Every year around January 8th, long after holiday left overs are gone, my husband and I participate in a cleanse of some sort. Got to get off those unwanted holiday pounds. Most of our eating consists of clean eating. This meaning, no pasta for this Italian NY gal. It’s heart breaking. I remembered once I met a fellow Army wife when we were stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado who would rave about the giant plate of spaghetti squash she would eat ( in place of pasta) which contained far less calories and carbohydrates. Ding ding ding. WINNER! I found a pasta substitute.
All is right in the world again. LOL! One of my favorite ways to prepare spaghetti squash is in a casserole form, topped with mozzarella cheese and pepperoni. It certainly takes away the pasta craving. Especially when covered in gooey cheese and greasy pepperoni. Before I write the recipe I’m going to give a few instructions on cooking your spaghetti squash. I’ve tried it several ways but baking it on a cookie sheet lined with foil seems to be the best for me. Now, cutting the squash in half can be quite tricky, but don’t be intimidated! I like to poke some holes in the squash and pop it into the microwave for about 5 minutes to soften it up a bit for easier cutting. Slice in in half long ways. I use an 8″ knife. Oh, back up! I once read about how you could just microwave it, as I have stated previously I have tried the cooking process in many variations. Microwaving….well. It almost ended in a disaster when the squash exploded inside the microwave, letting off a sound of a gun shot and popping the door straight open. YUP, squash, all over the kitchen. I am so glad that my teenage daughter witnessed it and we have that hilarious kitchen fail to laugh at on occasion. OK, back to the cooking tips. Poke, Microwave, Slice in half , scrape all of the guts and seeds out with a spoon just like you do when carving a pumpkin, and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Brush with Olive oil, or spray with your favorite oil, generously season with sea salt and black pepper and bake it sliced side down on 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. When the squash is done you will be able to take a fork and just scrape out the squash forming spaghetti strands. Now its ready to add the fun stuff!
What you need:
1 lb lean ground beef, cooked and drained. (I season with sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and Italian seasoning. If you want a richer onion flavor which I always do, dice up a yellow onion and toss it in your beef while cooking)
1 package shredded mozzarella or blend cheese
1 can of Hunts tomato sauce ( no sugar added)
1 small jar favorite pizza sauce
1/2 cup of skim Ricotta cheese or Cottage cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
What you do:
Mix your cooked ground beef, ( you could also use sausage or a blend of both), sauce, ricotta or cottage cheese and Parmesan cheese with your squash strands. Place in a 13×9 pan and top with bag of shredded cheese. Place pepperoni on just like you are topping a pizza and bake on 350 until cheese in melted. Sprinkle a bit of parsley, fresh or dried on top to garnish. Buon Appetito! In other words, Enjoy your meal!!!