Thursday, October 2, 2014

Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Chicken Sausage and Red Peppers

I am not going to lie, Spaghetti Squash does not actually taste like spaghetti.  It does look like spaghetti though, which is a great way to trick the mind.  We eat with our eyes first, so seeing a big bowl of squash noodles is a fantastic way to get our comfort food fix without having to feel guilty about it.  Spaghetti squash has a slightly sweet taste and is full of Fiber, Potassium and Vitamins C and B6.  Since the squash itself is a bit sweet, I like to pair it with something spicy, like the spicy chicken sausage in this recipe.  I use the Red Bell Pepper for its crunch and color as well as the nutritional benefits.  Red bell peppers are a fantastic way to get more Fiber, Vitamins C and B6 along with E and K.  The onions and garlic balance the dish and add to the Italian Pasta fix we all need.  This dish is super easy and versatile, so use whatever sausage and peppers you prefer!

Here is what you need:

1 medium size Spaghetti Squash
1  package of Sausage of your choice (or 4-5 links)
2 sliced Red Bell Peppers
1 sliced Onion
3 cloves of garlic minced
3 tbsp of Olive Oil - Divided
1-1 1/2 tsp of Kosher Salt - Divided
1-1 1/2 tsp of Pepper - Divided

Optional Topping
Parmesan Cheese
5-10 sliced Basil Leaves

This is what you do:
You will roast the spaghetti squash at 350 degrees for about an hour.  While this is happening, slice your sausage and veggies and pan fry.  When squash is ready, remove strands and to pan of sausage and peppers.  Heat it through and Mangia!
Serves 4-6

First, get your Spaghetti Squash ready and preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Slice it in half, length wise.  This is the hardest part of the whole recipe.  Seriously, it is a little tough to cut through a raw spaghetti squash, so be careful!

Next, remove the seeds and season your squash with 1 tbsp of oil and a good amount of salt and pepper.  Take a 9x13 glass baking dish and put a little water in the bottom of it, about a half inch and then add your squash, cut side up.  Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.

While this is baking, get your sausage ready.  I use this kind:

But use whatever you like!  Slice it and fry over medium high heat in a big pan with 1 tbsp of oil for about 7-10 minutes.
While your sausage is getting delicious, slice up your peppers and onions and mince your garlic.  I try to keep my peppers and onion slices roughly the same size.  About 1 1/2 inch length.

Remove your sausage from pan when cooked through and set aside.  Add 1 tbsp oil to the pan, the  peppers and onions and 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes to soften but still have a nice bite to them.  Add your garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
If the peppers and onions are ready before the squash, that is OK!  Just remove the pan of veggies from heat and wait for your squash.  It will still be amazing!

Remove your squash when ready and let cool a bit.  Take a a fork and start digging your "noodles" out.  It is hot, so I like to hold the squash with tongs to make it easier.
You want the squash noodles to easily come out with a fork.

Add your squash noodles and your sausage back to the pan of vegetables and stir around so everything gets coated with the good stuff and heated through.  At this point, add your basil and taste to adjust the seasonings as needed.  Serve and add Parmesan cheese, if desired.

This is a staple dinner at my house.  We eat it a couple times a month and my husband loves to bring the leftovers to work for lunch.  I hope you enjoy this and let me know if you changed anything up!