Baked Spaghetti Squash Casserole

If you have not tried spaghetti squash, you should.  It’s pretty amazing, simple to make, and can easily serve as a substitute for spaghetti noodles in any dish.  I was once quite intimidated by the larger varieties of squash because I never really knew how to cook them.  Then I figured it out (and it’s not so hard!).  I made this dish for my family this past Christmas and my entire meat-eating, bread-loving family really enjoyed it.  The only problem with this dish is that it is not filling at all.  One cup of cooked spaghetti noodles has roughly 220 calories, while one cup of cooked spaghetti squash only has 40-50 calories.  So unless you have a stomach of steel and can eat 10 cups of it, I would either serve it as a side dish or plan to have a big snack later. I usually do the latter.  I have made this dish many, many times before but for some reason I had a pretty severe gluten-reaction this time.  I have used every ingredient in this dish previously without issues so I’m guessing there was some sort of cross-contamination with one of the ingredients.

The joy of celiac disease is getting sick when you would least expect it.  On Sunday evening, we decided to make this delicious baked spaghetti squash casserole.  I ate it, enjoyed it, went to bed, and woke up the next morning feeling like crap.  Had some Pepto Bismol and some Aleve and gradually started feeling better.  Assuming that it was something other than the spaghetti squash that made me sick, I ate leftovers for lunch on Monday.  That was a big mistake.  My headache started literally right after I finished eating and got worse and worse throughout the afternoon.  By 6:00 in the evening, I felt awful.  This morning, I felt a bit better and thankfully, by this evening, I’m finally back to normal.  I kind of feel like a jerk saying “hey, check out this awesome gluten-free recipe that made me incredibly sick”, but all of the ingredients I used are gluten-free so hopefully it was just some bad luck.

Baked Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Ingredients (serves 4):

One medium spaghetti squash

1 (24 ounce) jar of your favorite marinara sauce or a single batch of my marinara sauce

Roughly 2 cups of spinach (frozen or fresh)

About ¾ cup mozzarella cheese, grated (I used Kraft Natural)

About ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated (I used Kraft Natural)

About ½ Tablespoon olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

Garlic powder

 

Directions:

1.  If making your own marinara sauce, prepare and let simmer.

2.  Cut spaghetti squash in half length-wise (use a super sharp knife and be careful or you’ll lose some digits).

3.  Scoop out seeds* and stringy bits in the center.

4.  Pierce the outside of the squash with a fork (3-4 times for each half).

5.  Coat the inside of each squash half with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper and garlic powder.

Pre-baking

6.  Set flesh-side down onto a cookie sheet or baking pan and bake at 400°F for about 30-40 minutes.  Remove once flesh is soft and easy to pierce with a fork.  Set aside to let cool for a few minutes.

7.  Use a fork to scrape out spaghetti squash (it should remove from the skin easily and become stringy like spaghetti noodles).

Looks like spaghetti!

8.  Cover the bottom of a baking dish with marinara sauce and add a layer of stringy spaghetti squash on top (I usually only do two layers, one half of the squash per layer).

9.  Add spinach (fresh or, if frozen, thaw first).

10.  Add half of your cheese.

11.  Add more sauce, then spaghetti squash, then spinach, then cheese.

12.  Once you have used all of your squash, top with a bit more sauce and cheese.

13.  Either store in the refrigerator to bake later or stick in the oven at 400°F for about 25-30 minutes (until sauce is all bubbly).  If you choose to store the layered casserole in the refrigerator to cook later, you will need to cook it longer (covered for part of the time) to make sure it is warm throughout.

*Save the seeds to roast as a salad topping!

A delicacy in our household!

This was amazing as always, but I needed a nice snack of Koala Crisp cereal with soy milk and some peanut butter on the side about 2 hours later.

In other news, I had the ultimate hipster sighting over the weekend.  I had never heard of the term “hipster” until moving to Richmond.   Since then, I have become hyper-aware of the entire hipster culture and it really amuses me.  There were some hipsters out on their front porch having what appeared to be a juicing party.  I’m talking massive (probably gallon-sized) juicer with about 10 pounds of carrots, an entire pineapple, and a bunch of other stuff.  I commented loudly while walking past, “Yum, that smells good” and got what was quite possibly the most evil glare I had ever received.  I’m guessing they thought I was being sarcastic or something, but it did actually smell amazing.  Check out this funny video if you are also amused by the hipster culture.

Happy eating!

-c

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2 Comments

  1. Kendra said,

    April 17, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    two things: 1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE spaghetti squash and I started using it recently quite often. I’m totally trying this recipe! 🙂 2. I also LOVE hipsters. I go to a hipster coffee shop sometimes… all the chairs are donated, so it looks like your great grandma’s old living room suite. They also have board games…and everyone wears flannel, hip purses (an occasional murse), etc. Its great. Come visit me in Chicago… my bf lives in the hipster area.You would like it…and btw, Chicago seems to be getting with the gluten free program, so all the restaurants are coming up with better GF menus!

    • critchie103 said,

      April 18, 2012 at 6:24 AM

      We go to a Hipster coffee shop too–definitely the best coffee around (they roast their own beans)! My in-laws and younger sister live in central Illinois so I’m sure I’ll be up there at some point. A detour to Chicago would definitely be fun!


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