Gluten Free, Life

Spaghetti Squash the healthy alternative…

Tonight I decided I was going to try something that I’ve never tried before. I’d been hearing for years about this spaghetti squash so tonight I was going to do it. I was going to make this healthy alternative to pasta and see how my mind could change. I have been trying to get myself to eat more veggies so let’s see what happens with that mission. For now this is a good start.

For my dish I decided to use these ingredients:

  1. Spaghetti Squash
  2. Diced Tomatoes
  3. Onion
  4. Green bell pepper
  5. Red bell pepper
  6. Fat Free tomato sauce
  7. Garlic seasoning
  8. Salt
  9. Pepper
  10. Italian Seasoning
  11. Chicken breast

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There are two different ways that you can cook your spaghetti squash. The first way is in the microwave. This way some people prefer as it only takes 12 minutes in the microwave to soften it enough to scrape out. The other way which if you ask me is the way I would go is roasting it in the oven. Even though that method will take longer it’s the most flavorful option. Roasting it in the oven allows the flavors to really activate.

For my meal I went with the oven roasting method. So first things first when you are going to be using your oven is making sure you pre-heat the oven. I’ve been there done that before when you prep the meal and go to put it in the oven and realize you never turned it on. Since it takes 40 minutes for this to roast I would say start the pre-heating process before you even begin prepping the veggies.

You want to first cut off both ends of the squash with a sharp knife. Then you want to cut the squash in half length wise. You will notice that the inside of the squash will look like a pumpkin and be filled with slime and seeds.

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Once you scrape it all out then you can get ready to add your seasoning to it. I opt for simple salt and pepper and a teeny tiny little evoo (extra virgin olive oil) I have to be very careful with my fat intake so I used less than a table spoon to coat the inside of each side. It will look like this all hollow.

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This is prior to seasoning each side of the squash

Once you have seasoned it the way you would like it goes into the oven. Make sure that you flip them over. You want the sides to be face down when they are roasting. Make sure you set your timer for 40 minutes. The one thing you do not want to do is over roast the sides because it will effect you being able to scrape the insides out into “spaghetti” if they bake too long and harden. You want to bake it to the point that it is soft enough to poke a fork through the skin. Once you can poke through the skin it is ready to be pulled out of the oven. That’s why it is really important that you set your timer.

While that is roasting away in the oven you can keep prepping the rest of your veggies. Now I know that I sometimes take the lazy road but this time I did not when it came to my peppers. I sliced and diced them by hand and added some onion into the mixture.

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The only thing I did do the lazy way was buy already diced tomatoes and already jarred fat free pasta sauce. This has become a favorite brand of mine. I however as you know from my previous posts always add extra seasoning to any pre-jarred sauce. It just gives it something extra.

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My go to brands for diced tomatoes and sauce

Since tomatoes really don’t need a lot of time in a frying pan you want to first focus on getting the peppers and onions cooked. Remember when working with onions you want to do them until they are translucent (see through) that means they are ready. For this dish you are not trying to brown the onions as it’s not necessary but cook them to your desired temperature. Medium to low heat is the best option for these veggies to not burn and cook appropriately.

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Feel free to clean up your prep area if you want to save time while the squash is still roasting away. Play some music and have a dance party. Whatever makes you happy while you’re in the kitchen. Wait for that ringing/buzzing/beeping of the timer to go off and then it’s time to get spaghetti squashing. It is super important that you let the vegetable cool after you pull it out of the oven before you go to scrape it out. They will be hot and you don’t want to be touching them bare handed until they’ve had time to cool down. However, you don’t want them to cool too much they should still be a little warm when you’re handling them as you want them to still be soft.

It’s a super easy process once they have cooled down. Just take your fork and literally run it along the inside of the squash. I found it was easiest to go width wise and make a little pile in the center of each side and then slide it down length wise to get it all out of there. You will know when there is no more to get out.

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this is spaghetti squash

Once your veggies are all ready it’s time to mix them together with each other. This makes a great addition to a chicken breast. I added the tomato sauce on top of it after the photo but you can also enjoy this without even adding sauce to it. The tomatoes and the peppers will give it enough flavor on their own that you wouldn’t need pasta sauce on top of it. If you’re trying to trick someone into eating it than feel free to cover it with pasta sauce and pretend it some new kind of spaghetti you bought. This would especially be a nice trick to your kids who don’t want to eat their veggies.

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Please pardon the paper plate. I’m in the process of moving so my dishes are packed up.

One of the other great things about this meal especially if you are cooking for one person is that you will have enough left over that you can have it for lunch the next day. Once spaghetti squash can provide multiple meals or feed multiple people if you would like it to. We all need are vegetables and this is a great tasting way to get them. I hope you enjoy it if you decide you want to try it too.

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