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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Spaghetti Squash and Puppy Chow

So I decided to take a risk and buy a spaghetti squash to make dinner. I kept reading about how easy it was to make and how it was so tasty. Now, I'm not a big fan of squash, except sweet uses of pumpkin, but I had recently, successfully, used a butternut squash to make fries (they tasted like sweet potato fries so it wasn't a huge leap), and I was feeling adventurous.

I saw the giant pile of squash at the supermarket the other day so I bought myself a large spaghetti squash.

How did I know which of the squash in the squash pile were spaghetti squash?

That's how.

On a quick side note, you could really mess up some novice cooks by swapping all the produce stickers. "Hey, I thought this was a hot house tomato, but the sticker says yellow onion... hmmmm."

How did I know I picked a good squash from the bunch? No clue. I just picked the prettiest one from the pile. There is probably some trick to picking a good one (heavy for its size, sounds hollow, I don't know), but just go with your gut.

After you bring your squash home (and possibly fielding a few questions from the cashier), prep is simple.

1. Disregard the instruction on the sticker that use just used to identify your squash. Its done enough.
2. Place the entire squash (yes, the whole thing. No, you don't have to poke holes in it but it can explode (I've had that happen and it makes quite the mess) into the microwave and cook for 8-10 minutes.
3. Use oven mitts to remove the squash from the microwave and carefully cut it open with a large knife. The skin should be pretty soft after cooking. Let the squash cool (or burn your hands. That's what I did).
4. Use a fork/spoon/any other utensil to remove the seeds and attached strands just like you would with a pumpkin.
5. Use a fork (yes, a fork this time) to pull apart the flesh of the squash. It should easily come out in long strands. If it is still hard in places, place flat down on the plate and microwave for another minute or two. Its not critical for it to come out perfectly. 

6. Use paper towel to pat as much liquid from the squash flesh as you can.
7. Take all the squash strands and put them in a non-stick skillet and cook with a little EVOO and garlic. Keep moving it around to get it cooked through.
8. Meanwhile, heat up whatever sauce you want to use. I used jar spaghetti sauce with polish kielbasa (its a Hansen family thing), but it would also be really good with sausage or ground beef. Or you could just go simple and toss it with garlic, oil, and parm.

Cooking it up


Surprisingly, this was a hit with both Chris and I. The squash really has an al dente angel hair texture and works great with the spaghetti sauce. I read that it only has about 60 calories per cup (I got about 5 cups out of my one squash) and is very high in vitamin B. 

I will definitively be making it again soon!

Puppy Chow:

I was feeling pretty good about myself and my healthy dinner last night so I decided to balance it out with this yummy treat.

1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
~9 cups chex cereal (I prefer crispix)
1 1/2 - 2 cup powered sugar

First, melt the peanut butter and chocolate chips together in a large glass or plastic bowl in the microwave. Mix in the chex mix, then pour it all into a large ziplock bag. Add the powered sugar, close the bag, and shake it up until all the pieces are covered. 

Then, just gobble it up!

Puppy Chow: Not for Puppies.

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