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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Spaghetti Squash not just for marinara!

Wow!  I am getting so excited being back here and being able to blog again!  I so missed it.  Writing, cooking, baking, and researching are such an outlet for me!  Mom always said I should be a writer. LOL  Now I know that men go right for the recipe, they don't want all the fluff.  Well the fluff is funny, or serious. Anyone can post a recipe, my fluff isn't just about me but can be very useful information. ;0)

So here's my fluff for today!  We were shopping the other day and I saw that they had the spaghetti squash on sale.  Now last time we had it I think the only reason hubby ate it was because I cooked it.  Nice reason but I wanted him to like it!  I want him to skip the carbs sometimes or at the very least lessen them.  So I got the look when I picked one up but figured I would try again and hopefully get a better result.  I just didn't want to do the same old "throw some marinara on it, it's just like spaghetti".  Umm not!  Well you can but I wanted hubby to want to try it again.  So researching options I found a wonderful recipe that I thought I would just have to try.  Prevention's Spaghetti Squash Casserole!  Looked and sound good but I wanted great!  So with my few little changes I made the recipe my own and made it DELICIOUS!  MY health nut brother tried it and said it was " Really Good", talk about compliment.  Now I can't wait for hubby to try it!
A lot of my changes are more to layering flavors.  I LOVE when you carry a flavor throughout the food, especially when doing a casserole or one pot meal.  To me it is very important while others might think that layering of different flavors is better.  This is wear YOUR tastes should be asserted. :0)

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
Sprinkle of Tastefully Simple's Garlic Garlic
Couple grinds of black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400
Coat baking sheet with nonstick spray.
Season squash and place cut side down on the baking sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes or until tender when pierced with a sharp knife or fork.
Let cool until you can handle.
Using a fork, scrape and separate the squash strands into a large bowl.

1/2 lb Lean Ground Chuck
1/4 lb Decased Italian Sausage
In a medium skillet, fry up meat until done.
Strain and set aside in large bowl you will be putting squash into.

Here I used the grease that was created by the meat since there wasn't that much or you can use 
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 medium carrot, peeled cut in half and sliced.
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped  (I didn't have garlic so I used 2 teaspoons of my TS's Garlic Garlic)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup medium diced baby bella mushrooms
2 baby or 1 small pepper of your choice (I used 1 yellow and 1 red baby peppers)
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup (8 ounces) 1% cottage cheese
1/2 cup (4 ounces) shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
3 Tablesppons dried parsley
3 tablespoons seasoned dry bread crumbs (I ground up some cheesy garlic croutons and used those)

While the squash is cooking, warm the oil or use left over grease from meat in a medium skillet set over medium heat. 
Add the carrots and sautee for a few minutes (3 - 4 as they don't have to be totally cooked because it will go back in the oven.)
Add the onion, garlic, and basil. 
Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft. 
Add the tomatoes and cook for and additional 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mixture is dry.
Remove from heat and let cool down.

To the bowl with the squash, add the cottage cheese, mozzarella, parsley, and the onion mixture. 

Stir to mix. Pour into the prepared 13 X 9 baking dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs.  (I used the shell of the squash to bake it in.)

Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and heated through.

It not only tasted delicious but smelled REALLY good while cooking.  It definitely has less carbs and more vegetable in it.  And with the cheese the kids will never know they're not eating real spaghetti.  Please give it a try and let me know what you think.  I'm thinking maybe next time to try a tex-mex version.  Well off to get more squash! ;0)  Try it at home, change what you will but remember the best ingredient to any recipe is you!  Enjoy!!!!!