This version of the casserole challenge (which I know is quite overdue) is something that I have dubbed “Stuffed Turkey Casserole.” I have to say. IT WAS GOOD!!! Truly this casserole was a miracle in my opinion. I know I have used the term “miracle” before, but this time I mean it in a different way.
I had spent a long day at work, and as my day passed and I ate the things from my lunch bag that Todd had lovingly put together for me, I noticed a very unusual happening. I was eating, BUT I WAS NOT GETTING FULL!!! I mean, really, has anyone EVER known this to happen to them? By the early afternoon, I had to put my nightly wine and bedtime snack into my app so that I could see if I could survive my day without going over my calorie allotment. I was quite surprised to find that I was only going to have about 500 calories to cover my dinner that evening. Well, colour me “hangry.” I think it must have been noticeable because some of my co-workers began to ask what was wrong with me. I quickly made motions for them to step away as I was trying very hard not to rip off one of their limbs as a snack to quell my appetite!!
Somewhere in the middle of this pending doom, I sent a quick text to Todd and informed him that he needed to find a very filling way to feed me dinner that had to remain under 500 calories. I was expecting to see some silly faced emoticon in response from him, and then some “smartass” remark about “not planning my day well.” But no, he surprised me and simply said, not a problem, I’ve been working on another version of the spaghetti squash casserole. I should be able to do that without to much trouble.
So, I plunged back into my afternoon, with a small amount of hope that I might actually survive my day without loosing my temper with a co-worker, thinking about what Todd might dream up. Truthfully I was not expecting the best results. I was sure there would be a “low cal” option for dinner, but would it have any flavour? Would it be filling? Would I WANT to eat it?
Well, only time would tell, and as I walked into my house, worn from the day and “hangrier” than I ever knew possible, I was met with an overwhelming aroma of goodness! I followed the secent of herbs on the air to find Todd making this wonderful casserole with spaghetti squash, sous vide turkey breast (another post coming), whole grain bread, celery and the usual seasonings you associate with turkey stuffing (or “dressing” as us Newfies would call it). I did give Todd a hand with some of the “assembly” (I mean someone had to scrape the squash from it’s outter shell right?) Before long we had “tucked in” and I was on a race to find the bottom of my dish!!
What can I say about this dish? Flavourfull without being too “spicy.” Filling, but not too heavy or greasy. Easy, but not just simply assesmbly of prepackaged items. Low calorie but not “diet.” That’s my opinion anyway. The spaghetti squash provided body, like a vegetable side to a meal. The turkey was cooked but still moist, the seasonings were comforting and the whole grain bread helped with the texture and made the dish more “filling.” All in all, I found this dish to be right on the mark for the 338 calories!!!
As promised, here is the specific recipe for the casserole with the nutritional information below…..
- 454g turkey breast cooked and diced
- 900g spaghetti squash
- 125g onion
- 100g celery (whole stalk or sticks)
- 4 whole (unpeeled) cloves garlic
- 4 slice’s of Dave’s Killer 21 Grain Bread (found this stuff at Costco and it’s AWESOME! You can keep it in your freezer for an extended period, since at Costco you’ll be buying it in bulk!!)
- 150 ml chicken broth
- 2 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
- 1/2 tsp white (or black) ground pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp chopped chives
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Halve squash, remove seeds and strings then season lightly with salt and pepper. Wrap in tin foil and set aside.
- Take the whole garlic cloves (not peeled) the onion (whole, not peeled) and the celery, wrap each separately in foil.
- Place squash, onion, garlic and celery in the oven. After 20 minutes remove the garlic onion and celery packets.
- after 35-40 minutes check the squash for doneness, it should be fork tender.
- When the squash is done, remove it from the oven (don’t turn it off, you’re going to bake the casserole as soon as you’re done assembling it.)
- Unwrap the squash and allow it to cool, the onion garlic and celery should now bee cool enough to handle. Squeeze the goodness out of those garlic cloves, it should be almost like butter, mash it up good, and set aside.
- Peel and dice the cooked onion. dice the celery, and set aside, Now using a fork, scrape the squash into a bowl, you should have wonderful spaghetti like strands. set aside.
For the anal retentive among us (read: if you are Todd) who want to be assured of accurate calorie counts (or just that they don’t want to see their significant other manage to “magically” get all the turkey in their portion), do the following:
- In a separate bowl dice bread add poultry seasoning and spices with chicken stock and mix thoroughly. (set aside)
- In a separate bowl combine squash, celery, garlic and onion mix well taking care not to mash strands of squash. (set aside).
- Weigh and portion the diced turkey, bread mixture and squash mixture.
- Add the portioned ingredients together into individual casserole dishes, tossing lightly.
- Bake in 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until bread becomes lightly crispy on the top (remember everyone’s oven will vary).
- remove from oven, garnish with 1/4 tsp chopped chives
For the less anal among us (read: if you are Duane):
- Toss all that yummy shit in a big bowl, mix it up (while Todd yells at you to be gentle).
- Dump into a large casserole dish.
- Bake at 400 degrees until bread gets toasty on top or spaghetti squash bits at side of casserole get a little browned (whichever comes first). This should take about 20-25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and be sure to get your serving first to ensure you get the most of your favourite bits. (remember. this is WARFARE!! Don’t be afraid to fight a little dirty!
- Look around your kitchen and realize that you didn’t add the chopped chives…. Sigh loudly, ask Todd to grab them and use this moment to steal a little more of the bread and turkey from his serving of casserole.
Whichever method you use…..ENJOY!!!! (and when you see the nutritional information below you’ll understand that you can enjoy a significant amount of it before you have to stop!!!)
And while I’m sure you’re all getting tired of hearing it…..
Thanks for Reading
(what can I say, I’m Canadian, I gotta be polite right??? :P)