Spaghetti Squash and Turkey Meat Balls in a Cassoulet Pan

My roommate and I are on the Whole 30 diet trying to better our eating habits and she came across a recipe for spaghetti squash and sausage balls. I went to the store and found the sausage balls in the recipe called for beef, which did not fit our requirements, so instead I went with ground turkey and I was pretty happy with the meat. The spaghetti squash on the other hand was not what I wanted. Recipe: Ingredients: 

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound of ground Turkey
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, I used a 14 ounce can. (All the tomatoes sauces I found had extra sugar in there, so I went with organic diced tomatoes)
  • 1/2 jalapeño
  • 4 to 6 cloves of garlic, whole.
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil.
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning (Oregano, Basil, Thyme)

Shopping was a little difficult for this dish, because I had to adhere to the new diet. The most difficult part was getting the right spaghetti squash, because the store had two versions. I went with the one closest to the one in the picture, and hoped for the best. After that, finding the right kind of tomatoes proved to be hard because most cans of tomato sauce had sugar. In stead I went with a can of diced tomatoes, which was a great replacement. Lastly, I was looking for hot pepper relish, but couldn’t find anything that worked. Instead I ended up cutting up half a jalapeño, which added a nice kick. Done with the shopping meant it was time to cook. The set up was easy, until the part of “putting both cut halves of the spaghetti squash in the crockpot.” Cutting the spaghetti squash in half proved hard, and emptying out the seeds took some effort. The real challenge came with trying to figure out how to fit the spaghetti squash into a more cylinder crockpot. The website had said the crockpot should be able to fit 6 quarts, which this one did, but was not a wide on the bottom of the pot. So I had to turn to plan B: Google how to cook a crockpot recipe in the oven. That’s when I found a website that told me how to convert any crockpot dish so it can be made in the oven. So I transferred my tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, olive oil, and jalapeño into the cassoulet pan. (I had to look that up since that a fancy name for a pot roast pan). After putting in the two spaghetti squash halves, I added the ground turkey balls into the sauce around the squash. Then I put the pan into the oven for an one hour and 15 minutes. The cassoulet pan ready to go into the oven. After the meal had completely cooked, I ended up letting the dish cool down for about 30 minutes/continue to cook. I think at this point I made my mistake. Instead of removing everything from the cassoulet pan within 15 minutes, I waited till the spaghetti squash had cooled down enough to handle. I think this lead to the reason why the spaghetti squash was not really spaghetti, but a cooked squash. Also, the spaghetti squash soaked up all of the left over liquid, adding to the mushiness. I have yet to master making spaghetti squash. I’ve decided it’s much harder than anyone described. Not an easy item to cook. The final product. Almost looks like spaghetti and meatballs. Review:  Not my favorite dish because the spaghetti squash did not come out well. Also the dish was pretty bland. In the end, we ate the meatballs, but not a lot of the spaghetti squash. I would not make this dish again. The Nitty Gritty:

  • Total cost: $15.00
  • Total time: 20 minutes prep, 1 hr and 45 minutes cooking. 2 hrs and 5 minutes total
  • Serving size: 6-8 people