Baked Spaghetti Squash

Happy New Year everyone,

I’m sure you will be thrilled to hear that I lost 2 1/2 pounds over the holidays. Woohoo!! Yey me. Alright, alright I can already hear the groans and the ” Good for you, you skinny b*&@#.” Well, don’t worry, I still have about 15 more to go.

And, this is where the problem lies. I am not a dieter. I absolutely hate depriving myself of good food. And I am cranky as hell when I’m hungry. The good new is that I’ve never been afraid of working out and that’s basically how I lost the weight over the holidays. Now, while I don’t and won’t “diet” what I will do is try to cook healthy meals and scale back on the carbs as much as possible, because that is where I pack on the pounds. So, last night when I was feeling like a nice bowl of comfort food, I decided to try this recipe that I clipped from Better Homes and Gardens in 2006. I’m so sorry it took me this long to try it. It’s delicious, and you could cut back on the fat even more by using turkey sausage. It was just what I needed to satisfy my craving and the carbs were under control. I even used Monterey Jack cheese which is a low carb cheese. Please try this one. The spaghetti squash is so easy to cook in the microwave and magically turns to spaghetti before your very eyes. I’ll be looking for more recipes using spaghetti squash so if you have any recommendations, send them my way. I know Joe Leone’s used to serve a fabulous “ss” dish. Maybe I’ll be able to persuade him to give JerseyBites the recipe. Whata you say Joe?

Baked Spaghetti Squash
1 Medium spaghetti squash (2 1/4 lbs.)
12 oz. bulk Italian Sausage (or Turkey sausage)
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium green or red sweet pepper, chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can chopped pitted ripe olives (4 1/4 -oz.)
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 1/2 cups pasta sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack, mozzarella, or Italian blend cheese
1/4 cup snipped fresh Italian parsley

1. Halve squash crosswise, remove seeds. Place cut sides down in 2 quart rectangular baking dish. Add 1/4 cup water. Cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave on high 13 to 15 minutes or until squash is tender when pierced with fork. In a large skillet cook sausage mushrooms, sweet pepper, onion and garlic over medium heat until sausage is no longer pink; stir to break up sausage. Drain off fat.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scrape pulp from squash with fork (about 3 cups) Wipe out baking dish, coat with nonstick cooking spray. Spread half of the squash in dish; coat with nonstick cooking spray. Spread half the squash in dish. Add half the sausage mixture and half the olives. Sprinkle with seasoning and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Top with half the sauce and half the cheese. Top with remaining squash, sausage, olives, and sauce. Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley. Serves 6.