Why Pinterest recipe adventures? One of the biggest struggles that I have as a wife, mother, and just as a functioning adult is COOKING! I work full-time and my husband works double full-time because he owns his own business. In spite of all the work he always has to do, I am very blessed to have a husband who gets up early and cooks a wonderful breakfast for everyone every single morning. It has been our rhythm for a while now that I am the one to cook dinner. Talk about pressure! Trying to find something healthy and delicious has been a struggle that I have had epic fails in from the time even before we had kids. My husband even wrote a line about my cooking in the wedding song he composed for me, “Crock Pot, 7 days a week.”
Now, finding something to cook for dinner has gotten even harder as my kids are getting older and much more opinionated and picky about what they eat. My dysfunctional cooking skills are definitely in part because I grew up with my Grandma. Grandma always cooked awesome meals for my family from scratch, with no effort or true appreciation on my part. My mother rarely cooked herself, though now that she is retired, she is an amazing cook and even does crazy stuff like bake her own bread from scratch. I definitely feel the mom guilt when I just give up and pick up dinner, especially because I know all the extra
crap stuff (preservatives, salt, butter, oil) that goes into restaurant food to make it taste good.
Pinterest to the Rescue
What is a mom to do? Like millions of people, I turn to Pinterest to help me find recipes and meal ideas. I plan to periodically blog about my Pinterest recipe adventures to document my successes and failures, so you can avoid my failures, and bask in the glory of any successes you choose to use. I often pick or adapt recipes so they can be more minimalist, just like my crafts, with the minimal amount of ingredients, supplies, effort, and time necessary. Sometimes I search for recipes by a specific ingredient that I have, or just use the words “easy dinner.”
If you look on Pinterest for recipes at all, chances are you’ve seen spaghetti squash. It’s a really cool squash that comes out spaghetti noodle shaped after baking. I just want to say up front that it does NOT taste like pasta noodles, it’s squash. You can give it whatever flavor you want, but there is still going to be an underlying squash texture, and according to my kids it has a squash smell. Spaghetti squash noodles can be used like pasta as a gluten-free and much healthier pasta substitute.
Baking Spaghetti Squash
For this recipe I already had some spaghetti squash made using the instructions found in the pin below. If you like spaghetti squash I suggest making a bunch ahead of time and freezing it.
- Preheat Oven to 400 degrees
- Cut squash in half
- Remove seeds with spoon
- Rub on a little olive oil (optional salt and pepper)
- Cook for 45 minutes, cool for 10
- Remove the noodle-like insides with a fork
Spaghetti Squash Bake
I typed in spaghetti squash bake and Pinterest provided a bunch of different pins like spaghetti squash casserole, Italian-style spaghetti squash bake, chicken caesar spaghetti squash bake, and spaghetti squash lasagna. I basically made up my own recipe based on a mixture of the recipes that popped up and what I had in my pantry.
- Spaghetti squash from one squash, already baked and removed into noodles
- Jar of spaghetti sauce
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Optional precooked diced frozen chicken
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Pour the spaghetti squash into a rectangular baking pan (I used one 9″x11″)
- Stir in diced frozen precooked chicken if desired
- Spread the spaghetti squash noodles out evenly in the pan
- Pour the spaghetti sauce on evenly over the spaghetti squash noodles
- Sprinkle on LOTS of cheese
- Bake in oven for 30 minutes covered, then 5 minutes uncovered
A big thumbs down 👎 from my kids and my husband. My kids especially didn’t like it. They complained about the squash smell primarily and the squash texture of the noodles secondarily. Despite the super big smile on my son’s face as he helped me make this healthy minimalist dinner he refused to eat it when it was done.
On the other hand, I gave it a big 👍 thumbs up! It tasted lighter than pasta to me and it still had all the flavor of the spaghetti sauce and cheese. There was a little vegetable crunchiness, liked cooked zucchini would, so it was not the same as pasta noodles. I really liked it better than regular pasta. It was a good thing I liked it, as I ended up eating the leftovers for several days for home lunch and dinner because no one else would eat it.
Bottom line, make sure your family likes spaghetti squash before making a whole bunch of it. It is a healthy and easy dinner to make and I hope that your family is pro spaghetti squash, unlike mine. Let me know if you LOVE or HATE spaghetti squash.