I really don’t love talking about the weather. It’s boring. It’s filler conversation. You talk weather when you’re riding the elevator ten floors with a co-worker you know you should know but don’t. You talk weather when there’s awkward silence and don’t know what else to say. But sometimes, the weather is so strange that you just can’t help but talk about it. I’ve lived in Virginia my whole life (except for the year I was in South Carolina) and I don’t think I’ve ever felt cold like this. It’s the type of cold that actually hurts your skin. The type of cold that I think people in Ohio and Wisconsin might actually enjoy. It snowed on Tuesday and schools were closed the entire week because nothing melted. The low at my house on Thursday was -2. The windchill brought the “feels like” temperature down in the double digit negatives. I hate it.
Ready for baking
I actually don’t mind the snow. I really kind of love it (unless this happens
). But highs in the teens and lows below zero…no thanks. That’s the kind of weather that makes me turn hermit. That’s the kind of weather that makes me want to stay in my PJs, bake cookies
, and make warm, comforting, hearty dinners like this one.
Ground beef and pork are cooked in tomato sauce then baked with spaghetti squash for a perfectly healthy, cold-weather dinner. Think lasagna or maybe baked ziti…but not really, because it’s squash. I invite all spaghetti squash haters to try this. It might just convert you. I made this on Thursday for my cooking club
and I just made it again today. And I will probably want to make it again tomorrow because it
made my house smell like the most amazing Italian restaurant you can think up in your head. This meal is really pretty simple and makes a large amount so you can feed a big group or just keep it around for the week. Feel free to play with this recipe. Add some veggies, leave out the pork, do whatever you’d like but please, make it soon. I promise, it’s really something to talk about. Baked “Spaghetti” (adapted from Paleomg) Ingredients: 1 spaghetti squash (mine was 2lbs 13oz) 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 large white onion, chopped 3/4-1lb ground pork 3/4-1lb ground beef 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped 1/2 tablespoon oregano 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional) 1/2 teaspoon thyme 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt Freshly ground pepper, to taste 1- 25oz jar of spaghetti sauce (or 3 cups – see note 1 below) 3 eggs Directions:
- Preheat oven to 400. Cut spaghetti squash in half (see note 2 below). Scoop out the seeds and place cut-side down in a 13×9 baking dish. Add just a little water to the dish and place in oven for about 20 mins. If you don’t use the microwave method below in the notes your cook time will need to be about 40 mins. Remove the squash from the oven. Let cool a bit. Using a fork, scrape out the squash into a large bowl and set aside. Dump the water out of the baking dish. Dry it off and grease it using some olive oil. Set it aside.
- While the squash is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook on medium until onion is translucent. About 3 minutes.
- Add pork, beef, basil, oregano, red pepper, thyme, salt and pepper to the pan. Stir to combine and cook until most of the beef is cooked through. At this point you can drain some of the fat if you’d like. I didn’t because I used 93/7 beef and it really wasn’t too fatty.
- Add 2 cups of sauce. Cook another 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. All meat should be cooked through.
- Stir the beef mixture into the spaghetti squash. Be sure to really stir well. Use a fork to break up the squash and make sure it’s evenly coated.
- In a small bowl whisk together the eggs. Pour into the squash mixture and stir quickly. You may want to let the squash cool a little before mixing in the eggs to be sure they don’t scramble. I waited just a few minutes and it was fine.
- Pour the mixture into the oiled baking dish and spread evenly. Bake at 400 for about 35 minutes or until the squash is no longer wet looking on top. The top should look a little stiff, almost like baked cheese. Remove and let sit for a few minutes before cutting. Slice and serve with extra sauce if desired. Enjoy!
- I used jarred spaghetti sauce. If you have the time, feel free to make this sauce instead but if you don’t, it’s ok, use a jar. I’ve been really
lazy busy lately and didn’t have time to make sauce.
- Let’s talk spaghetti squash short cuts. I finally read the little sticker that comes on the squash and it had a great tip for cutting it. Normally I just stab it with a huge knife and bang it on the counter and hope it splits close to evenly down the middle. Don’t do that. It’s not safe. Instead, poke the squash with a knife several times and microwave it whole for 5-7 minutes. It should come out soft enough to cut easily but it won’t be cooked all the way. Then follow the directions above to finish cooking.
- The size of your squash will vary. The first time I made it my squash was just over 3lbs and I used 2 full lbs of meat. The second time I made it my squash was smaller and I didn’t need to use all 2lbs so I left some to the side. You just really want a good mixture of squash and meat. I went heavy on the meat. Do what you like.
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