Blogging Marathon #31: Week 2/ Day 2
Theme: Members Choice – Casseroles
Dish: Spaghetti Squash Gratin
For the second week in the Blogging Marathon there are a variety of options available under the theme ‘Members choice’, where SriValli asked the BM members to give them their wish list of dishes to make and we are required to pick one of those items. Yesterday I picked Non Indian breakfast and today I have picked Casseroles.There are several different types of casseroles such as ragout, cassoulet, tajine, moussaka, lasagna, gratin etc. I have picked to make a French casserole called Gratin. Do check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#31.
Gratin is usually made with potatoes, eggplant, fish etc. But, I have chosen to make it with Spaghetti squash or Noodle squash. As the name says, the squash when cooked yields stringy strands which look like noodles or spaghetti. These mock noodles have been used in place of the regular noodles in several low carb dishes. I was waiting to try out spaghetti squash and was inspired by this recipe at Kalyn’s kitchen. This dish is not only low carb but gets a boost of nutrition from the addition of spinach and protein from the cottage cheese. It is a fun dish to make with kids too, as it is something sort of magical for kids to see this regular vegetable turn into noodles after cooking, and they get fascinated with the process.
1 large spaghetti squash (approx. 2 lbs)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced small
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 10 oz package chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup low fat sour cream (don’t use fat free)
1 cup low fat small curd cottage cheese (put the cottage cheese in a fine strainer and rinse with cold water to get the cheese curds)
3/4 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
non stick cooking spray, to grease the gratin dish.
Spaghetti squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the spaghetti squash in half. Use a big chefs knife and use a sturdy cutting board as this can be a bit difficult. Using a large spoon, scoop off the seeds and stringy stuff that is in the squash. Rub the squash with about a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle the Italian seasoning on it evenly. Place this on a glass baking dish filled with about 1/2 cup of water. Roast the squash for about 30 to 45 minutes, or until the flesh separates easily into strands when pulled with a fork. Set the squash aside to cool, for about 15 minutes and pull the squash into noodle like strands. Put the mock noodles in a large mixing bowl.
Spinach: Place the thawed spinach in a kitchen towel. Gather the ends together and wring out as much of the moisture as possible. Add the spinach into the mixing bowl along with the mock noodles.
Cottage cheese: Place the cottage cheese in a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cold water until the water runs clear. You will now be left with just cheese curds. Set aside to let all the water drain completely. Add to the mixing bowl.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan. Add the chopped onions, garlic and the red pepper flakes. Saute until the onions are soft and translucent. Let cool and bit and add to the mixing bowl. Also add in the egg, sour cream, 1/2 a cup of parmesan cheese, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Mix all of these with a fork to evenly distribute the spinach, egg and cheese.
Grease a gratin dish with non stick cooking spray. Place the mixture in the gratin dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown. Serve hot!
Verdict: This dish is very filling and very tasty as well. The cottage cheese gives a nice bite to the dish and the parmesan topping gives a nice and crunchy topping. The spaghetti squash doesn’t really taste like spaghetti, but when baked this way it comes pretty close.Pin It