Leah loves cooking and enjoys finding methods on how to spruce up traditional recipes.
Fresh, Healthy Vegetables
As the weather gets colder, something in me just cries out for a warm, hearty meal. I find myself eating a lot more soups and stews in winter time, but my vegetable intake has definitely been down lately. And it seems like eating a balanced diet with plenty of healthy vegetables is more important than ever.
Since I wanted to incorporate more vegetables into my dinner tonight, I decided to make a dinner that could handle a good amount of vegetables. After taking out some ground turkey to defrost, I decided to peek in the refrigerator and see what I had on hand to incorporate into the dinner. There was some zucchini and a ton of spinach that needed to be used, so I figured it was the perfect time to create a pasta dish full of vegetables. That way, I could ensure a base of tomatoes, and add in a leafy green vegetable and a different type of green vegetable to be sure that I was getting a variety of vegetables and minerals.
While I love pasta, my least favorite part of cooking in general is having to do the dishes. But I had tried my hand at a one pot pasta dish in the past, where instead of having to cook the pasta separately, it's cooked right in the same pot as the rest of the ingredients. And I actually ended up liking it better. Why? Not only did it make it easier to clean up, but the sauce stuck to the pasta better. It made a thicker sauce and everything came out way tastier than cooking it separately. So I decided to give it another try with my own recipe and it came out wonderfully! Plus, the cleanup time was cut in half since I didn't have to wash an extra pot and colander.
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|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground turkey, lean
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or chopped
- 1/2 teasponn salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 zucchini, diced
- 24 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon basil, fresh or dried
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 8 ounces spaghetti noodles, broken in half
- 2 cups spinach, fresh
- Put a large (5-7 quart) pot on the stove over medium-low heat. Add olive oil to the pot.
- Once the pot is heated, add the turkey, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir the turkey, breaking it up as it cooks. It should take about 8-10 minutes until it is fully cooked (brown all the way through).
- Add the diced zucchini to the pot, stirring everything together. After another 2 minutes or so, add the tomato sauce, chicken broth, Italian seasoning, parsley, and basil, and stir everything together to fully incorporate it.
- Break the spaghetti in half and place it in the pot. Don't clump it all in one spot; make sure it is spread out evenly across the pot. Gently push the spaghetti under the surface of the liquid without stirring it yet.
- Once the contents of the pot are boiling, cover it and lower the heat to keep it simmering. Cook it this way for about 15 minutes, stirring it every few minutes to prevent the pasta from clumping together.
- Once the pasta is tender, turn off the heat and add the spinach to the pot. Put the cover back on and let it sit for another 3 minutes. Then it will be ready to serve.
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As always, I like to include some modifications that you can make to this recipe.
- Veggies: You could add different vegetables to this recipe. If you want to add onions, sauté them with the garlic and meat. You could also include mushrooms, bell peppers, diced tomatoes, or any other vegetables you might like.
- Herbs: Feel free to add whatever kind of fresh or dried herbs you might like to spice this up. Crushed red pepper flakes would be a great way to give this recipe a little kick.
- Substitutions: Ground beef could absolutely work with this recipe, although the additional fat would have to be drained. If you don't eat meat, skip the turkey and use lentils or your favorite plant-based substitute.
- Garnishes: Adding some cheese, such as parmesan, would be a great topping for this. Get creative and try whatever you like on your pasta.
- Side dishes: I'm a huge fan of vegetables, so including some roast broccoli or a side salad would be a great pairing for this. If you're a lover of carbs, garlic bread is always a fitting side dish for pasta.
© 2022 Leah