There has been very little time during the past few weeks to focus on eating well. Here in Massachusetts we’ve experienced the worst winter since I’ve lived here – over 100 inches of snow in less than one month! The winds have been terrible, there’s no place to put any new snow and my commutes have been 2+ hours each way to work. Geez! It’s been difficult to find any time to cook well or to exercise after hours of driving and shoveling. I wish I had as much excitement about the snow as Jim Cantore!
So to keep warm I have been going to hot yoga (it feels great to sweat it out in a 100° room) and I have been making very good use of my new Instant Pot Pressure Cooker. I was nervous that using a pressure cooker would change my cooking style, but thankfully it hasn’t. I still enjoy cooking the old-fashioned way, but it’s just so easy to put everything in one pot and then have leftovers prepared for the rest of the week! One-pot meals were always a favorite in our house, mostly because we really don’t like doing the dishes. In fact, maybe that’s why I love cooking – because then hubs will be obliged to do the cleaning! ;-)
We’ve been experimenting with various recipes for the Instant Pot. Most of them have been hearty and heavy, so I attempted to find a way to lighten up our wintry meals by using healthier ingredients. I opted for lean ground turkey meatballs, which are leaner than beef and easily takes on the flavors of spices added to it. The homemade tomato sauce was made right in the cooker using canned diced tomatoes and herbs, reducing the need for processed and added sugar pasta sauces from off the shelf. Spinach was added to the sauce for a boost of veggies and I used spaghetti squash as my base, which makes this dish low-carb and light. If you’ve never made spaghetti squash before, The Kitchn has a great tutorial to show you how easy it is to prepare. It bakes in the oven while you are prepping the sauce and meatballs, so it can be timed perfectly. If you aren’t yet a fan of spaghetti squash you can also use whole wheat pasta with this recipe.
This is my first pressure cooker recipe, so if you have any comments or can suggest any changes I would love to hear from you! My recipe is inspired and adapted from a recipe I found after googling “turkey meatballs pressure cooker”. Let me know what you think in the comments!
Turkey Meatballs and Spaghetti Squash
1 Medium spaghetti squash
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry red wine
14.5oz can of diced tomatoes
15oz can of tomato sauce
½ cup chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp of Italian seasoning (or 1 tbsp fresh thyme, 1 tsp dried oregano and 1 tsp dried rosemary)
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1lb ground turkey
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup breadcrumbs
small handful of chopped parsley
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp fresh ground pepper
½ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 400°. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and drizzle olive oil on top of squash. Place face down on sheet pan and bake for 30-40 min.
- Set electric pressure cooker to sauté/brown. Add olive oil to the pot and sauté diced onions. When the onions are translucent add garlic and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Add red wine and cook until most of the alcohol has evaporated (approx. 2 minutes). Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Continue to simmer with cover off while preparing meatballs.
- Place all ingredients for meatballs in bowl and mix until well combined. Roll mixture into 1 inch balls and place in the pressure cooker pot with tomato sauce. Cover pressure cooker.
- Turn electric pressure cooker off of sauté and set to high pressure for 5 minutes.
- When the cooking is complete, carefully release pressure. Using a fork shred the spaghetti squash into a large bowl.
- To serve place shredded spaghetti squash into individual bowls and top with sauce and meatballs. Add shredded parmesan if desired and enjoy.