About that spaghetti squash.
And all those limitless possibilities.
Someone mentioned eggplant parmesan (and possibly pizza!) Another mentioned spaghetti squash pasta. And yet another pointed me in the delightful direction of FoodGawker.com (beware…this site is addicting.)
I considered all of these things, browsed through foodgawker.com and found myself standing in the kitchen with one smallish/medium split-open squash and a gazillion and one, deliciously fresh new ideas.
(Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!)
But. It is Monday. Let me (embarrassingly) admit to you what this means.
My fridge is semi-empty except for those back of the fridge veggies which need to be eaten ASAP. There is a remaining 3/4 a bottle of marinara sauce somewhere on the side shelf, leftover from a quickie meal of English muffin pizza. A block of tofu sits in my freezer. For those emergency situations.
But sometimes, that’s all it takes. A pinch of this. A dash of that. And the rest becomes history.
I put to use some mushrooms, a pepper and an onion…
…some frozen spinach…
(another absolute staple for those emergency situations!)
…and, of course, I used that block of tofu.
(which I sprinkled to death with italian seasoning)
The star ingredient (aside from the squash of course!) was this smoked mozzarella, which I found in the gourmet cheese section of my grocery store.
This is the first time that I’ve ever tried smoked mozzarella, and I’m forever in love with its romantic, smoky flavors. I’ll bet it tastes awesome on pizza, sandwiches and quesadillas!
I put the 3/4 bottle of marinara to good use, figuring this casserole could an extra little bit of somethin’ somethin’.
Finally, the cheese was that final touch.
Voila! And into the oven you go.
The casserole didn’t take long to heat up, once I popped it in the oven. Just enough time to get the cheese melted and warm.
Just enough time to throw a simple salad together, complete with walnuts, cranberries, and a nice vinaigrette.
Just enough time.
And, just so you know, if you happen to have a hectic life (or one that is occasionally so,) where you never know when you might have to walk away from the oven, this meal is perfect for you. While I was making my dietary research calls today, I was interrupted more than once with phone calls, where I needed to step away.
The meal practically cooked itself.
Feel free to use any kind of cheese. Feta would be nice. And mix up these veggies according to what you have on hand. Summer squash or even butternut squash would make a unique, delicious change of taste. Go with your gut feeling (and your fridge’s options) with this recipe. Most of all, ENJOY! 😀
Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- 1 small/medium spaghetti squash, cut in half and cleaned (scrape out the seeds with a spoon)
- 2 tsp olive oil, divided
- 1 medium green or red bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1-16 oz. package of baby portobellos or white mushroom caps, sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1 16-20 oz. bag of frozen spinach, dethawed and drained
- 4-5 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1-14 oz block tofu, drained and pressed (optional…add in chicken or lean hamburg/turkey if you prefer)
- 1-2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 24-32 oz. jar favorite spaghetti sauce (I use Franceso Rinaldi’s no salt added sauce)
- 5-6 oz. smoked mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- Preheat oven to 350. Place cleaned squash cut side down on cooking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Place in oven for 30-40 minutes or until you can pierce through the skin easily with a knife.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp oil over medium heat in a large, nonstick cooking skillet. Add onion and pepper. Cook until firm but tender. Add garlic, cook a minute more. Add mushrooms and spinach and seasonings. Taste and adjust salt as necessary. Cook until mushrooms are tender.
- Transfer this mixture to a large, clean bowl. Add 1 tsp oil to same pan and heat over medium. Cut tofu into 1 inch cubes and add to pan. Season with Italian seasoning and continue cooking until tofu is beginning to brown. Transfer to veggie bowl and mix together.
- Once the squash is ready, use a fork to run down the insides of the squash, pulling it apart like “spaghetti.” Squeeze out excess liquid. Add to tofu/veggie mixture, add diced tomatoes and stir to combine.
- Place in a 11 x 8 baking pan coated with cooking spray, top with spaghetti sauce and cheese and place in 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melting and beginning to brown. Serve with parmesan cheese at the table and a side salad. ENJOY!