Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Spaghetti Squash

Where else do you find a great vegetable that gives you so much?  Spaghetti squash not only tastes great, provides a bowl for serving, but when you are finished you put the shell out for your pet goat, Bob, and he loves it!!

OK, I'll admit that not everyone has a pet goat who will help with the clean up.  For those who don't, think of starting a compost pile for the remaining shells.

Both Daughters and I are cutting back on calories and wanting to add more vegetables to our diet.  We still love beef (especially the ones we raise -- home grown, grass fed, organic), so our first trial was substituting spaghetti squash in our favorite spaghetti and meat sauce recipe.

Worked beautifully! Hardest part was splitting the veggie in two.  I had to use my largest chef knife (I have a wonderful son-in-law who provided two for my kitchen) and work pretty hard to split it down the middle. After that, simply clean out the seeds and seed-compartment strings, and cook.

I choose my sister's methodology -- a pan that can hold the squash cut side down, add a cup or so of water and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for between 45-60 minutes, depending on size.  Check for doneness by sticking a sharp knife into the shell.  When it slips through easily, it's ready to remove, cool enough to shred, then decide whether to serve in the shell or not.

Others prefer using a cookie sheet, oiled, then baking cut side down for about the same length of time.

Seasonings will depend on what the plans are for serving.  Frankly, it's a great dish with a touch of butter, salt and pepper.  We simply returned the shreds to the shell and loaded with a serving spoon of meat sauce.  There are dozens of recipes available --  I just found it simpler to start with one I knew what taste to expect.

Oh, did I mention the seeds are good, too?  Just like roasted pumpkin seeds.  Wash them, dry them, then roast them with a bit of oil and seasonings on parchment covered cookie sheet.  Use about 275 degrees for about 20 minutes (shorter time if the seeds start to pop.) Use your favorite flavors -- salt, flavored salt, garlic, a bit of chili, pepper -- the taste is up to you.

If you're laughing at me because you knew all of this before (except for Bob, of course) power to you!!  You know how good it is.  If you haven't tried spaghetti squash -- I hope this will help you put it on your regular grocery list.

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