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Archive for October, 2011

Spaghetti Squash

In just about every October issue of all the magazines I get, fall squashes were a feature.  I love butternut squash already, but hadn’t ever eaten spaghetti squash.  After some research I was very intrigued – squash that is just like pasta, insane!  But really, it’s awesome.  I have already made it three times.  It’s a more flavorful alternative to pasta, not to mention has tons of vitamins and less calories.  And it’s in season, and should keep for 2-3 months, so stock up now!

When figuring out how exactly to roast this sucker, I stumbled upon a great tutorial with lots of photos, which I used as a guide.  I only roast things in the oven, so I used that method.  Seriously the hardest part about this is cutting that thing in half… once you have that outta the way, you’re golden.

What you need:

  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • A really sharp and sturdy knife

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400
  2. Rinse off the squash and dry it well.
  3. Get out your big knife and begin to CAREFULLY slice the squash in half, longways.  This may take some time and muscle.
  4. Once you have two halves of squash, scoop out the stringy seed goop with a spoon.
  5. Cover in olive oil and salt and pepper, then place skin side UP on the baking sheet and pop in the oven for about 35 to 40 minutes.

    Covered with OO and S&P

    Ready to roast

  6. When it’s done in the oven, let it cool for a few minutes, then grab a fork, a sturdy bowl and a pot holder.  Place one half of the squash in the bowl and hold with one hand with the potholder, so you don’t burn yourself.  Simply drag the fork through the meaty part of the squash and you will see that it begins to come out and it really does look like spaghetti!  Do it until all you have left is the shell of the squash.
  7. Continue with the other half, then season with sauce, or more olive oil, or whatever you like!
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I sincerely apologize for being so absent lately, but I will make it up by posting TWO times today. First off, roast bone in chicken w/ veggies.  Very easy, and very delicious.  I hadn’t ever roast any bone in chicken before, but I had some leftover bone in breasts in the freezer after my disaster trying to make fried chicken (seriously, it was a disaster).  So I googled ways to prepare bone in chicken and came across this post .  I tweaked it very slighlty and it turned out REALLY great.  Here’s how to do it:

What you need:

  • 2 skin on, bone in chicken breasts (or any skin on, bone in chicken parts would work, I’m sure)
  • 1 lemon, sliced (more lemons if you are making more than 2-3 pieces of chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme
  • Garlic; I probably used 6-7 cloves of garlic, already minced
  • Black pepper and salt
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter (optional)
  • Whatever veggies you want to roast (carrots, potatoes, butternut squash, onions are all great for roasting)

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400
  2. Clean and chop the veggies.  Spread out on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan.

    Look at these gorgeous colors!

  3. Drizzle veggies with olive oil and sprinkle generously with S&P.
  4. Get out a cutting board and a muddler (if you have it, if not a knife will do).  If the garlic and thyme aren’t already chopped up/ minced, do that now.

    Ready to combine

  5. Muddle the salt, garlic, thyme and butter together to make a paste.

    Paste

  6. Pull back the skin on the chicken and rub half the paste on each breast, under skin.  Then stuff with the sliced lemons.
  7. Place chicken breasts on top of bed of veggies and drizzle olive oil onto chicken.  Top with S&P.
  8. Pop it all into the oven for about 25 minutes.  Be sure to let the meat rest for a few minutes after it comes out of the oven, as always.
  9. Enjoy!

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Oh, if only pasta started with a B!

Tis the season for squash and pumpkins and all of these lovely things.  The great thing about the big squashes (like butternut, acorn, spaghetti, etc) is that you can buy them now while they are on sale and they will keep (as long as they are stored in a cool place, much as you would store a bag of potatoes) and use them later.  I bought a ton and used some butternut for this recipe, and decided to save the rest for butternut squash soup when it gets a bit more chilly and fall-like here in San Diego.

This is a super easy thing to pull together for a weeknight dinner.  It can be especially quick if you cut up the squash, onion and bacon before hand… When I have a lot of chopping to do I like to do it all at once on Sunday or Monday night for the whole week.  Then I pack everything that goes in one meal in a tupperware, then on whatever given day I just pull out the container and hit the ground running.  Also, in situations like this one, the bacon can start flavoring the onion and butternut squash in advance, while sitting in the fridge.

Besides b-nut (and bacon, if you aren’t obsessed like I am), you should have all of the ingredients on hand, and there are only three main steps (chop, roast, cook pasta)!

What you need:

  • A smallish butternut squash (unless you are feeding more than 3-4 people)
  • bacon, I used 4 really thick cut strips, but I would use 6 next time.  So 9 normal strips would do the trick
  • 1 onion
  • olive oil, salt and pepper for roasting
  • 1 cup or more shredded parmesan cheese
  • 8 to 12 oz of pasta

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Peel and chop up the butternut squash into 1-2 inch chunks.  Chop up the onion and bacon into 1 inch pieces.

*Quick tip: if you have a sap problem after you cut up the squash – use a pumice stone to get it off your hands.  Works like magic!

  1. Put all the chopped components on a large baking sheet and spray or drizzle olive oil on top, enough to lightly cover most pieces.  Then season generously with salt and pepper.  Roast for 30 – 40 minutes, checking after 30 to see the progress.

Ready for roasting!

  1. While the squash and bacon are roasting, get your water a-boiling for the pasta.  When there is about 10 minutes left on the clock for the oven, start cooking the pasta.  When it’s ready, strain out the water (reserving one cup) and return to the pot.
  2. When the squash, bacon and onion are done, throw them in the pot with the pasta.  Add in the parmesan cheese and stir it all together.
  3. If you want it to be more liquid-y, add in some of the reserved pasta water and a dash of olive oil.  Top with more cheese if you like.
  4. Enjoy!

Finished product

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