Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Okay, where did the weekend go?

I swear like 5 minutes ago it was Friday and I was holding a cocktail, and now suddenly it’s Sunday night and I’m folding laundry and willing the vacuum to gather its cords and wheel itself back into the closet.

But at least there was lasagna! Really, really good lasagna, I might add.

You see, this isn’t your traditional layered pasta dish. It’s secretly filled with… wait for it… squash! Two kinds of squash! And I’d be willing to bet if you made this for your picky eater, they’d ask for seconds. Oh yea, it’s THAT good.
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You’ll notice this recipe doesn’t call for ricotta or egg or cottage cheese, because while all those things are delicious, there not going to help you keep that resolution to fit back into your wedding dress, skinny jeans, or Letterman’s jacket #sadbuttrue So we’re going to do the healthy thing and swap out the cheese for spaghetti squash! Same moisture content but a fraction of the fat. Total win!
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Bonus: Go vegetarian and replace the sausage with mushrooms. NOMS.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

(FTY Original – Makes an 8×8 pan)

Sauce:
5 links mild Italian sausage, uncased
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence (optional, but amazing!)
salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
1 16oz jar butternut squash pasta sauce (found at Fresh & Easy)
1 can Campbell’s Harvest Orange Tomato condensed soup
1 cup low sodium chicken broth

1 medium spaghetti squash (3lbs or so)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 box lasagna noodles, broken according to pan dimensions
8oz mozzarella, shredded
4oz fontina, shredded

Heat the oven to 350F and using a sharp paring knife or metal skewer, pierce the spaghetti squash all over.
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I’ve found spacing each prick about 2 inches from one another provides enough holes for the steam to escape, but not so much that all the liquid escapes. Place in a rimmed baking dish and bake for 90 minutes, flipping half-way. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
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In a medium sized, heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add in sausage and, using a spoon to break down into small chunks, cook until no longer pink. IMG_0598
Drain the sausage of excess oil, turn the heat to medium and add onion, garlic, salt, pepper, Herbes de Provence, and lightly brown the meat.
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Add pasta sauce, tomato soup, and chicken broth to the sauce pan. Stir to combine and simmer over low for 30 minutes. If you can make the sauce ahead, do so. The flavors meld after a 24-hour nap :)
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Once your spaghetti squash has cooled enough to be handled, use a sharp knife and CAREFULLY cut it in half, lengthwise.
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Remove the seeds and pull the strands from the rind. Fluff and set aside.
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An assembly line works best for this next step, so grab your hubby or munchkin and put them to work!
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First into the pan goes some sauce…
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Then a layer of noodles, followed by a third of the cheese…
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Next up, a third of the spaghetti squash!
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Then another layer of sauce…
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Rinse and repeat until you have three whole layers of sauce-pasta-cheese-squash, but whatever you do, end on a cheese. Wanna see how I did mine? To the schematic!
cheese
pasta
sauce
squash
cheese
pasta
sauce
squash
cheese
pasta
sauce
squash
cheese
pasta
sauce

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Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 60 minutes. Remove foil for the last 15 minutes of baking to brown the cheese.
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Let rest for 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
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Macaroni and Cheese Skillet Bake

Yum!

 

Seriously, is there anything more delicious than a big bowl of cheesy noodles? Other than a massive boozy concoction, I can think of nothing I’d rather stuff in my face.

Oh, right. A big bowl of cheesy noodles topped with MORE CHEESE and PANKO. Yum, twice.

Jessica tipped me off to this recipe and though I adapted it to our tastes, she gets ALL the credit for these yummies :)

Macaroni and Cheese Skillet Bake

(serves 4-6)

1 pound pasta (we used rigatoni)
1 shallot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup AP flour
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
8 ounces freshly grated gruyere cheese
8 ounces freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces freshly grated fontina cheese
salt & pepper
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375F. Grate cheeses and toss them together in a large bowl. Boil water and prepare pasta according to directions, cooking for 3-4 minutes less than called-for time.

Heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add in olive oil and butter, then throw in shallots with a pinch of salt. Stir to coat and cook for 2-3 minutes, until soft. Add in garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add flour to the skillet then whisk constantly to create a roux. Let cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Pour in milk, stirring continuously for another 1-2 minutes. Add in most of the grated cheeses, reserving about 1 cup of grated cheese for topping. Stir continuously until mixture thickens, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then taste and season more if desired. Add pasta to the skillet and toss thoroughly to coat.

Sprinkle the top of the mixture with remaining cheese, then breadcrumbs. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden brown and bubbly.

Enjoy immediately!

GamerGirl

Tried & True Tuesdays: Bruschetta Pizza

Tonight I fell in love with a pizza. Thankfully I have GamerMan so I don’t need to worry my brain with the logistics of bearing pizza-babies, or how messy our wedding might be – though that still is up for concern >.> or the social implications of having a food item for a husband…

Yes, I can be overly dramatic, but once you try this stuff you’ll be singing right along with me!

 

 

GamerGirl

Cannoli Cupcakes

My first memory of pistachios was in my best friend’s family car. I looked in the back seat and saw a bag of these tan ovals and thought WTF ARE THOSE!?

I may or may not have eaten one, but the important thing to note is GamerMan loves pistachos and had I not been that weird kid in grade school who ate stuff off the floor of other people’s cars, we probably wouldn’t be together today.

But back to the cupcakes :) I used Joelen’s recipe as a base, doubling the amount of orange zest, and substituting vanilla bean seeds for vanilla extract. Oh, and lots and lots of pistachios!

 

GamerGirl

Mini Calzones

Pizza. There’s just something about that gooey cheese and crunchy crust that gets our tastebuds tingling, so when Annie told us about making your own pizza bites, we were intrigued.

And of course since I follow recipes about as well as any 3 year old, I wound up putting my own twist on these babies…

Mini calzones! Small in status, but epic in flavor. Srsly.

Dough:
1 envelope of RapidRise yeast
1/4 teaspoon of sugar
3/4 cup of lukewarm water
1 3/4 cups of unbleached flour
1 tablespoon of garlic salt

Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a bowl. Set aside 5-7 minutes. In the meantime, mix the flour and garlic salt in a separate bowl and heat the oven to 400F.

Add wet to dry, and combine with a knife until everything is incorporated and you have a neat ball. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes, adding more flour if the dough is sticky.

Pick off 1.5 inch balls of dough and set aside. Now is the time where you’d grab your favorite pizza ingredients and set everything out because we’re about to assembly-line these nomnoms!

Flatten each ball into a 4 inch long rectangle, place toppings of your choice on one end of the rectangle, and fold over the opposite side. Crimp the sides as you would a normal calzone, and place on a Pam’d baking sheet. Lightly oil the top of each mini and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until firm and oozing with cheese (what, we’re not all perfect!).

These are totally worth going AFK for. Just don’t tell your raid group what you’re up to…

GamerGirl