So BL and I are trying to embark on healthy eating. To date, the diets I’ve tried include (but are not limited to):
- Weight Watchers…It works for me, but god it’s a pain in the ass
- South Beach Diet…NO THANK YOU
- Whole30…Lasted 5 days before I almost killed someone
- Cabbage Soup…Nope Nope Nope
- Atkins…Gotta love that bacon
And there are probably more that I’m forgetting. BL refuses to give up cheese and I’m hell-bent on keeping my chocolate (and I’m partial to the cheese as well) so we have just been trying to keep in clean, simple and healthy. So I bring you tonight’s meal:
*forewarning, this is not an easy, 1 step recipe. It took me time to craft and create, so if you’re looking for a quickie, this may not be right for you. I tend to make large batches of the vodka sauce, and freeze it for later use.
Spaghetti Squash With Tomato and Basil Turkey Balls, Stuffed With Fresh Mozzarella
What You’ll Need:
For the “spaghetti”
- 1-2 Large Spaghetti Squash
- Olive Oil
For the Balls (Make 8 Balls)
- 1lb Ground Turkey
- 1/2 cup crushed saltine crackers
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup finely diced fresh tomatoes
- Fresh Basil, diced to taste
- Fresh Mozzarella, cubed into eight 1 inch pieces
- 2 Cloves fresh garlic
- Salt & Pepper
For The Sauce
- 3-5 Shallots
- 4 Cloves of Garlic
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup Vodka
- 1 cube chicken bouillon mixed with hot water and fresh basil
- 1 32oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 pint light cream
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 2 teaspoons flour
- 1 sprig scallions
- Fresh Parsley
So now that you’ve assembled all of your ingredients, let’s get started. Begin by setting your oven to 400 degrees. Slice the squash in half long way, and scrape and clean the seeds. Generously brush the squash with the olive oil, and place cut side down on a covered cooking sheet. I prefer my Silpat Silicone Baking Mat but you can also use tin foil to cover the cooking sheet. Set in oven and set timer for 20 minutes.
Now let’s work on the sauce. I prefer a chunkier sauce, so I have a tendency to slice in thick chunks. By all means, if you want a less chunk sauce, tiny dicing! First, add a few turns of olive oil to a large pot. Add diced shallots and crushed garlic and cook over medium-high heat until shallots are tender. Turn heat to high and add vodka, turning slowly around the pan. Continue to cook at high heat for 45-60 seconds, then turn back to medium, keeping pan at a simmer. Next, slowly add mixture of basil leaves, warm water and chicken bullion. Keeping the mixture at a medium simmer, cook for 5 minutes. Next, add your can of tomatoes. *Of note, you can play around with the tomatoes that you prefer. I have come to like a can of crushed tomatoes, because I feel it gives the sauce a velvet quality.
Salt and pepper your sauce mixture, add fresh basil, parsley and scallions and turn heat to low and simmer. Set your sauce to the back burner and let’s get to the cream sauce part. I will tell you, you can skip this step if you don’t want to make a roux. Personally, I find that the roux accentuates the creamy flavor, in addition to ensuring that the sauce isn’t runny. But if you’re not comfortable making a roux, or you’re crunched for time, simply add the light cream to the sauce mixture and skip the next paragraph.
To make your roux, add 2 tablespoons of butter to a medium sized sauce pan and turn to low-medium heat. Slowly sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour into the mixture and whisk together for 5 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t let it burn, and ta da! you have a roux! If you’re looking for more instruction than that, check out this video, which I think provides good instruction. Turn your heat up to medium, and slowly whisk in the light cream. Continue to heat the cream/roux while whisking, until it becomes thick. Don’t overcook, or the mixture will start to break. Whisk the mixture into the completed sauce, and simmer on low.
By this time, your squash should be ready to flip! Flip the squash to cut side up, and put it back into the oven for another 20 minutes.
Now, on to the Balls. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, 1 egg, saltine crackers, garlic, basil and tomatoes. You can use a spoon, but it you grew up in my mom’s kitchen, you take off your rings, wash your hands, and start smooshing. Knead until well mixed. Taking a small amount of the mixture, roll into a ball, using your thumb to make an indent in the center. Ball should be no more than 2 inches in diameter, and you should use about 1/2 the mixture to make the first batch. Add a cheese cube to the center of each ball, and cover it with the remaining turkey mixture, ensuring cheese is well encased, and forming a round ball.
The ball process is time consuming, so by now, your squash should be done, so pull it out, testing to make sure that it is cooked through. Set it aside to cool, and place your TurkBalls on the sheet pan, and into the oven at 375 degrees for 10-14 minutes.
Now that you can breathe, give your sauce a stir, making sure it isn’t too thick. If it is shut it off until the balls are done. Once your squash cools, take a fork and rake it back and forth across the flesh, creating long strands. Throw them in a bowl, and toss in a few scoops of sauce. If you want to get crafty, you can toss the “spaghetti” into the scooped squash, but I wasn’t feeling that fancy tonight.
Your balls should be just about done, so pull them out, and combine your dish to your choosing, sprinkle some parm, and you’re done! Enjoy your healthy amazing dinner!