Recipe Review: Gluten-Free Cheesy Veggie ‘Pasta’ Bake

I like spaghetti squash.

I like pasta.

Spaghetti squash, however, is not pasta. I understand that it looks like it, but it’s not. It doesn’t have the same texture, and it definitely doesn’t have the same taste. That doesn’t make it bad… it just makes it different. Why can’t we just call a spade a spade and call this a Cheesy Veggie Bake? It makes no sense to me.

I found this recipe here.

Gluten-Free Cheesy Veggie ‘Pasta’ Bake

Gluten-Free Cheesy Veggie ‘Pasta’ Bake

Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 whole spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce
  • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Poke spaghetti squash all over with a knife and cook in the microwave for eight to 12 minutes until soft. If you don’t have a microwave, place the poked squash on a baking pan and bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes. While that’s cooking, add the oil, garlic, pepper, zucchini, and carrots to a pan, cooking over medium heat.
  3. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and with a fork, scrape the flesh from the peel. It should flake off easily in strings, resembling spaghetti. Place the spaghetti squash flesh in a casserole dish. Add the cooked veggies, diced tomato, sauce, and most of the cheese and mix well. Sprinkle leftover cheese on top and bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.
  4. Allow to cool for five minutes, serve, and enjoy!

THOUGHTS

  • It’s delicious and definitely a healthy alternative to pasta. I love that this is covered in cheese… I love cheese and if I can eat cheese with a load of veggies them I’m all for it!
  • I cook my squash differently – I cut it in half and remove the seeds – then place cut-sides down in a 13×9 pyrex dish. Add 1” of water and 1 tablespoon of butter – bake at 350 for 30 minutes then CAREFULLY (it’s HOT!) scrape the flesh from the peel. It should flake off easily and resemble spaghetti noodles.
  • For a little bit of kick, you can add 1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes.
  • I think this is definitely a crowd pleasing dish.

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

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Foods You Should Eat Everyday Challenge – Day 7

If you didn’t catch my initial post with the list of the foods you should eat every day you can click here

YAY!  This challenge is over.  I mean, ahem… cough cough…

Ok, let’s be real.  The challenge wasn’t that bad.  And I feel good.  And my insides seem pretty happy (after the first 36 hours or so)

However, I kind of felt bored.  I got tired of eating the same things every day (with the exception of dinner).  I also missed my soup.  If you read my blog, you know that I have a small soup problem.  I love soup. 

So, I think that I will focus on trying to incorporate more of these foods into my daily diet, but I can definitely say that there’s no way that I could maintain this meal plan long term.  It would work great for someone who doesn’t need a lot of variety though. 

What do you think?  Could you follow this?

Also – do you find that it’s sooooo much harder to follow your diet on a weekend?  I certainly do. 

I’m still finding out that my original meal plan was just waaaay too much food.  As you’ll see below, there’s a lot that’s not getting eaten every day. 

spaghetti squash

Below is my original meal plan.  I’ve scratched through some things so that I can show you what I didn’t eat on day 7.

Day 7 Meal Plan:

BREAKFAST:
Smoothie with 1c frozen blueberries, 1 T milled flax seeds, half of a banana and 1 carton of greek yogurt.
or
Eggs: Easy Bake Strata (recipe to come) (note: quiche/strata is about the only way I’ll eat eggs)

SNACK 1:
Apple (one very small jazz apple)
Green tea
Carrots (about 10 baby carrots)
Handful of nuts (about ¼ cup)

LUNCH:
Sweet potatoes sautéed in olive oil with garlic and onions (recipe to come)
Salmon croquette (recipe to come)
Gluten-Free Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake (recipe to come)
Spinach salad w/ tomatoes, bell peppers, and mushrooms (I added a few green and black olives as well as some parmesan Italian dressing)

SNACK 2:
Orange
Edamame
Green tea
Nature valley oat bar

DINNER:
Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin (recipe to come)
*note: I also made a roast for my husband but I did not partake as I’m not much of a beef eater
Large glass milk

DESSERT:
Cinnamon dark hot chocolate

Foods You Should Eat Everyday Challenge – Day 6

If you didn’t catch my initial post with the list of the foods you should eat every day you can click here

Gotta say, I love spaghetti squash and once this challenge is complete I’ll have had two different spaghetti squash recipes this week but I was super excited to get to eat actual pasta.  It was whole wheat but still… it’s pasta.  🙂  I also had amazing success with my last Olive Garden copy cat recipe so I was super excited to try this one out.  You’ll have to come back in a few days to hear how it went!  (I’ll be providing every recipe that I used this week over the next few days). 

I’m still finding out that my original meal plan was just waaaay too much food.  As you’ll see below, there’s a lot that’s not getting eaten every day. 

carrots

Below is my original meal plan.  I’ve scratched through some things so that I can show you what I didn’t eat on day 6.

Day 6 Meal Plan:

BREAKFAST:
Smoothie with 1c frozen blueberries, 1 T milled flax seeds, half of a banana and 1 carton of greek yogurt.
or

Eggs: Easy Bake Strata (recipe to come) (note: quiche/strata is about the only way I’ll eat eggs)

SNACK 1:
Apple (one very small jazz apple)
Green tea

Carrots (about 10 baby carrots)
Handful of nuts (about ¼ cup
)

LUNCH:
Sweet potatoes sautéed in olive oil with garlic and onions (recipe to come)
Gluten-Free Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake (recipe to come)
Salmon croquette (recipe to come)
Spinach salad w/ tomatoes, bell peppers, and mushrooms (I added a few green and black olives as well as some parmesan Italian dressing)

SNACK 2:
Orange – I even ate TWO today!
Edamame
Green tea
Nature valley oat bar

DINNER:
The Olive Garden’s Capellini Primavera (recipe to come)
Large glass milk

DESSERT:
Cinnamon dark hot chocolate

Window Shopping Wednesday – Boutonnières without fresh flowers

One of my coworkers is getting married this year and we’ve been discussing several options for boutonnières.  She’s set on fresh flowers, and I get it.  I had fresh-flower boutonnières at my wedding.  They looked like this:

arianne_will_091

That being said, I just love the idea of using non-fresh flower “ingredients” to make a boutonnière.  So, I did some searching for you (because I’m nice like that) and here are a few of my favorites…

This weeks featured item:  boutonnières without fresh flowers

If you’re having an outdoor wedding then I think this Rustic Burlap Boutonniere is a great fit for you.  The buttons, the feathers, the burlap – they come together seamlessly.  I love it.

Rustic Burlap Boutonniere

I think feathers should be standard-issue in every wedding.  They add great form and texture and come in such an incredible array of colors and patterns.  This Feather Boutonnière would be absolutely amazing for a fall wedding.  Just lovely.

Feather Boutonnière

If you’re a bit quirky and plan to have some FUN at your wedding and not take the whole thing too seriously then consider these Vintage Inspired Clothespin and Soda Pop Bottle Top Boutonnieres and Corsages.  So stinking cute!  And come on, these would totally be the talk of the wedding!

Vintage Inspired Clothespin and Soda Pop Bottle Top Boutonnieres and Corsages

So let’s be real here – in all likelihood the groom has had pretty much zero say in anything about the wedding.  Shouldn’t he get at least some input into what he wears that day?  I think it’d be great to incorporate some of your husband-to-be’s favorite past times and if he’s a fisher, then this Fisherman’s Boutonniere would be just the way to do that.

Fisherman's Boutonniere

If your wedding venue also happens to be a winery or vineyard then these Rustic Wedding Boutonnieres would fit right in.  This also works great regardless of your venue if the happy couple are wine lovers.

Rustic Wedding Boutonnieres

I loooove this Rustic Fall Boutonniere so much!  It’s classy and masculine and filled with incredible texture.  Love love love.

rustic wedding groom boutonniere lapel pin acorns forest wedding

If you think dried flowers are just for the elderly then think again – they can be just as exquisite as fresh.  This Mustard Cream Cone – Yellow Ivory Brown Boutonniere is testament to that fact.  Look at all that color and texture!  Come to mama!

Mustard Cream Cone - Yellow Ivory Brown Boutonniere

Last but certainly not least, if you love the formal look then you absolutely cannot go wrong with ostrich feathers and pearls.  This Vintage Sheet Music Ostrich Feather Boutonniere is just perfect for you!

Vintage Sheet Music Ostrich Feather Boutonniere

Do you guys like the idea of having a boutonnière that is sans fresh flowers?

Foods You Should Eat Everyday Challenge – Day 5

If you didn’t catch my initial post with the list of the foods you should eat every day you can click here

For the first time in a long time I’ve found myself craving fruit.  I’m not really much of a sweets person unless it’s ice cream.  If you gave me a choice between a salad or a brownie, I’d choose the salad 9.9 times out of 10.  Sweets just aren’t my thing.  So, I don’t eat much fruit.  However, being on this challenge and eating either an orange or an apple every day, I find that I’m enjoying them more than I thought I would.  It’s not that I don’t like fruit, I’d just rather have carrot sticks. 

I’m still finding out that my original meal plan was just waaaay too much food.  As you’ll see below, there’s a lot that’s not getting eaten every day. 

broccoli

Below is my original meal plan.  I’ve scratched through some things so that I can show you what I didn’t eat on day 5.

Day 5 Meal Plan:

BREAKFAST:
Smoothie with 1c frozen blueberries, 1 T milled flax seeds, half of a banana and 1 carton of greek yogurt.
or

Eggs: Easy Bake Strata (recipe to come) (note: quiche/strata is about the only way I’ll eat eggs)

SNACK 1:
Apple (one very small jazz apple)
Green tea
Carrots (about 10 baby carrots)
Handful of nuts (about ¼ cup)

LUNCH:
Sweet potatoes sautéed in olive oil with garlic and onions (recipe to come)
Salmon croquette (recipe to come)
Spinach salad w/ tomatoes, bell peppers, and mushrooms (I added a few green and black olives as well as some parmesan Italian dressing)

SNACK 2:
Orange
Edamame
Green tea
Nature valley oat bar

DINNER:
Creamy Chicken and Pasta Bake (recipe to come)
Large glass milk

DESSERT:
Cinnamon dark hot chocolate

Foods You Should Eat Everyday Challenge – Day 4

Well I’m baaaaaaaaaack! 

Sorry for the delay but as I previously mentioned I went down for the count with bronchitis as well as pink eye in BOTH eyes.  It’s not been just a barrel of laughs around here unfortunately. 

However, I’m on the mend!  Yippee!

If you didn’t catch my initial post with the list of the foods you should eat every day you can click here

I’m still finding out that my original meal plan was just waaaay too much food.  As you’ll see below, there’s a lot that’s not getting eaten every day. 

As I mentioned on day 3, I was starting to get cravings for things like cheese.  In a way, I’m glad that I got sick because I got to take a break from the challenge!  Kind of sad I know.  I have definitely realized that if I’m going to eat healthier I have to make gradual changes… not try to change the world in 24 hours. 

black-beans-just-cooked

Below is my original meal plan.  I’ve scratched through some things so that I can show you what I didn’t eat on day 4.

Day 4 Meal Plan:

BREAKFAST:
Smoothie with 1c frozen blueberries, 1 T milled flax seeds, half of a banana and 1 carton of greek yogurt.
or

Eggs: Easy Bake Strata (recipe to come) (note: quiche/strata is about the only way I’ll eat eggs)

SNACK 1:
Apple (one very small jazz apple)
Green tea
Carrots (about 10 baby carrots)
Handful of nuts (about ¼ cup)

LUNCH:
Sweet potatoes sautéed in olive oil with garlic and onions (recipe to come)
Salmon croquette (recipe to come)
Spinach salad w/ tomatoes, bell peppers, and mushrooms (I added a few green and black olives as well as some parmesan Italian dressing)

SNACK 2:
Orange
Edamame
Green tea
Nature valley oat bar

DINNER:
Chili-Cheese Black Bean Enchiladas (recipe to come)
Large glass milk

DESSERT:
Cinnamon dark hot chocolate

Recipe Review: Glenda’s Savory Sweet Potatoes

I have a friend who I love dearly who is one of those crazy fitness Crossfit-obsessed people.  I think she’s nuts.  But I love her.  And she’s gorgeous.  As you can imagine, she’s quite the health nut too.  So, the other night when she had me over for dinner we had a very healthy dinner of broiled tilapia, spinach salad, and savory sweet potatoes.

I should mention here that until this night, I’d never met a sweet potato that I liked.  They’re sweet people.  I’m sorry but I just don’t think vegetables should be mixed with sugar or marshmallows.  Blech!

This recipe is a recipe for people who don’t like their sweet potatoes, well, sweet.

sweet potatoes-edited

Glenda’s Savory Sweet Potatoes

Serves: 6-8

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 white or yellow onions
  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 4 whole heads of garlic (or you can cheat, like I did, and buy a large container of the pre-peeled garlic cloves)
  • Olive oil (about ¼ cup)
  • Italian seasioning, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut up the sweet potatoes and the onions into small bite-size pieces (mine were about the size of a nickel).  You can choose to leave the skin on the potatoes for extra health benefits as well.  If you chose to buy whole garlic heads, you’re going to want to peel all 4 heads right now.  I cut any big cloves in half.
  2. Put your chopped onions, potatoes, and peeled garlic in a large bowl and then drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste.  I used more spices than I thought it really needed, and it honestly could have used a little bit more of everything.  Be liberal.
  3. Place on a large cookie sheet (I had to do mine in two batches) and bake at 350 degrees for at least 30 minutes, mixing every 10-15 minutes.

THOUGHTS

  • I still don’t love sweet potatoes.  They’re definitely not my go-to vegetable.  That being said, the health benefits are astounding so if I have to eat them, this is the way to eat ‘em!  By and large the tastiest sweet potatoes I’ve had so far.
  • When Glenda made them for me she left the skin on, I chose to take it off when I cooked them for myself.  I prefer it with the skin on.
  • I realize that 4 heads of garlic seems like a lot, but it’s not once you see how much veggies you’re going to end up with.  Just trust me.

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

I’ve linked up to these great parties:

Five Days Five Ways