Tag Archives: vegetarian

Cheesy Twice-Baked Spaghetti Squash Boats

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I go grocery shopping once a week at Toronto’s famous St. Lawrence Market when the farmers set up shop in the mornings across the street at the North Market.  While this means skillfully weaving through crowds of shoppers and tourists, it also means picking up the freshest produce and amazing cuts of meat and seafood, so it’s totally worth it.  Though the price may be a bit steep depending on what you buy, usually I find it’s worth spending the extra few bucks for a better meal, especially since we’ve cut down on buying supplementary processed crap like we used to with every trip to the supermarket.

Anyway, the only thing about grocery shopping once a week is that you have to make your purchases last the whole week.  Usually this is doable by purchasing things that can make more than one meal.  Spaghetti squash is an awesome example of this and it’s a great alternative for pasta.  Today I’m making cheesy, saucy, twice-baked spaghetti squash boats which I will basically devour throughout the day for lunch and dinner… and it’s surprisingly filling and so easy to make.

Ingredients

1 Spaghetti squash (they’re usually sold by weight… I usually pick a medium-sized one for two people)

1-2 cups of Spaghetti sauce according to how saucy you like your squash (tomato sauce, pesto, alfredo – it’s all good)

1 egg

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp oregano

2 cloves minced garlic

1-2 tbsp fresh, chopped basil and/or parsley

1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella and/or cheddar cheese (I’m thinking a half ricotta-mozza mix might be good, but I don’t have any on me at the moment so I’ll report back next time on that)

salt and pepper

Directions

Bake the squash whole at 400 for about 45-60 minutes in a baking pan, at which point you should be able to pierce a knife in quite easily.  When you can do this, take the squash out of the oven and split it vertically down the middle and de-seed it.

Scrape out the squash with a fork (leave just enough on the shell so that itstands strong, otherwise it’ll collapse on itself).  It should flake and fall apart quite easily at this point but if the flesh resists against your fork, pop it back into your oven at 400 until it’s tender.

In a large bowl, mix the rest of your ingredients together until well combined (reserving 1/2 cup of cheese for the topping) and add salt and pepper to taste.  Mix in the cooled squash (you don’t want to mix it in while it’s super hot otherwise the egg will scramble).

Fill your empty squash shells and top with cheese.  Put it back in the oven for 10-20 minutes until the cheese is browned and bubbly.

*You can add some meat to this if you want to fry up a half pound of ground beef/turkey/whatever and mixing it in with everything else.

**Adding chopped chorizo or pepperoni with ground italian sausage and diced green peppers would make a good “pizza” style spaghetti squash

***Don’t forget to serve this with a side of crusty cheesy garlic bread!!!


Moroccan Spiced Lentil Chickpea Soup (Harira)

Moroccan Soup

Let’s not exaggerate and simply call this a Moroccan-inspired dish because not being Moroccan myself, and not having any Moroccan friends, cooking an authentic Harira is far from a reality.  The best I can do is look around on the net and check out what common ingredients seem to pop up most often, and hope to create some delicious dish without disappointing myself with pipe dreams of authenticity.

Anyway, this is what I’ve come up with so far.  If anybody has suggestions or improvements to make, feel free to let me know in the comments section.  The beautiful thing about the internet is that recipes can only get better and better as more people try them out and make their opinions known.

This recipe is inspired by what ingredients I happened to have on hand and all those recipes I looked up to see how I could make the best combination of flavours possible like this Food Network recipe or this blogger’s recipe.

Ingredients

Olive oil (extra virgin, preferably… try not to skimp out ’cause the weaker stuff leaves a greasy taste…)

6-8 garlic cloves, minced

1 large onion, diced

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne

1/4 ginger (you can substitute with fresh grated ginger if you prefer)

1 tsp smoked paprika (most recipes call for sweet; I only had smoked)

2-3 pinches of Ras el hanout (optional), which you can buy or make

2 cans of chickpeas (398ml size)

1/2 cup of green lentils (I’m sure any kind will do)

1 cup of spicy roasted garlic tomato sauce (it’s what I had on me… most recipes call for canned tomatoes)

1 1/2 cups of water

1 bouillon cube (chicken or vegetable)

salt and pepper to taste

2-3 tbsp flour or cornstarch (optional if you like a thicker soup)

wedge of lemon for garnish (optional)

plain yogurt (optional)

Directions

Heat a medium sized pot over medium heat and add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom.  Add onions and garlic and let soften a few minutes until translucent (try not to let it brown). If you’re using fresh ginger instead of dry, now’s the time to add it.

Add all your spices and stir for two minutes.  Add a bit more oil if your ingredients are sticking to the pot.

Add your chickpeas with the liquid, and lentils.  Throw in the bouillon cube with water and tomato sauce.  When the soup is heated, give it a taste before adding salt and pepper – sometimes the bouillon cube and the tomato sauce give it enough flavour as is.

Simmer over med-low heat for 45 minutes, stirring periodically until lentils are cooked through.

If you want a thicker soup, in a small bowl mix the flour or cornstarch with some water until smooth and perfectly blended and add it to the soup.  Stir well.  The soup should thicken up as you cook it, and will come out even thicker once it’s removed from heat.

Serve with lemon wedges for garnish and/or a dollop of plain yogurt.

* You can add meat if you want… cubed chicken breast is always a good option.  Just toss it in while you’re frying up your onions.