Meatless Monday: Spaghetti Squash

I am FINALLY sharing with you all my recipe for spaghetti squash! I’ve only showed you pictures of me making it one two three times, I guess it’s time I post my recipe.

The thing is, this isn’t a recipe as much as it is a method. Spaghetti squash is super versatile. Once you roast it and get it out of the shell, you can do anything with it that you’d do with regular ol’ spaghetti. Sometimes, I just toss it with olive oil and fresh herbs. Usually, though, I whip up a batch of tomato sauce (I use canned tomatoes during these colder months) to serve on top. And to ensure that my carb and meat lovin’ boyfriend is satiated, we’ll usually toss some meatballs, garlic bread, and/or salad into the mix as well.

table2

This weekend, turkey meatballs and Alexia frozen garlic bread were invited to the party!

So, it doesn’t taste like spaghetti. Let’s get that out of the way right now. The texture is a little different and it definitely tastes more like a vegetable than a grain. But it is still an affordable and healthy alternative to its pasta counterpart, and it is super easy to make! Plus, it pretty much adopts the taste of whatever sauce you serve it with, so you’ll hardly notice you’re eating veggies 😉

Here’s how you do it:

Spaghetti Squash
serves 2-4, depending on size of squash and what you serve with it

1 medium/large spaghetti squash
olive oil
pasta sauce of choice

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Using a very sharp knife, carefully cut the stem off of the squash. If you’re having a really hard time with it, poke a few holes throughout the squash and microwave it for 30-45 seconds before trying again.
    cut2
    cut1
  3. Place the squash on the end you just cut off so that it’s stable. Again being extremely careful, cut it in half length wise.
  4. Scoop the insides from the squash.
    cut5 scoop
  5. Spray the cut side with a little bit of olive oil, and place skin side down on a baking sheet into the oven. Let it roast for at least 30 minutes, 40 minutes maximum. You want strands to pull away with very little effort when the squash is scraped with a fork.
  6. Remove and let cool before going at it with two forks. No right or wrong way to do this- just go at it until you get every last bit of squash out of the shell.
    scrape2scrape
  7. That’s it! Serve hot with olive oil and fresh herbs, or topped with your favorite pasta sauce. I’m even looking forward to trying this in a mac n’ cheese type dish…the possibilities are endless!

spaghetti3

spaghetti2

I will hopefully soon be sharing a recipe for the meatballs we enjoyed it with this weekend- I’ve made ’em 3 times now and I can’t get enough! But you all will have to wait until a non-Meatless Monday post for that 😉

table

Bon appetit!

P.S. Are you coming?

I'm Attending Blend

I registered for Blend last night and am super excited! Can’t wait to meet lots of “blends”, get my hike on Utah-style, and uh if we’re being honest here, I’m stoked to get some swag! Click the link for more info!

Advertisements

A Week in Groceries

Today, I was planning an update on my jogging/health/etc, but I decided to put it off because I’ve been too busy working on my darn Halloween costume that I haven’t had much spare time to do what I really want regarding the update (which is make a training plan to run a 5K on Thanksgiving!). So I thought I’d do a little something out of the box:

OK, more like out of the Safeway shopping bag…

I’m sharing my grocery shopping, what I generally like to stock my kitchen with, and what I make with what I buy!

First up, my grocery haul for the week from Safeway. There was a tiny version of this photo included in this week’s Weekend in Photos, but here’s the full thing:

Apples, Swanson’s Flavor Boost (‘cuz I had a coupon), Greek yogurt, multigrain tortilla chips (Food Should Taste Good has the BEST chips!), frozen burritos for lunch, granola, frozen chicken breasts, quick oats, cinnamon – pumpkin pie spice – poppy seeds, a sweet potato, and sage. For a total of $38.26!

The next day, I also picked up a spaghetti squash, butternut squash, and a pack of whole wheat English muffins to add $10.99 to the mix, which made my total just about $50.

Notes: I usually do a full grocery trip every two weeks, with a small trip in between. This was actually a pretty expensive grocery week for me, as I invested a good $10 on the spices and stocked up on a few pricier things (see italicized items above) that will last me a while. I usually buy things like tortilla chips, canned goods, and spices at Grocery Outlet (an extreeeeemely cheap bargain grocery store), but their stock frequently changes, and I didn’t find anything good there this week.

Lest you think I survived on these things alone this week, here is a peek at what was already in my kitchen:

Beans (garbanzo and black beans), several whole grain pastas, quinoa (hiding), brown rice, another sweet potato (never keep them in the fridge!), green chiles, an onion, Pop-Tarts, and there is also a giant bag of fun-sized candy hidden behind the penne. Ahem, I bought it for the trick-or-treaters me me me.

And now I apologize to my roomie in advance for exposing the world to the disaster that is our fridge, but…

Pretty much everything in the bottom two rows is mine. Hummus (I ALWAYS have hummus), tortillas, peanut butter, almond milk, a jar of homemade balsamic dressing, bacon, and a thing of sour cream that has probably gone bad. Also, there are brussels sprouts and romaine lettuce in the crisper drawer. Surprisingly, no wine at the moment.

As for the freezer…pumpkin puree, broccoli, and corn. That’s about it. 😉

With the exception of the two squashes and the sweet potato I bought, I’m pretty low on fresh produce at the moment. I was relying pretty heavily on the Farmer’s Market by my work this summer for produce, and as the summer has left, so has it unfortunately. There’s a big market on Sundays, but for some reason I never find myself with the motivation to wake up early enough!

Anywho, here are some of the things I made this week with the above groceries.

Strawberry greek yogurt + Strawberry vanilla granola = Sooooo yummy. A filling breakfast at only 250 calories. Holla. My breakfast each morning is either this, or oatmeal packets at work.

Spaghetti squash tossed with olive oil, fresh thyme, and basil from my parents’ garden. Notice how I have real spaghetti sitting on stand-by, just in case? Haha. Luckily, the squash (plus Mom’s meat sauce, fresh bread, and salad) was just enough to feed me and my parents. Next up, I think I’ll get T-Man to try it out!

Peanut butter and apple sandwich on an English muffin (if you look real hard, you can see some honey too!). I had this for lunch twice this week! I felt like a 6 year old, but it was totally worth it.

I don’t have a picture of me eating a frozen burrito, haha, but here’s one of my soup cups. I pretty much alternate which one I buy each week, and have at least a couple of each on hand at all times.

I used the butternut squash and sage to make soup! So far, that pot is half gone, and it’s served as dinner for me and a two-bowl lunch for T-Man. He’s been holding it hostage at his house since Tuesday…..I’ve been craving it alllll week.

Other lunches this week included quinoa mixed with whatever veggies & beans I had…Other dinners included a quesadilla, sweet potato fries, and baked chicken with broccoli.

Also, it’s safe to assume that I ingested a lot of chips and hummus. As I do..every week.

.

THE TAKEAWAY:

  • My main goal when I’m at the grocery store is to buy things that will either last me a long time, or that I can easily make into single servings, since I’m buying for just myself. Also, to save money, obviously. (I never bought meat in college because I didn’t know how to properly preserve it before it went bad — now, I know how to manage my poultry, haha.)
  • I try to keep my kitchen balanced with carbs, proteins, veggies, and just a couple of snacks and sweets (e.g. chips and hummus, Halloween candy).
  • Quick meals like soup cups and burritos are a must for lunch, but for dinners I like to utilize the season’s produce.
  • You won’t find a lot of store-bought sauces, salsas, or dressings on my side of the fridge- I think it’s cheaper, healthier, and more fun (!) to make them yourself. (In fact, most of the hummus I ate this week was homemade, not the Sabra stuff.)

How much do YOU spend on groceries, and how often do you go? Which things do you always make from scratch, and which do you tend to buy ready-made from the store?

Weekend in Photos + Rain

Would you believe me if I told you it was 89 degrees here just last week?

I would say I think this means fall is here to stay, but it’s supposed to be in the mid 70’s later this weekend, so I just don’t know what to think anymore.

Alls I know is I had to bike to work today, and it looked a bit like this:

Fortunately, I’m experienced in the art of biking in the rain…It happens a whole 4 times per year down in Santa Barbara 😉

My strategy is to wear as light of clothing as possible while I bike, then change into warm dry clothes at my destination. Mission accomplished this morning…except that I acquired what we referred to at UCSB as a Freshman Stripe…a strip of water that gets kicked up by your bike tire if you ride through puddles (or haven’t bought fenders for your tires yet), usually found on the backs of Freshmen. And me. Womp womp.

Luckily, it wasn’t like this all weekend:

On Friday, I went to our local YMCA’s annual auction. My family is kiiinda heavily involved with the organization. My dearly departed Papa (whose service is being held at a YMCA), my dad (who helped organize the auction), and even my brother (the one holding up the sign [the job was a perfect fit — he’s 6’3″]). There were lots of tastings from local wineries and catering companies, and both live and silent auctions!

The only auction item I won was a gift basket with moscato & Girl Scout cookies (score!)…but as you can see, my family made out with a fair amount of loot. And my mom gave me one of her boxes of Tagalongs, so generous she is!!

For the first time in months, I slept in on Saturday morning! (T-Man’s campaign schedule isn’t exactly conducive to sleeping in) — When my lunch on Friday consisted of quinoa and chickpeas (because it was all I had left) I knew it was time for grocery shopping…. — and baking! This Apple Goodie is a Grandma Hanzlik recipe…. to be shared soon!

Late Saturday night, we redeemed some Groupons for a Haunted Corn Maze in town. It was AWESOME! And pretty terrifying. It helped that we were led through by someone who works at the farm…but there were literally dozens of actors that kept jumping out or (even worse) creepily coming out from behind us. Definitely check it out if you’re in the Sacramento area!

To keep with the scary theme, I took a picture with one of T-Man’s creepy pirate ship paintings.

The weekend ended with dinner & the Giants game at my parents’ house… I was shocked to see the dozens of sympathy cards that had come in for my dad. — The Giants forced Game 7! So so so hoping they make it to the World Series. My Papa would be so excited! — For dinner, I cooked a spaghetti squash with my momma’s homemade meat sauce. None of us had tried it before, and we all liked it! Though I’d warn to those wanting to try it that it isn’t as filling as regular spaghetti, so we paired it with a couple nice slices of French bread!

Hows the weather in your neck of the woods?