Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Spaghetti Squash with Apples

Our friend Nicole from HeatOvento350.com has graciously agreed to guest post for us today! She is my (Britney's) neighbor in real life and a lovely friend. We are featuring Harvest Recipes this week, and what better than a spaghetti squash recipe! I might just be one of those people who is a little scared of them. But Nicole frequently posts amazing recipes of spaghetti squash and swears it is delicious. I considering everything she makes is totally brilliant, I believe her.

Hi, I'm Nicole from HeatOvenTo350.com. I'm a working mom with a husband finishing up school (fingers crossed) in March. I love all things food, and I love being inspired by the recipes that Cherie and Britney post on here so I'm happy to be able to guest post. Fun fact - they are the only food bloggers I've met in real life and they are some of the warmest, nicest people you can imagine. No lie.

I remember a roommate of mine in college bought a spaghetti squash one time for dinner. She laboriously cleaved it in half, then carefully scooped out the seeds and their stringy coating . . . onto a baking sheet that she put in the oven. Then she threw the shell away. I wasn't very familiar with baking squash at the time, but I thought she might be missing something. The poor thing probably just ate her baked squash innards and thought spaghetti squash just wasn't very good. 

What my roommate (and me, at the time) didn't know is just how magical spaghetti squash is. Even though the flesh looks like a solid yellow mass, after cooking it easily separates into long strings of crisp-tender, delicious squash. It is tailor-made for adding dressings or mix-ins because you don't even need to chop it up. Just scrape it a little with a fork and you're all ready for whatever flavoring or topping you prefer. It is great with just some butter and salt, or smothered in tomato sauce, but the recipe I'm sharing today might be my new favorite way to enjoy it. It's a great fall side dish or light lunch. Baked spaghetti squash is tossed with a tangy mustard dressing, chopped apples, dried cranberries and roasted pumpkin seeds. The tangy/sweet/salty combination of the dressing, squash, apples and cranberries is just plain good. My 16 month-old daughter and I have been known to eat nearly an entire spaghetti squash in a single meal. On multiple occasions. There is something about the warm squash with the mustard dressing that makes it additive. If you are like my old roommate and have had bad luck with spaghetti squash in the past, or just want a new way to prepare it, this recipe is perfect for you. 
One medium spaghetti squash (2.5-3 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 apple, cored and chopped (I'm in love with Pink Lady, but any other sweet-tart apple would work)
1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/4 cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds (You could substitute sunflower seeds or any roasted, salted nut you wanted for the pumpkin seeds if you don't have any on hand.)

1. Carefully cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place each cut half face down on a microwave-safe dish with 1-2 tablespoons water in the bottom of the dish. Microwave on full power 6-8 minutes or until squash is tender and easily shreds with a fork. 
2. While squash is cooking, in a small bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and salt. 
3. Shred cooked squash with a fork into a medium bowl. Toss with Dijon dressing and apple, cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Season to taste with salt, and serve. 
Yield- 6 side dish servings

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