Spaghetti Squash Leftover Bake

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It’s a glorified leftover dish everyone will be exited about. It’s vegetarian, its cheap and it uses leftovers, option for no leftovers following as well. I mean, who has spinach artichoke dip leftovers? Pffffft!

For a long time I did not dare to eat this interesting item, it just seemed… wrong and I had no idea what to do with it once it would find its way into my kitchen. Stringy things are not usually a good thing when it comes to veggies, like stringy beans or the wire like strings in tough snowpeas that quite nearly strangle unsuspecting eaters. But finally curiosity won out and I have departed from the ‘just put spaghetti sauce over it’ approach that is generally the extend of creativity people come up with when confronted with the ‘what to do after it’s cooked’ question.

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So while this particular squash can’t quite keep up nutrition wise with some of the other members of the winter squash family, its high water content kinda work against it there. Not to say it’s unhealthy, by no means, it’s just not as nutritionally dense as some of the other ones, but it’s a great low calorie, low carb choice!

One of the issues I have with this, like some of theĀ other winter squashes as well, is what to do with it all? I am a one person household on most days and I really, really would like to not have to eat the same for lunch and dinner all week. Maybe I am weird that way, but hey, there’s worse šŸ˜‰ Well, I have found that cooked spaghetti squash freezes quite happily for a couple of months, stored in zip top sandwich baggies. That way it’s ready to defrost in my fridge for whenever I need it.

So first, yes you do need to bake (or microwave) the thing to cook its interior. Ā Prick it with a fork all over so it doesn’t blow up on you, and either cut in half, scoop the seeds and discard and place cut side down on a baking sheet in the 350ĀŗF oven until tender, or microwave without cutting in half until tender and easily cut in half (Careful, extremely freakin’ hot)

Once it’s cooled to an acceptable temperature, using a fork, scrape the stringy flesh into a bowl. Portion up as convenient and freeze until needed!

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For two people as a side (or small meal) or 1 hungry eater

You need:

  • 1 cup cooked Spaghetti Squash (defrosted if frozen)
  • 1 cup Spinach Artichoke Dip (or 1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts, 1 cup chopped fresh baby spinach, chopped & 1/2 cup italian cheese mix, microwave until cheese is melted and spinach wilted not quite as creamy, but works)
  • 1/2 of a 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • Ā 1/4 cup of Italian cheese for the top (use a mix that has more than just mozzarella, so you get better flavor

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ĀŗF
  2. In an oven proof 2 cup square dish layer spaghetti squash, then top with Spinach Artichoke Dip, followed by tomato sauce by the spoonfuls. Top all of it with a handful of cheese.
  3. Bake until heated through and bubbly, cheese is melted and beginning to brown (about 15-20 minutes)

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Copyright Ā© 2012 Simple Healthy Homemade. All rights reserved

Lighter Spinach Artichoke Dip

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This proves that Spinach Artichoke Dip does not have to be a totally unhealthy indulgence. Well, it’s not quite diet food either, but besides being much lower in sodium than any restaurant version out there, this also has a lighter hand on piling on the fat calories and you get a good bit of veggies.

imagePlus you get waaaaaaaaaaayyy more Artichokes when you make it yourself šŸ˜‰

imageMake extra, it makes a terrific layering ingredient to so many things Ā  Ā Ā (like Fish Wellington, and Spaghetti Squash Bake)

Ingredients

  • 1 pack frozen chopped spinach (10 oz), thawed
  • 1 pack frozen artichoke hearts (9 oz), thawed or canned (if using canned, drain and rinse)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup thickĀ fromage blanc (or sour cream)
  • 1 cup Italian cheese blend, shredded (mine had 5 cheeses in it) + some for topping …sometimes when I am really hungry, I use 2 cups šŸ˜‰

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Directions

  1. Squeeze the defrosted spinach until mostly drained. set aside.
  2. Chop the artichoke hearts into small pieces (chunks are fine, just remember you have to be able to ‘dip’ it up)
  3. In Ā a pan, heat a tablespoon oil, then add the minced garlic and stir, cooking carefully until golden, but not brown.
  4. Add the Spinach, Artichokes and the Fromage Blanc, stir then add the cottage cheese and heat until it gets stringy.
  5. Add the Italian cheese mix, and heat until melted, pour into a serving dish or oven proof form and sprinkle with some more cheese, cover and allow the cheese topping to melt. Serve with veggies or corn chips for dipping.
  6. Can be made in advance, cover and refrigerate, then reheat in the oven at 350 until hot and melted, or microwave until hot.

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Copyright Ā© 2012 Simple Healthy Homemade. All rights reserved