Good and Cheap: Spaghetti Squash Bake Without Tomatoes
This is an easy, low-carb meal that is comforting, inexpensive, and great tasting. I'm a fan of spaghetti squash, even though I don't think it tastes like spaghetti. The strands are pretty cool, though! Rather than baking the squash, I microwave it, which cuts the cooking time substantially. You can even microwave the squash early in the day (like at lunch time) to streamline the process and give the squash time to cool. Inexpensive, lean turkey breakfast sausage is the base for the sauce that goes into the squash bake. A handful of other ingredients is plenty to create a sauce that's savory, cheesy, and just right to top the squash. Plus, the sauce contains no tomatoes, which is unusual in spaghetti squash bake recipes. You won't miss the tomatoes. The sauce is great without them! Enjoy!
Spaghetti Squash Bake With Turkey Breakfast Sausage -- Serves 4+
2-3 pound spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon of canola oil
1/4 cup of chopped celery
1/4 cup of chopped onion
16 ounces of lean turkey breakfast sausage (the kind that comes in a tube)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of flour
2 cups of milk, warmed slightly in the microwave
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups of Italian-style shredded cheese, divided
1 cup of soft bread crumbs (from a couple of pieces of stale-ish bread)
Wash and pierce the spaghetti squash in several places with a knife. Put the squash on a microwave-safe plate, cover it with a paper towel, and microwave the squash for about 10 minutes or until it feels slightly soft when you touch it (it will be hot, so be careful!) Set the squash aside to cool. When it has cooled, cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and inner membrane (give them to the birds), and then, using a fork, pull the strands of spaghetti squash from the squash shell and place them in a large casserole dish that you have sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
To make the sauce, heat the oil in a large skillet or chef's pan over medium-high until shimmering. Add the celery and onion and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and saute them for about five minutes or until they begin to soften. Crumble in the turkey sausage and saute it with the vegetables until it is mostly cooked through--8-10 minutes. Sprinkle on the flour and stir it into the vegetable-meat mixture, cooking the flour with the vegetables-meat mixture for a minute or two. Turn down the heat to medium-low and whisk in the milk. Keep whisking for a few minutes or until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a very thick soup. Whisk in the Parmesan cheese. Taste the sauce, add salt to taste, and turn off the burner.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix half of the Italian shredded cheese with the spaghetti squash in the baking dish. Pour the sauce over the spaghetti squash. Sprinkle the remaining Italian shredded cheese on top of the sauce and then sprinkle on the bread crumbs. Bake the squash bake for about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let the squash bake cool a few minutes before serving it. The squash bake will firm up a bit on standing.