Now that it’s October I feel like it is officially Autumn. While we actually entered the best season of the year on September 23rd, 80+ temps don’t exactly scream boots, sweaters and scarves. However, in the past week we’ve dipped down to the 60’s, and I’ve donned a lightweight scarf on multiple occasions, even if it wasn’t really necessary.
The clothing options associated with this season aren’t the only reasons I adore Autumn. Other random loves include Halloween candy,
spiced apple cider,
and all the squash I can eat.
One squash that often graces our dinner table is spaghetti squash. As I was grocery shopping last week, I momentarily forgot about the abundance of yellow squash and zucchini we have, and picked up this bad boy.
Do not confuse this with a butternut, although someone clearly did.
Here is a side by side comparison, just so you can be sure you have a true spaghetti squash next time you go to the g-store.*
These oblong squash are the perfect substitute for pasta on a crisp Autumn or Winter evening. You can also eat them with a little bit of olive oil, some salt and pepper. One of my favorite ways to prepare them, however, is to bake them into a casserole. Tonight I nixed the original meal plan, and decided to whip up a big spaghetti squash casserole, freezing half for later.
Baked Spaghetti Squash Casserole
Nutritionals: Cal: 176, Carb: 11g, Fat: 11g, Pro: 10g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g
1 medium spaghetti squash
2.5 spicy turkey Italian sausage links (I use Jenni-O brand)
10 oz shredded mozzarella (I use the fresh Buffalo log from Costco)
1/2 cup diced mushrooms (I use the dehydrated mixed variety from Costco, chopped, then re-hydrated)
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
3/4 bell pepper, diced (red, yellow, or orange)
3/4 cup frozen chopped spinach
2 cups spaghetti sauce of choice (I use homemade sauce made by the hubs…recipe at some point)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBS Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp pepper
salt to taste
Pre-heat pan on stove-top and pre-heat oven to 350.
Microwave whole spaghetti squash on high for 4 minutes (this helps soften the squash so it is easier to cut).
Cut in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and place both halves upside down in a 9×13 pan. Fill with 1/4 cup water, cover with plastic wrap, and cook on high for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, brown the turkey Italian sausage (removed from casings and crumbled), and set aside. I cook all of the sausage, and freeze half for later in a quart size freezer bag.
Once squash is cooked, shred with a fork and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients, except for 2 oz of cheese, and mix well. Line one 8×8 pan with aluminum foil. Divide mixture between two 8×8 pans (sprayed with cooking spray or misto), freezing pan with aluminum foil for later. Alternately, you can pour entire mixture into a 9×13 pan. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.