Spaghetti Squash w/ Turkey, Beans, Spinach, Mushrooms and Parmesan

Sometimes I approach
dinner from a different place. I don't look for recipes or think of standards I haven't made in awhile. I don't pull out everything that I need to use up and find a way to make it edible. These are the days I am bored. 

While I don't have a super refined palette, I do like eating and am drawn to variety. Some days I just need to surprise myself. Last night was one of those nights. I had a spaghetti squash I wanted to use, but needed a new idea that worked with what I had in my pantry.

One recipe I noticed used the squash cut in half, roasted, the insides shredded with a fork, then topped with a vegetarian medley. They served it in the shell. My husband isn't that partial to no meat, and this idea was probably outside his comfort zone, so I decided to start with the recipe's basics, but rework the dish into something he would enjoy as well. 

I paired ground turkey with spinach, mushrooms, white kidney beans, mushrooms and parmesan. After baking, I shredded the squash and divided onto the plates, throwing the shells away. I knew my husband would prefer the ease of eating the dish without having to scoop it out of a shell.  A sprinkle of parmesan on top and voila.  

When he looked at his plate he was skeptical. However, after the first few bites he admitted it was really good and ate it all up.  A success.  A side bonus for me was the dish had way fewer carbs than it would have had I served the meat mixture on rice or pasta, but the addition of beans still made it a hearty dish for my husband. 

As always, don't be afraid to play and make it your own. The original recipe had chopped kale which I love, but that would have required a rush trip to the store.  If you use Kale be aware, it won't shrink as much, so probably you will need to use less. For a meatless version - leave out the ground turkey. The recipe will then proobably only serve two people, so you'll only need one spaghetti squash. 


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Spaghetti Squash w/ Turkey, Beans Spinach, Mushrooms and Parmesan
Serves 4

Ingredients -

2 med.              Spaghetti squash
1-2 T                Olive oil (can be flavoured)
1 lb.                  Ground turkey
1/2                    Large sweet onion, diced
2                       Cloves Garlic, minced
10 oz.                Baby Spinach, washed
15 oz. can         White kidney beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz.                  White or brown button mushrooms, cut in half then sliced crosswise
1 tsp                  Italian Herbs
1/4 tsp               Crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 C                 Chicken Broth
1 T                     Cornstarch
4 oz.                  Shredded Parmesan (plus a little extra to sprinkle on top)
alt and pepper

Instructions - 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Cut spaghetti squash in half length-wise.  Scoop out all seeds.  Brush with olive oil (I used mushroom/sage olive oil). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut side down in baking pan and place in oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes until done but not mushy. 

While squash is cooking, place a large non-stick frying pan on stove.  Add ground turkey, diced onion, minced garlic, diced mushrooms, Italian herbs, and crushed red pepper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute on medium heat, breaking up the ground turkey gently until most of pink is gone and onions are getting soft.  Add the spinach and continue cooking for a few minutes, folding the spinach until it is wilted. Mix the cornstarch with chicken broth and add. Continue to stir gently until the broth thickens - just a few minutes.  Turn off heat. Sprinkle the shredded parmesan on top then fold in until melted. Adjust salt and pepper to your taste. 

Take squash out of oven when done.  You have 2 ways you can serve this.  You can shred the spaghetti squash in the shell and top with the filling. OR you can take the shredded squash out, divide between four individual plates, and top with filling.  I prefer the second as I find it easier to present and eat, but it's your choice. Sprinkle on a little additional parmesan and serve.