**I apologize to subscribers for the weird “password protected” post that came to your inbox or feed early this morning! It was me just being a spaz, but I’ve got this “top secret” recipe now set to public visibility instead of password protected. Sorry to disappoint if you thought my zucchini spaghetti recipe must contain codes to reveal a huge conspiracy theory, but I hope you’ll find the delicious recipe is quite enough to get excited about in and of itself. :) **
Have you been wondering what ever happened to the weight loss contract and the 17 Day Diet? Join the club–I’m wondering too! :D We did save a good amount of money with the contract, though we only actually stuck to the agreements made in it for like a week. And we ended up with a bunch of emergencies (car stuff, etc.) that most of the money went toward. We did much better with the 17 Day Diet and stuck with it for over a month, but soon after got to the third 17-day cycle, which allows for a wider range of foods, we cheated our way into widening the range to all foods, and in great abundance. Soooo, I think I lost 15 pounds and gained most of it back. Story of my adult life. I pretty much diet half the year so I can eat like a pig the other half. It kind of works for me.
Anyway, this “spaghetti” was the romantic Valentine’s Day dinner I made while we were on the first cycle of the 17 Day Diet, which allows for no starches except for fruit. The lean meats allowed are minimal as well (turkey, chicken, and fish) and I was challenged to come up with a 17 Day Diet-friendly recipe that would be really delicious and impressive. Debbi posted her version of Kalyn’s zucchini spaghetti and I knew I had a winner. And wow, I was right! This was the most delicious thing we ate during the entire diet, and I would even say it’s one of the most delicious meals I’ve eaten in my entire life. The sauce is just spectacular (it would be great on real spaghetti, too) and the zucchini is perfect here. I always have thought zucchini was a vegetable best suited to Italian seasonings and this recipe further proves it. I can’t even tell you how much I love this dish!
A funny thing about the “spaghetti” strands. The only julienne slicer I could find was this one, which also has three other cutting blades. For some reason, I didn’t look at the owners manual and thought that the crinkle cutter was the julienne blade. I was so frustrated with the slicer, thinking that it was just a poor product, because every time I “julienned” a zucchini, I had to go back and cut the strands apart because the stupid julienning blade was just cutting crinkle-cut slabs. DUH! Seriously, I didn’t figure out my mistake until just this week when I finally opened the owners manual and saw that there was another blade that I had missed. The one for julienning veggies. DOY.
If you don’t have a julienne cutter, The Pampered Chef has a julienne peeler for $10.50 that I’d recommend–it won’t take up a lot of space and does a fabulous job of julienning your veggies. I got one and gave the other cutter to Goodwill because, well, you guys know I don’t even have room for my cake pans in this house, so I’m not about to give up good space for a bulky cutting tool when I could just use Pampered Chef’s fabulous peeler! Thanks, Tracy (my Pampered Chef consultant)!
3 links low-fat turkey Italian sausage, hot or mild
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 large cloves of garlic, minced + 4 more to season the oil
pinch hot pepper flakes (optional)
1 (14.5 oz.) can roasted diced tomatoes with juice
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
2 medium sized zucchini (9-10 inches long)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (for seasoning zucchini)
freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving, if desired
Heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy frying pan, then add turkey sausage, squeezed out of the links, and use a spatula to break the sausage apart and cook until it’s lightly browned, about 5 minutes. When the sausage is browned, add 3 cloves of minced garlic, and hot pepper flakes, if using. Stir together and let cook with the sausage about a minute, then add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, fennel, basil, and oregano. Turn heat down to low and let the sauce simmer while you prep the zucchini.
Use a julienne cutter to cut the zucchini into long spaghetti-like strands. (Cut off the ends, wash and dry the zucchini, and then cut into julienne strands. You can also do this with a knife if you’re patient.)
Heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat in a very large frying pan, add 3 whole garlic cloves and sauté until you can start to smell garlic, then remove garlic to another dish (you can discard it, but fried garlic cloves are delicious and you can add them to salad or even eat them straight!) Immediately add the zucchini strands to the hot pan and cook stirring a few times just until the zucchini is heated through, about 2 minutes. Season the cooked zucchini with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Divide between 2-4 plates, then ladle sauce over the top. Serve hot, with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired.