Ever tried that strange looking squash named spaghetti squash?
What's that all about anyway?
Let me tell you! Spaghetti squash has a mild flavor, (slightly sweet) it's easy to cook, and is a great replacement for spaghetti. To prepare the squash you have to cut it in half and clean out the seeds, and stringy pulp. Much like a pumpkin. Then you roast it and when it is done it will be soft and tender. To make the "spaghetti" you just take a fork and scrap the flesh out of the shell and it will separate into strands that look like spaghetti. Easy!
Today's dish is part of my "Eat Well 2013" motto because this dish is low in calories and carbs. Replacing your typical pasta with spaghetti squash allows you to get more servings of veggies and fiber in your diet. Plus it tastes good. Even the kids will love it. What a great way to get them to eat more veggies, right? This version includes meatballs for protein along with a quick marinara sauce to top the squash with.
The marinara has a little kick from the cayenne pepper, so if you are feeding the kiddos, omit or use less. I love the heat myself. It lends another depth of flavor to a simple sauce.
For the meatballs, you could make homemade using my meatball recipe. Better than that to make this a quicker dish to prepare, make the meatballs and freeze them for use later on. This will allow you to take out the amount of meatballs that you need (about 3 per person is good) and thaw them in the microwave before adding them to the sauce. Or if you want more convenience you could by frozen meatballs, beef or turkey, and thaw them and add to the sauce as well. Whatever works best for you.
All in all, this dish is healthy, smart, and super tasty! Hope you enjoy my version.
Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs
Makes: 4 servings
Prep: 20 mins
Bake: 50 mins
1 2 pound spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
Nonstick cooking spray
12 meatballs, cooked (from meatball recipe) or store bought
1 T dried Italian seasoning, crushed
2 14 ½ oz cans crushed tomatoes
½ t crushed red pepper
1 t Italian seasoning
½ t salt
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat the cut side of the spaghetti squash with cooking spray. Place squash halves, cut sides down, on a large cookie sheet or baking pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until squash is soft. Allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Using a fork scrape the insides of the squash to separate the strands. Place in a medium bowl.
For meatballs: Lightly coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Preheat skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and cook until browned, turning occasionally to brown evenly. (If using frozen meatballs, thaw using the microwave first then add to the skillet.) Add tomatoes, crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning, and salt. Bring sauce to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes or until sauce starts to thicken.