Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Spicy, Red Wine Spaghetti Squash - A Guiltfree Italian Feast

I like wine and food.
Put them together and I'm one, happy camper.
You guys have probably figured out I like things spicy. I cannot even count how many posts I have posted with the word "spicy" in the title.
This one, is obviously no different. Thank you to Giada De Laurentiis for creating this recipe.
Of course, I never leave well-enough alone and had to change it up for the better.
And I nailed it [*insert self high-five]

Yesterday was the first day of the CHAARG Booty Camp and it hurt so good. It was a 1 hour bodyweight Sweat Sesh full of challenges. After the workout I planned on making this recipe but realized I definitely wanted to add meat to it. My coworker, Mollie, brought this in for lunch last week and I just had to try it.
It was incredible -- so if you want to completely ignore me + this post, just make the recipe the way Giada made, go right ahead! Won't bother me one bit [okay, maybe a little bit...]
The second I tasted I new I wanted to try to make it healthy! The recipe called for 1lb of spaghetti noodles -- that's where majority of the calories come from!
So I made a big switcheroo to nix those added cals!
Say hello to my beautiful, beautiful friends, spaghetti squash.
Honestly, I think I took more pictures of the squash than I did of the actual meal. I just cannot get over how cool of a vegetable this is.
If you have never had spaghetti squash I highly suggest it. No, it does not taste JUST like pasta but it will fill you up without weighing you down and satisfies the craving, and... it's Paleo. [fist pump]
2 medium Spaghetti Squash
1/2 bottle Zinfandel Red Wine
4 ounce crumbled Goat Cheese
1 lb Lean ground beef (I used venison)
1/2 cup Marinara Sauce
1 TBSP Olive Oil
1 TBSP Butter
1/4 cup Fresh Parsley
1/4 cup chopped Green Onions
2 Garlic Cloves (diced)
3 TBSP Rep Pepper Flakes
1 TSP Garlic Salt
Salt + Pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375. Slice each squash in half - "hot dog style".

2. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and "insides" of the squash. Throw them away!

3. Place the squash, facing up, on a baking sheet and throw in the oven for 35-40 minutes (or until tender enough to pierce and scrape with a fork).
*Towards the end it was taking a little while longer than I wanted so I turned the heat up for about 400 to cook faster. Make sure you watch them, so they do not burn, because that would be sad.

4. While the squash is cooking, using a large saucepan combine 1 TBSP Olive Oil + chopped green onions + diced garlic + 1 TBSP Red Pepper. Sautee until Green Onions are tender and Garlic is fragrant.

5. Next, place the ground meat in the sauce pan and cook thoroughly. Add 1/2 cup of marinara sauce and 1 TSP Garlic Salt for added flavor.
*The original recipe called for tomato paste, and for once in history of my entire life we were out of it [gasp]. We happened to have some of my Gran's "red gravy" on hand, so I used that in place of the tomato paste! If you have neither, regular marinara sauce would work just fine!

6. Once the Spaghetti Squash is cooked and tender let cool -- seriously, let it cool! (I was way to excited to I powered through the pain, but I wish I hadn't!) While the squash cool, place 1/2 bottle of Zinfandel in the saucepan and let simmer (allowing the wine to cook down) -- about 5-7 minutes.

7. After the Squash has cooled it's time to make it into "Spaghetti". Using a fork, begin scraping the insides (starting closest to the peeling and moving towards the middle) towards the middle until you begin to see "noodles".
*This is a hard concept to explain by typing so here is a video in case you get confused!

8. Now, using a large pot, turn on HI heat. Place 1 TBSP butter (to keep the squash from burning + who doesn't love butter?) and 1/8 cup of wine to the bottom of the pot. Allow butter to melt and wine to bubble.

9. Now that you have your "spaghetti" transfer it + the "wine/meat" mixture into the larger pot.Mix in the remaining red pepper flakes and mix well. Allow the "spaghetti" to absorb the wine (about 5-10 minutes). Make sure to constantly stir so it can absorb.
 10. After about 10 minutes, remove the heat, add Goat Cheese + Parsley, mix, serve & ENJOY!
*If you are not a fan of Goat Cheese, I feel sorry for you. (Just kidding...but really) You can always substitute the goat cheese for parmesan, feta or any other kind of cheese that sounds good to your taste buds!
*Garnish with extra parsley on top for show!

I have now found my greatest guilty pleasure of all time. Seriously I think I may go buy 7 Spaghetti Squash and make a giant batch to eat forever and ever. The end.

You may think this does not look very appetizing and why is she having a panic attack over this, but it was amazing. I actually ate a bowl of it for lunch and was opening licking the bowl. Openly-- without shame.

And here's the thing. You don't have to feel guilty about eating this. Seriously. This isn't like that feeling after you leave Olive Garden haven eaten 5 breadsticks, 2 buckets of salad, and a large Chicken Marsala AND a dessert (which I may or may not have done before).
While I was eating this I kept thinking to myself about how I had completely blown my day of eating, but then I added up all of the Nutrition facts and I was blown away! This is the perfect meal to make when you are craving something sinfully delicious, but without the extra guilt that comes along with it. And the tight pants, that's not fun. For anyone.

Therefore, I ate seconds of this.
And loved every minute of it.
And so did my pants.

Nutrition per Serving (about 1 cup)
268 Calories, 12.8g Carbs, 10.6g Fat, 17.5g Protein
*Recipe makes about 5 servings

Have a fit + fantastic day -- Enjoy!

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