Baked Spaghetti Squash

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A few months ago I decided that I was going to take the scary leap into learning how to bake this new fandangled thing called a spaghetti squash.  It has been around for a few years and while I know that Zach doesn’t like squash, I wanted to finally give it a try.  (Post recipe side note: this is the only squash he’ll eat)

The first steps were to do some research.  What on earth do you DO with spaghetti squash?  There are a million ways to cook squash and some vary drastically depending on the TYPE of squash.  So I started Googling and scrolling through Pins and I got so overloaded with recipes that I side barred the idea for a while.  I didn’t want a ton of options.  I wanted a handful of tried and true successes.  So, I took the idea to Facebook.  I reached out on my personal page and my Workout/Cooking Journey page.  That yielded me with just about zero results.  Then I started asking around wherever I went.  This again yielded me with squat.

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How to pull apart the squash.

Finally after a month of humming and hawing, I decided to rip off the band-aid but there was just one more problem…  I just couldn’t take people for their word that it really was like spaghetti in there.  It just sounded so silly.  I was hesitant because I didn’t know what to expect when I cut into it.  I honestly was expecting something more like a spider web than what it actually is.  You’d think that I would have come across something like that in all my searching, but most everything was finished product pictures.  So I was in for a surprise!

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Prep before the bake.

 

I put 4 and 7 together in the kitchen and ended up with 12 when it came to this recipe.  I didn’t have the slightest clue as to what I was going to make or how it would turn out.  *spoiler… it was pretty fantastic!* I jumped in blind not really knowing how to cook the squash and ended up getting real creative.  (For anyone who needs the step by step, this blog is the top suggestion when you search on Google and she shows how to cook it in the oven and the microwave [http://www.kitchentreaty.com/how-to-cook-spaghetti-squash-two-different-ways-in-the-microwave-or-in-the-oven/] VERY helpful!)  The second time around was a lot easier once I knew what I was doing… But isn’t that the fun in cooking?  Exploring and creating new things, things completely foreign to you, and making something great out of it?

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After struggling to make an idea come into a recipe, it honestly turned out much better than I had hoped.  This dish is aromatic, very filling and reminiscent of normal spaghetti with meat sauce without the added preservatives.  It is Whole30 compliant and you can even omit the meat to make it a vegetarian dish.  It’s nice to have something that doesn’t feel like a plate of veggies in front of you from time to time.  That spaghetti squash tricks ya, I mean it!  It’s just an amazing squash to work with and the possibilities are endless!

Prep Time: 20 mins // Cook Time: 30 mins // Makes 4 servings

  • 1 Large Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 Small Zucchini (diced or minced if you’re trying to sneak it in like I do…)
  • 1/3 C. Bell Pepper (diced)
  • 1/3 C. Onion (diced)
  • 3 Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 1 tsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 14.5oz can Fire-Roasted Tomatoes (or crushed tomatoes for less spice)
  • ½ lb. Ground Chicken (or Turkey)
  • Salt, Pepper to taste
  • 1 oz. Shredded Parmesan
  1. Cut the top off the squash and cut in half lengthwise.  Place cut side down in a microwave safe dish and fill with about an inch of water.  Microwave for approximately 12 minutes.  Depending on the size of it, you may need a few more minutes.  It should be fork tender.  If you have a super small microwave like me, you’ll have to do one half at a time.
  2. While this is happening, dice your veggies and put in a pan with 1 tsp. of Olive Oil.  Cook on medium heat until soft.
  3. Add the ground chicken to the pan, season with the salt and pepper and cook thoroughly.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Once the squash is done in the microwave, you’ll have to take it out and put it aside to cook for about 10 minutes.
  6. Once cool, take a fork and just start pulling at the insides.  It will shred away in the shape of spaghetti noodles.  If your chicken is already cooked, you can just scrape right into the pan.  **note: don’t go all the way to the skin for this recipe.  You want it to have some of it’s original shape since we’re baking it in the “shell”
  7. Add the can of tomatoes to the pan as well. Cook on medium heat and stir well to get everything blended.
  8. Place the shells in a baking dish and divide the mixture evenly into both.
  9. Top with the cheese and bake for 25 minutes.
  10. Once done, you can dump it all out and scrape more of the squash flesh out and mix (and toss the shell) or you can just cut each in half and eat out of the shell.

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