Easy Turkey Alfredo Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Alfredo sauce is one of the tastiest things I’ve ever eaten and it’s so easy to make. I know there are a lot of steps but it’s a very easy process, none of the steps (except maybe cutting the spaghetti squash in half! are difficult). I blogged Chicken Alfredo several years ago so just used that basic recipe for the sauce. I’ve taken out the fresh parsley because I now can’t eat it and stuffed it into a spaghetti squash which reduces the simple carbs and calories. Don’t care for spaghetti squash? No problem, just mix it up and use it as a sauce for your favorite pasta. Delicious! Enjoy.

First thing is to cook the spaghetti squash. Cut a small to medium sized one in half, scrap out the seeds (if you have a sugar spoon [with ruffled edge] it works great for this), and coat the flesh with:

1 tablespoon olive oil or olive oil spray

Place skin side down in a baking dish, add just about a 1/2 inch of water to the pan and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for approximately 30-40 minutes depending on the size of your squash. I know, I know, most on-line recipes say to cook a spaghetti squash for 20-30 minutes. I find when I cook it for that short a time, it tends to be wetter producing more mash and fewer spaghetti strands.

While the squash cooks, make some thick rice milk but blending:

1 cup water

1/3 cup cooked rice (brown or white makes no difference)

Then make the alfredo sauce. Over medium heat, heat:

1/4 cup avocado oil

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic

Be sure the heat isn’t too high, we don’t want to burn the minced garlic which will burn very quickly. When the oil starts to sizzle, add:

1 cup thick rice milk (that you just made above)

1/2 cup non-dairy cream cheese

Whisk to combine which takes a moment since the oil must also be incorporated. I thought about reducing the oil to 1 tablespoon (which you should feel free to do if you’re on a low-fat diet) but it does reduce the richness of the dish slightly. Next whisk in:

1/4-1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon dried Italian herb blend (or oregano, thyme and marjoram)

Whisk constantly until cheese melts. Take off the heat. In a 12″ high sided skillet, over medium high heat, heat until shimmering:

1 tablespoon olive oil (or spray the pan with cooking spray if low fat desired)

When the oil (pan) is hot, add:

1 pound ground turkey

Salt, pepper and garlic powder (1/2 teaspoon salt and garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon pepper)

Don’t oversalt because the parmesan in the sauce is also salty. Cook, breaking up the turkey into large chunks until cooked but not browned (or it will get too dry). Remove from the heat. Next using a fork, scrap the inside of the cooled spaghetti squash to produce spaghetti-like strands. Try to get as much of the squash out of the shell as possible without breaking or cracking the shell (I did have a large crack in one half and a small in the other and they were still useable). Put the squash into the ground turkey skillet and top with the sauce. Mix to combine. Place the squash shells in a sprayed baking dish and spoon in the turkey/squash/sauce mixture until well filled. Garnish with more parmesan and/or fresh parsley and bake for 15-30 minutes until bubbling. Time will depend on the size of your squash.

Turkey and Vegetable Casserole

This is very easy to put together. It takes about a 20 minutes IF your rice is precooked. Mine took a little longer because I didn’t think to cook the rice beforehand. And since I wanted to add a little Minnesota to this recipe, instead of using straight brown rice, I used a brown and wild rice mix which takes longer to cook but adds a whole lot of flavor. Feel free to change up the vegetables used – broccoli would work just as well as zucchini. And the oregano and thyme can be substituted for an Italian herb mix.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray a 9×12 baking pan or a 2-quart casserole dish. In a high-sided skillet, heat over medium high:

2 tablespoons olive oil

When shimmering add:

1 pound ground turkey (this would work just as well with ground pork, Italian sausage or hamburger, just be sure to drain off the fat after cooking)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Break up the meat as it cooks and cook until no longer pink, about 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add:

1 medium onion, diced

2 small zucchini, cut into approximately 3/4″ slices (I quartered mine before slicing so I had chunks)

2 large portobello mushrooms (deveined and diced)

1 medium yellow sweet pepper, diced (about 1/2 cup)

3 garlic cloves minced (about 3 teaspoons)

Stir to combine and then simmer for 4-5 minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Add:

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon siracha sauce or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Stir to combine and reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in:

2 cups brown and wild rice mix, cooked

1/4 cup grated non-dairy Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons chopped parsley, flat-leaf or Italian

Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with:

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Bake until mixture is bubbling and the cheese is starting to brown, about 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle with another tablespoon or two of parsley before serving. Serves 6.

Empanadas

I know you’ll take one look at the picture and say, But Jean, empanadas aren’t round! I know, they’re supposed to be half-circles but this gluten-free dough is supposed to have an egg to bind it together and the flax egg just didn’t work as well so I made full-moons. They taste delicious, just don’t try to eat them with your hands! I used ground turkey in mine but any ground meat will work.

In a small bowl combine:

1 tablespoon ground flax

3 tablespoons water or aquafaba

Let sit about 5 minutes until it sets then make the dough. In the bowl of the food processor put:

3 cups gluten-free flour (whatever blend you have works)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 tablespoons date sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup vegan margarine, Earth Balance, or Spectrum shortening (put in around the food processor, not in just one spot)

Pulse until the mixture is a coarse meal. In a small bowl combine:

1 flax egg (that you made above) [OR if you can use it, 1 large egg)

1/2 cup oat milk (or other non-dairy milk)

Add to the food processor and pulse until the dough comes together. Remove from the processor into a food storage bag and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes. While the dough chills, make the filling. In a 12″ skillet heat over medium heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Add:

1/2-1 teaspoon paprika

1/2-1 teaspoon cumin

1-2 teaspoon dried oregano

Heat just until fragrant, about 30 seconds then add:

1 small onion diced

Cook to soften the onion, about 2 minutes and then add:

1 pound ground meat, like turkey, beef, or pork

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Cook, breaking the meat apart as it cooks, until the meat is done, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the skillet to a bowl. Add:

1/3 cup sugar-free ketchup mixed with 1-3 teaspoons hot sauce (hot sauce optional)

1 small can mild (or medium whichever your family likes) green chilies

1/2 cup non-dairy cheese shredded, whatever cheese you can eat (I used parmesan)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Stir to combine and let cool. Before the dough is chilled, line a 24×24″ space on a counter with plastic wrap and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

When the dough is ready, take out of the bag and cut the dough into two pieces. Put one half back into the bag and the refrigerator and put the other half on the counter with the plastic wrap. Press down on the dough to flatten slightly and then cover with a sheet of parchment paper. Roll out the dough to about 1/8″ thickness. Cut in whatever size you desire (I used a bowl that’s about a 6″ circle). Use a spatula to pick up the dough and move to the lined cookie sheet. Place about 3/4 of a cup of the filling** in the center of the disk and cover with a second disk of dough. Seal the edges together, if necessary moisten the edge with water (I didn’t need any water with my dough).

Repeat, rerolling the dough until all the dough is used and the filling is gone. I was able to make 4 of the 6″ size. If you’re able to use the egg in the dough, you can probably fold over the dough to make the half-circles and therefore can make more empanadas. Use a small knife to cut air holes in the tops of the empanadas so steam can escape. Spray with a non-stick cooking spray or brush with oat milk or egg wash if you can use eggs. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Makes four servings (6″ size). Serve with guacamole, salsa, or as I did, just slices of avocado.

**Of course, if you’re using a smaller circle to cut your empanadas, you’ll use less filling in each.