Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Casserole

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Casserole

Do you ever have one of those nights where you come home from work and all you want to do is pour yourself a glass of vino and snug your pup?  It doesn’t have to be a overly strenuous or bad work day.  I just think a cozy night like that sounds pretty perfect whenever I get a chance to sneak one in.  Teek and I did just that today.  Well after he helped me prepare this yummy meal of course.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Casserole

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I am pretty excited to share this recipe.  I was inspired to make this dish by one of co-workers and friends from South Africa.  She makes the lasagna dish for hey hunny that uses spaghetti noodles, ground ostrich, veggies, and a white sauce.  Ground ostrich is AMAZING, but since we are in good ole America I decided to make a unique lasagna casserole with another lean protein: ground turkey and sans the pasta.  Oh yeah, this another “healthafied” twist on an old school fav.

If you have not figured out by now I LOVE spaghetti squash.  Seriously, once you make it once you will be hooked too.  The spaghetti squash was the pasta substitute in this recipe and I decided to add some more nutritional value with the spinach.  If you want to re-create this dish to be vegetarian-friendly, you can easily replace the ground turkey with a meat substitute or sauteed mushrooms.  I chose the easy way out and used store-bought pasta sauce.  I have made home-made pasta sauce in the past and it is such a nice alternative to an off-the-shelf pasta sauce.  Reaching fo
r a jar is so much easier when your throwing together a week night meal.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Casserole

This dish does take some prep and time. It does not require any particular cooking skills, it just requires patience since you have to prepare the ingredients before assembling the lasagna.  The end result is well worth the effort!

Oh and anytime there’s a yummy Italian dish, I HAVE to serve it up with a baguette and some infused dipping oil.  That’s probably why I favor the lower-carb, spaghetti squash lasagna…I can “justify” (that’s what Andrew calls it) as much bread and oil as my heart, more like tummy, desires.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Casserole

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 50 minutes (includes roasting spaghetti squash and lasagna assembly)
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6-8

The Players: 

1 organic spaghetti squash
1 lb ground turkey
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
24 oz organic red pasta sauce (divided into 1 cup and 3 x 1/2 cup)
1 C ricotta cheese
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t red chili flakes
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
1/2 C freshly grated parmesan
6 slices mozzarella cheese (alternatively 1 C freshly grated mozzarella cheese)

The Rules:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F and line baking sheet with aluminum foil.  (Note: keep the oven on the whole time, you will bake the lasagna at this same temperature)
  2. Prepare the squash: Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise.  Hollow out the inside and remove the seeds. Rinse the squash. Spray the inside face of each half with coconut oil cooking spray.  Place squash face down on the baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes.  Flip the squash over when there are 10 minutes remaining and allow the face of the squash to brown.  Remove from the oven.  Use a fork to flake the edges of the squash in a downward motion and create spaghetti.
  3.   While the squash is baking prepare the remainder of your lasagna ingredients.
    1. Prepare the sausage: in a pan, over medium-high heat, brown the turkey and season with oregano, chili flakes, basil, salt and pepper.  Set aside in a bowl.
    2. Prepare the filling: Using the same pan, coated with coconut oil cooking spray, over medium heat sauté onion and garlic for 3-5 minutes.  Add spinach and cook an additional 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally.  Mix in 1 cup of pasta sauce.  Remove from heat.  In a stand mixer or using a hand mixer combine the ricotta cheese with the spinach mixture.   Set aside.
  4. Assemble the lasagna.
    1. Spray a casserole dish (12 x 9) with non-stick cooking spray.  Spread 1/2 cup of pasta sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish.
    2. Spread half the spaghetti squash on top of the pasta sauce.  Then top with half the ground turkey.
    3. Spoon half the spinach ricotta filling over the turkey layer.  Spread evenly using a spatula.
    4. Layer 1/2 C of the pasta sauce over the spinach ricotta filling and repeat steps B and C.
    5. Top the lasagna with the remaining 1/2 C pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan.
  5. Place the casserole in the oven and bake at 425 F for 20 minutes.  (Note: turn your oven setting to broil for the last 2 minutes of baking and allow the bubbly cheese to get golden)
  6. Remove the casserole from the oven and allow to cool 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Sometimes you just need a simple, easy, healthy meal.   Let me be honest.  I am really not a huge pasta fan/eater.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy pasta dishes from time to time.  I just rarely come home from work and think to myself, “I could go for a big plate of pasta!”

Pesto Spaghetti SquashDon’t stress if your squash is not perfectly cut, you will be scraping out the spaghetti after it is done cooking and no one will know! 

It’s not a health/carb thing.  Believe me, my love for crusty baguettes dipped in olive oil proves that I LOVE CARBS.  I just don’t love pasta.  I do love veggie alternatives to pasta.

Pesto Spaghetti SquashThe half that is pictured in the background is the way the squash should be positioned when baking in the oven.

You can use zucchini, carrots, cauliflower as a substitute for pasta/rice…but my favorite switcheroo is spaghetti squash.  I have had more than one cashier at the grocery store ask me if I actually eat the squash or just have it as a decorative piece.  I know that it can be intimidating to look at the squash and look at the end product “spaghetti” and figure out how to get the final product.  It really is easy.  Just read the steps below :)

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I made my own kale pesto (https://bonappeteek.com/2014/11/19/kale-pesto/) and decided to throw some cheese and sun-dried tomatoes into the mix.  Then you get to enjoy a big bowl (or two) of spaghetti without the guilt.

Pesto Spaghetti Squash

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Servings: 2-4

The Players: 

1 spaghetti squash
2 T extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
1/2 C pesto
2 T sun-dried tomatoes in oil
freshly grated parmesan as garnish

The Rules: 

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F and line a baking pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Cut your spaghetti squash in half, length-wise.  (Note: Insert a sharp knife into the squash, do not cut through to the other side.  Then move the knife in a sawing motion toward you.  Turn the squash as you cut it, similar to an avocado.)
  3. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds from each half of the squash.  Rinse the squash.  Drizzle the inside surface of each squash half with olive oil.
  4. Transfer the squash to your baking sheet, with the rounded sides facing up.  Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.  Then flip the squash so the hollowed out surface is facing up.  Bake for remaining 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool 10-15 minutes before handling.
  5. When you are able to handle the squash, use a fork to loosen the “spaghetti” from the outside shell/skin.  Do this by scraping in a downward motion.  Transfer the spaghetti squash to a bowl and discard the outer skin of the squash.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine.  Serve warm (preferably with a glass of your fav vino)!

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

A twist on a thai favorite.

Thai food is one of my favorite take-outs.  The spices and flavors are complex and each bite makes me want to travel to the markets of Thailand and explore local cuisine.  Andrew’s dad is a pilot and he is fortunate enough to travel internationally for a living–I know, unfair, makes you want to quit your day job.  He is based out of Seattle and we are lucky enough to have him stop by when he is in town.  I enjoy cooking for him when he passes through since he lives out of hotels when he is traveling to these amazing destinations overseas.

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

 

Pictured above are the veggies as they sauté, I wanted to provide a visual reference for how I cut the produce. 

So what did I make for the man that spends a lot of time in Asia?  I took the risk of making this healthier twist on pad thai.  Spaghetti squash is an amazing substitute for noodles and it keeps this dish light.  You can also substitute whatever veggies you have on hand.  I tried to find bean sprouts at the local grocery stores and had no luck,  but they are a great addition to the dish if you run across them.

For the sauce, ideally you can find tamarind pulp (an Asian fruit–sweet and sour taste).  However, the sauce below does the trick!  Or feel free to use store bough pad thai sauce if you want even less fuss!

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

Teek wanted a bite out of Tuesday’s dinner.  We also made home-made, baked crab rangoons–recipe for another day. 

If you are not excited about the spaghetti squash idea, make this recipe with traditional rice noodles.  The flavor will still shine!

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4

The Players:

1 spaghetti squash
1 chicken breast
20 large raw shrimp, peeled
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/2 C sliced crimini mushrooms
1 red pepper sliced
1/2 C baby carrots, sliced in half
1/2 C bean sprouts (optional)
3 eggs
2 green onions, sliced
2 T Sesame or peanut oil
1/3 C dry roasted peanuts, chopped (for garnish)
1 lime, sliced in wedges (for garnish)

For the Sauce:
2 T low sodium soy sauce
2 T fish sauce
2 T rice wine vinegar
3-4 T sugar
2 t sriracha

The Rules:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F and line baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Using a sharp knife, slice the spaghetti squash in half, length-wise.  With a spoon, scrape out the seeds and guts of the squash.  Drizzle the inside  with extra virgin olive oil and place on baking sheet with inside facing down.  Roast for ~30 minutes until tender(up to 40 minutes).  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Then scrape along the sides, using a fork to form “spaghetti” with the squash–set aside. (NOTE: You can make the squash a day in advance and refrigerate)
  3. While the squash is baking, combine all ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl–set aside.  Also, add 3 eggs to a separate small bowl and scramble with a fork –set aside.
  4. When there are only 10 minutes left of bake time for the squash: In a extra-large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the sesame oil to the pan and cook onion, pepper, mushrooms, carrots, and garlic until the onion is translucent ~5-7 minutes.
  5. While the veggies are cooking, prepare the chicken by trimming any fat then cutting the meat into1-inch cubes.  Add shrimp and chicken to the veggies  and continue to cook until protein is cooked through (5-10 minutes).
  6. Add spaghetti squash to veggies and protein and mix well until combined. Move ingredients over to one side of skillet to make room for the eggs.
  7.  Add the 3 eggs you previously scrambled to the sauté pan, allow to cook (~3 minutes). Once egg is cooked mix in well with pad thai ingredients.
  8. Next add the sauce and green onions to the pad thai and stir to combine.  Remove pan from heat.
  9. Serve with crushed peanuts sprinkled on top and lime wedges on the side.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Sausage and Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Sausage and Brussels Sprouts

Dinner at our house is a “Family Affair” once a week…or so Andrew promised me. You may be wondering what this means? Well Andrew was living the bachelor life for a month this summer while I visited family overseas. He FREAKED OUT because he forgot how to fend for himself in the kitchen, he claims that I have ruined him because I cook all the time—not that he’s complaining about the benefits of that situation. He also felt bad that I do most (all) of the cooking, unless it’s guacamole and chocolate chip cookies…those are his specialty in our household—let’s be honest I am not complaining about a damn good chocolate chip cookie or guacamole. Any who we decided that he would be in charge of making dinner once a week—with one stipulation, I find/pick the recipe.

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Good thing I live for recipe hunting. The key to recipes when Andy is cooking is KEEP IT SIMPLE. He always jokes around that both his mom and I always make meals and say to him, “it’s so easy, even you could make it” and then start listing the ingredients and steps…not that he ever attempts to make said dishes. Well I found a recipe that Andy not only made, but he ROCKED at! There may be hope for our once weekly dinners;) Here is how I came up with the meal:

 Roasted spaghetti squash is one of my favorite bases for any dish. It is healthier than pasta and SUPER easy to make. And we just happen to have one in our house today.

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 Now for the topping. I love brussels sprouts and am always looking for ways to incorporate them into recipes. We had pork sausage and I figured I usually combine bacon with brussels sprouts so pork sausage should taste pretty good with them too. So how did I come up with a recipe…I did what any blogger would do. I used the power of Google to search for recipes with pork sausage and brussels sprouts. Google never fails, within 5 minutes I had the recipe I wanted to try! Thank you to Faithfulness Farm for this recipe – It’s the perfect low-carb compliment to the spaghetti squash.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Sausage and Brussels Sprouts

As always,

Bon Appeteek!

The Players:

For the squash
1 spaghetti squash
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Salt and pepper to taste

For the topping
1-2 packages of brussels sprouts (I used a 1 lb pre-washed bag from Trader Joes)
1 # pork sausage
1 t garlic powder
¼ t red pepper flakes
Fresh cracked black pepper
Cooking spray (I use Pam Coconut Oil)
4 cloves garlic minced

The Rules:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Center the racks in your oven so that both roasting pans can fit. Place foil on the bottom of two roasting pans.
  2. Cut the spaghetti squash in half length-wise. Scrape out the guts and seeds.
  3. Rub the inside of each spaghetti squash half with EVOO and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Place the spaghetti squash face down on one roasting pan.
  5. Spray the bottom of the second roasting pan with cooking spray. Then trim the ends off of the brussels sprouts and cute them in half length-wise. Spread them on the tray.
  6. Roll the pork sausage into 1-inch balls (think golf ball) and spread evenly on the roasting pan with the brussels sprouts. Season with garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and cracked pepper.
  7. Place both roasting pans in the oven and set the timer for 40 minutes.
  8. At 20 minutes remove the roasting pan with the brussels sprouts from the oven and flip the veggies and meat so the second side can brown. Sprinkle with fresh minced garlic. Return to oven and continue roasting for an additional 20 minutes.
  9. Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven and allow the squash to cool a bit before you handle it. Hint: you can wear an oven mit to help balance the squash if you are worried about burning yourself.
  10. Scrape the insides of the squash with a fork. Ta-da you have now created “spaghetti”. Transfer the scraped spaghetti squash into a serving bowl.
  11. Top the spaghetti squash with the brussels sprout and sausage mixture. Make sure you get the drippings from the pan –this will make a yummy light sauce.
  12. Serve hot with fresh grated Parmesan.