As I’ve said before, my hooligans, troublemakers though they are, will eat just about anything. Each has a couple of quirks, so although I do force them to try whatever it is once in a while, I mostly let them avoid those few foods. For the oldest, it’s oatmeal. I think it’s a texture thing. For the middle one, it’s nothing. That kid eats everything and anything that’s not nailed down. The youngest doesn’t like spinach, but she will eat a few bites of it.
This is one of their favorite meals, and it’s really pretty healthy, not to mention quick to prepare. I decided last week to make this, having everything on hand, and it was on the table less than 30 minutes later.
Spaghetti Squash with Italian Sausage and Spinach
1 spaghetti squash
1 lb bulk turkey Italian sausage
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, plus more for topping
12 oz spinach
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp water
drizzle of balsamic vinegar
1) To make the squash: Cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and place cut side down in a shallow microwavable dish. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 15 minutes, until it gives a little when you squeeze it (using a hotpad). Let it cool for about 15 minutes…I just leave it in the microwave while I cook the rest of the dinner.
2) Brown sausage in a large skillet with a lid. Don’t cover the sausage, but you’ll need the lid when you cook the spinach. When the sausage is well-browned, remove from pan and keep warm.
3) To cook the spinach: If you don’t have about 2 Tbsp of oil from the sausage, add enough olive oil to make 2 Tbsp to the skillet. Over medium high heat, add spinach and toss to coat with the oil. Add the 2 Tbsp water, and put the lid on it. It’ll take just a couple of minutes to wilt. After it wilts, turn off the heat and add the balsamic vinegar.
4) Finish the squash: Hold a half in one hand and use a fork to scrape out the “spaghetti" inside. Repeat with the other half. I scrape it right into the same dish I cooked it in...why get another dish dirty? Toss with 2 Tbsp butter and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5) To serve, place squash on plate and top with sausage. Serve spinach alongside, or under sausage. We mix it all together when we eat…extremely tasty! This serves our family of 5, but with no leftovers.
If you haven’t tried spaghetti squash, you should consider it. We like it substituted for pasta with almost any sauce. Obviously, mac-n-cheese still requires the pasta, so don’t try that on your kids and blame it on me!