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Spaghetti squash two ways

Update: While I was in the weight loss phase of my journey and into competition prep, I eliminated grains that didn’t keep me full. Part of this was because they didn’t keep me full and the other part was to moderate my carbohydrate intake. During this time, I focused on increasing vegetables as a source of carbohydrates while continuing to include protein pancakes and oats with pasta being a rare treat that I would get while out sometimes. So when I initially posted this I couldn’t remember the last time I had real pasta. Since then, I’ve actually started making pasta from scratch every now and then as date night in with JP. This post needed a little update, but trust me, these recipes are still those that we utilize even though we eat more pasta than we did before.

Many of us can relate to the idea that there are some foods that don’t keep us satisfied for long. In some cases, we may even question if we ate at all. Pasta can sometimes have that effect on me, and I know it’s because it’s not a fiber-rich carbohydrate. While we do have date night in with pasta now, for a long time we didn’t. I just couldn’t justify eating it and then feeling like I needed dinner to satisfy my dinner. I’ve never eaten low-carb (which is generally consumption under 100g), but again moderation has been important at all stages of journey.

Over the years, I’ve sought out alternatives that are lower carb and higher volume so I can stay fuller longer. Some vegetables like riced cauliflower being combined with grains to provide more volume, while some like spaghetti squash is something that I’ve found is perfectly fine on its own. I’m not going to say that spaghetti squash is spaghetti – it’s definitely not and other than it’s appearance of short noodle like strains, the crunch gives it away really quickly, but like pizza, I feel like I put more emphasis on the toppings.

Before we get started with toppings let’s cook up our squash. There are two ways that I’ve been cooking spaghetti squash and it’s going to come down to what you have access to.

Stove Top Spaghetti Squash

What You’ll Need

  • large pot
  • water
  • spaghetti squash
  • ice cream scoop

Directions

  1. Fill a large pot about 75% of the way with water and set to get it boiling.
  2. Wash the outer skin of your spaghetti squash and pat dry with a towel.
  3. With a large and sharp knife cut the squash down the middle, length wise.
  4. Using an ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop out the seeds.
  5. Place the squash in the pot and cook until tender. Depending on the size of the squash this could take 20-30 minutes.
  6. Once it’s full cooked, drain the squash and rinse off with warm water so that the temperature comes down but so you don’t chill it.
  7. Using a fork scrap out the meat of the squash. You may want to hold the skin of the squash with a hand towel or an oven mitt because it will still have a lot of heat in the skin.
  8. If you’ve never cooked spaghetti squash, it’ll scrap out of the skin in strains, which is where it gets its name from.
Pro Tip: Use an ice cream scoop to get out the seeds prior to cooking.

Oven Baked Spaghetti Squash

 

What You’ll Need

  • Deep casserole dish – something you’d cook lasagna in
  • water
  • spaghetti squash
  • ice cream scoop

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash the outer skin of your spaghetti squash and pat dry with a towel.
  3. With a large and sharp knife cut the squash down the middle, length wise.
  4. Using an ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop out the seeds.
  5. Place the squash cut side down in the baking dish and fill about a quarter inch high with water.
  6. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes – this will vary based on size, but you’ll know it’s done when you can poke a fork into the skin easily and it comes out without much effort. The color of the “meat” will also be a little bit darker than when it went in.
  7. Once it’s full cooked, drain the squash and rinse off with warm water so that the temperature comes down but so you don’t chill it.
  8. Using a fork scrap out the meat of the squash. You may want to hold the skin of the squash with a hand towel or an oven mitt because it will still have a lot of heat in the skin.

Let the Adventures Begin

All recipes are for one, but the first recipe explains how to adjust squash amounts for larger quantities, you can also just wing it!

Buffalo Chicken Bake

What You’ll Need

  • Cooked spaghetti squash
  • Frank’s Red Hot
  • Cream cheese
  • Shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Cooked chicken
  • Cooking spray
  • Mixing bowl
  • Casserole dish

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray casserole dish with a little bit of cooking spray. I used a mini bread loaf pan because I was making this for one serving, but you can use any size that you believe will fit all of your ingredients.
  3. For one serving of this recipe, cut a 4 ounces of cooked chicken into bite size pieces. I used left over chicken that I had already baked. 
  4. In a mixing bowl, measure out your spaghetti squash. About 100g is a serving and comes to around a cup of squash, so if you’re making this for multiple servings consider 1 cup or 100g squash per serving you’re considering making.
  5. Mix in each ingredient one at a time so they are all fully mixed.
  6. Add in about 3 tablespoons of Frank’s Red Hot. This can be adjusted if you like more or less kick.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of cream cheese. I’ve used both fat-free and regular cream cheese.
  8. Add 14 to 28g of shredded cheese. I used Mexican cheese blend, but you could use cheddar or Monterrey Jack.
  9. Pour mixed into casserole pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 350.
Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash

Italian Style Spaghetti Squash

What You’ll Need

  • Cooked spaghetti squash
  • Newman’s Own pasta sauce
  • Cooked ground turkey
  • Shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Small pot

Directions

  1. In a medium pot,  heat up 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of pasta sauce. I used Newman’s Own because it has less sugar than a lot of other brands and is typically on sale.
  2. Add 150g of cooked spaghetti squash to the sauce and mix well so the squash is covered well.
  3. Add in 4 ounces of cooked ground turkey.
  4. Mix in 14g to 28g of  shredded cheese until it melts and is stringy.
  5. Optional: Add oregano or Italian season if you feel that your sauce doesn’t have spice to it.
  6. Optional: Add sautéed mushrooms, peppers and onions to add volume and make it more robust.



Squash fails: I’ve also tried Alfredo sauce and spinach with spaghetti squash, but I wasn’t that big of a fan. Since spinach has a lot of water in the leaves, I felt it watered down the sauce and made it sloppy.

If you like vegetables a bit more Plain Jane, there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Like, other squashes, spaghetti squash is good with just a pinch of salt and butter.

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