Hey kids! This week is off to a pretty hectic start. It began with a dentist visit (party!), and also one of those do or die grocery shopping trips. We had been working so hard on deadline stuff that we couldn't even find the time to squeeze in our regular weekly shopping...and thus, over the weekend we ran out of EVERYTHING...like not just food...we even ran out of dog treats, paper towels, ziplocks, aluminum foil, and all sorts of stuff like that. So we've spent two huffing and puffing days getting our dental and domestic health in order. We can't wait to get our current projects finished up so that we can get busy on some fun Fall craft tutorials for you guys. I feel like we've been so absent lately when it comes to sharing art tutorials and I want to change that. Very soon...Promise!!
But in the meantime we've got another fab recipe to share with you guys and it is so fitting for the crunch that we've been in. This is totally a meal for a busy day. But we have very consciously changed our idea of a busy day meal. In the past we would work round the clock and dinner was simply a nuisance...something we had to get out of the way in order to work through the rest of the night. So guess what we did back then? We'd order in. The food would be delivered and we'd shovel it in and get back to work. Most likely the food was loaded with sodium, as most take-out food is, and it probably didn't taste all that great...though we probably grunted to each other about it being good...but what we actually meant with those grunts was "yes, this is food and we are eating it because otherwise we'd be fainting from not eating...etc." Anyway, a typical Italian take-out meal would be spaghetti and chicken parm....which translates to several thousand calories, salt and fat galore, followed by the ever present take-out food coma. So anyway, fast forward to the present day. We've changed a million things about ourselves to make life better and happier. One major thing is how we eat. Rule # 1 is that take-out food is not an option. Rule # 2 is that since we're making the meal from scratch then we should feel good about what we're making and that it should taste awesome and should not be coma inducing in any way.
Ok, so with those things in mind, this here is the perfect busy day meal for us! It is so fast and easy to prepare, plus it's like the supa dupa delicious, healthy and vegetarian version of the 'ole gut busting Italian take-out classic. In the past we shared a recipe in which we did an Alfredo sauce on spaghetti squash...and that was great...but we feel like this meal will appeal to so many more peeps. It's got a great simple tomato sauce and even the staunchest carnivores will fall head over heels for these MorningStar Farms Chik Patties. (find them in the frozen section of your grocery store) We love them...and my little bro Walt, who orders chicken parm whenever he can, thought that these were awesome. You can use them in a million ways. In fact, some time in the near future we'll do a post all about the million ways we use them. For this dish we let them defrost on the counter and then simply browned them in a pan with a tiny bit of olive oil. Then we made a batch of our quick and easy tomato sauce. And since our favorite market keeps their big wads of fresh mozzarella right at the entrance...we of course picked up one of those to cut up and top these off with. But you could just as easily use a bag of shredded mozzarella. Maybe what's best about this recipe is that each squash is this self contained perfect little meal. You can actually hold it in the palm of your hand and have nothing more than a fork to work with.
Here is what you will need:
2 Spaghetti Squash
Olive oil for brushing your squash
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
4 Chik Patties (from Morningstar Farms)
1 cup of Fresh Mozzarella or shredded
fresh basil ribbons for serving
*Simple Tomato Sauce:
2 cups chopped tomatoes ( I use Pomi brand and LOVE it )
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small yellow onion diced
2-3 teaspoons minced garlic
dash of balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon Italian herbs
dash of salt & pepper
dash of sugar (optional)
How to make your Tomato Sauce:
*If you opted to make your own simple tomato sauce, which takes like 5 mins, grab a small sauce pan. Set to medium heat, Add your olive oil. Now add your garlic, and cook till fragrant, about a minute. Now add your onions, stirring occasionally, cooking till translucent. Now add your crushed red pepper flakes and stir around a bit. Add your tomatoes, herbs, and balsamic vinegar. Stir. Add your salt, pepper and sugar. Remove from heat and set aside.
First Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Next cut each of your Squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
Pour a bit of olive oil in a little bowl and add your garlic. Brush the entire interior of your Squash and place on an cookie sheet that you also brush with a bit of olive oil. If there is any garlic left in the bowl add it to your squash. Sprinkle your squash with a bit of salt and pepper. Now pop in the oven for about an hour. After you remove them make sure to keep that oven on...we'll be popping them back in to get the cheese all melty.
When your squash is fully cooked, gently scrape and pull with a fork...and you will see that it comes off in spaghetti like strands. Do this to all 4.
Now sprinkle with a bit of your parmesan cheese and toss around with a fork to spread throughout.
Now add about a 1/3 cup of sauce (or more if you'd like) to each squash half and spread out.
In a saute pan, heat about 2 teaspoons of olive oil and brown your Chik Patties on each side.
Slice your warm, browned, crispy Chik Patties and lay the strips atop your sauced squash. Then top with some mozzarella.
Sprinkle with a bit more Parmesan Cheese. And pop back in the oven for about 15 mins.
Top with a some fresh basil ribbons, a bit more grated parmesan, and serve!
Holy cow did we love these. And they came together so easily. Me, Aaron, and Walt had one each. And since there were four total squash halves, me and Aar split one the next day for lunch. It heated up perfectly...maybe took about 15 minutes in a preheated oven.
We'd love to hear about your experience with this recipe...or spaghetti squash in general. Or let us know how you love to use chik patties.
Thanks again for cooking with us!
xo, Jenny & Aaron