S’ghetti Squash Bake

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I eat a lot of squash. I’m no paleo fanatic, but I can’t get over how much I love these sweet noodles. So tasty!SAM_5825

So I’ve had my eye on some spaghetti squash bakes for a while. I finally decided to try this one. A lot of them are overloaded with cheeses–which you know will make me so sick–but this one is fresh and zesty. Plus, a sprinkle of parm on top gives it a nice cheesy taste that won’t upset the lactose intolerant.

Interestingly… When I went to make these, I thought it would be cute to place them in a ramekin. (You know, to be more single-serving like.) Imagine my surprise when all the noodles could fit into 3! What does this tell me?

First, these would make adorable sides.

Second, I eat a lot of squash noodles on a regular basis. I usually eat an entire one–a small one, but an entire one no less. And maybe that’s another reason why I like them so much. You get a lot of food that will fuel your body in a healthy way. That’s pretty great.SAM_5844

And pretty tasty.

Ingredients

1 small or half of one medium spaghetti squash

1 small roma tomato or a handful of grape tomatoes

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2 T onion, chopped & to taste

1 T parmesan

chopped basil

dash of cayenne

1 T olive oil

spritz of lemon
DirectionsSAM_5848
-To “bake” the squash in the microwave, you’ll want to halve the squash and spritz with cooking spray. Microwave on high for 3 minutes facing down. Turn squashes upward and microwave another 3 minutes. You may need to microwave for another minute if you can’t take a fork to the squash and pull out a few tender noodles with ease. Scrape out all the noodles into a medium bowl and set aside.SAM_5835
-Meanwhile, prep ramekins by spraying with cooking spray and setting broilers on high.
-Meanwhile and meanwhile, you can start sautéing onions and tomatoes in a small frying pan with cayenne, to taste.
-Now once your squash is finished and your veggies sautéed, mix both together in one large bowl. Now spritz with lemon and toss in oil and basil.
-Dish out the squash mix evenly into ramekins. Top with a little Parmesan, if desired.
-Broil until desired crispiness is achieved. I waited about 4 minutes, once the Parmesan crumbs had melted down a bit.
-Serve right out of the oven, nice and warm.
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Roasted Corn & Black Bean Soup

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If you know me, you know Happy Fit Mama is one of my favorite bloggers. A successful young mom running her way to happiness and writing about it. What’s not to love.SAM_5001
Oh, and on Wednesdays, she shares her healthy little recipes. Oftentimes, they sound delicious, but I never get around to trying them.
But you know how much I love soup, especially soup I can freeze in mason jars and grab any time I need a quick lunch to take to work.
So I tried her Roasted Corn & Black Bean Soup one Saturday sometime back. It was delicious. The recipe, which serves about six, follows…SAM_4991
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Red Onion, Minced
  • 1 Red, Yellow Or Orange Pepper (or combination), diced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 14.5 Oz Vegetable Broth
  • 15 Oz Can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 Oz Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Trader Joe’s Roasted Corn
  • SAM_49971/2 Cup Zucchini, diced (optional)
  • Additional optional toppings: avocado, shredded cheese, plain greek yogurt, cilantro
Instructions
  1. Place 1 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add red onion and pepper. Cook till softened.
  3. Add garlic, cumin and chili powder and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, corn and zucchini (if using).
  5. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook 15 minutes.
  6. Serve with toppings, such as diced avocado, shredded cheese, yogurt or sour cream and cilantro.

Butternut Squash Fries

Butternut squash is a “winter squash,” i.e. one that’s harvested most in early fall to winter.

So as cold weather approaches, I’m trying out new winter squash recipes like there won’t be another winter coming. Remember my butternut squash mac-n-cheese? Too tasty for words!

Now I’m trying butternut squash–French-fry style. And the recipe is so easy, it’s practically foolproof.

Makes one generous serving of fries.

Ingredients

-about 1 1/2 cups butternut squash

-cooking oil or spray

-seasonings of choice (I used a little onion salt)

Directions

-Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside.

-Slice squash into fry-like strips. Toss in 1 t or less oil, or lightly coat with cooking spray. Lay on sheet and sprinkle lightly with seasonings.

-Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove sheet and flip fries, so the sides bake evenly. Bake another 20 minutes or so. Once the fries start to brown, remove from oven. If you like a crispier fry, broil for 3-4 additional minutes.

Serve warm with some tasty ketchup (my favorite comes from Trader Joe’s!).

Roasted Acorn Squash

 

If you buy a squash and use half of it, what do you do with the rest?

Look up another recipe?

Double the recipe to make more of it?

Throw it away? (I hope not!)

What I’ve learned is that my single-serving recipes aren’t enough to support the use of an entire squash–oftentimes not even half. And squash doesn’t reheat particularly well.

But what I’ve also learned is that you can roast (basically oven bake) just about any quash and it will be delicious.

Cut in thin slices and pair with a great dip for a twist on fries.

Or chop into bigger chunks and roast for the perfect addition to any soup or broiled meat.

For my leftover acorn squash this time, I simply sliced it into thin strips and dipped in my all-time favorite condiment: Trader Joe’s Organic Ketchup. Yum!

Ingredients

-Almost any squash you can think of

-favorite oil or cooking spray to coat the squash (lightly)

-favorite seasonings

Directions

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees for thinly-sliced squash or 425 for thickly-sliced squash. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside.

-Again, slice or chop your squash as you like. Cover very lightly with oil or cooking spray, and then toss in seasonings of your choice.

-Spread on cookie sheet, making sure know pieces are overlapping, if possible. Bake for about 15-20 minutes on each side. Serve warm.

Barley-Stuffed Acorn Squash

When my mother mistakenly bought an acorn squash instead of a butternut squash, I saw an opportunity.

Although I had never heard of acorn squash before, and there aren’t an overwhelming number of recipes featuring this winter squash, I did find one that sounded intriguing. Barlety-stuffed acorn squash cups. It sounded intriguing.

The final result? Pretty good. I have to admit that the squash itself tastes a little plain, but the second time I tried this recipe I coated the pre-baked squash pulp with a little sea salt and chili-flavored olive oil, and added crushed garlic to the barley.

Much better.

And a fairly easy recipe for a cold day in late fall.

Ingredients

-1/2 acorn squash, pulp scraped out of center

-sea salt

-olive oil (flavored or regular)

-1/4 cup uncooked barley

-2 T chopped veggies of your choice (carrots, tomatoes, peas, etc.)

-1 t crushed garlic

-1 t vegan butter

-parsley and pepper to taste

Directions

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take the squash and coat with salt, oil, and other seasonings you like. Place the pulp side down on a cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes.

-Meanwhile, boil the barley ’til soft. Drain.

-In the same pot, spray a little cooking oil and start sauteeing the veggies you chose. Mix in garlic and butter. Then mix in drained barley ’til evenly mixed and most of liquids are absorbed.

-Stuff the squash with the barley mix and bake for another 5 minutes or so.

Serve warm (right out of the oven), and enjoy!

Butternut Squash Mac-n-Cheese

I have a hard time believing anyone who says they don’t like squash.

“Seriously?”

“Have you ever tried it?”

Squashes of all sorts can enhance any dish. The flavors are agreeable, and the texture can vary significantly, depending on how you prepare it.

But most importantly, squashes are packed with nutritional benefits. Take butternut squash, for example. Whole Living calls it a “power food” because it’s packed with fiber, phytonutrients to fight off cancer, and carotenoids that help prevent heart disease.

Sound even yummier? I thought so.

So try this Butternut Squash Mac-n-Cheese, adapted for one from O Mag’s recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry whole-wheat elbow macaroni
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1 t wheat flour
  • 2 T non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup butternut squash
  • 3 T shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
  • pinch or so of salt, paprika, and pepper

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the macaroni and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain in a colander.

While the macaroni is cooking, coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the oil, then the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture resembles a thick paste but has not browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the milk and cook, stirring every now and then, until the mixture begins to thicken, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the squash puree, Cheddar, and seasonings and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the macaroni and serve warm.

I’ve seen similar recipes with interesting mix-ins: apple-smoked turkey bacon, crisped apples, and so on. Although I loved this one with squash only, some protein or meat mix-ins would make for an even more flavorful combination.