Sunday, May 22, 2011

COCOA THUNDER SQUASH

We eat a lot of squash. It is relatively inexpensive, provides a great source of fiber and vitamins, and keeps for quite a while. I am always trying to find new ways to unload it on my kids. Tonight, I thought I would try something new – I tossed in some cocoa powder and agave, and I roasted it. It gave it a great flavor, and served as an easy side dish.

Ingredients:
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cubed
2 Tbs. olive oil
4 Tbs. agave nectar
1 tsp. cocoa powder
¼ tsp. salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F. Place squash in large glass casserole dish and toss with remaining ingredients (it works best to use your hands to make sure that everything is evenly coated). Cook for about 40 minutes, or until soft.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

MIRACLE MACARONI (AND CHEESE)

What kid doesn’t like mac n’ cheese? Well, this one is super creamy with a cheese sauce that everyone will love. You might love it so much that you slather it over other things as well. The ‘miracle’ in this recipe is that it has a good amount of veggies snuck into it. Parsnips, when steamed and pureed, are a great addition to almost any sauce. What’s so great about parsnips, with their slightly sweet taste and a texture that can be made soft, crispy and everything in between? Well, for starters, they are a great source of fiber, and they are a surprising source of folic acid and vitamin B. Who would have thought? My picture below isn’t quite as pretty as it could be – I had a mish mash of pasta that I needed to use up. If you want your kids to be completely sold, stick to elbow macaroni and cheddar cheese – it will look like the stuff in the box, only cheesier!

I asked my son if he was ready for dinner. He said "No." I then put the mac n' cheese in front of him and asked him about five times if he liked it. He was too busy eating to answer. I guess that's my answer!

Ingredients:
14 oz. macaroni noodles
1 large parsnip, peeled and cubed (about 1 cup)
2 cups of cheese, shredded (you choose – I was cleaning out the fridge and found 3 types: mozzarella, white cheddar and Monterey Jack)
3 Tbs. butter
2 tsp. prepared yellow mustard
1 tsp. smoked paprika
½ tsp. salt
2 cups milk
6 oz. plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbs. flour

Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions. Place parsnips in sauce pan and cover with water. Cook over high heat. Bring to boil and let boil for 10 minutes, or until soft. Drain. Place parsnips, 1 cup of milk and yogurt into a blender and blend until absolutely smooth. In medium sauce pan, heat butter over medium high heat until melted. Add flour and paprika and cook (stirring constantly) until flour completely dissolved and just starting to thicken, about 2-3 minutes. Add remaining milk, parsnip mixture and salt. Stir constantly until mixture thickens, about 5-8 minutes. Add cheese and cook until completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in noodles. That’s it!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

GOURMET NACHOS

This a fun simple dinner with a few veggies tossed in to make it a bit unique. The sweet potatoes have a similar texture to the beans that you typically find on nachos. We (the adults) liked it, but the kids were not impressed. They like their chips unadulterated. So, if your kids like nachos, this will probably work for them; however, if you have purists in your household, this may not be a hit.

Ingredients:
Blue corn chips
2 Tbs. butter
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes (about 2 cups)
1 small sweet onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 can mild green chilies, chopped
½ cup cilantro, chopped
12 oz. Ranchero Queso Fresco, shredded
½ cup sour cream
1 avocado, chopped

Directions:
Preheat broiler. Arrange chips on cookie sheet or pizza pan. Heat butter in large frying pan over medium-high heat, add garlic, onion and sweet potato. Sauté until soft and starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in green chilies and cook for 1 minute more. Mix cilantro with cheese. Top chips with sautéed veggies and then cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and just starting to brown, about 3 minutes (keep an eye on it because it can burn easily). Remove from oven and top with a dollup of sour cream and avocados.



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

COMPLETE BBQ DINNER (including dessert)

The appeal of this recipe is that you have 4 separate items, all cooked in only 2 dishes (including dessert) – all for only 30 minutes (plus a little extra at the end to crisp up the potatoes and tofu). One of the hard parts about cooking is timing everything so it is all done at the same time. Here, the potatoes are boiled a bit in the microwave beforehand to even out the cooking times. Having fewer dishes to clean up is an attractive factor of this dinner too. This is a simple dinner that appeals to eaters of all ages.

Ingredients:
14 oz. firm tofu, drained
½ cup prepared BBQ sauce
4 ears of corn on the cob
4 Tbs. butter, melted and divided
2 Tbs. parmesan cheese, shredded
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic salt
½ tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. dried parsley
4 apples, peeled and sliced into wedges (I slice each apple into 16 sections)
1 Tbs. sugar
¼ cup raisins
½ tsp. cinnamon
Dash of salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray 2 large casserole dishes with non-stick spray.  Put potatoes in microwave safe dish, cover with water, and microwave for 10 minutes. Drain water from potatoes. In a bowl, mix olive oil, garlic salt, paprika and parsley. Add potatoes to evenly coat. Put potatoes in ½ of casserole dish. Place the block of tofu between paper towels and place heavy book on top for about 5 minutes. Replace paper towels and repeat. Cut the block into thin slabs of about ¼” thick. Arrange tofu steaks close together on the bottom of the other ½ of the casserole dish. Brush tops with ½ cup of BBQ sauce. Take a sheet of aluminum foil and create a “dish” and add apples, raisins, sugar, cinnamon and dash of salt. Mix with your hands. Pour melted butter on top of apple mixture and mix again with your hands. Put aluminum “dish” into ½ of the 2nd casserole dish. Melt 2 Tbs. butter in the microwave, slather the corn on the cobs and roll in parmesan cheese. Place in remaining ½ of the 2nd casserole dish. Put the potatoes and tofu dish on the top shelf in the oven, and the other dish on the bottom shelf. Bake both dishes for 30 minutes. Turn the oven to broil and cook for 5-8 minutes more, or until potatoes and tofu starts to crisp and brown.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

NEW WORLD PIZZA

I was at the grocery store the other day and came across some fresh pizza dough, and it got me thinking, “how can I get some kale on this?” Me and my kale... Kale is the superstar of veggies. I thought, perhaps, I could make some kale pesto, but I didn’t have any pine nuts in the pantry. However, I did have some peeled, cooked and sealed chestnuts in there. If you read my previous blog, you will understand how such things find their way into my cupboards. Anyhow, I threw the pesto ingredients into a blender, and that’s how this dish came into being. What child doesn’t like pizza? It’s another of those foods that allows you to easily throw in some veggies. If you want (and I typically do), use some premade pizza sauce, premade pizza crust, add some veggies and top with cheese – and, you have a dinner that your kids will eat and an easy dinner about which you will feel good feeding your children. 

Ingredients:
Pizza crust
1 ½ cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
              Pesto
1 small bunch kale
2 Tbs. crushed garlic
2 Tbs. lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
2 Tbs. water
7 oz. peeled and cooked chestnuts
½ salt
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
              Toppings
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 portabella mushroom cap, sliced
1 small sweet onion, sliced thinly
1 tsp. garlic, minced

Directions:
Heat oven to 350 F. Combine all pesto ingredients into a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Heat olive oil in large frying pan and sauté mushroom, onion and garlic until soft and starting to brown – about 6 minutes. Spread about ¼ cup pesto on pizza dough, arrange veggies, and top with parmesan cheese and Monterey Jack cheese. Cook about 20 minutes, or until done. You are going to have leftover pesto – great on a French baguette half  with some mozzarella cheese on top and broiled; it is an interesting alternative to traditional garlic bread.

Monday, May 16, 2011

RANCH GARDEN NOODLES

My children like anything with spaghetti noodles. Top it with ranch, and you have a hit. The tofu adds protein and makes it creamy (use silken, not the regular kind). Eggplants are tricky veggies; I always have a hard time figuring out how to incorporate them into a dish. Here, they are a nice accompaniment. Eggplants are good because they are an excellent source of dietary fiber, and they are a very good source of vitamins B1, B6 and potassium. You know the drill with broccoli – it’s green, therefore, it must be good for you! The kids liked it and ate it. Not much else to say about this one.

Ingredients:
10 oz. pasta (I use angel hair, broken in half)
1lb silken tofu
1 pkg. ranch dressing mix
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 heaping cup broccoli, cut into small flowerets
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup small grape tomatoes, halved

Directions:
Cook pasta according to directions. Blend tofu and dressing mix in blender until smooth. In large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, eggplant, broccoli and onion. Saute until soft, about 10 minutes or until veggies are soft and eggplant is starting to brown – stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes more. In a large bowl, combine noodles, veggies and ranch sauce. Serve!

Friday, May 13, 2011

THOUGHTS ON FOOD

I made some great chili yesterday because it was cold outside, and the kids loved it. They loved it so much that I neglected to take a picture - so we will save that recipe for another day. I thought that perhaps I would use this time to talk a little about my cooking preparation generally. Unless we are having a dinner party, I usually only expend effort on one of the dishes. Sometimes it is the main course; other times, it is a side dish or the dessert. I don't want to follow a recipe for more than one thing. For the remainder of the dinner, I use my old stand-bys: roasted veggies (cubed and tossed with olive oil and some herbs and salt and cooked in a casserole dish at 400 F for 45-60 minutes); fresh fruit salad (we have fruit with our dinners about 95% of the time); beans, quinoa, rice or some other grain or legume (usually with some leftover veggies that I have sauteed and tossed in); and a protein. I love using the steam bags; they are especially helpful when I need to cook some veggies and then puree them for another dish I am making.

I go grocery shopping with the whole gang. I want my children to grow up with an appreciation and understanding of food. I want them to know their way around a kitchen and a grocery store. They love it because they snack the entire time, and I usually ask them to help me pick things out in the produce section. I plan on getting 5 different veggies, 5-7 different fruits, 5 proteins and the staples. When I let them pick things out, it forces me to be creative. For example, we ended up with a big ugly yucca root on one of our shopping trips. I made fries out of it. They were actually good! I strive to get at least one new thing each time I go, and I try to get seasonal food. Finally, I try to get things that I might not like because: (i) it's a challenge to turn it into something that everyone will eat; and (ii) I want my kids to develop their own tastes. This is how the rutabegas, turnips and lima beans find their way into our cart. I must say that this exercise opened my eyes up to foods that I thought I didn't like; turns out that I just didn't like the way that they were previously prepared. Hopefully, this blog gets you thinking about new ways to prepare old foods, or trying something that you had never considered, or experimenting with foods that you were sure you despised. In any event, it has helped me to gather my day-to-day recipes in a coherent way, put some measurements to them and refine those measurements, and hopefully put together a recipe book for my kids of most of the stuff that I fed to them. I know that I still call my mother for her potato salad recipe.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

BREAKFAST NESTS

The shredded potatoes on the bottom of each of these forms the dish’s nest. The eggs are in the nest. Get it?! As usual, there are some veggies shoved into these nests too. (After all, I am a vegetarian!) Zucchini contains Vitamin C and lutein (which promotes eye health). One of the nice things about this dish is that you have a complete, easy to present serving in a neat little package that is easy for little hands to pick up. 

Ingredients:
1 potato, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup)
Salt, as necessary
3 small zucchini, shredded (about 2 cups)
½ small onion, chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbs. flour
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 Tbs. parmesan cheese

Directions:
Heat oven to 350 F. Spray cupcake pan with non-stick spray. If you want, you can use cupcake papers instead for easy removal (but you should still spray the bottom of the inside of each cupcake paper). Evenly divide potatoes among 12 cupcake slots, and pat down. Bake until slightly browned, about 15 minutes. Heat oil in frying pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add zucchini, onion and garlic. Sauté for 6 minutes, or until soft (stirring frequently). Remove from heat and stir in salt. Sprinkle flour atop veggie mixture and stir to incorporate. Put veggie mix into bowl, and add eggs and cheese. Stir to combine. Spoon veggie and egg mixture atop potatoes in each cupcake slot. Sprinkle tops with parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until done. Let cool a bit before serving.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

PUMPKIN PILES

In all honesty, I bought these beautiful fresh red pepper pasta noodles at the store. They were red and I thought to myself, “Wow, these would make beautiful ravioli!” I started the process, created a ravioli mix from stuff I found in the kitchen, and then discovered that I wouldn’t be able to use the pasta for ravioli because there was no way to seal the little packets. So, out of that mistake was born this little creation. As you know, I am a big proponent of pumpkin (excellent source of beta-carotene) and kale (high in fiber and an excellent source of a variety of nutrients). This dish is not thick enough to constitute lasagna, but it is more manageable for your shorter eaters – and it still tastes substantial. My short people seemed impressed.

Ingredients:
1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
¼ tsp. dried sage
1 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped
¼ tsp. salt
1 egg
1 head kale, rinsed well and chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
10 oz. fresh lasagna noodles, not the boxed variety (I used red pepper noodles, but you could use whatever you prefer or find)
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions:
Heat oven to 350 F. In a bowl, mix pumpkin, goat cheese, sage, parsley, salt and egg. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat, add garlic and kale and sauté until soft – just before it starts to brown, stirring frequently (about 5-8 minutes). Remove from heat. To assemble the pile: spread about 3 Tbs. pumpkin mixture on bottom of 9”x13” glass pan, place noodles atop mixture, spread 1/3 pumpkin mixture over noodles, 1/3 kale over pumpkin mixture, and 1/3 cheese atop kale. Repeat twice more. Bake for 40 minutes, or until done.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

BEET & APPLE CRUMBLE

Beets, apples, flaxseeds! Oh my! Beets are another of those sneaky vegetables that can go either way – sweet or savory. In this recipe, we visit the sweeter side of beets. The vibrant color makes this dish all that more appealing.  Beets are a great source of certain phytonutrients called betalains, which have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support to the body. Not to mention the sneaky benefits of flaxseed meal – a lovely source of fiber, antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids. What more could you want in a dessert?! Oh, and this is “nummy” (as my son says). So, have seconds of dessert!

Ingredients:
4 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 small, peeled and thinly sliced in half circles
8 Tbs. sugar (divided)
2 Tbs. lemon juice
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup flour
¼ cup flaxseed meal
1 tsp. cinnamon
6 Tbs. butter, cut into small cubes
Ice cream or whipped cream (for serving)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F. Place beets, apples and 3 Tbs. sugar into a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, or until softened. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Place apple and beet mixture in deep pie dish. In bowl, stir together 4 Tbs. sugar, oats, flour, flaxseed meal and cinnamon.  Add butter to flour mixture and, using your fingers, blend until you have little crumbles. Spread crumble mixture over apple and beet mixture. Sprinkle remaining 1 Tbs. sugar over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until done. Let cool a little before serving. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Friday, May 6, 2011

ABC NOODLES (Awesome Broccoli & Cheese)

This variation on mac n’ cheese has egg noodles (which has about 8 grams of protein per serving), cauliflower (in addition to Vitamin C and folate, studies link this cruciferous veggie to lowering the risk of cancer) and broccoli (a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid, calcium and fiber) – all bathed in a smoky cheese sauce. How can you resist anything bathed in a smoky cheese sauce?!

Ingredients:
2 cups extra wide enriched egg noodles, cooked according to package directions
1 small head cauliflower, cut into small flowerets
1 small head broccoli, cut into small flowerets
1 small onion, chopped
2 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. flour
2 cups milk
1 tsp. smoked paprika (it gives the dish a nice smoky flavor)
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 cup Colby-jack cheese, or another cheese of your choosing
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:
Heat oven to 350 F. Melt butter in saucepan and sauté onions over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until golden brown. Sprinkle with flour and continue to cook (stirring constantly) for another 2 minutes. Add milk, paprika and salt, and lower heat to medium. Cook until slightly thickened, about 6-8 minutes. Add nutritional yeast and stir until combined. Add Colby-jack cheese and stir until melted. Mix veggies cheese and noodles together. Pour into 9”x12” glass baking dish, sprinkle parmesan cheese on the top, and bake for 1 hour.

EVERYDAY BREAD (using a bread machine)

I love making my own bread, and my kids love it too. It’s nice to have something simple and perfect on hand for sandwiches. It is also lovely with butter and jam, especially when it first comes out of the machine. Don’t let the name fool you. While it is versatile, it is anything but ordinary. Sweet potatoes may be one of nature's unsurpassed sources of beta-carotene, and flax seeds are Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids and fiber (to name just a few of the many health benefits of flax).

Ingredients:
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup sweet potato puree (you can buy this in a can, or make it yourself by pureeing sweet potatoes that you have boiled until soft)
2 Tbs. butter
3 ¼ cups bread flour
¼ cup ground flax seeds
1/3 cup raw sugar
¾ tsp. salt
2 ½ tsp. active dry yeast

Directions:
Add the ingredients in the order listed above. When adding the salt and sugar, place on opposite sides of the loaf pan. Scoop out a well in the flour in the center and add the yeast into the well. Cook according to your bread manufacturer’s instructions. Enjoy!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

COLORFUL QUICHE

This is a great dish to feed toddlers because it is soft, easy to eat, and contains a nice variety of veggies. You can interchange the veggies for whatever you happen to have in the fridge. In the summers, at the end of the week, I take most of the leftover veggies I find in my fridge or still in the veggie basket, sauté them and use them in a quiche. I call it the “kitchen sink” quiche. Since pie crusts typically come in packs of two, it is simple enough to double the recipe and throw one in the freezer. In the winters, I take all of the leftover veggies and put them in sauces or soups. If I am going to buy all organic food (which is more expensive), then I am not going to throw it out if I can help it. In this particular quiche, you get the benefit of kale (rich in carotenoids and flavonoids, two powerful antioxidants that protect our cells from free radicals), squash (which contains a good amount of dietary fiber, potassium and folate) or sweet potatoes (one of nature's unsurpassed sources of beta-carotene).

Ingredients:
1 premade pie crust
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
1 sweet potato or small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes (about 2 cups)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 small bunch kale, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tsp. minced garlic
½ tsp. sea salt
3 eggs
1 Tbs. flour
1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded

Directions:
Heat oven to 350 F. Using a fork, prick the bottom and sides of the pie crust. Cook crust in oven for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool. Brush bottom with mustard. Place sweet potato or squash in a microwave safe bowl, cover with water and microwave for 10 minutes. Drain. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan. Place sweet potato or squash, kale, onion, mushrooms, garlic and salt into frying pan and sauté until soft (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat. Sprinkle flour over veggies and stir to incorporate. In a separate large bowl, beat eggs. Add veggie mixture and cheese to eggs and combine thoroughly. Pour (it is not liquid-y; it’s more like a sloppy veggie mixture) into pie crust and bake for 30 minutes at 350 F, or until done in the middle.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

EASY-PEASY BROCCOLI

My kids like broccoli. I am not sure why. I don’t do anything particularly special to it. But, they like it nonetheless. My son finished his entire serving tonight, so I thought I should share my recipe in the event that his fondness of the veggie has something to do with the way that it’s prepared. It is always good to get some broccoli in your diet. In addition to being a good source of fiber and Vitamin C, broccoli is a surprising source of calcium (good information for the vegans out there). Let me know your thoughts – is it the broccoli or are my kids just predisposed to an affinity for the little trees?

Ingredients:
1 head of broccoli, washed and cut into flowerets
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 pinch sea salt

Directions:
Heat oven to 425 F. Arrange the broccoli in an 8”x8” square baking dish. Combine olive oil, garlic and salt in a small cup. Pour olive oil mixture over broccoli and mix around to evenly coat (I use my hands). Bake for 25 minutes. Serve. That’s it. Really. Yes, the kids ate it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

BANANA QUINOA PUDDING

Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky!!! That’s what you are going to start saying about me. I think that I should change the title of this blog to “The Stuff I Sneak Into My Kids’ Food.” Instead of your standard tapioca pudding or rice pudding, I turned it tropical and snuck in some healthy stuff too. The quinoa adds a nice chewy texture with a subtly nutty flavor. As you know, quinoa is a complete protein grain. That means that it provides all the essential amino acids in a balanced pattern. It contains more high quality protein than any other grain, too.  Coconut milk, while being relatively fatty, has some health benefits too. Coconut milk is high in iron, with 22% of the recommended daily allowance. Coconut milk is also high in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, selenium, zinc, folate and vitamin C. There are some internet reports that state that coconut milk may help blood cholesterol levels by raising the levels of LDL (the good cholesterol), while not affecting levels of HDL (the bad cholesterol) – so the extra fat may be worth it! Don’t get me wrong, eating this dish isn’t going to make you skinny or satisfy all of your daily requirements, but it has enough health benefits so you don’t feel like a fool for eating it. Not to mention the fact that this dessert is a hit with the kiddos. (Bananas? Pudding? How can it not be?!)

Note: If you (i) don't like tapioca pudding or rice pudding, you probably won't like this pudding, and (ii) if you are a sullen pre-teen who pretends to hate everything, you will probably like this pudding, but nobody will know.

Ingredients:
1 13.5-oz. can coconut milk
2/3 cup milk
1 cup dried quinoa
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 dash salt
2 Tbs. cornstarch
2 cups milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 ripe bananas, thoroughly mashed

Directions:
Combine coconut milk, regular milk and quinoa in saucepan – be sure to break down all the coconut cream. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the liquids are absorbed. Remove from heat. In a separate pan, combine the sugar, eggs, salt, cornstarch, milk and vanilla.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly; cook until thickened. Remove from heat, add quinoa mixture and bananas, and stir to combine. Pour into glass bowl and refrigerate a few hours, or even overnight, until firm. If you want it to set sooner, or you like the idea of decorative presentations, pour individual servings of the pudding into separate wine glasses, ramekins, pretty coffee mugs, or whatever else you have in mind. You can top with a dollop of whipped cream, if you want to make it even prettier, but the taste surely won’t need it.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

“SPAGHETTI”

What are you thinking if you see the entire descriptive word in quotes? It’s not spaghetti? Well, it’s not really spaghetti. In lieu of carbolicious noodles, I use the “noodles” from spaghetti squash. This is not an exact replica of spaghetti where your guests will say “No noodles? Seriously?!” However, you will get (hopefully), “Wow, I like squash this way!” My kids absolutely LOVE this dish, and it is unbelievably easy to make. It can be even easier if you want to simply substitute my homemade sauce recipe for sauce in a jar (go ahead, I won’t tell). This is a great dish to make ahead of time or have in the freezer. Just proceed with everything except for the final baking. You can do that when you are ready to serve it (just make sure that it is fully thawed, and you will have to heat it up for a bit longer). Spaghetti squash supplies modest amounts of carotenoids – these are plant substances that the body turns into Vitamin A and that may help protect against some diseases.

My non-vegetarian aunt tried this dish and liked it.

Ingredients:
1 spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
30 oz. tomato sauce
1 Tbs. dried oregano
½ Tbs. dried basil
1 tsp. dried marjoram
½ tsp. dried fennel seeds, crushed (if you buy whole fennel seeds, as I do, you can grind them in a clean coffee bean grinder. I leave the dust in the grinder because it adds a nice flavor to your coffee the next time you use it)
1 tsp. crushed garlic
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. butter
½ bag of Quorn crumbles
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:
Place squash halves cut-side down on greased cookie sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes, or until soft to the touch. Remove and let cool. Once cool, use a fork to scrape the squash from the skin (it should look like noodles). If you haven’t done this before, take your fork, starting from the outside edges, scoop in toward the center. Go all the way around each squash half, and then scoop the entire amount out. In a saucepan, combine the tomato sauce, basil, oregano, marjoram, fennel, garlic, salt and butter. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Mix the “noodles” with spaghetti sauce and crumbles. Scoop mixture into 8”x8” square glass pan. Top with cheese and bake for 30 minutes. My kids LOVE this recipe as much as they love traditional spaghetti, and it is a cinch to make.