Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Exit zucchini squash.
Enter spaghetti squash.

One large and one extra large spaghetti squash made their way home from work with hubby last week so we're going to call it quits with zucchini recipes for awhile and focus on spaghetti squash for now, then move on to the fall squash, butternut and acorn being my two favorites.

Let's talk a little bit about spaghetti squash, shall we? I'm just going to get this out in the open right away: It does not now nor did it ever taste like spaghetti. It's quite delicious, but for all those carb-conscious people trying to talk themselves into it tasting like pasta, you're crazy! It pairs well with traditional pasta sauces and gooey melted cheese, so you may possibly fool your taste buds a bit if you're just looking for something to transfer sauce and cheese to your mouth. But just because it strings like spaghetti, it tastes no more like spaghetti than mashed cauliflower tastes like mashed potatoes. (Geeze Mags, sounds like you're kinda opinionated on this issue!)

There are a variety of ways to cook spaghetti squash. I've microwaved them before with great success, but because I had my oven going this morning for another recipe, I just baked it along with that. I cut the squash in half and removed the seeds, then seasoned it a bit with salt and pepper and place the halves cut side down on a baking sheet that I'd sprayed with cooking spray. Into a 400 degree oven for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of your squash.

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

1 3-4 pound spaghetti squash, cooked. Using fork, remove flesh from squash halves and place in a large bowl. Taste squash and season again with salt and pepper if needed. Discard shells.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 bell pepper, seeded, diced
6 oz. mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 box frozen spinach (5 oz) thawed, squeezed dry and chopped
4-5 sun dried tomatoes, finely diced
1 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper
4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
toasted bread crumbs or croutons for topping (I used rye bread cubes that I sprinkled with olive oil, then seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning, then toasted at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion, red pepper flakes and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper and saute until onion is softened, 5-6 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue cooking until mushrooms give up their liquid and start to brown, about another 5-6 minutes. Add garlic, spinach, and tomatoes and season with basil and salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes to combine flavors. Remove from heat. Add cream cheese, sour cream and parmesan cheese to skillet, stirring to melt cheeses and combine. Add skillet mixture to spaghetti squash and stir gently to combine. Transfer to casserole dish that's been sprayed with cooking spray.

Top with bread crumbs or croutons. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.


Lady P said...

i love your food choices, i love to read your comments on moogie's wild food feats, and i put a little shout out to you and one of your recipes on my blog and put it on my blog roll - mags, you rock!

Mags said...

Wow Lady P... thank you so much! That's so nice!

June said...

Boy did I have a good roar over the "tastes no more like spaghetti than mashed cauliflower tastes like mashed potatoes". Is that true or what? We tried South Beach's mashed cauliflower recipe, and the big guy and I took one look at each other and simultaneously gagged. Not a good thing Martha...ah Mags. This spaghetti squash casserole looks like something I could easily get past the big guy though. Yumm.

Moogie said...

Ohhh my gosh. We have become a three-some. No good can come of this.

Mags said...

June: I actually do like mashed cauliflower (made my own way, of course) but it just cranks my behind when people want to describe it as "faux" mashed potatoes. It's caulifower, for crying out loud!

Moogie: The world as we know it will never be the same!

Lady P said...

I have been slow oven roasting the tomatoes so that I can put them in little baggies to freeze for the winter when I plan to use them as the base for soups, curries and I just laid aside a huge baggie with fresh basil to serve as the beginnings of a pasta sauce. The tomatoes are all from neighbors gardens and I am the squirrel putting away her acorns for the months ahead. I have to say, I have eaten some spread like savory jam across a rice cake with ham and cheese - yum!
and yes dear moogie, it is now mags and moogie and lady p
and let the shennnanigans begin!

stephchows said...

all those people who think they taste like pasta are crazy!

Mags said...

Lady P: You are a busy squirrel. You sure you have time for shenanigans?

Steph: I know! (Said in my best Monica voice...lol)

Marti said...

I just stumbled on your blog. I love squash (zukes, spag., butternut and all the rest) so obviously, I've got to bookmark and stop by frequently.

Except nobody else seems to like your blog, your writing, or your recipes.

Bah-hhhaaahaahaa! Right!

Thanks for the great recipe!

Mags said...

Marti: Thanks for commenting! And yes, please stop back often. I promise you that you'll be screaming "ENOUGH WITH THE SQUASH ALREADY" before it's all over..lol

Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction said...

I'm with ya - I love spaghetti squash, but it just doesn't do it for me if I really want spaghetti! I like my carbs, thank you very much! This sounds amazing, though. I still have 3-4 spaghetti squash from my garden that need to get eaten and I am running out of ideas. Glad I saw this post! :)