23. Adventures in squash

Sometimes I look back on things from my childhood and I think that I was meant to be a vegetarian. I specifically remember one of my uncle’s teasing me for always wanting to just eat raw veggies and ranch, saying “You’re a kid, you’re not supposed to like green stuff!” but I just always loved fresh veggies. My dad always had a vegetable garden in our backyard and I remember certain things always being in excess, and one of those things was yellow squash. I always just knew it as squash. Like THE squash. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know there even were other kinds of squash until I was an adult. But I love yellow squash! Raw, cooked, whatever. It’s yummy and definitely reminds me of summers as a kid.

But when I got older and heard about these other mysterious kinds of squash, I decided I didn’t like any of them. I remember specifically a yucky experience with butternut squash and I’m pretty sure that did it in for all the other squashes. I wrote them all off and told myself I didn’t like them.

My friend Jessie is a wonderful cook and when we went to visit her and her husband in Nashville a while back, she made a mac and cheese that she said had something healthy in it, but she wasn’t going to tell us until after we tried it (mostly due to my sweet yet extremely picky husband).  I thought it was great and I devoured it.  Then she tells me… it’s squash! I was like huh, I don’t really like squash, I especially hate butternut squash.  And she’s grinning ear to ear, obviously fighting back saying GOTCHA! and simply states that this is butternut squash. Mind. Blown.

Then when I tried the meal subscription service Plated, one of the dishes came with butternut squash.  I figured, what the heck, I’ll try it again. It was so good!

I was seeing all this hub bub on Pinterest about spaghetti squashes for some time.  Never considered it due to my irrational distaste for squashes I had never even tried.  My friend Shanda had convinced me that a spaghetti squash lasagna recipe she had tried was legit, and that she would bring me a sample to try next time she made it.  Then something in the universe got to really wanting me to try the dang squash, and a few days later I was at Publix and the Apron’s meal guy was making spaghetti squash and handing out Valentine’s Day cookies. I was really just trying to get one of those cookies, but I figured what the heck I’ll try the squash. I was SHOCKED that I loved it.

So I added squash adventures to my list of resolutions, and here we are.

A few weeks ago I made a spaghetti squash veggie skillet similar to the one I tried at Publix. It was kind of a veggie dump of things I had available (mushrooms, tomatoes, chickpeas, cheese, parsley and tomato sauce)

skillet
Veggie spaghetti squash skillet

I was immediately on board with this squash based on how easy it was to cook. I just poked some holes in it and microwaved it for 15 minutes and it was finished. The skillet dish was really tasty, but super unimpressive looking. It just looked like a bowl of mush. Fine for making for myself but not much to look at or to serve to someone I’m trying to impress! So I wanted to try something like the ones I had seen on Pinterest where they cut the squash in half and stuff it with yummies.

So I tried a broccoli and cheese stuffed spaghetti squash. It was PERFECT! It tasted great, was super easy to make, and was pretty!

squash6
Broccoli and cheese stuffed spaghetti squash

I can’t wait to try more spaghetti squash recipes, and I’m even considering trying acorn squash at some point… so stay tuned for that!

 

Lessons learned here:

  1. Again, always give things another chance when you don’t like them. Especially if you have convinced yourself you don’t like something for no reason.
  2. Microwaving spaghetti squash = legit

Spaghetti Squash Veggie Skillet

Ingredients
1 spaghetti squash
1 onion, chopped
Handful of mushrooms (I used probably 6-7 button mushrooms, it’s what I had)
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 cloves of garlic, minced
oregano
salt
pepper
olive oil
1 can tomato sauce
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/3 cup grated parmesan

  1. Pierce the squash with a sharp knife – several holes all over the squash
  2. Place in a microwave safe dish and microwave for about 15 minutes
  3. Let the squash stand for 10-15 minutes to cool off a bit before handling
  4. Preheat the broiler
  5. Cut the squash in half (long) and scoop out the seeds
  6. Use a fork to scrape the flesh of the squash, you will see it start to “spaghetti”. Place all the spaghetti in a bowl
  7. Using an oven-safe skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and continue to stir until slightly browned.
  8. Add garlic, oregano, salt and pepper
  9. Add in the squash, tomato sauce, and chickpeas
  10. Spread the mixture throughout the skillet and top with parsley and parmesan cheese
  11. Put under the broiler until cheese is melted
  12. Enjoy!

Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients
1 spaghetti squash
2 cups broccoli
4 cloves garlic, minced
Italian seasoning
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

  1. Cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out seeds and pulp from the middle
  2. Add enough water to cover the bottom of a microwave safe dish, and place both halves of the spaghetti squash face down (cut side down) in the dish. Microwave for about 10 minutes, or until soft
  3. Let the squash stand for a few minutes so it is not too hot to handle
  4. While the squash is cooking and cooling, go ahead and cook the broccoli. Spray a skillet with some cooking spray, or a little olive oil, and cook the garlic and broccoli with a little water until the broccoli is soft.
  5. Preheat the broiler
  6. Use a fork to scrape the flesh of the squash, you will see it start to “spaghetti”. Place all the spaghetti in a bowl
  7. Add the parmesan cheese, broccoli, and Italian seasoning to the squash and mix.
  8. Put the squash mixture back into the shell of the squash. Top with mozzarella cheese and place in the oven until cheese is bubbly
  9. Enjoy!

 

 

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