Friday, July 18, 2014

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Casserole...

I made this last Sunday, and posted a pic of the yummy lunch that I took to work on Monday and have been asked for the recipe SO many times!!!!

SOOOO, that being said - I do not typically follow recipes - and I swear that I FOR REAL put Tony Cachere's Creole seasoning in EVERYTHING that I make...haha...

 I had an idea in mind after cooking our first spaghetti squash... I make 'lasagna casserole' on occasion, but with rotini noodles and can/jar sauce... (I've never made a full pot of spaghetti sauce before Sunday!)  Anyway, recipe below... Make it your own!

You will need:
 1 24 oz. container of Ricotta Cheese
4 cups of Mozzarella Cheese
1-ish cups of parmesan (like the powdery kind) I probably used more!
Shredded Parm (if you want it - Jeremy LOVES cheese - so I used 4 oz. I think)
.5-ish tbs of onion powder, garlic powder and Tony Cachere's... (I may have used more Tony's - it can be salty so be careful)
2 tbs oregano
2-3 tbs of minced garlic (Costco minced) - we tanked on garlic production this year!
Handful of fresh basil (rough cut)
5 lb-ish Spaghetti Squash
4 lbs of tomatoes (I have no idea how many lbs I actually used, but my largest pot was full)
1 lb LEAN hamburger meat... (or ground deer / turkey meat if you prefer) You know, it really matters that it is lean... because there's only like 20 lbs of cheese in this concoction... 

First things First: Spaghetti Squash:

I used a BIG one... seriously was not sure if it was ready.... this is our first year to grow it, however - after many internet searches, the coloring is acceptable so I dug in!

 First, I cut the top and bottom off of the spaghetti squash, then cut it straight down the middle:

Scoop out the seeds... (duh) and put them in your compost!!! Heck, really - I don't know if you should... you might be growing compost spaghetti squash in a few weeks...

Here's the tricky part... (not) - add about 1.5 inches of water to a casserole dish.. whatever size will fit both of your squash faces... Place the spaghetti squash face down and cook in the microwave (YES, the MICROWAVE) for 20 minutes... I cook mine longer so that it has a noodle texture... It may have the same texture at 15 mins, but I've been successful thus far - so I'm sticking to it.

SAUCE - I was working on both squash / tomato sauce at the same time... Sooo, that being said - my sauce - not from a jar... Place your rinsed tomatoes in a stock post (or the largest pot you have to yield a decent amount of sauce) and cover with water.. I always add ground sea salt to anything that I boil - so if you wish, do the same...

Rolling boil until you see the skin start to separate from the tomatoes:

Strain and let the tomatoes cool... you will burn the CRAP out of your fingers if you even attempt to peel them hot... (I put mine in the fridge for a while and then suffer through the tomatoes spitting heat at me)...

 Cooled and ready to peel / "spaghetti":

Rake a fork through the squash into a bowl...

Tomatoes are peeled... ADD: fresh basil, minced garlic, and oregano...

If you do not have a Blendtec - I highly recommend purchasing one... It is possible, that I may have shared my opinion on several occasions any time that Costco has a 'Blendtec show'... (yes, I am THAT girl at the store - I DO NOT WORK for Costco nor have ANY affiliation with Blendtec - but love free stuff... hint hint...)

ANYWAY, into the Blendtec it goes... unless I am making a smoothie I only use the pulse function when making sauce or salsa... Hit it until you see whatever consistency you like... (Tony's in the background) :

(Meat of your choice should be cooked at this point - btw)

Tomatoes back into the pot (I use a smaller one at this point), add meat, onion powder, garlic powder, tony's, and 1-ish cup(s) of the powdery parmesan and bring to a rolling boil and then let it simmer until it's a decent consistency...

 Reduced sauce:

IT's "NOODLE" TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I added a little more oregano and seasonings to the squash before adding the cheese(s):

"CHEESED" UP!!! (Ricotta, 1/2 of the mozz, additional parm if you'd like):

I didn't take pics of the layering process... or the finished product... (until it was about to be consumed!) BUT, layer the squash/cheese mixture and sauce... Squash on the bottom and cover with sauce... Top with remaining mozzarella, shredded parm.. and anything else you'd want to consume!

Bake at 375 until the cheese on top is golden brown...

Perfection! Seriously - did NOT miss the noodles... and my finicky kids didn't FLINCH eating it! (they had no idea that there were no noodles!)

(Side Note: this is my FIRST step by step of ANYTHING... I type how I think... so... there is NO grammatical corrections to be had here... I KNOW... like, really... I know...)  And this is really a PITA!

 Much love... H