Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cooking Up Something New & Different

A few weeks ago I was wandering around the produce department of the grocery store thinking about trying something new. When I was a kid I pretty much hated most fruits & vegetables. My parents operated on a tight budget so there wasn't a lot of fresh stuff around anyway. We had home canned green beans (that I will always love with a fervent love), canned peas, & potatoes. As far as fruit goes, we always had bananas (which I will never willingly eat unless they could cure me of a fatal disease) & apples. We didn't have a lot of variety & I didn't like much anyway. As I've gotten older I have discovered that I was way too narrow minded. Take fruit for instance. I used to say that I wouldn't eat anything fuzzy. No fuzzy fruit for me! That obviously rules out peaches, kiwi, & strawberries. I still don't care much for kiwi or peaches but I could literally eat my weight in strawberries. To think of all the strawberries I could have eaten!
I think I've gotten off track...
Back to the produce section. I was walking around looking at things I have never bought before. I have already experimented with some different pears, some different lettuces, & every color of pepper. This particular evening I was thinking it was time to try some squash. So I picked up a spaghetti squash. Not too expensive, not too big & not too hard to work with.
I got online & looked around for a method to prepare the little yellow guy. I read that you could put heat to a spaghetti squash any way you want - roasting, microwaving, boiling in water, etc. I decided I would roast him.
First things first, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Then wash your squash, get a big knife & cut him open.
I was surprised to find that some people roast the squash whole. I decided that was a bad idea because it would be really difficult to handle it when it comes out of the oven. I would have had to try to cut him open while he was super hot. Not a good idea for me to use a knife under those kinds of circumstances.
After you cut him open, scoop all the seeds out with a spoon. I thought this might be a little difficult, like scooping the seeds out of a pumpkin but it was really quite easy.
Get out your roasting pan. Why yes, this is a Pampered Chef stone ware baker. I *heart* it. Drizzle some olive oil around the bottom of the baker & then drizzle some over the spaghetti squash & rub it all over. Try not to notice the overflowing crock of dirty dish towels in the background of my photo. I'm not really into staging. Can you tell?Kind of rub the olive oil all round on the squash & then salt & pepper, oregano, garlic, & spice it up to your heart's content.
Put him in the oven & roast until tender. I think my guy was in there for about 40 minutes. He smelled so good & was making a lovely sizzling sound when I pulled him out.
Let the squash rest for a couple of minutes. I left them face down but when I do this again I think I will turn them over. That should allow the steam to escape & hopefully your squash will not have a lot of extra moisture.
After a couple minutes passed, I grabbed a fork & went to town shredding the squash. It is amazing how it looks just like spaghetti. Perhaps I am easily amazed?
I topped it off with some spaghetti sauce & some shredded mozzarella. I was a little unsure if I would like the texture but I really did like the spaghetti squash. I think it is definitely a great way to cut some carbs & add a new veggie to my diet. Yeah, I said 'my diet' & not 'our diet'. Mike wasn't interested in spaghetti squash & didn't even take a trial bite. He had Bean with Bacon soup & was quite content.
Have you tried any new foods lately?


Alicia said...

That looks SO GOOD! I tried spaghetti squash once and I didn't cook it long enough so try as I may, it didn't come out in nice lovely strings. I've been doing a low-carb diet lately to lose weight and I'm trying lots of recipes with flax meal. Not too yummy but healthy anyways!

TwoMuths said...

mmmm, squash! I love LOVE squash!

I think the last time I tried something new hesitantly was this summer when I made kale chips. They were so good that I ate the whole batch *blush, blush* good thing they were healthy, too! :-)

I did just find a gluten free sandwich bread that is to die for. Well maybe not, but it certainly was fun to eat a sandwich for lunch today that didn't crumble or taste like sawdust. :-)

Mary Ann said...

Alicia, when I took the squash out of the oven the whole thing was squishy. Give it another try - it's worth it! I've never tried the flax stuff. You'll have to give us a post about it :-)
Jenny, I have been thinking of trying to make kale chips! Now that I know they are so good I will definitely have to do it :-) Congrats on finding good gluten free bread. Good GF food is hard to find!