Monday, July 20, 2009

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Spaghetti squash is one vegetable-type-substance that I can get The Professor to eat with wild abandon. Possibly because it has the word "spaghetti" in it, but that's neither here nor there: I'm getting him to eat a vegetable! Let me enjoy my triumph.

The added benefit of this meal is that there's no meat. But we almost didn't miss it. Ok, ok, he might have made one comment along the lines of "This would be great with some meat in it", but I really think that's just habit at this point; his way of making sure I'm not going to turn into a vegetarian. As if that could happen while there is still lamb and bacon in this world!

This is another "throw together whatever is languishing in my vegetable drawer" type of dish, which makes it very non-stressful. Which is also something I actively seek out in my life.

And when all was said and done, I was the one who opined "This would be three times more awesome with some Italian sausage".

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 small yellow onions (or 1 large), diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 zucchini, cut up
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, cut up
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes, drained (I highly recommend the Muir Glen Fire Roasted No Salt Added variety)
  • Basil and/or Oregano and/or Thyme - as much as you like. I used all 3
  • 1/2 cup+ shredded mozzarella cheese (I wanted Parmesan, but was out!??)

Cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove the pulp and seeds. Put it in a dish and microwave for 25 minutes (or until it's done).

While that's cooking, cut up your veggies.

Yes, I know the mushrooms are missing.

In a large - and I mean large - skillet, heat about a tbsp of olive oil. Saute the onions over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until they're transparent.

Add the rest of the veggies and the garlic, stir them around and then let them be while you deal with the squash.
Mmmmm....garlic...Can you smell it too?

When the squash is done, remove the strands with a fork. I just put them back in the same casserole I had cooked them in (after I removed the water).

This was a small squash, but it still covered the bottom of the dish.

Move the veggies around a few times to make sure they're cooking evenly. I sauteed them for about 17 minutes.

Add the can of drained tomatoes and herbs and stir it all up. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.

Yes, the steam gets in the way of good photos.

Add the veggies to the squash and mix gently (the veggies are pretty soft by this point).

Almost there...

Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top and pop under the broiler for about 5 minutes.

Melted Cheese. How my heart sings.

So, lessons learned:
  1. Parmesan would have been much better than Mozzarella, but at least I had cheese.
  2. I must try this again with Italian Sausage. The thought is now consuming my mind.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Garlic-Lemon-Butter Shrimp & Mushrooms

I think that the title of this post might just be enough of a recipe that I could leave now. But then what would be the point of having a blog?

Well, the point of this blog has been kinda absent the past couple of months. Not because I stopped eating (ha!), but because I stopped cooking and started grilling. And I haven't been able to stop. Chicken and zucchini, pork chops and mushrooms, Salmon and asparagus...if it's been in my kitchen lately, it went outside to the grill and came back already eaten.

But shrimp were on sale this week, and I have a hard time NOT burning the ever-loving shrimpiness out of shrimp when I grill them. So it was back to the kitchen for this one.

I was out of real butter, fresh garlic and lemons. So I used fake butter, garlic powder and some bottled juice. And it was SPECTACULAR. So, food snobs be damned, I made heaven in a bowl with "fake" ingredients.

And it was only when I got to the end of my bowl and slurped up the last of the buttery-lemony-garlicy sauce that I realized...this dish needs bread. A good chunk of it to soak up all those juices. The Professor was eating his over rice and when I mentioned that, he stopped cold, pointed a finger towards the kitchen and said "Go! Do it NOW!"

Since I was out of lemony-garlicy-buttery juice, I'll let you ponder if you think I went and did that.

But if I'm back in the kitchen in an hour, making a batch of Garlic-Lemon-Butter sauce...well, it's no one's fault but my own, because I think I may have a new addiction.

Garlic-Lemon-Butter Shrimp & Mushrooms

  • 1 lb 31-35 (or any large-ish) shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, quartered (of just halved if they're small)
  • A bunch of globs of butter or a buttery-type substance (I used Country Crock)
  • Many, Many dashes of Garlic Powder
  • about 2 Tbsp of lemon juice
  • about 1 Tbsp dried basil

Glob a bunch of butter in a skillet over medium heat, and when it's about half melted, add the mushrooms. Shake about 1 tsp of garlic powder over the whole thing and stir it. Let the mushrooms cook for about 10 minutes - you want them to release their liquid, but not dry out.

In a small bowl, mix a couple more tablespoons (or just globs - there was no measuring tonight) of Buttery Stuff with another teaspoon or so of garlic powder and the dried basil.

Turn the heat up to medium-high.

Add the Buttery Stuff Mixture and the lemon juice to the skillet, then dump in the shrimp. I used my tongs to make sure they were all at the bottom of the skillet, and then turned them over when they started to turn pink.

When the shrimp is thoroughly pink, your dish is Done.

Serve over rice, or - if you want heaven in a bowl - just pour it in a bowl and serve with some nice thick bread to soak up the juices.