baked spaghetti squash & turkey meatballs

October 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

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When you are pregnant, say, 35 weeks along, and suddenly you are on bed rest, you think, just maybe, the appetite you’ve developed, which can only be likened to that of a starved hog, might abate. This has not been my good fortune.

I haven’t been especially careful about my diet because I generally like fruits, vegetables, yogurt, whole grains and all of that good stuff. So, to supplement, I’ve allowed myself the inclusion of an ice cream every day now and then. But, even if it’s healthy, the amount of food I need to put into my system is alarming at times. I have not been one of those ladies whose heartburn slows her feasting down towards the end…no ma’am.

In fact, I first suspected I might be pregnant because it seemed that no amount of dinner could make the hunger go away. The change was extraordinary and immediate. I distinctly remember wondering whether I might be with child when, about 10 days before I could take a pregnancy test with any success, I chomped into my second ice cream bar in front of the open freezer. “Nah,” I thought. No way. No way that just needing right this minute to go buy a box of ice cream bars was indicative of anything peculiar. Nor was eating more than one at a time. No way.

Way. But I was delighted. Obviously, for so many reasons. One of which, I admit, was that the bagel and cream cheese habit I’d recently developed to get through the afternoon had not been for nothing.

This is a long way of saying that it’s important for me to keep food in the house (where I am trapped) that appeals to my  healthier inclinations. Especially now that the task of returning to my normal clothes is looming imminently before me. Spaghetti squash pasta it is!

But seriously, this dish is really good: even a very non-pregnant Christopher was oohing and ahhing. I ate up all the leftovers this afternoon and plan to make this well beyond my hallowed state.

Baked Spaghetti Squash With Turkey Meatballs

Preheat the oven to 375.

Cut a spaghetti squash in half (or in slices if you’re in a hurry) and cover with a bit of oil and a bit of salt. Bake for 30 -45 minutes, and when you can easily pierce the squash with a fork, remove the seeds then pull the squash from the rinds. Keep the squash on half of the baking tray to stay warm.

In the meantime, finely chop 1/2 a large yellow onion in the food processor along with 2 cloves of garlic. (These will add a lot of flavor and keep the meatballs moist.) Toast a handful of pine nuts on the stovetop and chop them roughly (they give a nice consistency to the meatballs, but not if they’re too fine). Chop 1/4 cup of parsley and 1/4 cup of basil. Transfer the onion/ garlic mixture, the pine nuts and the herbs into a large mixing bowl and add some spices (I used a Penzy’s spice blend called Northwoods fire) and/ or 1/4 teaspoon of red chili flakes and mix thoroughly with 16 ounces of ground turkey. Roll the meat into rounds, about golf-ball size.

Chop the other half of the onion and 2 additional cloves of garlic and sauté in olive oil until just softened: set aside. Brown the meatballs, adding small amounts of white wine and/or chicken broth to the pan to keep the meat from sticking. Sauté about 5 minutes on each side then transfer to the baking sheet to stay warm. Add more oil to the same pan and sauté 8oz of sliced mushrooms, adding broth and wine letting the liquid periodically reduce. This will make a very yummy sauce because it will pull up all of the brown bits from the turkey. Add 3 cups of spinach and wilt. (This takes about 1 minute.)  Salt to taste.

Just before serving, put spaghetti squash in a mixing bowl and add 1c of shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese and mix. If the squash seems dry, add a bit of olive oil. Season to taste. To serve, place a heap of squash in a shallow bowl with mushrooms, spinach and their sauce on top. Add 3-5 meatballs to each plate and serve immediately, maybe with additional grated cheese or chopped herbs.

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