Real Recipe: Cheesy Spaghetti Squash and Spinach Bake

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Friday night and no football. Well at least not for me (the bf ended his season last week, and is out on the town watching a friend’s game). Me? I’m at home. Making a vegetarian dinner, watching Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives, and drinking wine. Perfect. Friday. Night. Especially now that the weather’s cooled down and it’s the beginning of that I-can’t-be-bothered-to-leave-the-couch-and-go-outside season.

I’ve been dying to try this Spaghetti Squash Bake all week. With a birthday dinner on Monday, conferences till late on Tuesday (which meant Chinese take-out from our fav msg-free place!), date night Wednesday (we grilled whole Snapper for the first time), annnnd the soccer state championship for the boys last night, there just hasn’t been time. So toniiiight is the niiiiight (cue Spice Girls song!)…

…when two squash become one…

In a bake. :)

Yes, I laugh at my own jokes (just ask the bf).

Anyway, I got this idea from my ‘ol college buddy Nikki at Grab Your Kicks. Love following her blog and all of her great ideas!

And she got the idea from Skinnytaste, which is where I adapted this recipe from.

Disclaimer: I have never used spaghetti squash before (butternut yes, spaghetti no). Every time I make squash, I remember how much dang work it is. Cutting it open is the first challenge. I work the knife slowly but surely around the squash until I can use the knife as a lever and crack that baby open!

Then you have to de-seed them (and yes, this is mandatory!).

And then, after you’ve labored your way through that, you can finally bake. At 375 degrees. For about 1 hour.

It’s worth it. Trust me.

At first I was hesitant. Squash with cheese? Weird. Or so I thought. As I read on another blogger’s post regarding substituting noodles with spaghetti squash: Will it curb your craving for pasta? Probably not. Will you think it’s delicious and make it again? I think so. At least, that’s what I’m doing!

Creamy, healthy, and delicious. Try it for yourself!

Spaghetti Squash and Spinach Bake

Ingredients:

2 small spaghetti squash (makes about 5 1/2 cups)

1 small onion, diced

4 TBSP butter

2 TBSP flour (substitute arrowroot powder or corn starch for gf)

5 oz baby spinach leaves (about 4 cups)

1/2 cup organic cream

2 cups organic milk (I use whole)

1 cup organic cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Panko bread crumbs (or gf bread crumbs) – optional

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: 

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2) Slice squash lengthwise. De-seed.

3) Bake on baking sheet for approx. 1 hour or until fork inserts with ease. Let cool slightly. Shred with fork until you have your spaghetti! Discard shells. Maintain oven temperature.

4) Meanwhile, melt butter in medium saucepan. Saute onions over medium heat until soft.

5) Add in flour. Lower heat. Stir continuously for 2-3 minutes to make a roux.

6) Add in cream and milk. Turn up heat to start a boil, reduce to simmer. Stir frequently until sauce reaches desired consistency.

7) Fold in squash and spinach. Sprinkle parmesan over. Top with breadcrumbs if desired.

8) Transfer to baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes or until bubbling and browning on top!

9) Enjoy :)

spaghetti_squash

 

Real Recipe: Cheesy Spaghetti Squash and Spinach Bake
 
Delicious and creamy Spaghetti Squash and Spinach Bake. A great way to eat your veggies!
Ingredients
  • 2 small spaghetti squash (makes about 5½ cups)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP flour (substitute arrowroot powder or corn starch if gf)
  • 5 oz baby spinach leaves (about 4 cups)
  • ½ cup organic cream
  • 1 cup organic milk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Panko bread crumbs (or gf bread crumbs) - optional
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Slice squash lengthwise. De-seed.
  3. Bake on baking sheet for approx. 1 hour or until fork inserts with ease. Let cool slightly. Shred with fork until you have your spaghetti! Discard shells. Maintain oven temperature.
  4. Meanwhile, melt butter in medium saucepan. Saute onions over medium heat until soft.
  5. Add in flour. Lower heat. Stir continuously for 2-3 minutes to make roux.
  6. Add in cream and milk. Turn up heat to bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Stir frequently until sauce reaches desired consistency.
  7. Fold in squash and spinach. Top with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs if desired.
  8. Transfer to baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes or until bubbling and browning on top!
  9. Enjoy :)

Real Recipe: Spinach and Cheddar Frittata (and other yummy egg dishes!)

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So Easter is over. And my did it fly! I ate lots of delicious food, how about you? :)

Sadly, I was not witness (nor a participant for that matter!) to any egg hunts this year. Nor did I dye any eggs. Oh well. There’s always next year!

However, if you participated in the egg dying/hunting extravaganzas and have leftover eggs to use, here’s a couple of my favorite egg dishes:

1) Broccoli Feta Omelet – yum! My other favorite combo is kale and cheddar. Some good nitrate-free local bacon never hurts either :)

2) Spinach and Cheddar Frittata

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Spinach and Cheddar Frittata
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2
 
A delicious easy-to-make frittata!
Ingredients
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 cup spinach
  • ¼ cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil (about 1 TBSP)
  • red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
Instructions
  1. Sauté garlic in oil until fragrant (about 30 seconds)
  2. Add in spinach, saute until starting to soften
  3. Pour in eggs and sprinkle with cheese
  4. Cook until set on bottom and starting to set on top (about 4-5 mins)
  5. Put in oven and broil until top is lightly brown and fluffy (about 2-3 mins)

 

3) Eggs and Toast (over easy eggs, on delicious French bread from the local baker). Oh and sautéed kale on top! This is definitely a knife and fork kind of meal :)

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Enjoy your eggcellent eggs :)

And happy clean eating!

Real Recipe: Barbecue Chicken Pizza

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Mmmm…nothing beats a good pizza. Yes, pizza is still one of my favorite foods (my tastes have obviously not grown up much!). However, the pizza I consume has certainly evolved over time. Instead of relying on standard pepperoni or cheese frozen pizzas (like I did in college!), I usually make my own. It started with flatbread pizzas when I studied abroad. Topping Turkish flatbread with spaghetti sauce and grated Australian cheese. Baby steps. Next, Margherita with Minnesota grown tomatoes (see my Margherita pizza recipe here!). And now, Barbecue Chicken pizza. Today was the first time I made my own of this version (although I don’t know why it took me so long!). I am known to order the occasional barbecue chicken flatbread while out to eat, but never have I attempted it myself. So easy, and so delicious.

My version includes using gluten-free pizza crust (see my recommendation here), green onions instead of red, and spinach from the farmer’s market (I’ve got a lot to use up!).

First off, mix your favorite barbecue sauce into shredded cooked chicken (I used rotissieree chicken). I recommend Annie’s Organic Barbecue Sauce (flavors include Sweet  & Spicy, Smokey Maple, Hot Chipotle, and Original) or an all-natural one without high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives!

Next prepare your ingredients: white cheddar, green onions (substitute red onion for green onions if you prefer), and spinach. Green onions and spinach are in season in Minnesota, and I always suggest buying local when possible!

Now prepare your crust. Spread some of your favorite sauce on bottom of crust (I used Udi’s Gluten-free pizza crusts and thus made two mini pizzas versus one big one!):

Top with the chicken, green onions, spinach, and cheddar cheese. Bake according to directions or until cheese is hot and bubbly. Enjoy!

 

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Allergy Milk, Wheat
Meal type Appetizer, Lunch, Main Dish
A delicious, all-natural Barbecue Chicken Pizza. Can be made gluten-free!

Ingredients

  • 1 pizza crust (all-natural or organic)
  • 1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (organic or local if possible)
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce (all-natural or organic, divided)
  • 3/4 cups green onions (sliced thinly )
  • 1 cup chicken (cooked and shredded)
  • 1 cup spinach leaves (organic preferably )

Note

To make gluten-free, I recommend using Udi's Gluten-free Pizza Crusts.

Directions

Step 1
Mix chicken with half of barbecue sauce, stirring to coat evenly
Step 2
Spread rest of sauce onto crust, leaving about an inch around the outside
Step 3
Spread chicken and green onions evenly around crust
Step 4
Top with spinach leaves
Step 5
Cover with cheese
Step 6
Bake according to crust directions. Cheese should be hot and bubbly!
Step 7
Enjoy :)