Food

GF Spaghetti Squash, Spinach, and Cheese Bake

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One of my favorite ways to eat healthy is to turn beloved (aka fattening) recipes into healthier versions.  That way I can have all the same familiar tastes with fewer unhealthy ingredients and more ingredients with actual nutritional value.  That is why I get very excited every time I find a recipe that takes a new, healthier spin on traditional mac and cheese.  Mac and cheese is one of the best foods ever- that’s not an opinion, that’s just #science.

This recipe is adapted from: Skinny Taste.

Serves 4:

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 cup milk- I use unsweetened almond milk, but any variety of milk will do
  • 1/2 cup broth- I use veggie broth, but chicken works as well
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups organic baby spinach
  • grated parmesan, to taste

Nutrition info (per serving):

  • Calories: 234
  • Carbs: 8 g.
  • Fat: 19 g.
  • Protein: 10 g.
  • Sodium: 382 mg.
  • Sugar: 3 g.

Directions:

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

-Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.

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For me, this is always the most challenging part of cooking spaghetti squash.  I use a watermelon knife, which works rather well, but it is still a pain.  Your other option is to bake the spaghetti squash first and then cut, but this will make gutting the spaghetti squash more difficult.  I prefer to cut first because I like my squash to be completely cleaned of the seeds and I am never entirely sure it is all gone when I cook first (it sinks into the inside of the squash).

Another tip for spaghetti squash: notice the deformity on the outside of my squash?  Don’t worry about those!  They very rarely affect the inside of the squash and unless your squash is rotten (squishy), you should be just fine.

OK back to cooking.

-Gut your spaghetti squash by scooping out all of the seeds with a spoon and place the spaghetti squash on a baking sheet so that the hollowed out centers are now face down.  Bake for 1 hour.

-Once baking is complete, remove squash from the oven, but do not turn off the heat.

-Separate the spaghetti strands from the shell of the squash with a fork and put in a bowl.  They should come out fairly easy and there should be enough fill a medium size bowl.

Voila “spaghetti:”

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If you notice that your spaghetti strands are moist (sorry, hate that word, but no other way to describe), wrap them in paper towel to soak up excess moisture.  You will not need extra moisture from the spaghetti squash because you are making sauce!

-Heat your oil and butter in a medium to large saucepan over medium heat.  If you are questioning what size saucepan to use, choose one that could hold all of your spaghetti squash strands with room to spare (do not actually put squash in pan just yet).

-Once butter is melted, whisk in cornstarch. Stir over low heat for a few minutes.

-Add milk and broth over medium heat, continue whisking until mixture boils and becomes thick.  Season with salt and pepper.

-Remove from heat and mix in the cheddar cheese until it is melted.  Add more salt and pepper if you would like.

Not the sexiest picture, but mmmmmm cheese sauce:

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Don’t worry if your sauce is not the same color.  Different milks and broths will alter the color and consistency slightly.  As long as you are in that shade of ugly yellow, you will be fine (PS. It is ugly, but it is tasty).

-Mix in your spaghetti squash and spinach.  Pour mixture into a baking dish.  I used an 8×8, but 9×13 will work as well.

I topped my bake with parmesan cheese prior to baking, but I think next time I would just top it after baking.  It is more flavorful after, in my opinion, but you choose what works for you!

It will look something like this:

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It’s starting to get a little prettier, right?

-Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

-Take out of the oven and marvel at the low-carb goodness you just baked:

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Dig in!!

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