Between recent photo shoots, filming sessions, seasonal decorating, and plain old impulse (produce) buying going on in my world the past few weeks, I have ended up with quite a few varieties of squash on my kitchen counter. Rewind to about 6 years ago, and I’d be like, what do you do with all this stuff? Nowadays, I’ve read enough of the internet, own enough cookbooks, and learned a lot about culinary nutrition to give me enough street cred and feel confident in the kitchen. I’d like to pass a little of that confidence to you!
The other night, I wanted spaghetti and meat sauce, but we didn’t have noodles, and I was too lazy to go to the store. Enter, spaghetti squash. This yellow, hunk-of-love is a favorite of “the Paleo people” and low carb lovers of the world because you can eat a ton of it for very few calories. That’s cool and all, but I like it more because it’s also high in fiber, low in fat, and a great source of Vitamin A and C. It also has a mild/bland flavor that easily lends itself to a variety of seasonings.
1 cup (155 gm) squash = 42 calories, 0 g fat, 10 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 1 g protein.
Does it really taste like spaghetti? Yes and no. Once cooked, the flesh will separate into long strands that look a lot like spaghetti. When topped with marinara sauce and sprinkled with parmesan cheese, it looks and tastes like it even more! So get ready, we’re making spaghetti squash and meat sauce. You could use ground turkey if you like, but I’m a fan of beef. Mo’ Iron, Less Problems!
FYI, you’ll be doing some massaging. Also, the squash was feeling a bit tense.
sharp, chef’s knife
roasting pan or baking dish
1 medium spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
salt and pepper, pinch
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 tsp oregano
2-3 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on your spice tolerance)
1, 24 oz. bottle favorite marinara sauce
- Before you go all samurai, pop the whole squash in the microwave for 3-4 minutes to soften the skin. This makes it a bit easier to cut into.
- Line a baking dish with aluminum foil, and set the oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Place both halves flesh side up on the lined baking sheet.
- Drizzle half of the oil on one-half squash, and the remaining oil on the other half squash. So many halves. Massage in well.
- Spoon a 1 tsp of minced garlic over each half. Massage again.
- Sprinkle each half with a pinch of salt and pepper
- Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes.
While the squash bakes…
- Brown 1 lb. ground beef over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Drain any excess fat from the meat.
- Pour 1, 24 oz. bottle of your favorite marinara sauce (mine is Newman’s Own Mushroom Marinara) over top.
- Stir in oregano and red pepper flakes.
- Simmer for 5 minutes over medium-low heat.
When the squash is done, pull it out of the oven, and grab a fork…
- Using a fork and an oven mitt, start to scrape out the squash on each half. Gently pull the squash flesh from the peel, and it will start to separate into strands.
- Keep the flesh inside its little squash boat. We’re gonna bake it again!
- Top each squash half with mozzarella cheese. Set the oven to broil.
- Broil the squash for 4-5 minutes or until cheese starts to brown
Serve it up!
I like to make pasta as well as the squash, but since we didn’t have any, I made some sourdough toast, and a salad. It was the perfect, cozy dinner for two.