Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Layered Spaghetti Squash Pie

I have to admit, cutting crappy carbs out of my diet has not been too incredibly challenging. I did want a little chocolate after lunch today, but I knew it was just out of habit from being back at school. You see, I really like to have a little stash of chocolate in my desk. Everyday after my lunch I love to indulge in a little, but then a little turns into a lot on a bad day, and a lot becomes out of control on a bad week. In my efforts to cut crappy carbs out for a couple of weeks, I overcame my urge. After brushing my teeth it all passed and I forgot about the chocolate until now. Good news, it is not even an issue right now because this little dinner delight needs to be shared.

Adapted from Weight Watchers, this meal is a goody if you have a hankering for spaghetti or lasagna. You save several calories by swapping the spaghetti squash for the carb loaded pasta. I say this dish is adapted because I've taken a few shortcuts from the original recipe. You can also prepare this dish ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you are ready to bake and serve. Simply prepare the dish, cover, and store. One of my favorite things to do on a busy weekday night.

Layered Spaghetti Squash Pie
adapted from Weight Watchers

2 small spaghetti squashes
1 lb. lean ground Italian turkey sausage
1 jar spaghetti sauce (try to strive for no added sugars or high fructose corn syrup)
15 oz. low-fat ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup shredded 2% mozzarella cheese

Spray a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Cut the two squashes in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and discard the seeds. Place the squashes on a microwavable safe dish and microwave on high for 6-8 minutes or until tender. Let cool until you can touch them. Using a fork, rake the strands of squash into the casserole dish. Discard the squash skins. Lightly press the strands into the dish with your hands.

While the squash is softening in the microwave, cook the turkey in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until browned. Add the spaghetti sauce to the turkey. Stir to combine. Pour the sauce over the squash.

In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, herbs, and garlic powder together. Spread over the sauce layer. Sprinkle the top with the cheese. At this point you can bake the dish in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or cover and store the dish in the fridge. When you are ready to bake, let set at room temperature for 10 minutes. Then place in a cold oven and set the oven for 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes. No need to preheat.

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