And just like that, the first week of 2017 is over.
I feel pretty good about how I started the year off: more relaxation, exercise and home-cooked meals. I’m hoping to build on that momentum and carry it through the rest of the year.
I’m also making an effort to make more veggie-based meals in 2017. I love vegetables, but I typically serve them as side dishes. As a result, I don’t always get as many servings a day as I should. And, I feel so much more satisfied when I eat a main dish that features a hearty portion of veggies.
Making more veggie-based meals can be a challenge at times because James isn’t as adventurous when it comes to certain foods. When I started throwing this dinner together the other night, James said, “You aren’t making zoodles, are you?” Apparently he isn’t as big of a fan of that recipe as he originally claimed!
That’s why I love spaghetti squash. It takes on the flavor of whatever sauce you toss it in and I think it resembles and tastes more like pasta than any other veggie noodle out there. Plus, it’s so easy! You don’t need any special equipment for spaghetti squash — it turns into noodles just by scraping it with a fork.
Serving spaghetti squash with spaghetti sauce is actually the only way I’ve ever had this variety of squash. When I was checking out at the grocery store, the clerk suggested tossing it in melted butter, garlic and parmesan. That’s a recipe that’s on my list to try over the next couple of weeks.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
- 1/4 tseaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 sweet chicken or turkey Italian sausages
- 2 spicy chicken or turkey Italian sausages
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with basil
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large spaghetti squash (aim for 3 to 4 pounds)
- 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When oil is hot, add garlic and red pepper. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Squeeze all four Italian sausages out of their casings and into the pan. Break meat up into small pieces using a wooden spoon and stir until browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Carefully remove from heat and drain fat from pan.
- Return pan with meat mixture to medium heat and add crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt and the bay leaf. Stir until combined and let sauce come to a boil. Once sauce is boiling, reduce heat to low and cover pan. Let sauce simmer for at least 30 minutes.
- While sauce is simmering, poke the spaghetti squash all over with a fork. Place spaghetti squash on top of a paper towel in the microwave and cook on high for 10 to 15 minutes, until squash is soft to the touch. Remove squash from microwave and let cool until it’s comfortable enough to handle.
- Use a large butcher knife to cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop the seeds out of the middle of each side of the squash using a large spoon. Once all seeds are removed, scrape the inside of the squash with a fork until you’ve reduced all of the flesh to noodles.
- Remove sauce from heat and discard bay leaf. Top spaghetti squash with a heaping portion of sauce and a sprinkling of cheese.