Spaghetti Squash Marinara


Spaghetti Squash Marinara

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes being shared on Facebook, most of which are healthy and look really delicious. I try to make a point of “liking” or sharing the post so I can go back to it, or I simply copy it down. Last week, one of my friends shared one for spaghetti squash, and sadly, I didn’t do either and don’t recall which friend it was. I figured I could wing it, but looked up a few recipes to find out about cooking times in both the oven and microwave. I ended up cooking mine in the oven, mostly because my microwave is small and cooking a whole spaghetti squash in there can lead to spaghetti squash wallpaper if it explodes. Needless to say, the end result was incredible, and honestly, tasted better than I expected. If you like healthy, and/or love pasta, but hate the carbs, look no further! ¬†If you’re short on time or just want to simplify this recipe , you can use your favorite spaghetti or marinara sauce instead of making this one, but I recommend you trying mine out ūüôā I added lean ground Italian turkey to mine; however, if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, obviously you can omit it. Feel free to add some veggies, too, if you so desire.

*UPDATE* – ¬†shortly after posting this, I stumbled across a spaghetti squash recipe that looked amazing, so I quickly took the remaining half squash from this recipe and added the two additional ingredients, which I’ll post at the bottom (with a photo, of course)!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium uncooked spaghetti squash, about 2 lbs.
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can stewed tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can whole Roma tomatoes, chopped (discard juice)
  • 1/2 lb. lean ground Italian turkey meat (I used Jennie O), optional
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil plus extra for baking dish
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds, ground in spice mill or using mortar & pestle
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste and for sprinkling baking dish
  • Parmesan cheese, go big and just use a little for the top

Cooked Squash

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375¬įF.
  2. Cut squash in half lengthwise using a sharp knife. This can be somewhat difficult, so be careful. If need be, start at one end, cutting half way through then turn it around and cut through the other half. Once the squash is cut in half, scoop out the seeds.
  3. Drizzle a little olive oil in a large baking dish, then sprinkle with some salt & pepper. Place squash cut sides down in dish and prick skin with a fork all over.
  4. Cook for 45 minutes.
  5. While the squash is cooking,  heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and crushed fennel, and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add ground turkey, and continue to sauté until cooked through, breaking into small pieces, about 10 minutes.
  7. Stir in tomatoes (including juice from the can of stewed tomatoes), basil and Italian seasoning; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring often, 5 minutes or until desired consistency.
  8. Remove squash from oven and carefully turn over with an oven mit (they’ll be hot!). Rake the stringy squash pulp from the skin with a fork, separating it into strands that look like spaghetti. You can either serve the squash in its skin or move the strands to a plate.
  9. Spoon sauce over squash and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Yummy!

Additional Recipe: Cheesy Spaghetti Squash with Marinara

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash

The additional items you’ll need are 1 cup of cottage cheese (I prefer low fat) and 1 cup of shredded cheese. I used a light Mexican four-blend, but the recipe I saw calls for Mozzarella. To make this, after cooking the squash and scraping the strings with a fork, add 1/2 cup cottage cheese to each half, top with marinara, and then add 1/2 cup cheese to each one. Put on a baking sheet and place under the broiler for approximately 3-5 minutes. I added some fresh chopped oregano and basil, and as you can see, some of it burned, so I ended up finishing it in the microwave until the cheese got melted and bubbly.

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Mexican Egg White Omelet With Goat Cheese


Mexican Egg White Omelet

I whipped up this little omelet this morning, and wasn’t going to post it, then thought, why not share the deliciousness?!! Obviously, you can add (or omit) whatever veggies and/or spices that suit your fancy, but I love the combination of what I put into mine today. If you’re not a fan of goat cheese, just substitute your favorite.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup egg whites, from 4 large eggs or liquid whites
  • 2 pearl onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. jalape√Īo peppers, sliced or diced
  • 1 tbsp. goat cheese
  • 3-4 cherry or plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp. cilantro, more or less to taste
  • 1/8 tsp. Mexican chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Omelet Ingredients

Omelet Cooking

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a small skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add chopped onions to pan and sauté for approximately 3 minutes, or until softened.
  3. Remove from skillet & set aside.
  4. Wipe down pan and add remaining oil back to skillet.
  5. Put egg whites and spices in a small bowl and whisk with a fork until slightly frothy.
  6. Pour mixture into heated pan, swirl around a little and let cook for about 5 minutes, until almost completely set and opaque.
  7. Add remaining ingredients, including the sautéed onions, to one side of the omelet, then sprinkle with goat cheese.
  8. Fold “empty” side of omelet over the other side and carefully slide out of pan onto a serving plate.
  9. Garnish with cilantro and serve with additional avocado slices and salsa, if desired.

Egg White Omelet

Egg White Omelet

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Avocado and Mango Salad


Prior to dressing & cilantro
Prior to dressing & cilantro

I recently had dinner at my neighborhood sushi restaurant, and remembered the last time I ate there was when my best friend was visiting over Memorial Day weekend. We ordered their mango and avocado salad, which was seriously amazing. I didn’t order it this time (sigh), but kept thinking about it after I got home, and decided to make a similar version after a trip to Trader Joe’s the following day. There is so much flavor in this quick fruit salad, not to mention, it’s extremely healthy. Two days later, I’m still enjoying it!!!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 mangos, cubed
  • 2 avocados, cubed
  • 8-10 plum or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced

Directions

  1. In a large serving bowl, whisk together vinegar, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in oil.
  2. Toss in mangoes, avocado and tomatoes to coat.
  3. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

Mango & Avocado Salad

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Mexican Tostada


Delicious Mexican Tostada

Yesterday, I found myself craving Mexican food… maybe because I felt it only right to do my part in celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Breakfast was easy – I made a Mexican quesadilla, but couldn’t decide on something quick and easy for dinner. I love enchiladas, but wanted something simpler. I then thought about tacos, which were appealing, however, desired a dish with a crunch, so a tostada seemed to fit the bill. I was having a very lazy Sunday at home, and wanted to continue on that same path, thus made this as easy as possible by using canned refried beans and store-bought tostada shells. My normal method would be to make these from scratch, but honestly, I just wasn’t in the mood to go the extra mile last night. It was all about easy, breezy and tasty… and thankfully, that it was! As I made this just for me, I didn’t do much measuring, but will try to give you some idea as to how much you’ll need for two servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 tostada shells
  • 1 can (15 oz.) refried beans
  • 1/8 head iceberg lettuce, seasoned with salt & vinegar
  • 1/2 tomato, chopped
  • Guacamole (or 1/2 chopped avocado)
  • 2 oz. Mexican four cheese blend (or you favorite kind)
  • 4 tbsp. salsa
  • A small handful of cilantro, chopped

Directions

  1. Heat refried beans in a frying pan on medium low until warm.
  2. Chop lettuce into thin slices and add a little salt (about 1/8 tsp.) and vinegar (about 1/4 tsp.).
  3. Place tostada shells in oven at 350¬įF on baking sheet or oven rack, and heat for 3-4 minutes, until you can smell the aroma of them. Be careful not to burn.
  4. To assemble, place tostadas on a plate, spread the warm/hot refried beans on top, sprinkle a little cheese on top of the beans, then the seasoned lettuce, some chopped tomatoes, guacamole, salsa, a skosh more cheese (if desired), and topped off with a sprinkling of chopped cilantro.

Tostada

Obviously, you can add additional toppings, like chopped onion, sliced¬†jalape√Īos, sour cream, etc. and tailor this to your liking. I ate this like a slice of pizza, just a little bit more carefully.¬†

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Tortilla Pizza


This¬†next recipe¬†is one of my favorites that I created, Tortilla Pizza.¬†One day, I was craving some pizza, but didn’t want to order one, so, as I usually have flour tortillas on hand, I decided I’d just throw some sauce and toppings on one and toss it in the oven. I had to play around with the temperature and timing to get it just the way I like (crispy), but now, it’s a staple in my¬†kitchen.¬†I¬†love the fact that it’s obviously very low in carbs and can be made any way that you like, with very few or lots of toppings.¬†It’s amazingly simple and a really nice, quick meal! The one pictured below is simply my pizza sauce, a few different cheeses, sliced tomatoes and caramalized onions (or onion marmalade).

Ingredients

  • 1 flour tortilla (I use medium size)
  • Pizza/pasta sauce¬†to cover tortilla (use according to personal preference)
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese mix
  • 1 Roma tomato, sliced thin
  • Caramelized onions¬†
  • Parmesean cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Put tortilla on baking sheet.
  3. Spread sauce over tortilla, getting close to the sides.
  4. Sprinkle shredded cheese blend over sauce.
  5. Put tomato slices on top on top of cheese.
  6. Add caramelized onions, using as little or as much as you like.
  7. Sprinkle parmesean cheese over entire pizza.
  8. Bake about 20 minutes, a little longer for crispier crust.

As I mentioned, you can use whatever toppings that suit your fancy. Another favorite combination that I like is using pieces of goat cheese, some sundried tomatoes, fresh mint and fresh basil. Oh so good!

Enjoy!

Tomato-Goat Cheese Bruschetta


Recipe courtesy of one my favorites, Betty Crocker

Organic tomatoes, goat cheese and thyme are the signature flavors of this classic Italian recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 logs (4 oz each) soft goat cheese, cut into 8 (1 inch) slices
  • 1 can* (14.5 oz) organic, diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 24 slices (1/2 inch thick) baguette (about 8 oz), toasted

Directions

  1. Heat over to 350F.
  2. In ungreased, 1-quart shallow ovenproof dish, place cheese in a single layer.
  3. Sprinkle tomatoes, olives, thyme leaves and pepper flakes over cheese.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Bake 15-20 minutes or until warm and serve with baguette slices.

*Unlike fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes contain more nutrients and lycopene because they are pre-cooked, which enhances their nutritional content.

Skewered – A New Take on The Caprese Salad


Here’s an easy, colorful, delicious appetizer that’s perfect for summer gatherings and¬†sure to please.

Ingredients

  • Small skewers or long tooth picks
  • Bocconcino (aka mozzarella balls, can be purchased either plain or in herb-flavored oil)
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & pepper
  • Kalamata olives (optional)

Directions

  1. If using skewers, soak them in water for approximately 1 hour.
  2. Simply place one tomato, a folded piece of basil, one bocconcino, another piece of basil and a kalamata olive on a skewer or toothpick. Repeat.
  3. Drizzle with a little olive and balsamic and a dash of salt & pepper.

Voila… a portable caprese salad!

Holy Guacamole!


Love guacamole? Me, too! Here is an easy, but tasty dish you can whip together in about 10 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 3 avocados – peeled, pitted & mashed
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 to 3 chopped serrano chiles (optional)

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the avocados, lime juice and salt – mash well.
  2. Add in the onion, cilantro, tomatoes, garlic and cayenne pepper.
  3. Best to refrigerate for 1 hour, but can be served immediately.

 Avocado tips:

Use Hass avocados, the brown, wrinkly kind, for guacamole. They’re especially rich & creamy.¬†Buy avocadoes that are slightly soft, but not squishy.¬†Ripen in a paper bag with a banana or an apple at room temperature.¬†Store ripe avocados in the fridge for 2 or 3 days.