Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Spaghetti Squash and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I am glad Halloween is over! It was night number 4 in our 6 night stretch of having something going on. I just want to sit at home and watch the Biggest Loser and Survivor that are waiting on the DVR but I am afraid it won't happen until Thursday night which makes us another episode behind. Ugh! I didn't even have time to make Halloween very special for the kids with some fun pumpkin shaped dessert or dinner or even black and orange anything. I haven't even put up fall decorations because the house has been torn all apart with the new flooring and paint projects. So last night I was trying to redeem myself slightly at the dinner table before we rushed out the door for trick-or-treating.

I made spaghetti squash for dinner. Spaghetti squash is very cool. It is almost like magic! It is one of my favorite meals because not only does it taste delicious it equals a VERY veggie dinner and it is simple to make.

Start by cutting your squash in half carefully. This is the hardest part of this recipe. Getting into these gourds is tricky business. Once cut in half you must clean out the guts and seeds just like you would a pumpkin but of course it is much faster. Brush the inside with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.

Next you want to put the squash in a 375 degree oven on a baking sheet with the cut side up. I also pour a little water into the baking sheet like a water bath. I think I saw this on a website before and I am not sure why you do this but my guess is it helps it cook faster and remain moist. I have no picture of this. I am blaming it on Halloween.

After 40-45 minutes remove the squash from the oven and test it for tenderness. Put a fork to the side and if it easily starts to scrape then you know it is done. If you have a bigger squash it will take a little longer but this was a fairly small one.

If it is tender then grab a pot holder and pick up the squash. Hold it over a plate or platter and scrape with the fork. If you go the opposite direction then is in this picture you will get some longer strands. I would have had Miles take a picture of the scraping process but he was busy grouting the tile so this is what you get!

I had my favorite quick tomato sauce heating in a pan on the stove; a couple cloves of garlic, half an onion diced up and cooked in some olive oil and then one can of fire roasted tomatoes. You can use whatever sauce you like.

Top your "spaghetti" with your sauce and you are ready to enjoy
This was my last ditch effort and something creative for Halloween!

It is quite amazing how much this looks and feels like real pasta. I think the flavor is better than pasta and it is certainly more nutritious. Yes my kids and husband eat this and yours will too! Just tell them it is an new brand of pasta you are fixing tonight and conveniently leave out the word squash!

I served it with green beans and black eyeballs. I mean black grapes. Black grapes are very yummy. I found them at Sams but you can find them at the grocery stores.

Like I said before this is a very veggie dinner. I walked away very full! Lots of healthy fiber really fills your stomach up. I needed that so I wouldn't be tempted to eat the kids' candy. I was having a no carb, no sugar, no fruit until dinner day yesterday. I had been eating too much over the week and weekend that wasn't really that good for me so I am scaling back for a few more days.

Give the squash a try. It really takes only 5 minutes to prepare. Stick it in the oven for 45 minutes and forget about it. Then take another 5 minutes to scrape it and heat up some sauce and dinner is ready!

Now for those pumpkin seeds! These are another very easy, fun, and tasty snack.

If you didn't save your seeds no worries. Pumpkins will be cheap today so go grab a few! After you clean them up spread them out on a tray to dry. You can use a hair dryer to speed the process up or put them in a very low temperature oven for a few minutes until they are dry. I divided my seeds into two medium bowls and tossed them with a little olive oil. You can use melted butter for a little different flavor.

I wanted one bowl for savory and one bowl for sweet. For the savory seeds I added a little bit of salt, garlic powder, worcestershire sauce, and a dash of cayenne pepper. Toss to coat and place in a 275 degree oven for 10 minutes. Take them out and turn them around/stir them up and put back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. When they start to turn golden brown they are ready. Mine took all of 25 minutes and I think I tossed them a couple times.

Both kinds turned out delicious. I love pumpkin seeds!!!!!!

For the sweet version I tossed them with some cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. In other words just use pumpkin pie spice. I also tossed in a little Stevia. I have to say however, and I can't believe I am going to do this, but I think you should use a couple teaspoons of sugar. Even though I only used a very small amount of Stevia I can taste an aftertaste on the seeds. Not enough for me to not eat them but still. You could also try sucanat. They make a great healthy snack!

Now on with my day! I ran too far yesterday and my foot is bothering me again so I must now go do some kind of yoga or pilates video I will have to scrounge around for so I can stay off my foot!

Happy November!


Anonymous said...

What I wanted to say is-- I baked a pumpkin and used the flesh to cook with and it was so much easier than cutting it apart. I just washed it, threw it in the over at 350 degrees for an hour or so. I put it in a dish and kept looking at it and when I could see that it looked as if it were baking I stuck a knife in it. It was done. I took it out and it was so easy to take the skin off and seeds & insides out. I thought maybe you could do that with the spaghetti squash since it is so hard to cut apart. I know those are very good. Love, Gerdette

Anonymous said...

would you believe I have never cooked a spaghetti squash?? That looks so easy and good though!!!! I am gonna try it!!!

Anonymous said...

P.S. I am working on a post about pumpkin seeds too!! LOL

Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} said...

I absolutely love spaghetti squash! Thanks for the reminder that it needs to get on my meal plan soon. :-)