Monday, October 22, 2012

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin


Recently, I spent a weekend with my girlfriends.  I love the time I get to do this and it’s just not often enough.  We drank wine, danced in our PJ’s, sang songs that we all know by heart, stayed up super late gossiping, catching up and talking about everything under the sun, and laughed ‘til our bellies hurt.  Good times…wonderful times…And of course we talked about food!

Someone mentioned spaghetti squash au gratin and I literally perked up…what is this deliciousness you speak of!??  It stuck with me the whole weekend and I just had to figure out a way to have it!  I did a bunch of research and perused lots of recipes online and I came up with this one that suited Hubby’s tastes.  The entire time I was making it, I was praying to the food Gods that it would turn out because not only is it super low calorie, it’s healthy, and it smelled amazing…I had high hopes…and boy did this little keeper come through for me!  It was so good, you can honestly label it comfort food.

I have made spaghetti squash lots of times in the past but always served it with a red sauce.  I never thought about pairing it with creamy goodness!  And now, all I can think about is ways to make other dishes with it!  I’m thinking I’ll try a variation of broccoli cheese casserole, or creamy chicken casserole…the possibilities are endless!

Lots of people are using spaghetti squash in place of pasta and rice in dishes because of its health benefits.  It contains no fat, relatively low carbs (certainly in comparison to rice and pasta), 9% of your daily Vitamin C, and 8 % of your recommended dose of B6.  It is loaded with beta carotene, folate, omega-3 and 6.  And it’s SO versatile!

If you aren’t already eating it – start!

Ingredients:
1 medium to large spaghetti squash (approximately 4 cups cooked)
2 T Brummel and Brown spread or light butter
1 small sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
½ cup light sour cream
½ cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
¼ cup shredded parmesan
4 T 50% reduced fat bacon pieces
(I used Hormel, but you can always fry up some regular old bacon…I wanted to reduce some cals)
1 cup diced lean ham
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cut the squash in half and scoop out all of the seeds and stringy pulp




Lay cut side down on a baking sheet.  I line my baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup.


Bake squash for about 40 minutes (depending on how large it is, could need less or more time); you’ll know it’s done when a knife slides easily into the top.  For a quicker option, place cut-side down in a microwaveable dish, pierce with a fork and microwave for about 12 minutes.


Once cooked and cooled for a bit, shred the insides easily with a fork into a medium sized bowl.  See how it makes “spaghetti-like” strings?  Brilliant!


 
In a small sauté pan on medium heat, add butter, onions, garlic, ham, bacon pieces, red pepper flakes, thyme and rosemary.


Sauté until the onions are translucent and remove from heat.
 

Add onion mixture, sour cream, salt, pepper, and ½ of the cheese mixture to the squash and mix.


Place into a casserole dish sprayed with non-stick spray and top with remaining cheese.



Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden and bubbly.  Sorry about the bad pics; by the time we ate it was dark outside and my kitchen lights did not do justice - just trust me on this one!



Serve!  I can't wait to make it again!

Nutrition:
Serves 4 (but it’s SO good, you may only want to share it with one…and low enough cals that you can!)

Calories 197 / Carbs 10g / Fat 9g / Protein 14g / Fiber 2g / Sodium 1078mg

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