Spaghetti Squash and Breakfast Sausage Bake: How to Make a Low Carbohydrate Dinner That Tastes Good
Now is the time for all those low-fat, low carbohydrate, low taste dinners that, somehow, the powers that be in the media feel we should all be having now that the holidays are past. I don't like them--the low taste dinners or the food police who believe that, for the next month or so, we should all be chewing only on celery and bran flakes. Yes, sometimes low carbohydrate dinners are a good idea, and yes, they can taste great. Spaghetti Squash and Breakfast Sausage Bake is a case in point. It doesn't taste low carb. In fact, it does include "good" carbohydrates in the form (mostly) of spaghetti squash. It also includes creamy ricotta, Parmesan cheese, and savory, low-fat turkey sausage. Together the mixture is incredible. The bake is nutritious, yes, but it's also creamy, cheesy, comforting, and incredibly tasty. My husband, who's a major "noodle lover" really likes the spaghetti squash bake. The dish is great with a salad served alongside it and, if you're not to opposed to the "evil carbs" in it, some garlic bread.
Spaghetti Squash and Turkey Breakfast Sausage Bake -- Serves 4+
1 medium spaghetti squash (2-3 pounds or so)
1 tablespoon of canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 - 3/4 cup of chopped celery
2-3 cloves of chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of dried sage
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
16 ounces of low-fat turkey (or poultry) breakfast sausage
15 - 16 ounce container of low/reduced fat ricotta cheese
1/2 - 3/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup of seasoned Panko breadcrumbs (optional, but good)
Pierce the squash with a knife in 3-6 places, put it on a paper-towel lined plate, cover it with a paper towel, and microwave the squash on high for about 10 minutes or until soft. Let the squash cool enough to handle it.
While the squash is cooling, heat the oil in a non-stick skillet. Add the onion and celery and saute them for about five minutes until they begin to soften. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, sage, and thyme and saute them with the onions and celery for about a minute. Crumble the sausage into the pan and continue sauteing the mixture for about 10 minutes or until the turkey sausage is cooked through. Turn off the heat and stir in the ricotta and half of the Parmesan cheese.
Spritz a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and heat the oven to 375 degrees. If the squash is cool enough to handle, split it open with a knife and remove the seeds and inner membrane (the kind of slimy stuff around the seeds). You can discard the seeds or give them to the birds (they like them). With a fork or spoon, scoop out the flesh of the spaghetti squash and put it into the prepared baking dish. The squash flesh should separate into strands as you pull it from the squash shell. Pour the turkey mixture over the squash, and with a spoon, squish/swirl the turkey mixture into the squash a little. The turkey mixture doesn't have to be completely mixed into the squash, just pressed into it a bit. Sprinkle the top of the mixture with the remaining Parmesan and then with the breadcrumbs. Bake the mixture for 30-45 minutes or until lightly browned on top. The squash bake is easier to serve if you let it sit for 5-10 minutes (this doesn't happen often at my house because it really smells good).