Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Savory Spaghetti Squash

This is the recipe that did the impossible: it appealed to the entire family.

Even the family members who dislike squash (Baby E), absolutely detest every kind of squash in any form, including zucchini (DH), and have been declaring every meal including old favorites "yucky" all week (M&M) liked it well enough to ask for seconds and thirds and request that I make it again soon.

It's by far the best spaghetti squash recipe we've ever tried.

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I'd counted on the batch making two meals, assuming several of the family wouldn't eat much of it. Even with lots of sides like veggies and salad, one half really wasn't enough for our family of five for one meal.

However, today at lunch I decided to thaw out and heat up the other half of it for lunch. Storage and microwaving intensified the flavors significantly (making it more spicy) and made the texture less appealing, so nobody liked it nearly as well today. Next time, I'll just serve the whole batch immediately after making it. If I am making it to freeze, I'll put in less garlic and sausage than I did this time and reheat in the oven instead of the microwave next time.

Savory Spaghetti Squash
from Casseroles: Meals in Minutes by Sue Gregg (Eating Better Cookbooks)

Amount: 6 to 8 servings (freeze in 2 shell halves)

1. To cook squash, halve a medium spaghetti squash, remove seeds, place half the squash cut side up in shallow dish, add 1/4 cup water, cover lightly with plastic wrap and microwave for 7-8 minutes; repeat with second half (or boil whole, covered with water 20 to 30 minutes, or bake at 400 degrees about 1 hour, halve and remove seeds). Cool a little. --I baked the whole uncut squash ahead of time at 350 for something over an hour until it was tender, turning occasionally so it baked evenly. Then I just pulled it out of the refrigerator and took out the seeds and strings with my hands when preparing the recipe.

2. Hold each squash half with pot holder and run a fork around sides of cooked squash and pull out the spaghetti strings into a large mixing bowl; reserve the shells.

3. Saute vegetables in melted butter briefly and combine with remaining ingredients and spaghetti squash strings:

3 tablespoons melted butter
1 large carrot, grated
2 small or 1 medium zucchini, unpeeled and grated
(I peeled mine)
2 stalks celery, diced
Yaki Tori Tofu, drained (don't worry if tofu cubes break up while combining ingredients)--
I substituted Italian sausage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
(I used about a teaspoon of minced garlic, but would use less if not serving immediately)
1/4 teaspoon pepper

4. Pile mixture into squash shell halves. Cover securely with plastic wrap, then foil. Cool and freeze.

5. To thaw and reheat, see pp 12-13.
(I baked the first half for 20-30 minutes at 350 the day I made it, and we ate it right away. The frozen half I defrosted in the microwave and then heated on full power for 15 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. I would recommend defrosting it and then perhaps heating it in the oven for 20-30 minutes.)

6. Just before serving top each spaghetti squash half with noodles and fold in:
1 cup chow mein noodles per half (optional)--
I left this out.


Yaki Tori Tofu
(I did not try this recipe; I used Italian sausage in the squash recipe. But I'll include it for those who want a vegetarian dish. You could probably marinate chicken in this mixture instead of the tofu, too.)

Drain block of tofu on a plate between paper towels for at least 30 minutes; cut into small cubes and marinate overnight or several hours in combined remaining ingredients:

16 oz. box tofu, regular or firm
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey or crystalline fructose
1 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder




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