About two years ago I went on a quest to find ways to add vegetables to my diet, which is not easy since I am basically racist against most green foods. I grew up eating mainly canned green beans and corn, salads made with iceberg lettuce and store bought tomatoes. Every once in a while we would get slimy fried eggplant or stuffed green peppers. I remember the first time I had a home grown tomato, I was visiting a friend at her Grandmothers in Minnesota and she served sliced tomatoes as a side salad. I have always liked tomatoes but if you ever have had a home grown tomato you know there is no comparison. I nearly jumped out of my chair exclaiming “what the heck did you do to these tomatoes”? My taste buds were shooting of fireworks of deliciousness. My friend’s grandmother looked at me in shock as if I had suddenly grown two heads and said “nothing I just put on a little salt and pepper”. I explained to her that I had never experienced such a delicious tomato. She found it shocking that at 17 years of age I had never had a home grown tomato. I guess I lived a very deprived childhood.
This experience peeked my curiosity and shortly after I tried some broccoli and cauliflower. Neither of which I am a fan. Mainly because of the smell when they are cooking, it just ruins the experience. Next came Brussels sprouts (yuck) and the oddest looking of them all was artichokes, which became my all time favorite. I like them plain with just a bit of salt, this is surprising since I have been known to eat mayonnaise out of the jar.
I noticed over time that my taste buds either mutated or matured and I began to continue my vegetable experiment. Now I am beginning to experiment with such exotic beauties as squash. Pumpkin is not just for carving and pie, in fact it makes a great soup, butternut squash fries, and spaghetti squash. Who knew??? So through this blog I will share my wonderful discovery of vegetables for vegetable haters and ways to sneak them into your diet.
Spaghetti Squash – The first time I cooked Spaghetti Squash was for a recipe from Biggest Loser with Avocado Pesto Sauce.
The recipe said to cut the squash in half then bake it for 45-60 minutes. First of all have you ever tried to cut a raw squash? It is pretty difficult and may require the use of power tools. I also had to preheat my oven and heat up half the house to cook the dang thing. I followed the directions and loved the results but in my quest to find an easier method I decided to read the sticker on the side of the next squash I bought. It said to poke holes in the side and microwave it. Genius! I stabbed it with my steely knife. And put it in the microwave on high for 8 minutes.
Let it sit in the microwave for a few minutes while you prep whatever sauce you are going to use, clean the dishes, fold some laundry. Whatever. I say let it sit because it will be very hot. Make sure you use oven mitts to take it out.
Then take a very sharp knife and cut it in half length wise so you end up with basically 2 boats. You can choose to scrape the seeds out at this point but it is a bit harder and those dang squash halves are hot! Put about 1 tsp of water in the middle of each half and put them back in the microwave for 5-10 minutes. The length of time depends on how big the squash is. You can see a slight color change on the cut part as it cooks, it is hard to describe but you will see areas that look cooked
and areas that still look raw. Again let them sit a bit after they are cooked after the timer goes off. Once it is cool or you grow impatient use a big spoon to scoop out the seeds then take a fork and use it to shred the spaghetti. Mmm, Mmm, good.
Serve this as you would any other pasta or just eat it with a little salt, garlic and butter. You don’t even need to dirty a plate, just drop some sauce in the center and use the shell as the bowl. I like that it has a bit of a crunch to it and gives food texture. You will never trick someone into believing it is pasta but you will get them to eat a tasty vegetable. One of my favorite ways to eat it is with a alcohol free Vodka sauce but let’s leave that for a future blog. In the top picture I actual served it with an Italian meatball stew. I will be posting that recipe later this week, a girl can only type so fast!
For those watching their Weight here is some nutritional information for you.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient database, 1 cup of cooked spaghetti squash provides 42 calories, 0.4 gram of fat, 1 g of protein, 10 g of carbohydrate (4 g as sugar) and 2.2 g of fiber.