Spaghetti Squash Turkey Bolognese

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My mission of reducing processed foods in our diet is reaching an all time high with spaghetti squash season.  This dish is easy, flavorful, and very healthy.  From what I have learned a bolognese is really just a meat based sauce, so you can substitute for any meat of choice if you don’t have ground turkey on hand.  This recipe started to develop for me after I read a recipe from Martha Stewart (we are totally friends 😉 ), then I added a few additions of my own…like more bacon…and wine…and mushrooms.  My husband really enjoyed this dish without me having to make regular pasta noodles, so I consider this a total success!

Ingredients:

-1 medium spaghetti squash
-1 pound of lean ground turkey
-5 slices of bacon
-1 Tbsp garlic and chili pepper infused olive oil
-1 large onion, diced
-3 stalks of celery, diced
-1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms (any mushrooms of choice)
-4 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
-1 Tbsp fresh thyme
-1 tsp red pepper flakes
-1 tsp black pepper
-1/4 cup dry red wine
-1 15oz can of tomato sauce
-2 15oz cans of diced tomatoes

Directions:

1.  Cut spaghetti squash in half, remove seeds, spray with olive oil and season with pepper.  Bake in oven at 375 for 45 minutes.  When it is fully cooked it is easily scraped out with a spoon to make spaghetti-like strands.

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2.  While squash is cooking, in a large heavy sauce pan cook bacon over medium heat until cooked through, remove from pot to use later.

3. Add 1 Tbsp of infused olive oil to pan with bacon grease along with onions, celery, mushrooms, garlic, thyme, red pepper flakes and black pepper, cook for 10-15 minutes until soft.

4. Remove onion and mushroom mixture and put in bowl for later use.

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5. Brown turkey in pot, breaking to crumble.  When fully cooked drain grease and add onion and mushroom mixture and crumbled bacon back to pot.  Add red wine and simmer for 5 minutes before stirring in tomatoes and tomato sauce.

6.  Let simmer for 30 minutes to develop flavor.

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7. Serve over spaghetti squash, add parmesan cheese if desired.

Spicy Spaghetti Sauce with Turkey Meatballs

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Knowing how to make a good spaghetti sauce is a necessity in every at home cook’s life.  There are plenty of spaghetti sauce jars to pick from at the grocery store that are okay in a pinch, but nothing compares to a homemade sauce that spent all day on the stove perfecting.  This is a spicy sauce that is hands down the best I’ve ever made.  I added turkey meatballs while cooking, which were perfect and flavorful.

Sauce Ingredients:

– 2 Tbsp butter
– 2 tsp fresh sage, minced
– 2 tsp fresh parsley, minced
– 2 tsp fresh basil, minced
– 1 Tbsp dried oregano
– 1 Tbsp dried basil
– 2 tsp red pepper flakes
– 1 dash of salt
– 1 tsp pepper
– 3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
– 1 onion, diced
– 1 red bell pepper, diced
– 1 green bell pepper, diced
– 1 jalapeno, diced
– 1 hungarian pepper, diced
– 1/4 cup red wine
– 4 15oz cans of tomato sauce
– 2 cups chicken broth

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Directions:

1. In a large sauce pan turn heat to low/medium-low and brown butter with the fresh herbs for a few minutes.

2. Add the dried herbs, garlic, onion, and peppers and saute for 10 minutes over medium heat.  Add red wine and simmer for 5 minutes before adding tomato sauce and chicken broth.

3. Allow sauce to simmer on low for 1 hour, then puree with an immersion blender or transfer to stand up blender and blend in batches.

4. Continue to simmer while making meatballs.

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Turkey Meatball Ingredients:

– 1 lb ground turkey
– 1 lb hot sausage (jimmy Deans)
– 1/2 lb ground pork
– 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
– 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
– 1 medium onion
– 1/2 jalapeno, diced
– 1/2 cup bread crumbs
– 1 large egg
– 1 tsp red pepper flakes
– 1 tsp oregano
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tsp pepper
– 1 tsp garlic, minced

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Meatball Directions: 

1. Combine all ingredients except for the meat in a large bowl, mix well.

2. Add meats and mix with hands thoroughly before rolling into balls.

3. Place meatballs into pureed sauce and simmer on low for 2+ hours, stirring occasionally.

2013-10-04 16.40.45 2013-10-04 16.47.57I served the sauce over thin spaghetti noodles, but it is also excellent over spaghetti squash as a healthy alternative.  Expect leftovers if you are serving less than 10 people.  The turkey meatballs are perfect for a meatball sandwich the next day.

Enjoy!

Meaty Lasagna

I make lasagna not because I love it, but because it is my husband’s favorite meal.  If we are ever out at an Italian restaurant and lasagna is an option, he will order it 8 times out of 10.  The remaining 20% of the time he will order a spicy seafood pasta.  I like to keep the lasagna simple but fresh, so I followed the recipe I grew up on with only minimal changes.  I did make this extra meaty, which you may or may not appreciate.  You will have extra sauce for serving and you can cut back on the meat as you see fit if 2 pounds of meat seems excessive to you.

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Ingredients:

– 9-11 Lasagna noodles

– 2 1/2 cups Ricotta cheese

– 1 1/2 cups mozzarella-shredded

– 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

– 2 eggs-beaten

– 1 lb ground beef

– 1 lb hot sausage

– 1 tsp oregano (dried since I didn’t have fresh)

– 2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped

– 5 leaves of fresh sage, chopped

– 5 sprigs fresh thyme, center stem removed and chopped.

– 2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped

– 5 cloves garlic, minced

– 1 large onion, diced

– 1 red pepper, diced

– 1 green pepper, diced

– 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

– 1/2 cup red wine

– salt and pepper to taste

– 2-3 28 oz cans tomato sauce (use 2 cans if you want thick sauce, use a half can or a full 3rd can if you want it a little more saucy)

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Directions

1. Make Sauce: In sauce pan, brown ground beef and sausage then drain.  Remove the meat and add a little olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan to saute the onions and peppers.  When they look a little sweaty, add oregano, garlic, red pepper flakes, sage, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, and simmer in the red wine.

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Add meat and tomato sauce, heat through simmering at least 30 minutes to develop flavor.

2. Preheat oven to 350 F

3. Cook lasagna noodles al dente and set aside.  Better yet, buy the “no cook” version!

4. Make filling: combine ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, and eggs.  For an added touch I folded in the 2 Tbsp of fresh chopped basil.

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5. In 9×13 pan alternate layers of noodles, sauce, and filling starting with sauce on the bottom.  Top with extra cheese.

6. Bake 40 minutes.

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I have to say with all the fresh herbs I was pretty excited for this dinner.  It was fresh and filling with good depth overall.  I did find it best to add extra sauce as the no-cook noodles probably absorbed a bit of moisture and the sauce was extra thick and meaty to start with.  Adding the red wine to the sauce really does a lot to develop flavor in a short amount of time.  You can add a little sugar to improve the depth of the sauce of you don’t have red wine available.  We picked a deep red and drank the rest with dinner, complimented the meal wonderfully.

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