Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash

These Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs are a fun topping to a garlicky, buttery base of spaghetti squash. Though this dish takes awhile to prepare, it’s totally worth it!

Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash | thepajamachef.com

I don’t know about you, but I’m on a quest to eat as much pumpkin in the next three months as possible. It’s my goal to make/blog about at least one pumpkin dish per week! We’ll see how I do. :) So first…I have a confession to make. I made this dish last year. In fact, it was one of the first new recipes I made in our new Nashville kitchen after we moved here last year. And it just didn’t make it on the blog. Oooops! Moving to a new state and starting a new job kinda takes a lot of time. :) But despite the length of time between eating this dish and sharing it here, I think it’s utterly fabulous! Most people think of pumpkin as a sweet ingredient [helllooo pumpkin pie, cookies, bread, muffins, yada yada yada] but I love it when used at dinnertime. Though pumpkin by itself is actually a little bland, it can add some color, moisture, and substance to sauces, meatballs, or soups when used in a savory sense.  This was my first time using pumpkin in meatballs and I must say I’m super impressed! These meatballs were sooo flavorful and indulgent… if meatballs can be indulgent, haha.

Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash | thepajamachef.com

And don’t forget about the spaghetti squash! It’s garlicky and buttery and just plain perfect. It was Ben’s first taste of spaghetti squash and he loved it… especially because of the bacon. Everything’s better with bacon, right? Even pumpkin! With this dish you’ll certainly have one of the more unique ways to enjoy pumpkin. And it’s awesome! Hope you enjoyyy!

one year ago: Autumnal Muffins
two years ago: Peach Raspberry Clafouti
three years ago: Peach Shortbread
four years ago: Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken

Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 2 hours, most of that not active so don't freak out
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from We are not Martha


  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound ground chicken [ground turkey would also work too]
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Star Fine Foods Butter Olive Oil – or regular butter or olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Carefully poke holes all over the spaghetti squash with a sharp knife. Place in a baking dish and bake for 80 minutes, rotating halfway through.

While spaghetti squash is cooking, prepare meatballs. In a large bowl, mix together ground chicken, pumpkin, ginger, thyme, panko, parmesan, and egg. Scoop mixture into golfball-sized balls and place in a baking dish that has been greased with cooking spray. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until cooked through and crisp on the outside. [Hint: put the meatballs in the oven after the squash has cooked for about 65 or 70 minutes--that'll be good timing so everything is finished about the same time.]


After 80 minutes, remove squash from oven and let cool.

When cool enough to touch, carefully cut in half. Scoop seeds out, then use a fork to remove the “spaghetti” and set aside.

In a large skillet set over medium heat, add olive oil and cook garlic for one minute. Add squash, sage, and crumbled bacon, then cook for about 3 minutes until tender.

Serve meatballs over spaghetti squash with parmesan on top.

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Apothecary Extracts’ 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil

I recently was asked to to try and review Apothecary Extracts’ 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil. Now, I’ve heard a lot about essential oils over the past few years but I’ve always shied away from it because of the cost and because I am not the kinda girl to jump onto any old fad. But I’m always willing to try almost anything once, especially if it is free, so I said yes. I received my tea tree oil in the mail and then it sat on my baker’s rack, next to the mail tray, foreverrrrrr…

Tea Tree Oil Review | thepajamachef.com…until this past Wednesday when I got some weird bug bite on the back of my ankle that caused my entire ankle and foot to swell up like a balloon. Let me just say that it was not a pretty sight. I’ll spare you a picture. :) But then I remembered the tea tree oil and all the kookie folks online who swear by treating their ailments with something a bit more natural than most medicines. I read in the informational e-cookbook that Apothecary Extracts sent me that tea tree oil has many healing properties, especially related to skin care and first aid. It’s a natural anti-microbial agent and can help with fungal, viral, and bacterial infections along with reducing inflammation [ewwwww]. So on Thursday, I mixed a dab of coconut oil and a few drops of tea tree oil in my hand and then rubbed the mixture over the bug bite and my ankle. It immediately provided a bit of cooling, therapeutic pain relief. I applied this mixture a couple times per day on Thursday and Friday, and the swelling definitely did go down–especially on Friday. Am I completely better? No, not yet. Did I use the oil alone? No, I also took some Benadryl, iced, and elevated. So while I can’t prove that the essential oil did anything on its own, I think it did help–even if it was just psychological [and sometimes, isn't that half of it?]. Ben even tried the tea tree oil out to help with a few bug bites of his own and he said that he loved the smell and cooling sensation. In the past few days I’ve read online about tea tree oil and also have learned that it can help prevent lice. Since Ben is working as a teacher now, I don’t want him to bring any of those buggers home so I put a few drops in our shampoo to hopefully help with that. So all in all, I’m very pleased to have tried this tea tree oil. Apothecary Extracts is a great company to work with and I’m excited to try more uses for tea tree oil–a deep conditioner recipe is calling my name! I’m not sure I’ll ever become an essential oils junkie but since I am into eating well and using as many natural products as I can find and afford, the use of some essential oils in my daily life was probably going to happen at some point or another. Thanks to Apothecary Extracts for letting me try out your tea tree oil! It was a treat!

Disclosure: I received a complementary bottle of 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil to try and review on my blog and on Amazon. I was not compensated for my time or to publish positive comments. My opinions are my own.

Honey Cornbread

This cornbread is sweet, delicious, and honey-scented. You’ll want to make batch after batch to enjoy with your favorite soups and chilis this fall!

Honey Cornbread | thepajamachef.com

There’s nothing better than a warm slice of sweet cornbread! This easy recipe is my absolute favorite cornbread out there. It’s perfect with any dish, but I especially love it with my potato soup. Eating a slice hot out of the oven, slathered with butter and honey, is an experience unlike any other. Mmmm, I can almost taste it now. :) I have no idea how many times I’ve made this recipe for a potluck or dinner with friends, but whenever I do, I always have to suppress the urge to hide a few slices away so I make sure I can have a few pieces leftover for breakfast. I can guarantee that when you take some to a group gathering you’ll be bringing home an empty pan! So you probably shouldn’t steal some from your friends, even though you might want to because it is that good.

Honey Cornbread | thepajamachef.com

The reason this cornbread is so darn delicious is that it’s cake-like. It’s moist and fluffy at the same time… utterly delicious! Even though it makes a huge pan, don’t think about halving the recipe. When I make this, if there’s any doubt that we won’t finish it in a few days, I just freeze individual slices in sandwich bags. Then I can easily throw a slice in my lunch when I’m taking some leftover soup and I can be a very happy camper at lunchtime! Enjoy!

four year ago: Tropical Granola

Honey Cornbread

  • Servings: 20
  • Time: 40 minutes
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from Money Saving Mom


  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, showered
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 2 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9×13 or 11×14 inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Cream together sugar and butter. A stand or hand mixer works great, but so does a wooden spon. Add eggs, honey, and milk, then mix well. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and cornmeal. Fold dry ingredinets into the wet ingredients until just combined. Don’t overmix–batter will be lumpy. Transfer to prepared pan, then bake for 35 minutes until golden brown.

Serve warm with butter, honey, and your favorite soup.

Linked up with Weekend Potluck and Foodie Friends Friday.

Sausage and Ranch Potato Skillet with Fried Eggs

This easy sausage and potato skillet is seasoned with a healthy herb ranch blend and topped with a fried egg, making it a perfect breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner! Delicious!

Sausage and Ranch Potato Skillet with Fried Eggs | thepajamachef.com

I love skillet meals! One dish meals are seriously my go-to for weeknights. Less courses=less dishes=less clean up=more time to read on the couch/bake pumpkin treats/watch tv/brush our little spoiled cats or anything else my little heart desires. Usually my skillet meals include rice, pasta, or quinoa, and cheese. Always cheese! But sometimes you want something a little lighter and fresher. Not that rice or pasta dishes can’t be light, but you know what I mean, right? For me, the key to delicious light meals is lots of flavor. Like ranch! Mmm, ranch dressing. Whoever invented that stuff was a genius!

Healthy Herb Ranch Seasoning | thepajamachef.com

A few weeks ago, on a whim, I made a batch of healthy herb ranch seasoning and used it for some roasted potatoes alongside a little breakfast-for-dinner meal with cheesy scrambled eggs, oatmeal scones, and berries. Not that you’ll NEED extra ideas for using this ranch seasoning [I think it's going to become a standard addition to my pantry] but let me just say that ranch seasoning on popcorn is amazingggg! Mmm, it’s 8 am and I want some ranch popcorn. Haha.

Ranch Potatoes | thepajamachef.com

Now, that meal was good…but I had visions! Visions of a ranch-seasoned skillet meal with crispy roasted potatoes, crumbled breakfast sausage, bell peppers, onion, garlic, jalapeno and a fried egg on top! Well, my fried eggs are actually over-easy eggs but same diff. :) I am happy to report that this skillet was everything I dreamed it would be… a fresh, filling meal full of ranch flavor AND the best part was that it’s healthy! That’s why I used that ranch seasoning blend… all the flavors of a hearty, creamy ranch without tons of salt, sour cream, or mayo. To make the potatoes super crispy I roasted them in the oven with some of the ranch seasoning, then tossed them with the sausage and bell pepper mixture after everything was cooked. Don’t forget the avocado on the side… a bite of creamy, cool avocado alongside this spicy ranch-y skillet is just divine! Enjoy!

P.S. Don’t forget about my giveaway for Healthy Solutions Spice Blends! Ends Saturday! :)

Sausage and Ranch Potato Skillet with Fried Eggs | thepajamachef.com

two years ago: Peach Ginger Pie
three years ago: Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad
four years ago: Chili Burgers

Sausage and Ranch Potato Skillet with Fried Eggs

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes
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Sausage and Ranch Potato Skillet with Fried Eggs | thepajamachef.com

  • 1 pound red potatoes, cut into eighths [quarter, then half each quarter]
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon ranch seasoning, divided [see below, or use your favorite]
  • cayenne pepper – optional
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound breakfast sausage
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced – optional
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 eggs
  • diced avocado, for serving


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss red potatoes in 1 tablespoon ranch seasoning, a sprinkling of cayenne, and olive oil. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until fork-tender. I like to bump the heat up to 475 for the last 5 minutes or so of baking to get a nice crispy crust.

While potatoes are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon. Drain grease and return sausage to pan. Add onion, green pepper, red pepper, and jalapeno, if using. Saute for 10 minutes or until onions are soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Cover and remove from heat. When potatoes are done, add to skillet with sausage and vegetables and stir in remaining 1/2 tablespoon ranch seasoning.

Cook fried eggs to desired doneness, then serve a fried egg on top of each serving with diced avocado.

Healthy Herb Ranch Seasoning

  • Servings: 1 cup
  • Time: 5 minutes
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Healthy Herb Ranch Seasoning | thepajamachef.com

from Wildflour’s Cottage Kitchen


  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried chives
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried minced onion, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional


Combine all ingredients in a Mason jar and shake to combine. Store covered until ready to use.

Can combine with 1 3/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt for a ranch dressing/dip; just mix well and thin with milk or buttermilk to reach desired consistency.

Linked up with Weekend Potluck.