15-Minute Zoodles with Turkey Marinara

When I was a little thing (probably six or seven) someone asked me what my favorite food was and I told them escargot. They thought I was kidding. I wasn’t.

My parents raised me to eat what was in front of me and not complain, and I thank them every single day for that. They didn’t feed me “kid food” like mac and cheese and cut up hot dogs. I got clam sauce spaghetti and mussels and liverwurst sandwiches growing up. It was awesome. Sure, we ate the occasional mac and cheese or sloppy Joe’s dinner – we were expats living in Germany, we needed to hold on to some American normalcy.

I guess my point is that I’ve never been afraid to try anything different. New foods excite me. And using familiar foods in new ways also gets my motor going.

Like zoodles. This is my new favorite meal. I won’t even lie, the reason I haven’t posted on the blog in over a week is because this is the only thing I’ve eaten in that time frame. (Other than cheese curds, pizza and beer in honor of March Madness. ON WISCONSIN!)

These pair well with a very carby, butter, cheesy garlic bread because this is far too healthy on its own. Also cheap red wine because, again, Wisco is Final Four-bound!!!

Zoodles

15-Minute Zoodles with Turkey Marinara

Makes 1 serving

What you need:

-1 tsp olive oil
-4 oz 99% fat free ground turkey
-1/4 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms
-1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
-1/4 cup diced onion
-1/2 medium-large zucchini, spiralized or thinly sliced
-1/2 cup marinara sauce (I use Prego Light Smart)
-handful of spinach
-1/2 oz fresh Parmigiano Reggiano

(NOTE: This is the spiralizer I have. Cheap, doesn’t make the most beautiful zoodles, but it gets the job done. If you want them pretty, splurge for the Paderno one.)

What you do:

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium-large saute pan over medium heat until shiny. Add your ground turkey and let cook most of the way (not really pink but not browned), about 5 minutes, then add mushrooms, tomatoes and onion. Continue cooking veggies and turkey, stirring frequently, for about 3-5 minutes until turkey is slightly browned and veggies are softened. (Note: You don’t want these to dry out, so you may want to add a splash of water, about 1-2 tbsp.)

2. Add zoodles to pan and combine with turkey and veggies until heated through, about 1-2 minutes.

3. Turn heat down to low and add marinara sauce and spinach. Continue stirring spinach has wilted and sauce is heated, about 1 minute.

4. Remove from heat and serve in a bowl. Top with fresh grated parmesan.

I’ve also made this with shrimp instead of ground turkey. It’s ridiculously good either way. Personally, I don’t miss real pasta in this dish at all.

Anyway, this has been my adventure and obsession in food for the past week. Back to liverwurst sandwiches tomorrow.

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Roasted Squash and Caramelized Onion Tarts

It’s not Fall. I’m sitting here pretending it is, but it’s not. It’s too hot to roast vegetables. It’s too hot to stand over your stove top caramelizing onions. Especially when your kitchen is a narrow little thing in your un-air conditioned, one bedroom Lincoln Park apartment.

But here I am sipping my hot Pumpkin Spice Latte (joke’s on me – I hate pumpkin), dreaming of hay rides, pumpkin patches, baking apple pie and – yes – roasting the buttercup squash I got in this week’s CSA and caramelizing my onions.

But it’s okay. It all comes together in this amazing Fall-inspired tart. I think it was worth it. And maybe by the time anyone else makes this, it will actually be appropriately cold enough to be doing so.

This pairs well with a tomato jam, sauteed spinach, cheap white wine and Christmas music. (WHOA – that escalated quickly. My bad. Apparently we’re just doing all the seasons way too early this year. Also, I don’t celebrate Christmas.)

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Roasted Squash and Caramelized Onion Tarts

Makes 4-6 tarts

Crust (from Joy the Baker – minus the sunflower seeds):
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup olive oil

Filling (Adapted from Joy the Baker and Epicurious):
2 medium onions
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp sugar
1 small squash
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup parmesan
1/2-1 tsp fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, etc.)
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

First, to make the crust, in a medium bowl combine flour, salt, seeds, and black pepper.  In a small bowl whisk together egg, egg white, water, and olive oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir together with a fork.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until the dough comes together in a disk. If necessary, add a sprinkle of water or flour to reach desired consistency. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Slice into 1/2 to 1 inch thick circles and place on a baking sheet. Smash garlic and put on sheet as well. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and roast for 25 minutes.

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While squash is roasting, chop onion into 1/4 inch semicircles. Melt butter in wide pan over medium heat, add onions and toss to coat. Keep at medium heat for 10 minutes, and if your onions are sticking or drying out, reduce to medium-low. Sprinkle with sugar. Let cook for 30 minutes to an hour, stirring every few minutes (not so frequently that they aren’t browning). Add some water to the pan if they appear to be drying out. Once well caramelized, remove from pan to a small bowl and set aside.

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When squash and garlic are done roasting, remove from oven and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, scoop squash away from rinds into a large bowl, with the garlic. Mash roughly with a fork until garlic is well combined. Add caramelized onions, parmesan cheese, herbs, salt and pepper and mix with a fork. Set aside.

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Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out into a disk about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into either four equal sized squares, about 6×6 inches.

Lay pastries out on a clean work surface and add 1/3 cup of filling to center of each. Top with a sprinkle of goat cheese. Lightly brush the edges around the filling with egg wash and bring two opposite corners of the dough together into the center and pinch together. Lift the two remaining corners up to the center and pinch together to seal. You should have a square tart with an X on top. Carefully lift and place on lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough squares.

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Brush the tops of each tart with egg wash and bake at 375 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes or until the tarts are golden brown/bubbly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving warm. Tarts can also be reheated in a warm oven covered with foil.

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Don’t share. Just kidding. Kind of.