Friday, November 9, 2012

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Casserole

One of the things that I love about Bountiful Baskets is that it makes me cook with ingredients that I don't very often buy in the store. Usually I end up falling in love with something new. I never use to like honeydew, so when I got one I diced it and blended it up with some lemon-lime soda and ice. I called it a daiquiri. It was delicious and totally changed my mind about honeydew. Now I really like it just on it's own.

A couple of weeks ago we received spaghetti squash. Three of them. Okay, I traded my brussel sprouts for one. What in the world am I supposed to do with three spaghetti squash? I had only had spaghetti squash once before when I used it as the noodles for spaghetti. Bad choice. I really didn't like it and had not eaten it since. I much prefer zucchini noodles in my spaghetti.

Well this casserole is kind of like my daiquiri. Totally amazing and I have changed my mind on spaghetti squash! It's got the flavor of a cheesy potato casserole but using good-for-you squash. My son couldn't get enough, he ate thirds! My husband gave it his seal of approval as well. Go me!

This would be a great, unique side dish to Thanksgiving... or any meal! You can make it in advance and bake it right before dinner. In fact, next time I make this, I'm adding in some diced chicken breast and bacon and making it my main dish! I love main dishes that are mostly vegetables, don't you!?

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Casserole

1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp dried basil
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/4 cup chicken broth, warmed
6 oz cream cheese, softened (I used the 1/3 less fat stuff)
1/2-1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup grated parmesan
3 Tbsp Italian seasoned bread crumbs
Chives or parsley would be great for color, unfortunately my garden already died

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place the squash, cut side down, on the sheet. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. With a fork, scrape the squash strands into a large bowl. 
Meanwhile, warm the oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and basil. Cook until the onion is soft. Add the tomatoes. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mixture is dry.
In a separate bowl combine warmed chicken broth with about 2 ounces of cream cheese and stir till they are properly introduced and smooth. Then mix in the rest of the cream cheese. 
To the bowl with the squash, add the cream cheese, mozzarella, parsley or chives (if using), salt, and the onion mixture. Stir to mix. Pour into the prepared baking dish. I used individual serving dishes here. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and heated through.

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