Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Quick/Easy, Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce!

I love marinara sauce.
Actually, I love all kinds of sauces.
I'm the type of person who likes her sauce to spaghetti ratio 5 to 1.
No lie, I eat spaghetti as if it were soup. #sorrynotsorry
Monday at work I was trying to think of something I could make for dinner and Spaghetti Squash popped into my head. I knew the Fruit Stand by my house, Po Folks, had them for a really good price and a bottle of marinara sauce is super cheap.
Quick, easy & cheap? You can't go wrong with that!
Oh and it's delicious... I forgot to mention that.
Normally, I go for plain sauce and spaghetti squash "noodles" but since I knew I was going to be working out right before I wanted to add some protein to refuel after the workout.
After I made this I realized how truly simple it was. It's the perfect meal to make if you are super busy or trying to make something good in bulk. The spaghetti squash took about 30-45 minutes to bake. So during that time I worked out and by the time I was done, so was my squash. While the squash cooled I took a shower. By the time I was done, my squash had cooled and I was ready to scrape the "noodles" into a bowl -- voilà -- multitasking!
Good choice on my part!
1 large Spaghetti Squash
1.5 pounds Lean Ground Beef [fat drained]
1.5 jars Prego Fresh Mushroom Marinara Sauce
4 Roma Tomatoes [chopped]
6-8 leaves fresh Basil [chopped]
1 TBSP Olive Oil
2 TBSP Garlic Salt
1 TBSP Onion Powder
1-2 TBSP Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper [to taste]
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes [optional]

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut Spaghetti Squash long ways, or "hot dog style", and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until tender enough to pierce with a fork. Once Squash has cooled begin scraping the "spaghetti" with a fork into a large bowl. Check out my other post for more step by step details on scraping the "spaghetti" out.
*P.S. I highly recommend making more than you will eat that night. I cooked 2 large Spaghetti Squash at once so I could freeze to eat later when I am on the go! Because the process takes so long I was so glad I made more ahead of time!

2. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with Olive Oil. When the meat is almost thoroughly cooked [with little to no pink] add the chopped Roma tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes start to shrink and are tender.

As you can see there is a clear divide here. Peter's area is the left hand side, and mine is the right...
2. After all of the meat has been thoroughly cooked and the tomatoes become tender, drain the fat from the skillet and return the meat and tomatoes to the skillet.

3. Next, pour in 1.5 jars of marinara sauce, seasoning + fresh basil. [I used the Fresh Mushroom flavor from Prego because I love mushrooms!] Simmer on Medium/High heat for about 5-7 minutes. Stirring every so often.
*Be careful -- the sauce will bubble and you do not want to get that stuff on you!
4. Once the meat sauce comes to a simmer and is bubbling consistently it is read to be devoured!

5. To serve place 1 large cup Spaghetti Squash + pour meat sauce on top + garnish with fresh basil and crushed red pepper flakes for some spice!

Bon appetit!

I am obsessed with this meal now and it is my go to meal from now on -- especially since I have so much left over Spaghetti Squash. I am definitely going to be making this more often + it was such a crowd pleaser. My Dad, who is my biggest critic, ate the sauce over 2 pieces of garlic bread. He said it was to quote him "out the box good!" and he kept telling my Mom to try the sauce! [say that in an Italian family New Jersey accent].

So I was excited this quick meal turned out to be so dang good! : )

P.S. If you do not like tomatoes [like Peter... I feel sorry for you ; ) ] you can nix those all together.
Personally my favorite kind of marinara sauce, is the kind that bite into chunks of tomatoes -- that's when you know it's fresh! Also, ground turkey would be amazing in here in place of the ground beef!Also if you want to be like Peter and eat it with real spaghetti noodles -- you can do that too -- this sauce is good on anything!

If you make this in bulk [which I highly recommend] the sauce will freeze very well -- which is perfect if you're like me and you need a grab and go meal + are sometimes too busy to cook!

See you guys soon!

Have a fit + fantastic day!

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