FIT-sghetti + Meatballs (Spaghetti Squash and Turkey-Apple Meatballs with Brown Butter Sauce)

 On top of basghettiiiiiii, all covered with cheeeeeese, there lay my poor meatbaaaall, till somebody… Um, hello, ate it up because it was delicious! 

These meatballs will not be wasted by sneezing on them and subsequently allowing them to roll out the door and get smashed by grandma’s horse-and-buggy, or whatever it is happens to runaway meatballs.

No, these meatballs are going to stay happily near their spaghetti, keeping the most dynamic of childhood-dinner duos firmly together.  And the spaghetti and meatballs that lay under the perfect sauce together, stay together.  Of course, it follows that those that stay together, grow up together, too. 

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The pair we have always known and loved has grown up and knows how to dress like it.  At least on occasion.  (Hey, I’m not saying they’ve forever abandoned tomato sauce… that would be ridiculous!)

Their current ensemble is heavily fall-inspired.  I’m not really sure why, as fall has yet to show its face around these parts.  Still, we can bring fall into our kitchens with flavor and scents, as a promise of the nascent season.

This ménage-a-fall consists of squash, brown butter, and turkey laden with apples and kale.  Each one by itself is like a puzzle piece, which, when put together, makes a perfect picture.  I mean, like, a picture for your mouth.  

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Er…  I guess what I’m going for is, it tastes REALLY good when it’s all combined!  And yes, there is butter and whole milk in the sauce (you can use your own go-to substitutions, if you like) but personally, I think it’s worth the little splurge.  A small serving size goes a long way, the turkey meatballs and spaghetti is now uber-healthified, and the meatballs… they just love the sweet-and-savory sauce.  They love it so much that they  won’t go rolling away now!

I don’t mean to brag, and actually, I can’t since I was just hoping it would be good… but I think it turned out pretty bomb-diggity.  It’s what the kids are saying these days.

Spaghetti Squash + Brown Butter Sauce

1 medium spaghetti squash

½ c. sweet cream unsalted butter

¼ c. light brown sugar

1 c. whole milk

Freshly ground pepper, salt, and a pinch of nutmeg (to taste)

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Squash will take about 2 hours start to finish to have ready for dinner (provided you’d rather not burn yourself) so set aside extra time before dinner or have ready ahead.

Bake spaghetti squash (poked with a few holes through the middle to vent steam) whole in the oven at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Roll the squash to its other side and bake about 20-30 minutes more.  Remove from the oven to cool, about 15 minutes, before cutting horizontally through the middle.  It will probably still be hot, but when it is cool enough to handle, usually around 30 minutes or so, scoop out the seeds from the inside and discard, and then carefully scoop the “spaghetti” strands from the squash.  The whole squash looks like a bowl of spaghetti – if you have cooked the squash for the right amount of time and carefully remove the strands, you’ll have something that looks and almost feels like spaghetti!  The taste will be plain enough (not a strong vegetable taste) to make a great sub for pasta with any sauce.

Set the bowl of squash aside and put a large sauté pan on the stove over medium heat.  Put the butter in and allow to melt all the way down and slowly bubble and brown, adjusting the heat if necessary.  When the butter is a golden brown and bubbles are coming more slowly, you’re ready to add the brown sugar, milk, pepper, salt, and nutmeg.  Stir to dissolve the sugar and combine, and taste to check the flavor.  Heat through, but don’t overcook.  Serve 3-4 T. per plate over the hot “spaghetti” with meatballs!

Turkey-Apple Meatballs (gluten-free)

1 lb. or so ground extra lean turkey - I say extra-lean, not lean, because it stays really moist in the oven, as opposed to the grill, and doesn't need the extra fat.  Beside, when I used plain lean turkey, the extra fat pooled at the bottom and diluted the meatball's flavor.

1 mini green apple, peeled and grated

About 2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary

2 large handfuls kale, chopped finely

¼ large yellow onion, chopped finely

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large egg

1 oz. gluten-free oat flour or rolled oats, food processor-ed into flour

About ½ tsp. each garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper

Olive oil cooking spray 

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 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, folding everything together until well combined.  Scoop out even meatball portions, about 1.5” in diameter, and place on a baking sheet greased with olive oil.  Give each meatball about 2” of space so they don’t end up steaming each other.

Bake the meatballs about 15-17 minutes in the oven, or until one in the center is completely cooked through.  Best served hot from the oven with spaghetti squash and brown butter sauce!