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I am a small town girl living the big city life with my superhero hubby and our superhero- in-training son! I love Jesus and junior mints and have a secret addiction to Neil Diamond and Cat Steven's music. I love a good theme party, the smell of pretty stationary, a good book and a glass of ice tea with an orange slice in it. I am fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara, I could save the world.

Monday, June 4, 2012

How's that for using our noodle?

Have you ever tried spaghetti squash?  I admit, until this weekend I had never so much glanced at one in the grocery store let alone eaten it but when I found the following recipe on my new favorite blog, Peas and Thank You I had to try it.

Ingredients (6 servings)
  • 1 large spaghetti squash (approximately 7-8 c. of squash strands)
  • 2 c. marinara sauce
  • 2 t. dried oregano
  • 2 t. dried basil
  • 1/2 c. non-dairy (i.e. Tofutti) or organic cream cheese
  • 1/4 c. nutritional yeast or grated organic Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 c. lightly steamed broccoli florets
  • 1 c. non-dairy (i.e. Daiya) or organic mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • fresh basil for garnish (optional)
  • Do your best not to try to lose a finger while cutting your squash in two lengthwise.
  • I insert the blade an inch or two into the squash and then force the blade away from me while exerting some force. I do this all the way around, up to but not including the stem, and then I essentially “crack” the squash open.
  • Using a large spoon, scoop the seeds and guts from the squash.
  • Brush the cut side of the squash with olive oil and place it face down in a microwave safe dish that has a fitted lid.
  • Microwave for 10-12 minutes, until the squash has softened and you can do this with a fork.
  • For the casserole, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large saucepan, combine marinara sauce, oregano, basil, cream cheese and nutritional yeast or Parmesan. Heat over low to medium heat until cream cheese has melted into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add spaghetti squash and broccoli to the saucepan and toss to coat evenly.
  • Transfer mixture to a large casserole dish (2 qt. or larger) that has been lightly spritzed with olive oil or cooking spray.
  • Top casserole with grated cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
  • To brown the top of the casserole, you can switch the oven over to the broil setting for the last several minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh basil, if desired.
This dinner was easy to prepare and the sauce is killer good y'all.  I used low fat cream cheese and lower fat mozzarella instead of her non-dairy suggestions (hey, a girl can only cut out so much at a time ok?) and used a bag of steamable broccoli florets and microwaved the squash to save time.  I typically cannot get "W" to eat spaghetti so I didn't have high expectations of him eating this meal.  He cleaned his plate...except for the "trees" also known as broccoli (Go figure, the kid will stick any leaf, stick, rock, shoe or bug in his mouth but hide broccoli in a gooey cheese sauce and he will sniff it out a mile away like an old hound dog and flick it off his plate). This casserole had all the richness of an cheesy delicious Italian meal but knowing that my family was scarfing down squash had me grinning from ear to ear.

I paired this meal with the best salad I've probably ever eaten which included another first for me, kale.  The dressing on this was so perfect we were literally licking the bottom of the salad bowl fighting over drops.  I also got this recipe over at Peas and Thank You:

Magic Kale Salad with Pistachios and Apples
Makes 2 servings
  • 1 bunch of dinosaur or lacinato kale
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 t. sesame oil
  • 2 t. Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 t. honey or agave
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1/4 c. pistachio kernels, roasted and salted
Wash and dry kale and remove stems with a sharp knife of by tearing.  Cut or tear leaves into large, bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl.
In a small bowl or shaker bottle, combine lemon juice, oils, mustard, honey or agave and salt.  Whisk or shake until fully combined.
Pour dressing over kale and massage it over and into the leaves of kale for a two or three minutes.  Refrigerate and allow kale to soften for several more minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare apple by peeling and dicing and pistachios by eating them by the handful.
Add diced apples to the kale and toss.  Plate each serving and top with remaining pistachios.

I hope you try these and enjoy them as much as we did! I am adding it to our regular meal rotation of pure yummy!

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