Friday, May 20, 2011

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

Yesterday was super crazy for me. It was non-stop fitness action at the gym: I observed a class, taught a class and trained four clients. All before noon. It all started at 5:45AM, and ended at 12:15pm. I'm just glad I got to head home for an hour around 7:00AM. I zonked out, headed back to the gym, at which I realized that I completely forgot to eat breakfast. Insane.

I did not, however, forget to eat dinner. I spent all afternoon working on some freelance writing projects, and at one point I stopped doing so after having realized that I was super starving. Although I did eat lunch, it didn't quite hold me over. Toast with a side of jam carried me through another hour, and it was after this hour that I realized dinner time had arrived.

And so I began making Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti, a recipe I found in Gourmet Nutrition. I have been extremely intrigued by the spaghetti squash for quite some time now, but never quite felt the courage to actually cook with it. Mostly because I wasn't sure that I'd actually like it, despite being a huge fan of squash. I'm also a huge fan of pasta, so you can imagine my reluctance to swap the two. But in the name of nutrition, I decided it was time. So I bought this:

A spaghetti squash. I almost sliced a finger off trying to cut this tough guy  into two pieces, but the drama of it all was well worth it. I'm a fan.

When you cook it, it looks like this:

And when you spoon it onto a plate, and then swirl it onto your fork, it looks like this:

 Like spaghetti pasta, right? Although it doesn't taste like spaghetti, it doesn't have a strong squash taste either, which makes it happy neutral between the two. But swapping out pasta for spaghetti squash isn't really about the flavor. It's mostly about the nutrients, and perhaps the lack of bad carbohydrates.

Spaghetti squash brings a lot of fiber to any pasta dish, and according to one website I visited, a single serving (one cup) of spaghetti squash adds about 42 calories to your daily intake. I need not remind you how much normal spaghetti adds, right? Let's just say it might be at least three times that amount. Give or take, on average, etc...etc...and it all depends on whether or not you're eating whole wheat or gluten-free pasta. But that's another post entirely. Back to the squash. Along with all that fiber, you'll also get a hefty dose of carotenoids, which of course equate to Vitamin A. "A" for "always a good thing," at least in my book.

Another good thing?

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti
1 spaghetti squash
Olive oil
1 lb ground sirloin
1/2 cup chopped Vidalia onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 cups canned tomato sauce
1/4 c cashews, crushed
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Italian seasoning, to taste
Parmesan cheese

1) Preheat your oven to 375F. Carefully cut your squash in half, then remove all the seeds and guts in the middle. Brush olive oil across the top, then cook in the oven for 45 minutes. When done, pull it out of the oven so that it can cool off for just a bit.

2) While the squash is cooking, cook the ground sirloin in a pan over medium heat. When the meat is complete, add the onions and green pepper. Cook for another two minutes or until the veggies begin to soften. Add the garlic, cook for a minute, then add the tomato sauce. Stir to mix, then add the salt, pepper and Italian seasoning to taste.

3) When the sauce is complete, grab a spoon and scrape out a cup of the squash from the skin. Plate it, then top it with the sauce. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top and serve with a smile.

Although I don't think it convinced Jason to give up spaghetti noodles forever, he quite simply stated that he "could eat this." And if he eats it, then I must have done something right. He's not very adventurous when it comes to my crazy healthy recipes. He tries everything, though, which I am thankful for.

This particular recipe, by the way, is a close adaptation of the one I found in Gourmet Nutrition. They didn't include the garlic or the peppers, and they suggested adding 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon—I wasn't quite feeling that big adventure. Quite frankly, it sounded disgusting. I'll keep my cinnamon in my oats, thank you.

If you try it, let me know what you think of it. 

Happy Friday! Anyone going to the SELF Magazine Workout in the Park tomorrow in Chicago? Let me know!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I thought I posted a comment on this last week but I guess it didn't go was just to encourage you to try the cinnamon. Many times a tiny little dash of cinnamon or nutmeg is used in savory dishes just to enhance the other flavors and make you say "hmmm? what is that flavor?" I make a tomato and tuna pasta with a dash of cinnamon (Jamie Oliver recipe) and it's delish! If you try the cinnamon next time report back. :)

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