lightened up buffalo chicken dip

Please & Thank You.

Peas & Carrots.

Romeo & Juliet.

…the list goes on and on, and on and on. I could sit here for hours on end, thinking of the perfect marriage between different fun phrases, historical couples, and other random trivia notes, but there’s always one pair that jumps to my mind when I sit and think on “what does pair so well together??”

The answer, my dears, is plain and simple – buffalo chicken and blue cheese.

I could tell you that there was a time, back when I was just a young thing, and I could not even tolerate the mere thought of blue cheese. My dad {sidenote: can categorize basically his entire life using his salad dressing preference} is a huge, huge fan of the stuff, and I have vivid memories of him adding it on to just about every salad at dinnertime. I couldn’t even do it.

As I got older, my tolerance for creamier things began to develop, and I even allowed myself to like love Ranch dressing, especially when paired “late night” style with some delivery pizza. Wings and veggies got the same treatment. I would always reach for the Ranch.

But then, one day, it all changed.

I think that I had gotten so used to the flavor of this classic American dressing that I no longer even liked it. Clearly, my tastes had changed, yet again, and in doing so I thought to myself “what the heck – let’s try this blue cheese again.” And then I fell in love. Blue Cheese on everything! – from pizza crusts to salads, wings to French fries, crumbled on top of pizzas, you name it, I’m game. And then when I saw this recipe I’m sharing with you today, I knew that this was a long-term love affair.

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The best part about this dish is that it’s been slightly lightened up! As we all know, traditional blue cheese dressing is made with gobs of sour cream and mayonnaise. Once you fold in the crumbled cheese, you’re basically looking at a calorie bomb. Same with casseroles and dips made with this beloved culinary treasure. But that’s why were here, right! I distinctly remember stumbling upon this recipe last year, right before the Super Bowl, and it was if Heaven shone a golden light down onto my screen. You can have your blue cheese, and eat it, and enjoy it, too!

We’re replacing the typical mayo/cream cheese/sour cream base of this baked and bubbly dip with one of my favorite ingredients – Greek yogurt! I vary slightly from Cassie’s original recipe, because I opt for 0% plain Greek yogurt, and a blended cream cheese-yogurt mix, but feel free to use whatever you like!

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This is a fantastic dip to take for tailgating, to casual dinner parties…or if you’re really craving it, whip it up for dinner one night! Served alongside some crostini and a big, colorful salad, you’ll be fully satisfied, and not left with a guilty conscience heavy tummy!

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Lightened Up Buffalo Chicken Dip {recipe adapted, slightly, from Back to her Roots}

serves 12, at 1/2 cup per serving

Ingredients:

4 ounces softened Greek Yogurt-Cream Cheese blend*

1/2 cup crumbed Blue Cheese

1 cup plain, 0% Greek yogurt

2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken breast

1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce {you can add more if you prefer a bit more heat! – this yields a more mellow flavor}

2 T. fresh, chopped parsley

1/2 tsp. dried dill

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

salt and pepper, to taste

2 green onions, sliced thin

*this is sold at my local Kroger…it’s a cream cheese and yogurt blend, and I think tastier than regular or low-fat cream cheese. If you can’t find it, no worries! Either regular or low-fat cream cheese will work just fine.

Optional Toppings:

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup panko

To Prepare:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the softened cream cheese, crumbled blue cheese, Greek yogurt, shredded chicken, buffalo sauce, parsley, dill, garlic powder, salt and pepper until well combined.

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Pour mixture into an ungreased one quart casserole dish. If desired, sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese and panko.

Bake in preheated oven until golden and bubbly, at least 30 minutes. I like to, at the very last second, turn the broiler on for 1-2 minutes to get that topping nice and crispy.

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Serve with desired scoopables {pita chips, tortilla chips, etc.} and hearty sliced veggies. Enjoy!

 

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colorful corn & bean salad

I’m on a veggie kick lately, y’all.

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Summer speaks to me of warm summer nights, porch sitting, fresh produce, and {if I’m being honest} minimal time spent hovering over a hot oven. There’s nothing more unfortunate than spending time in said space when you could be lounging on your porch, dining al fresco, with an easy dinner based off little or no cooking. This is where this salad comes into play.

I’m fortunate in the sense that I have several friends who actually have the time to spend crafting successful gardens, and I am the frequent benefactor of the fruits of their labors. Granted, I dabble in it – albeit slightly with tomatoes/herbs/lettuces, which is better than nothing – but I do not have the knowledge or time to give it the love it needs. Summer after summer, I find myself constantly coming up with new and inventive ways to jazz up the produce I’m blessed to accept.

I’ve played with preserving and jarring pickles, canning my own tomato sauce, and preserving fruits in the form of delicious jams and jellies. But, it’s so hard to not want to eat up each and every bit of produce as soon as we possibly can. So when a bunch of fresh corn, peppers, and jalepenos showed up on my door step, this salad was born.

I’m not even sure if it’s fair to call this a true “recipe” even. I’ve mentioned before that a lot of my summer cooking is spent on a wing and a prayer, and this was one of those. As I was measuring and stirring, I had the hubs write it down for me so I could share it here with y’all. As as I am constantly mentioning, feel free to play around with this! So far, we’ve served it on top of salads, inside of quesadillas, and even just set out as a salsa for dipping in my fresh chips. I think it would make a wonderful topping for fresh cod, or stirred into sauteed veggies. I wouldn’t be surprised if I spooned it on top of a pizza someday…

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Colorful Corn & Bean Salad {original recipe, serves 6-8}

Ingredients:

4 ears fresh corn {hulled of its skin} and trimmed off so only the kernels remain

1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1 can diced tomatoes, drained

1 green bell pepper, diced

up to 1 whole jalepeño, seeds removed {if desired} and finely grated

1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper

salt and pepper, to taste

To Prepare:

Add fresh corn into the bottom of a large, wide-mouthed mixing bowl {I like to use my largest stainless steel one). Add in both beans, the tomatoes, and the green peppers. Stir to combine.

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Grate in the fresh jalepeño, and mix well. Drizzle in the olive oil and lime juice, stirring to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes and allow the flavors to merry while we assemble the spice mixture.

Combine all seasonings in a small bowl, making sure to evenly distribute them {we don’t want any clumps of cumin, or hot spots of cayenne}.

Sprinkle evenly over the corn/tomato/bean mixture, and stir well. Store in an airtight container, or several smaller Mason jars {for easy transport and serving}. Salad will keep well in the fridge for several days.

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super simple guacamole & baked tortilla chips

Avocados and I go way back, y’all.

I can say with absolute certainty that I have been a total veggie lover since before I could walk. My mom always reinforced to me how much I love to snack on fresh veggies as soon as I was able to…whether it was beets, carrots, peas – you name it, I ate it. It’s fairly common in our family to find someone munching away on a bowl of greens, enjoying chopped veggies, or popping tomatoes off the vine {I do this often in the summer months!}.

If anything, my love affair for fresh produce has only further developed. I am a firm believer in the “try anything once” philosophy, because how are you really going to know if you don’t like something until you sink your teeth into it? I cannot recall the first time I ever tried avocados, but they are easily one of my favorite go-to’s, especially during the hot summer months. I have no qualms shelling out a few extra bucks for the good organic ones at my local grocery store. Packed full of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, the avocado is the ideal snack. Give me a spoon and half an avocado, and I am one happy gal.

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The hardest problem I have with this beloved treat? Waiting for them to ripen! An avocado is going to be perfectly succulent when the flesh still feels firm overall, but will give ever so slightly around its navel. You can also help speed up the process slightly by putting them in a small brown paper bag with an apple. The natural gases emitted from the apple help the avocado to turn quicker – I’ve found this trick helpful in years past when preparing large quantities {we’re talking 15-20 avocados, no joke} for summer get-togethers.

Speaking of said gatherings, I found this the perfect opportunity to introduce to you my recipe for super simple guacamole. It is by no means fancy, frilly, laced with special ingredients. Just pure and simple; fresh avocados, their creamy and rich flavor heightened only by fresh citrus juice, garlic, and a sprinkling of sea salt and cracked pepper. And because we need the perfect vessel to accommodate this bite of heaven, we’re going to make some oven-baked tortilla chips to go along with them.

To me, this is summer eating at its best. Simple, fresh ingredients that come together as a meal in minutes…how much better does it get?

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Super Simple Guacamole & Baked Tortilla Chips

Ingredients – Guacamole:

3-4 ripe avocados

3 large cloves of garlic, minced

fresh lemon juice, to taste

fresh lime juice, to taste

salt and pepper

To Prepare:

Begin by seeding the avocados. The best way I’ve found to do this is to carefully cut around the sides of the avocado from top to bottom. Give the sides a gentle twist, and the two halves should split neatly apart. To remove the pit, carefully hit the center of the pit with the blade of your knife, rotate it to loosen, and pull it out. Scoop the flesh of the avocado out with a spoon and place into a mixing bowl.

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Add in the minced garlic {make sure it’s fresh!}, lemon juice, lime juice, salt and pepper. I like to use a large spoon for combining the ingredients together – give it a few good mashes with the backside of the spoon, making sure to leave lots of good-sized chunks.

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Once all combined, place into the center of the bowl the avocado pits. Not only do they make it look fun and festive, but they will help the guacamole from turning brown. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.

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Ingredients – Baked Tortilla Chips:

1 package of your favorite tortillas {I prefer a corn-based}

cooking spray

salt and pepper, to taste

optional extras: fresh lime juice, cumin, adobo seasoning

To Prepare:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the desired amount of tortillas into quarters, and set aside.

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Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and give a good coating with cooking spray. Begin placing the quartered tortillas onto the sheet, making sure to not overlap any corners {if the sheet is too crowded, the chips will not get as crispy}. Spray the top sides with cooking spray, and sprinkle generously with cracked pepper and sea salt. You can also add any of the optional spices here, should you choose to!

Turn the tortillas over {so the seasoned side is facing down} and repeat the seasoning process – a gentle spritz, then sprinkle with the desired seasonings.

Place into the oven and cook for 8 minutes, then remove the pans and turn over each of the chips. Place back in the oven and cook for another 5-7…I find that the second side cooks much quicker.

Remove from the oven and place onto a cooling sheet. I find that the chips are best prepared several hours in advance; this allows them to firm up nicely and really develop the flavors. They will be golden brown and crispy right out of the oven, but I think letting them sit helps them dry out slightly more. 

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Serve with heaping bowls of guacamole and a cold, refreshing Mexican beer!

 

summer salmon with roasted asparagus

Hands down, one of my favorite things about this time of year is the abundance of fresh, bright produce and gorgeous seafood. It just doesn’t get any better than that, no?

Happily making my way down the produce and seafood section not too long ago, I couldn’t help but notice lovely stalks of bright green asparagus. This being one of my favorite vegetables, I quickly scooped up a bunch, knowing that half of dinner was already taken care of. Thinking to myself what kind of protein to pair with it, I immediately thought a filet of wild-caught salmon would be absolute perfection. I knew that I had some leftover artichokes and Roma tomatoes at home waiting to be used, so I thought that this would pair well with the salmon as well.

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Not only is this a healthy dinner, bursting with flavor and color, but it comes together in a flash. We start by making a quick dressing of herbs and mustard together, then setting it aside so the flavors can merry together. The salmon gets seasoned well with salt and pepper then placed, skin side down,  onto a lightly sprayed piece of foil. We then build layers of flavor by adding first the tomatoes, then the artichokes, then finally, everything gets drizzled with the marinade. Covered tightly with foil {we’re doing foil packet baked fish, after all!}, everything gets roasted off in the oven.

And, dears, the asparagus couldn’t be any simpler. All we’re doing with these lovelies is tossing generously with salt and pepper, a good drizzle of olive oil, then spreading evenly onto a baking sheet. The end result is a perfectly roasted vegetable, with crispy bits.

A lovely plate for dinner, easy enough to throw together during the week but can be trussed up into a date night at home. Light some candles, pour some wine, and enjoy!

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Summer Salmon with Roasted Asparagus {original recipe}

Serves: 2, & can easily be doubled

Ingredients for the Salmon 

1 lb. fresh, wild caught salmon

1/2 can artichokes, drained and rinsed well

1 large Roma tomato, sliced thin

1/2 tsp. dried dill

1 tsp. dried thyme

2 tsp. dried basil

1 T. honey

2 T. dijon mustard

1 T. whole grain mustard

few teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, or chicken stock {used to thin the marinade}

salt & pepper, to taste

 

Ingredients for the Asparagus

1 bunch asparagus, rinsed well and trimmed of any undesirable leaves/stems

salt & pepper, to taste

extra virgin olive oil

 

To Make {both the salmon and asparagus!}

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, combine the dill, thyme, basil, honey, both types of mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk well to combine, and then drizzle in the liquid as needed {I ended up using about 2 tsp of stock}. Set aside.

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Line a baking sheet with foil, and drizzle with olive oil. Place the two pieces of salmon, skin side down, on the foil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Layer each piece with the tomatoes first, then the artichokes, and finally finish with the marinade. Seal tightly and set aside.

Place the asparagus on a piece of foil. Drizzle generously with olive oil, and season well with salt and pepper {sometimes I even like to squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice on there as well – be careful of seeds if you do!} Toss to coat, then either place that sheet of foil on the same pan as the salmon packet {if large enough} or on a separate sheet.

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Roast both the salmon packets and asparagus in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until desired done-ness is achieved {I prefer mine slightly on the pinker side, with a velvety texture}. Give the asparagus a turn about halfway through, to ensure even cooking.

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For an even crispier roasted asparagus, place in the oven 5-10 minutes before the salmon goes in, making sure to toss halfway through. 

loaded up brie mac & cheese

Mac and Cheese is the ultimate comfort food.

If you’re anything like me, there is nothing better than settling into your kitchen after a long day at work, tying on your apron, and setting to work preparing dinner. Call me crazy, but sometimes the more involved the recipe is, the more soothing it is for me. You see, the kitchen is my safe haven, my place of calm, where I like to unwind. There are days when the stresses of work and everyday life just get to me, and all I can think about is making it to 5:00 and getting home to cook dinner. Call me crazy, and people certainly have, but to each their own, right?

The hubs and I have been on a bit of a Brie kick lately. This was one cheese I was never particularly fond of, or at least I thought that. Typically, the stinkier the cheese is, the more I like it. Pass me over a wedge of tangy Blue Cheese, perhaps a cube (or three!) of briny Feta, or some shavings of tart Romano cheese, and I’m a happy girl. It’s never been about the texture for me, but I’ve just always been drawn to bold flavors. Brie never really fit the bill.

Until one day last November, that is. For a “Friendsgiving” party a girlfriend of mine threw, I was tasked with some appetizers and a few side dishes. I’ll save the recipe for another time, but my dears, the Brie was the star. And it totally opened my eyes to the vast possibilities of cooking with it.

Flash forward to this week. One day not too long ago after work, I knew it was going to be one of those nights. A long, unwinding time in the kitchen, grating cheese, chopping veggies, the whole deal. Perhaps a glass of wine, if I may be so bold. I had been mulling over this particular mac & cheese recipe for some time, waiting for the perfect opportunity. And then inspiration struck me – let’s jazz it up, because why not? A quick glance in the refrigerator was all I needed; roasted vegetables could only make this even better, right? And toss in some salty prosciutto….now we’re getting somewhere.

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This does take a little bit of time to prepare, but the result is well worth the time (and the resulting dishes). Creamy Brie marries wonderfully with the sharp Cheddar and nutty Parmesan, and the roasted vegetables provide textural contrast to the smooth mouth feel of the dish. And if you’re willing to part with half of the dish (I only cook for two, so I do this quite often), immediately transfer half of the recipe into a freezer-safe dish for another time. All the perks of two rich, homemade meals….but only the work of one kitchen round. I think we can all get behind this, yes?

Enjoy!

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Loaded Up Brie Mac & Cheese {adapted slightly from Half Baked Harvest}

1 bag of Brussels sprouts, washed and removed of any unsightly leaves, and cut in half from top to bottom

1/2 head of cauliflower, washed and trimmed to the size of the Brussels sprouts

1 package of good prosciutto, cut into cubes

3 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 box of DeLallo pasta (I used a whole wheat shell)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 onion, finely diced

1/4 C. all purpose flour

2 C. milk (I used 1%)

1 C. low sodium chicken stock

7 ounces Brie cheese (I opted to leave the rind on, as I enjoy the flavor of it…but feel free to remove)

3 ounces sharp white Cheddar cheese

4 ounces Parmesan cheese

heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard

salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 – 1 C. panko bread crumbs

To make:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray and spread the Brussels sprouts and cauliflower in an even layer. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast until browned and crispy, tossing once, about 25-30 minutes. Set aside.

Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once a boil is achieved, generously salt the water. Add in the pasta, and cook until al dente (you want it to have a bit of bite to it still, as it will finish cooking in the oven). Drain well and set aside.

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While the pasta boils, add 3 tbsp. of your butter to a medium skillet and melt. Add in the garlic and onion, and saute for several minutes. You want the onions to be slightly soft and translucent. Season with salt and pepper, then whisk in the flour. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the flour cook in with the butter/garlic/onion mixture for one minute. Gradually whisk in the milk and stock, raising the heat up to medium-high. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently until the sauce has thickened, about 3-6 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in all of the cheese, Dijon mustard, and additional salt and pepper to taste. Stir until the cheese is fully melted. Stir until the cheese is fully melted, and then fold in the roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted cauliflower, and cubed prosciutto.

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Transfer to a prepared baking dish, and sprinkle the top with panko bread crumbs.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the panko is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling. Let sit for 5 minutes, then dig in!

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gruyere fondue

Fondue is one of those meals that is like feeding yourself a warm, ooey, gooey, delicious hug.

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This, and my and my husband’s love of all things cheesy, is one of the reasons (well, okay…probably the main reason) that I decided to make this as our Valentine’s Day dinner. Because what is more romantic that treating yourself and your loved one to a warm, delicious bite of all things good?

I’ll be completely honest and say that I definitely reached out of my culinary comfort zone when I decided to make this meal. Before today, my experience with fondue had consisted of melting a block of Velveeta cheese with some spiced tomatoes, setting out in front of the TV during a football game, and calling it a day. Needless to say, I have come a long way since then, and have since developed a slight aversion to said cheese dip (probably one too many late night cheese dip treats, if you know what I’m saying).

Enter this recipe. When I was thumbing through my pinned and bookmarked recipes in preparation for this special meal, the lovely ladies of A Beautiful Mess caught my eye. Newcastle Fondue, you say? Not waiting another second, I bounced right over to that page and being surveying the post. A simple list of ingredients, to really let the cheeses shine, was a winner in my book. The use of beer?…a winner in my husband’s book. I knew that I had found the winner.

Don’t be worried if you are without a fondue pot. Unless you are close to your parents (and can probably dig out an out fondue pot from times past…the 70s…) you’re probably without one. I sure am. And while I am all about making good investments when it comes to my kitchen and cooking arsenal, I couldn’t justify going out and buying one. So I brainstormed for a bit, and then it finally came to me – the crockpot! But I wasn’t going to make it in the crockpot; I have the economy/boat-sized version, which could easily produce 5 pounds of fondue…I couldn’t burn the wallet, and tempt our waistlines, with a delicious pot of cheese that big. Instead, I decided that I would choose my final serving dish for the fondue (which ended up being a medium-sized clear glass mixing bowl), and resting it inside my crock. I weighed it down with a can, proceeded to fill it with water about 3″ from the top of the bowl, and turned it on high. Voila! Instant fondue “pot”. And I’m telling you, it worked beautifully. The cheese stayed perfectly stretchy, warm and delicious for the entire evening.

Lest I forget, choose whatever dippers you like to serve alongside your fondue! Wanting to balance out the richness of the gruyere, I opted for a variety of fresh and roasted vegetables…Brussels Sprouts, cauliflower, and tomatoes. A batch of my Italian Turkey Meatballs were also made (in a mini version, of course – I got about 30 or so from the recipe!). And because bread and cheese are a match made in heaven, I also made a fresh batch of Sourdough French Bread earlier that day, which I cubed up alongside the veggies. They all complemented each other, and the cheese, so well.

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So go on ahead, my dears – dive on into this one! It’s a wonderful treat to make for a special night, or one of those times where you just need good old fashioned comfort food, or any reason that you can think of. Enjoy!

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Newcastle Fondue {adapted minimally from A Beautiful Mess}

1 clove of garlic

8 oz. shredded Gruyere cheese

4 oz.cubed Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons flour

1 cup beer

pepper to season

First shred the cheese and combine in a bowl with the flour. Mix it around so that every piece gets coated by flour.

Slice the garlic clove down the center and rub it all over the inside of your pot. Mince the garlic and add it to pot, cook over low heat for a minute or so.

Pour in the beer and turn up the heat. Cook just until the beer begins to boil. Now turn the heat down and begin adding the cheese. Do this slowly, giving the cheese time to melt and merry with the beer.

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Once completely combined, pour either into your fondue pot or, if you are like me, a rigged crockpot. However you serve, make sure you have a generous glass of a good,crisp white wine to enjoy alongside. Delicious!

roasted spaghetti squash

I don’t know about you all, but I am a serious veggie freak. I know that if I absolutely had to, I could give up meat and be totally okay with it. #seriously.

I can’t remember the first time I read about spaghetti squash, but I can tell you for a fact that it was on one of the many food blogs that I read. Billed as the “new” alternative to pasta, I knew I just had to try it out. And boy oh boy, am I glad that I did! That very day I distinctly remember hopping into my car, driving down the street to the grocery store, and picking one up. Plans were formulating in my foodie brain, and I couldn’t be more excited.

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The thing that really excited me about trying out this new ingredient was the health benefits. As you all know, I am a huge fan of healthy cooking and eating. By all means, I love a good indulgent meal, but if I have the opportunity to get a few extra nutrients and health benefits in my meals (all without sacrificing flavor, of course!) I am all about it. In a direct comparison of spaghetti squash(SS) to pasta(P) (1 cup of each), you’ll come across the following:

-31 calories (SS) vs 371 calories (P)

-7 grams of carbohydrates (SS) vs 75 grams of carbohydrates (P)

-.6 grams of fat (SS) vs 1.5 grams of fat (P)

-120 IU of vitamin A and 2.1 mg of vitamin C (SS) vs zero of each (P)

The numbers speak for themselves. Squash, for the win. But! – moving on.

After preheating my oven to 400 degrees, I set to work cutting this gourd in half. I am well versed and confident in my knife skills, but I will say this – cutting large gourds always, always makes me nervous! I’ve read tips about heating up squash in the microwave to slightly soften the skin, but I’ve found that taking my time and making small incisions around the long sides of the gourd works just as well. Make sure that you are very careful when doing this! And remember, sharp knives are safe knives!

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Once I successfully cut it in half, long ways from top to bottom, I scooped out the interior seed pack. Side note: these are great roasted! Simply clean them off, spread out on a greased sheet pan and season with salt/pepper, herbs, or cinnamon sugar – whatever strikes your fancy! Bake at 275 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until seeds start to pop. Remove from the oven and cool completely before storing in an airtight container. 

Place the squash halves, flesh sides up, on a baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle each half with olive oil, and sprinkle well with salt and pepper. Depending on the side of the squash, this can take anywhere from 60-70 minutes. I prefer to cook them on the slightly “al dente” side, especially if I’ll be using them in a casserole. Overcooked squash is just like overcooked pasta – mealy and unappetizing.

Once removed from the oven, allow the squash to cool completely. Next up, the fun part! In order to create strands of “spaghetti” you’ll use a fork to gently rake out the strands of squash. I like to do this right on the foil that I cooked the squash on. Why dirty another pan, right? Once all is shredded, transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge. I’ve found that this will typically keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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If you’re going to use this in a casserole, I definitely recommend preparing this squash ahead of time. It requires minimal effort, and if you have a low-key evening planned, might as well roast a squash, right? And don’t think that this is only good for casseroles! You can use in a stir fry, subbed into traditional spaghetti and meatballs…the possibilities are endless. Try it on top of my Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter – it’s fabulous. I’m seeing a few new plans formulating in my head…but y’all will just have to come back and find out what’s next!

Bon appetit!