  (I'll keep trying!)  But I do have countless moments of joy...even amidst the chaos.

So, when things feel especially hard and I'm finding it difficult to smile, I just remind myself that when I'm overwhelmed, and tired and weary...He carries me...and I think...



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Welcome to Inspiration Cafe! 

The day is finally here!  Welcome to our Grand Opening!!! 

We've got loads of fun and creativity planned for the weeks ahead.
We would love for you to join us.

For this round of Inspiration Cafe each of our Contributors will be sharing What Inspires Us personally.  On the sixth Monday we will be launching our very first link party!!!   You must come join in!  The theme for the link party will also be 'WHAT INSPIRES US'.   So stop back each Monday to see what inspires each of us, and then on Monday, November 26th, come back and link up a project, a post, a tip...anything that shares Your Inspiration with all of us.  It can be anything that inspires you.  We will be featuring our favorite links from the party on our individual blogs, sharing teasers on facebook, and of course the overall winners will be featured on Inspiration CafeWon't you share your inspiration with all of us?

And now onto what inspires ME!

Hi!  If we haven't already met...I'm Sherry.  :)  

I blog over at Pondered Primed Perfected.  I hope you'll come by and check out what we've been up to there.  I have been doing DIY projects with my husband for many, many years.  We are inspired to create something out of nothing, so to speak.  It really is rewarding for us to take something discarded, outdated, or unwanted and transform it into something new and useful.  We've rescued quite a few Roadkill Pieces over the years.  We've scoured thrift stores, made over Craigs List freebies, and even pulled things from trash piles.  Sometimes we just want to upgrade something we already have instead of throwing it away.  You should check out our Project Gallery to see some examples of our work!


One of my biggest challenges is keeping my busy family organized.   And when everything is all chaotic and unorganized I have much less motivation to work on my projects.  So here's what I came up with recently:

A while back we went to a garage sale and I bought some stuff for my classroom.  As we were leaving the lady threw this corkboard in for free.  You should all know that I LOVE free stuff! 

It wasn't fancy, or fabric covered, or anything.  Just pure utilitarian corkboard, and that was okay.  The perfect spot for all of the school, sports, friend and family photos, as well as various schedules, appointments, and events.  Did I mention it was free!?

I'm not going to act all cool ~ like I'm ultra organized.  I'm not.  There have been times when I've struggled keeping up with a family calendar.  One that will keep us organized and where we need to be on time.  We lead very busy lives, like most families do ~ with work, school activities, playing sports, coaching, college courses, volunteering and keeping up with friends and family.  We like being busy, don't get me wrong, but it can be challenging keeping it all straight.  (It does help to be informed of events before it's time to leave...eh hem...not naming any names!).


I wanted to maximize this corkboard's usefulness.  It still needed to be utilitarian, but I was envisioning it being more ORGANIZED at keeping track of our appointments, events, important papers and notes, as well as keeping our favorite photos out for everybody to see!

Here's what I did  ~ Click here to read the entire post...

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Pondering Things

No finished projects yet.

But I have been pondering things.  :)   I like to do that.

I recovered this chair awhile back. 

Scott found a pair of these on the side of the road and brought them home to me in all their dingy, ripped up glory. 

They were such solid, good frames so I removed the nasty old fabric and replaced it
with this brown ultra-suede and a gazillion upholstery tacks. 

I'm trying to decide if I want to do a white-wash effect on the wood pieces. 
Give it a bit of a Restoration Hardware type of a weathered look

What do you think?  Scott thinks they should stay wood...of course.

I've also been pondering how to finish this ladder.  I have a few ideas.

The ladder came from our old play structure.  Scott and Alex built a colossal CASTLE out back, so I snagged the old ladder.  ;)

It was well weathered already, so, I painted it with some DIY chalk paint.  I plan to distress it a bit and add some words down the side.  It will be perfect for hanging our cuddly throws on.  We can't leave the throws down anywhere or Sadie claims them.   See that expression on her face (above)?  I'm positive she's thinking...now why didn't they just toss that super soft throw on the floor for me to lay on???

She's so spoiled.

I got a new subway art poster to put into this big poster frame I have.
 I'm pondering dubbing this room 'The Wine Lounge'.

Do you think I'm giving away that I like wine?
 Just a bit.

Have you all heard about the Grand Opening event coming up at Inspiration Cafe

We  will be launching the first post at the NEW CAFE this coming Monday.  It's all about 'What Inspires Us'!

We would love for you to come visit the IC girls and say HI ~ this Monday at Inspiration Cafe
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Just choose the method from below that works best for you.  Thanks for visiting.
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