Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dinner Possible - Turkey Stuffed Shells and Zucchini "Spaghetti"

Are you, like the rest of the world, determined to lose weight in 2010?  It’s certainly one of the #1 resolutions.  Between that, more exercise, more patience, more more more and quitting smoking (thank goodness I did that one, although I did it in October, but hey, everyday is the first day of your life, so it’s never to late, or too early to quit), January 1st always is that magic time we put the pressure on ourselves to perfect us.  I don’t make  resolutions on the first; generally we don’t keep them and then we feel bad about failing ourselves, and as I said, EVERYDAY is a new day in the new year of your life.  If I were to really pick a date, I guess I would choose my birthday, that’s really the beginning of my new year.
But no matter if you want to lose weight, or just want something easy and delicious to eat for dinner, this dinner meets that criteria.  The menu, with a glass of wine is only 575 calories (subtract 100 calories for a 5 ounce glass of wine if you don’t have it, although I will :-) )
with only 15 grams of fat (only 4g saturated).

Turkey Stuffed Jumbo Shells

  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey (not to exceed 7% fat)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, (optional)
  • 18 cooked jumbo pasta shells*
  • 1 (28-ounce) jar Marinara Sauce, or homemade (look for the basic marinara sauce on this site)

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large skillet or saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the turkey and saute, using a spoon to break it up into small pieces. Cook until the turkey looses its pink color, then add the onion and carrot. Continue to cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 – 7 minutes.
  3. Combine the flour, oregano, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the turkey mixture and stir to incorporate it well. Stir in the wine; cook until thickened. Simmer over low heat for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese and the ricotta cheese. Stir until blended. Let the mixture cool.
  4. When cool enough to handle, stuff each shell with approximately 2 heaping tablespoons of the turkey mixture. Pour 1 cup of the marinara sauce into the bottom of a baking dish, spreading it evenly. Arrange the shells over the sauce; spoon the remaining sauce over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until hot. Remove the cover and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Continue to bake 5 minutes longer.
  5. LindySez: when cooking jumbo pasta shells, cook more then specified in the recipe to all for breakage. You want to use as whole a shell as possible.

Zucchini “Spaghetti”

  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed

  1. Cut the ends from each of the zucchini. Using a mandolin, set to the smallest julienne, julienne the zucchini using long strokes until you have squash strands that resemble “spaghetti”. (Use only the outside, discard the seedy part). Heat the oil and butter in a saute pan, add the zucchini spaghetti, salt, pepper and dill weed. Quickly saute the zucchini until crisp tender (it will cook fast, in less then 5 minutes). Taste and adjust the seasonings; serve twirled onto the plate.
  2. Variation: Omit the dill, add some thyme and grated Parmesan.
  3. LindySez: If you don’t have a mandolin, you can julienne the squash with a good sharp knife, or you can make the dish with thinly sliced zucchini – it’ll still taste good, it just won’t present as well.

LindySez: There you go.  An easy tasty dinner that I think the whole family will love.  I know my family does.

Happy New Year everyone!

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