Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fall or Nothing

First off readers, I want to thank you for your wonderful words of encouragement during my little hiatus.  I don't exactly feel better, but I certainly haven't stopped cooking!

I have been taking it easy though, making easy to put together dinners and actually using other people's recipes to bake things *gasp*, but I can't not cook during The Fall.  Oh fall, how you are my favorite food-time of the year!  Squash, pumpkin products, ciders, mulled wine, cranberries.  Um, can you say yum?!  And since I am obsessed with fall foods, the second Spaghetti Squash started popping up everywhere I had one in my cart faster than you can arrest Lindsay Lohan again.  But I digress-

Spaghetti Squash is extremely, extremely easy to roast up.  You give the outside a little wash, poke some holes in it, and roast it in the oven for about an hour and a half (for the big ones), and voila!  Instant entree, side dish or ingredient.  Nature, how'd you know I like my food so easy and tasty?

So because I'm taking it easy, I made a super easy dish with my squash: A Fake Pasta Bake.  I can make a pasta bake in my sleep.  Its a go-to whip together nutritious meal that will satisfy even the hungriest dinner guests.  But every once and a while, even I need a break from rice (shocking I know) so I use spaghetti squash instead of rice pasta.  To keep it lower in fat and cholesterol, I also substitute 1% cottage cheese for ricotta.  When you're baking Italian food, you can't really taste the difference in the end product unless you are very much the authentic foodie.  To the lay person's tongue cottage cheese for ricotta is a sneaky way of being satisfied without sacrificing your health at the same time.  And once you see this thing, seriously, you'll forget to ask what's in it!

Spaghetti Squash "Pasta" Bake

1 large spaghetti squash (prepared plain; here's how to)
16 oz of low-fat/fat-free cottage cheese
1/4 cup-1 cup of part-skim mozzarella cheese
spaghetti sauce to taste (I don't use that much, but certainly you don't need more than a jar)
olive oil
basil, parsley, salt, pepper to taste
vegetables (optional)
egg (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Take prepared spaghetti squash and mix in a bowl with drizzles of olive oil, sauce, cottage cheese, seasoning, and optional vegetables and/or egg or some mozzarella*
*The egg is to help the bake hold up however it is relatively easy to shape up with mozzarella mixed in instead if you have an egg allergy.
I mixed it in the pan because I'm lazy.  This is before anything went in

Dump mixture into a lightly oiled 9x13 pan.
Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake lightly covered for 20 minutes, uncovered for 10-20 additional minutes.
Cut and serve; careful it's hot!

Now that wasn't so hard, was it?  Enjoy this treat as much as you can before the fall foods disappear.  You should see the stockpile of pumpkin I have going on!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Suzanne! I am SO making this. What a great idea for the spaghetti squash that's been staring at me from the fruit bowl for way too long.

    It was such a pleasure to meet you at Foodbuzz. I really enjoyed our conversations. All the best to you Suzanne, and please, keep in touch.