Indian Summer is the only part of summer I can handle- you know that late August morning and night chill. It is a breath of fresh air after two months of immediately sweating like crazy once I’m not in air conditioning. I also like Indian Summer because its that awkward ducking period between my favorite season, Fall.
For me, Indian Summer is the universe’s way of giving me permission to start eating pumpkin things and to wear scarves every day because Fall is coming. Fall has everything girls like: boots, jeans, pumpkin spice lattes, Halloween, cozy oversized sweaters, knitted hats, hot apple cider, cinnamon sticks. There really isn’t anything to not like. You don’t have to worry about sweating to death from the sun’s hell rays or having your skin destroyed by a swarm of mosquitos or, if you are familiar with the nemesis of the Jersey Shore, green head flies. In the Fall, you can wait in the subway and not keel over from the stench of rotting garbage and subway steam. It’s just a really accommodating time of the year.
I’m more than happy to wave Summer goodbye. The perfect meal for this time of year is Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs, it is still light, summery, and conscious of your beach body, but it has that hearty, warm your soul feel without making you sweat to death.
If you’ve never made spaghetti squash before, it will blow your mind. It is just like cooking any other squash, but when it’s done, you let it cool for about ten minutes, take a fork to it, and start to “scratch” it long ways, It will form these long, angel hair pasta-type noodles without all the heavy carbohydrates that leave you sluggish. It does have more of a bite to it than pasta, but the spaghetti squash holds sauces and ingredients just like it’s starchy counterpart.
Spaghetti Squash Ingredients:
1 Spaghetti Squash, equal to 3/4 pound pasta
1 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Turkey Meatball Ingredients
1 1/2- 2 Pounds of ground lean turkey
1 Cup of fresh spinach
1/3 Cup chopped onion
1/2 Cup sodium-free cracker meal, if you can’t find it, any bread crumb type product will be fine.
1/2 Teaspoon ground sage
2 Cloves fresh minced garlic
1 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon pepper
Simple Summer Gravy Ingredients
For all those non-Italians out there, gravy means spaghetti sauce.
4-5 Large tomatoes chopped, about 4 cups
1/2 Cup onion, chopped
2 Cloves minced garlic
2 Tablespoons fresh basil
1/2 Teaspoon salt, more to taste
1/2 Teaspoon ground pepper
For the meatballs: Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Saute onions until they start to sweat. Add in minced garlic and stir for 1-2 minutes. Chop spinach into small strips. Turn off the heat and add in spinach. The heat will wilt the spinach. Once wilted, let cool to 15 minutes. In a large bowl, add ground turkey, spinach and onion mixture, cracker meal, egg, sage, salt, pepper. Use you hands to incorporate ingredients. If it is too sticky, add more cracker meal. Do not over mix. Form into meatballs. Place on a greased baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees fahrenheit.
For the Spaghetti Squash: Cut the squash in half long ways and take out its guts (seeds, etc). Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45-60 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. I put the meatballs and the squash on the same pan for easy clean up.
For the Summer Gravy: Chop onions and cook on medium-low heat in a medium sized, greased saute pan until it begins to sweat. Then add in the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Chop 4-5 tomatoes and add this to the pan. Stir occasionally. After ten minutes add basil, salt, and pepper. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 40 minutes until it is reduced.
When the meatballs are done, add them to the gravy to keep them moist while the squash finishes cooking. Once the squash is finished cooking, let rest for 10-15 minutes. Then, using a fork, run the fork down the squash long ways until all the little noodles come out. Keep running the fork through until you hit the Squash’s skin. Then, remove the meatballs from the gravy and add the spaghetti squash into the gravy pan and cook for another 3-5 minutes so it soaks up all the gravy flavor. Then serve the squash with meatballs and fresh basil!