Month: October 2014

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash {Step-by-Step Photo Guide}

Spaghetti squash is one of those foods that a lot of us have heard about or seen at the grocery store or farmer’s market…but perhaps been a bit too intimidated or weirded out to try.

I’ve got good news for you!

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Spaghetti squash is very easy to cook AND fun to play with 🙂  I’m always up for anything that makes cooking more fun, and this ingredient definitely does!

You can upgrade your pasta by swapping it out for spaghetti squash.

As its name implies, the inside of the squash can be scraped out to form spaghetti-like strands, so you can serve it just like you would spaghetti.  Top it with your favorite marinara or pesto sauce or sauté it with garlic, onions, spinach and some herbs. It’s tender but has a slight “crunch” to it.

It’s rich in fiber as well as beta-carotene, which is good for our vision, immune system, and healthy skin.

I’ll be sharing a recipe for a Tuscan spaghetti squash boat later this week, but in the meantime, here’s how you make spaghetti squash!

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Preheat oven to 400F while you prep the squash.

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Slice a line down the length of the spaghetti squash, about a half inch deep, but don’t cut it in half. It’s usually too hard to cut in half at this point, unless you have a really good knife.

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Turn the squash the other way and cut about 4 strokes into the squash, cross hatching the longer line you already cut. Cutting the squash this way allows it to steam in the oven and prevents it from exploding 🙂 Put the squash in a baking dish in the oven for 20 minutes, so it can soften enough to cut it in half.

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Remove squash from the oven and cut it in half. It should cut easily at this point.

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Wearing an oven mitt (the squash will be HOT), pry it open with your hands.

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Scoop out the seeds with a spoon.

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Put the squash cut-side down in a 9×13 baking dish and fill the bottom of the dish with about 1/4-1/2 cup of water (enough to cover the bottom of the pan). Return squash to oven for 30-40 minutes or until the squash easily pulls away from the shell.

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Let the squash cool and then scrape out the inside with a fork. It should pull away easily into spaghetti-like strands!

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Beautiful spaghetti squash ready to be used for your delicious kitchen creations!

Happy National Kale Day! {Plus a NEW Kale Salad Recipe to Try}

Happy National Kale Day!

In all honesty, I had no idea this was even a “thing” until I woke up this morning and saw it all over twitter.

We love kale and all of the amazing health benefits it provides. It’s a super versatile super food.

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Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore and had the privilege of meeting Mr. Kale himself – Brad of Brad’s Raw Kale Chips

Total food nerd moment 🙂

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I’ve featured kale in several recipes on this blog in addition to the one I’m sharing today! I use it in everything from salads, soups and sautees to smoothies and frittatas.

To celebrate National Kale Day, try one of these recipes, the *new* salad below, or one of the others on the National Kale Day website:

  1. Taste the Rainbow Kale Salad
  2. Upgraded Kale Waldorf Salad
  3. Mediterranean Chickpea and Sundried Tomato Kale Salad
  4. Mini Kale & Mushroom Breakfast Frittatas
  5. Peachy Keen Kale Salad
  6. Tuscan Bean Soup (scroll to the bottom of the page next to the picture of the soup)
  7. Caribbean Island Breeze Smoothie
Kale leaves after being pulled off of the pretty purple stems

Kale leaves after being pulled off of the pretty purple stems

I was on Facebook the other day and was intrigued by the headline, “The Recipe That Will Make You Fall In Love With Kale All Over Again” on MindBodyGreen’s page.

Being the kale lover that I am, I had to click on it.

Reading through the ingredient list piqued my interest, so Bill and I made it for dinner using the purple kale that we had in our fridge. I’m so glad we did!

The lemon juice broke down the bitterness of the kale (as it always does!), and the combo of the sweetness from the dates, complex flavors of the curry powder, bite of the ginger, tanginess of the tahini and crunch of the pumpkin seeds was a real mouth party!

kale salad

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 big bunch of kale (any variety), thinly chopped (about 5 cups)

Dressing Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons tahini (usually in the international section of the grocery store)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 3 Medjool dates, pit removed and soaked in hot water for 10 minutes to soften them
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

We topped ours with some raw pumpkin seeds for an extra crunch 🙂

Click here for the full recipe from MindBodyGreen!

Ingredients for the salad. This is the best (and cheapest!) tahini we've found. We bought it at a Mediterranean grocery store/cafe nearby called Cedar Cafe

Ingredients for the salad. This is the best (and cheapest!) tahini we’ve found. We bought it at a Mediterranean grocery store/cafe nearby called Cedar Cafe

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