Published Mar 1, 2010

Christmas brought a lot of things, not least of which was Rachael Ray’s Big Orange Book Cookbook. Now, I’m admittedly a big Rachael Ray fan, not so much for her cooking or her show as for her looks. But this was the first time I actually cooked anything from her. With no puns in mind, I picked a delicious-looking meatball recipe.

First I should probably say something about the Rachael Ray crush. If you’ve met my wife, you could probably guess that an aggressive, brash New Yorker with curvy hips would be just my twice. This came out early in our relationship: it only took a few weeks for me to fake up this photo for DJ L’il Bit:Courtney or Rachael?

I’ll admit to being happy that I picked a redhead.

Anyway, back to the meal. It was quick, as advertised, although I complicated it up by making a side dish of mashed rutabagas. That’s right, rutabagas. If you caught the last cooking-related entry, you’ll know that rutabagas have become the low-carb household replacement for potatoes. They’re big winners, just boil them a smidge and the bitterness goes away. Tonight, we boiled them with salt and garlic, and then mashed them with rosemary, olive oil, and salt and pepper:Rachael Ray's Meatballs

A great mashed potato substitute with half the carbs and twice the fiber. But the real point was the main course, the meatballs. I doubled the recipe, to make leftovers last all week long, and roasted them in the oven:Rachael Ray's Meatballs

Meanwhile, I made Rachael’s fire-roasted tomato sauce with balsamic, adding in a bay leaf and some rosemary, mostly because the rosemary came from the backyard. Fire-roasted tomatoes in a can are incredible things, and, when you pair them with some delicately-sweated red onions, well, it’s just win all aroundRachael Ray's Meatballs

We threw a few frozen asparagus spears on the grill pan with some salt, pepper, and crushed garlic, just real quickly as a side dish:Rachael Ray's Meatballs

Everything came together even better than I made it sound here:Rachael Ray's Meatballs

It tasted even better than my non-existent food styling skills makes it look! With nothing but olive oil and lean beef, this dish is a cheap, healthy winner that we’re sure to make again.