lunchbox life: baked spaghetti (squash) with turkey sausage and roasted broccoli

image1(4)Here it is–the last lunchbox life of 2014! I am so glad to begin the last school week of the year, and I’m proud to present this tasty treat to you.

Like baked spaghetti? Take out the pasta, sub in roasted spaghetti squash, hello deliciousness.

Here’s the deal: baked spaghetti and baked ziti are great because of the cheese and sausage (no? just me? ok.). In the recipe, I’ve used spicy turkey sausage, full fat mozzarella cheese (because it’s the best), a light tomato sauce, and roasted broccoli. By roasting the broccoli first, you remove some of the water content and create texture on the vegetable.

This is such an easy dish to prepare. Roast the spaghetti squash, squeeze out the excess water, then mix in some cheese, turkey sausage, roasted broccoli, pasta sauce, pour into a baking dish, top with more cheese, and bake until it’s bubbling and brown. The best part? You can feel free to eat a larger portion if you like because spaghetti squash is very low in calories unlike pasta. It’s a win-win.

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Sausage and Roasted Broccoli

Serves 6-10

2 spaghetti squash

2 broccoli crowns, torn into bite-size pieces

1 lb. hot or sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed

1 jar (approx. 2 cups) of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I used Organic Bien Good)

1 lb. mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4-inch slices and cut into quarters, separated in half

1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

Heat the oven the 400 F. Slice the spaghetti squash lengthwise, then remove the seeds and place cut side up on a cookie sheet. Drizzle each half with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Roast for about 45 minutes.

Next, toss the cut up broccoli with 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil and spread in a single layer on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Place it in the same oven and roast for about 15 minutes, taking it out while the spaghetti squash continues to roast.

Cook the turkey sausage in a pan over medium high heat by breaking up the sausage after the casings have been remove. Do not overcook; the sausage will continue to cook while baking in the casserole.

When the spaghetti squash is done, take it out of the oven to let it cool. Turn the oven temperature down to 375 F. Using a fork, scrape out the squash strands into a colander. When all of the squash has been removed, cover with a clean dish towel and apply pressure to the top to remove excess water. Place the squash in a large mixing bowl along with the broccoli, sausage, half of the cheese, sauce, red pepper flakes, and the remaining salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray, then evenly distribute the mixture in the dish, smoothing over the top with a spoon. Evenly distribute the remaining cheese over the top, then top the whole dish with the parmesan cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the dish begins to bubble and slightly brown on the top. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then cut into squares like you’d serve lasagna.

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