Spaghetti Squash and Company

Got these two, giant yellow orb vegetables called spaghetti squash in our farm share this month.  I have never in my life even thought about eating one of these, let alone cooking it.  For two weeks, the big gourd-looking things lived on my kitchen counter, until meeting their demise yesterday.

I stand corrected on every ill-thought I had about these tough-to-cut-into squash giants.  What was created using them was FABULOUS!  I’m here to tell you that YOU can eat them too, and not only that, YOU can prepare them!  It’s not hard, but it is time consuming.  Here’s what you do.

DO NOT try to cut these beasts in half like so many Pinterest recipes tell you to.  Trust me.  Don’t.  Instead, puncture them with a sharp object, like a skewer or knife, several times, all over.  Then put them on a pizza pan or cookie sheet and pop ’em in 375 degree oven on bake.  Set your timer for 90 minutes and forget about them.  Go watch a movie.  Or read a good book.  With an hour and a half of free time, you could read four or five magazines cover to cover!

When your timer goes off, get those babies out of the oven.  Be careful!  They are now giant super orbs of heat, certain to be filled with orange lava.  Dont’ drop them!  Let them cool for a long time.  go ahead and set your timer for another 45 minutes or so.  And LEAVE THEM ALONE.  No good can be done with them whilst they are burning hot.

They might look like this when you take them out of the oven:

 

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While you’re waiting for what seems like FOREVER for them to cool, go ahead and get out a large Pyrex casserole dish – the big one.  Spray the bottom with olive oil.  After they are cooled, here’s what you do:

SCRAPE and DISCARD all the seeds in one squash (both halves).

SCRAPE the good flesh – the spaghetti looking junk – into the bottom of the casserole dish.

SPREAD it all out in a nice, even layer.

SLICE 6-8 fresh tomatoes.  Matters not the type.  Your choice!

PLACE tomato slices on top of the first layer of spaghetti squash string things.

Here’s a picture:

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SPRINKLE garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, black pepper, oregano and basil all over the tops of the tomatoes and the layer of strings.

COVER this layer with 1-2 ounces of mozerella cheese.

COVER that layer with 2  ounces of parmesan cheese.

Easy, huh?  And by now your dish should be smelling all Italiany and stuff.  SO GOOD!  NEXT, cut open the second spaghetti squash and do the same thing.  Discarding seeds, scraping flesh out, and then repeat all those steps above…..you’re making the second layer!  Make sure you top it all off with as much cheese as you like.  And lots of herbs.

Here’s what your dish might look like:

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Cook that junk in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes – UNCOVERED – and then get ready to chow!  It’s so tasty!!!

BUT WAIT, there’s more!

So I wanted to have a protein with this, and all I could find in the freezer were chicken thighs.  Some big bag we got from Sam’s Club last week.  Boneless, skinless thighs.  Here’s what I came up with –

I popped 7 thighs on a baking sheet and put them in the oven for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

When they were done and the juices were running clear, let them cool for about 10 minutes.  While they were cooling, I sauteed in a big ole’ frying pan about 1 cup of purple diced onions in 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil…and added a little garlic powder and salt and pepper.  Then I added the cooled chicken thighs to the frying pan.  I cooked this on medium high.  Hot enough to keep the liquids popping.  Next I added 1 can of tomato sauce, 1 package of crmini mushrooms, sliced thin, and 1/2 cup o fresh diced bell peppers.  I also added about 2 teaspoons of  poultry seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.  I covered this mess with a lid and let it continue to cook on medium for about 20  minutes.  Oh, it was looking saucy!  After 20 minutes, I added about 1/4 cup of marsala wine and cooked the concoction down until the red juices and veggies were thick like gravy.  Here’s a picture (This was what was left AFTER we ate.  I was so excited about the final product, I forgot to take a picture before we all dived into this dish!):

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OH MY GOODNESS!  So yummy!

I added a scoop of the chicken thigh stuff to the side of the spaghetti squash stuff, and it made a perfect dish!
Here is is:

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Our twelve year old son came up with the name for this brand new dish.  It’s called:

Chicken CatchyTonky

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