Spaghetti Squash “Pasta!”

Spaghetti13MARKED2After a recent farmers’ market trip, I found myself in possession of a 6-inch spaghetti squash.  I had heard quite a few good things about this vegetable including how easy it is to cook.  Well, I can now vouch that the hearsay was extremely accurate!

For my first spaghetti squash recipe, I decided to use it as a healthy substitution in an obvious but classic recipe:  Spaghetti and (Chicken) Meatballs!  I wanted this recipe to be super DUPER easy so I used seasoned ground chicken for the meatballs, and boxed (aka jarred) sauce.   Check out this easy recipe!

This squash size was just fine to feed two people!

This squash size was just fine to feed two people!

Ingredients (Makes 2 servings)

1 Medium Spaghetti Squash

1 Jar of Sauce

2 TBS Parmesan Cheese (plus additional for topping, if desired)

1 LB seasoned ground chicken

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Garlic Powder

Italian Seasoning

(OPTIONAL:  Bread, butter and garlic for a side of garlic bread)

Directions:

1. Cut the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.

2.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Place squash face up, and brush all sides with olive oil.  Sprinkle salt on the top.

Seeds are scooped out, squash is face side up, brushed with olive oil and some salt. :-)

Seeds are scooped out, squash is face side up and brushed with olive oil and some salt. 🙂

3.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.  Remove foil, then bake for an additional 15 minutes.

4.  Meatballs:  While the squash is cooking, combine the chicken with breadcrumbs (we also added extra garlic powder) and form into about 1″ meatballs.

meatballsMARKED

5.  Cook the meatballs on another lined cookie tray in the same 350°F oven.  They will take about 20 minutes to cook.  Be sure to rotate them so each side browns evenly.  I usually forget that they are chicken instead of red meat!

6.  Garlic Bread:  If you are choosing to make some garlic bread with your meal, now’s a good time to simply brush the bread with some butter, and add some garlic powder and/or additional Italian seasonings.  Just hold that off to the side and heat it up in the oven about 10 minutes before you will serve your meal.

7.  Sauce:  Get your sauce heating up on the stove – keep it simmering on a low temperature so it doesn’t boil and pop!  Once again, we also added extra garlic powder and Italian seasonings.

I used this boxed "POMI" sauce.  You can find it in a supermarket but I got mine free as a promotion.  The company sponsors a cooking show, Real Food, at the TV station that I work at. :-)

I used this boxed “Pomi” sauce in a tomato and basil flavor. You can find Pomi in a supermarket but I got mine free as a promotion. The company sponsors a cooking show, Real Food, on Telecare, the TV station that I work at. 🙂

8.  If you are timing right, it’s probably spaghetti squash time!  This part was so much fun.  With a fork, you simply scrape the inside meat of the squash.  The more you scrape, the more “spaghetti” you will be left with.

This part was the most fun!

This part was the most fun!

9.  Place the “spaghetti” in either a large communal bowl, or individual bowls ready to serve.  Toss with 2 TBS of Parmesan cheese.

10.  Take out your meatballs from the oven, too!  They should be nice and browned.

Meatballs2MARKED

11.  Put it together!  Put your desired amount of meatballs on top of your pasta and cover with sauce.  Add a piece of garlic bread and you are good to go!

I thought this meal was delicious.  It was such a simple way to sneak extra veggies into dinner, and stay away from pasta!  If you are questioning why I chose to add bread when I had just saved myself the calories from pasta, well, this wasn’t just any old bread.  In my blog post about my trip to the farmers market this weekend, you’ll see that Patrick and I picked up a wonderful smelling loaf of onion bread.  We just simply had to  have some with this meal, so we sliced just a little bit off and it was worth every calorie.  😉

If you haven’t yet tried spaghetti squash (I mean, how cool is this vegetable?!!), then like me, I think it’s time you pick one up and give it a whirl!  It was fun to both make and eat and I am looking forward to trying lots of new recipes with spaghetti squash.

Happy cooking!

❤ Jessi

Flashback Friday – 7/12/13 – Study Abroad 2007

It was one of the best trips of my life and yet it wasn’t something I could have ever imagined doing in my wildest dreams. In the winter/spring of 2007, I spent four months overseas in a study abroad program through my college, St. John’s University.

Now, I didn’t push for this myself. I remember my mom saying, “You should look into that study abroad program and the scholarships it comes with. It looks like a great experience!” Next thing I knew, I was at a information seminar with my fellow accepted students being told what the upcoming semester of my college life would entail.

My biggest problem:Four months.  I would have to pack clothes for the next FOUR MONTHS?  That was the biggest worry I had.  Hold on… wait… I don’t even own a large suitcase!  The last trip I had been on with the dance team, my mom sent me with her brown tweed luggage.  Okay, so vintage is in now but imagine being the only person toting one of these babies around when everyone else has the updated “upright” luggage.

This suitcase just screams 2007, right!?

This suitcase just screams 2007, right!?

So, I was lucky enough that one of my best friends since preschool, Tara, was generous enough to loan me her large suitcase for this semester-long trip.  With her classy (well, more like up-to-date, atleast) big and black upright suitcase, a HUGE red Nike St. John’s University dance team duffel bag, and a Billabong carry-on bag with flowers on it (sounds like a very matching, complimentary set, right!!?) I headed to the airport in my green velour suit where I said bye to my parents, took a deep breath, and got ready to board my first trans-Atlantic flight.  I was 20 years old.  Was I ready to face the adventures that awaited me?  It didn’t matter either way, the $700 flight and my semester fees were paid for and there was no turning back now.

Obviously, you know how this story ends.  It was the trip of a lifetime!  We were based in Rome near the Vatican (our metro stop was called “Cipro”).  Our school rents gorgeous, spacious apartments in a housing complex called Medaglie D’Oro, and the school was based a few blocks away.  I took 5 classes that semester including Art & Architecture, Italian  Level 2, Sketchbook, Theology, and Anthropology.   Even though we had classrooms, class was frequently held as field trips to other locations like the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, The Pantheon, Vatican City, Villa Borghese, Circus Maximus, Castel Sant’Angelo and more.  There were no classes on Fridays – we were expected to use each 3-day weekend as an opportunity to travel and explore… and that we did!

In addition to living in Rome and taking a group field trip to Brussels and Luxembourg, I also visited Florence, Venice, Cinque Terre, Siena, Torino, Pisa, Pompeii, Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona.  Some trips we planned a little in a advance while others I was packing a backpack the night before and hopping on a 4am train.  We booked and stayed in hostels, read maps and tour guide books, and discovered new cities all on our own.  Although I would be amiss if I didn’t tell you that we had our fair share of fun, enjoying both the nightlife and the daylife on what sometimes felt like a four month vacation (don’t worry… I got a 4.0 that semester!)

During my spring break, my parents even came to visit!  They got to see Rome and other cities with me, something they never thought they’d do in their lives either.  Overall, I believe I matured and learned so much about myself on that trip and will always hold that experience dear to my heart.  I saw some amazing sights with some amazing people.  I hope we will all be friends for a lifetime and always remember the connection we have as the “Roma Crew” of Spring 2007.

Some of the group at the Coliseum in Rome during our Art and Architecture class.

Some of the group at the Colosseum in Rome during our Art and Architecture class, the first week of our trip.

Me in "sketchbook class" aka at a random museum.

Me in “sketchbook class” aka at a random museum.

At St. Peter's Basilica on Easter Sunday.  :-)

At St. Peter’s Basilica on Easter Sunday. 🙂