Friday, January 27, 2012

The Conflicted Chef–Not Your Momma’s Spaghetti



So WB declared a few weeks ago that he’d like to try to cut out as much pasta from his diet as possible, as he leads up to his first half marathon. A few pounds gained during the holiday season has him determined to get back to his optimum training weight. Hmm, yes I understand, but pasta around here is served quite often. Spaghetti and meatballs is a quick and favorite meal.

Soon after this discussion I found myself speeding through the aisles of the grocery store, stopping at every sample table to appease my 4 year olds desire to try everything the sweet grey haired ladies had to offer.  Imagine my delight when one was serving up Spaghetti squash. I hadn’t eaten that in years. But it brought back memories of my mom serving stuffed Acorn squash with a sausage filling. Yum.

My 4 year old devoured the sample. That is always a good sign. So the girls and I bought a Spaghetti squash and we tweaked the grocery’s recipe a little and here is what we had:

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage and Greens

  • About a 2 lb. spaghetti squash

Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Scrape away the seeds and stringy stuff from the centers with a spoon. Place halves in a pan and cook in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes. You can speed up this process by placing it in a microwave-safe dish with the cut sides down. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 7 to 10 minutes or until tender. My grandmother didn’t own a microwave, and so when I have time I prefer not to use mine for cooking. Just part of the whole conflicted thing.

While the squash is cooking you will need some low calorie sausage to cook up. You can get turkey sausage, light pork sausage, or chicken sausage. Just find something you like, but that has less fat and sodium then the regular variety. I found some chicken/spinach sausages at the meat counter that looked good, so that is what I used.

  • 1 pound low-fat pork, turkey, or chicken sausage

Cook in skillet until no longer pink and set aside in a bowl.

  • 1 bag or 9 oz. of fresh spinach

Place in the skillet in batches and cook down until it’s just wilted. This will only take 30 to 60 seconds. The wilting of the spinach is a fun trick and impresses small children, so gather them around. Place in bowl with the sausage and stir.


When the squash comes out of the oven it will look like the one on the left. Take a fork and gently scrape it along the surface and it will magically begin to shred and look just like spaghetti. Notice the shredded one on the right. This my friends is an “ohhh, ahhhh” moment. Gather the kiddos around again and let them help (be careful of the hot pan). I’m telling you it never fails to amaze.

After you have the squash all spaghetti- like put it into a bowl and add:

  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (remember the cheese rule, it is okay to eliminate to save some calories, but this is really not that much cheese so I say go for it.)
  • sprinkle of salt and pepper

Place a heaping mound onto a plate. Add some of the meat and greens. And there you have it! And if you’re my husband you add a glass of wine, which must be a part of the training regimen.


“But Momma, where is the sauce?” You, might hear this from a little voice at the end of the table. By all means, add a little spaghetti sauce to the meat mixture if you desire. Eliminate the spinach and add a side salad instead. That’s what I love about cooking. One time we might serve it like this, and next time we’ll use different sausage, add some sauce and try it like that. It’s your creation, experiment and have fun.

This dish received 5 smiles. (I decided thumbs up was too overused)

Have you tried Spaghetti squash? Do you have a favorite way to serve it?


Pat's Place said...

Hmmm! Sounds great! The other day I made a lasagna casserole but did not have lasagna noodles so I made the recipe without and served it with a salad. No pasta but great taste and less calories! Yummy! Now I will have to try your recipe since we are also on a post-holiday diet!!

Ginger said...

Looks delish! We do spaghetti squash often. I rub mine down with a garlic clove, then sprinkle rest of clove (diced up) into cavity and drizzle with olive oil. Oh my goodness! I've never done it with sausage and greens so I'm going to try that next. My family swoons with I wilt spinach. It so good! P.S. Tell husband I agree … wine a very important part of training!

Kara said...

Pat, that does sound yummy:)
Ginger, oohh, I'm going to try that. I love garlic!

Marcy Kennedy said...

I enjoy spaghetti squash, but my husband runs in the other direction at anything that remotely sounds like a squash. I'll have to try this recipe on him without telling him what it is ;)

Kara said...

That's a good idea Marcy:) I think he may be surprised!