Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Squish Squesh Squash!! It's Fall!

Fall has arrived! Hurray.....A season I have no immediate attachment to as I have lived in either Central Coast or Southern California for all my life, and the only seasons we really have are very hot sunshine or not so hot sunshine. I do envy those of you who get to frolic about with the leaves changing colors, and the warm beverages that you drink by the fire place mantel while talking about the leaves and the changing colors... However, I know what comes next after those lovely leaves do, in fact, fall. And winter is a cold hearted 'B' word, and I will have nothing to do with that freezing cold! So I high-five you courageous folks that get to appreciate all four seasons, and the ups and downs they entail. This girl will stick with the two seasons she knows best for the time being, BUT I will enjoy fall foods.

Take that orange, red and whatever else colored leaves! I have spaghetti squash, warm delicious vegetable marinara sauce, and greens! Quick cold story...One year I made a brave decision to venture to Boston to visit a friend over Thanksgiving. I was told that it wouldn't be very "wintery" yet. Turns out when the time arrived to go, the East Coast was hit with an early winter storm.... Guess what girl stayed indoors the majority of the time? Oh, this girl? The one typing? You are correct. I have a distinct memory of my earrings feeling like they were frozen to my ears. (Enter my flare for drama as a teenager, can you image being my parents? lol)

My youth was spent with sunshine, lows in the 40s maybe, and in a world where flip-flops are worn almost year round. I blame the weather for not toughening me up!! Looking at my lack of ability to handle anything under 40 degrees Fahrenheit is a touch depressing. Thank goodness I was exposed to fantastic wonderful fall/winter foods though! Winter squash varieties are some of my most favorite things ever! So in honor of a season I don't know well, but respect others that do I present today's delish dish:

Spaghetti Squash w/ Heavenly Veggie Marinara
serves 4-6 people

2 medium spaghetti squash
1 jar of basic marinara*
1 head of broccoli (chopped)
1 small/medium yellow onion (chopped)
4-5 cloves of garlic (pressed)
8oz of mushrooms (chopped)
1 cup sun dried tomatos (chopped)
4-6 handfuls of baby spinach
1 tablespoon avocado oil (grape seed oil may be used, or olive oil)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

*What is this you see? A jar of something? Trust me, there is a fair amount of prep work to this recipe and in order to make it fun, and keep it an easy meal for you (and me) to make during a busy week you will thank me for this. Please make sure it is a low sodium, organic, and gluten free sauce. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Prep your spaghetti squash by poking a few holes in each one with a skewer. Be careful! No casualties of war in your kitchen please. Poking a hole or two in the squash prevents it from bursting while baking. Place both squash in a baking pan, and place them in your oven. Cook for 45min to an hour. They are finished when you can easily poke through the rind with a knife. (You might be asking why not just throw them into the microwave? You can do this, but I would suggest against it. In fact if you can, just never use the microwave, lol. They nuke nutrients out of your food, and have a host of other issues: http://www.naturalnews.com/022015.html) Food for thought. 

While your delightful squash is baking away, lets get your sauce ready! If you read last weeks post then you'll know its time to get your prep bowls ready!! In a large sauce pan, or wok throw in your oil, chopped onions, and garlic. Cook on high heat for 5 minutes, or until onions start to lose color. Stirring often. Next add the sun dried tomatoes! 

Cook the sun dried tomatoes with the onions and garlic for a few minutes letting the flavors blend. Keep up that stirring. Then add in your mushrooms, whoo hoo. At this time also add in your spices (basil, thyme, red pepper flakes). Cook for 4 to 5 minutes more. 

Lastly add in your broccoli, and turn the heat down to low. Keep stirring often letting all the flavors blend together. You don't want to turn your broccoli to little mushy trees, so keep that heat on low and cook for another 4-5 minutes. 

Finally add in the sauce! At this point you can leave the veggie and sauce mixture on low heat/simmer while waiting for the squash to finish cooking. Stir occasionally to ensure nothing is burning to the bottom of your pot/wok. 

Once your squash is cooked remove from the oven, and give it a few minutes to cool down. Then cut the squash in half, and get ready for the fun part! Scoop out the middle area with the seeds and discard. Then with a fork go to town, and scrape the sides of the squash. This will create strings of squash that look like and taste like noodles (thus the clever name of spaghetti squash). Once you have scraped all the meat of the squash out, then get ready to plate. 

Take a handful of baby spinach and place it on the plate. Next scoop a serving of the squash noodles over the spinach. The heat will wilt the spinach, and give an extra yummy nutrient punch to your meal. Then pour a serving of your sauce on top. And wha-lah! A insanely delicious fall/winter meal for anyone, anywhere. ;)


  1. That looks so good!! I am going to make it! Thank you!

  2. I love this dish and often put baby spinach under my cooked dishes. A great way to get your greens without more salads. Thanks for sharing. Lovely photo too.

    1. Thanks! I love sneaking in extra greens where ever I can, nice to hear we are on the same page :)