Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Spaghetti Squash Stir Fry #recipe from author @DarylWoodGerber

From Daryl:

I know I've shared spaghetti squash recipes before, but I can't help myself. I was having a hankering for it lately. There's something really "decadent" about it.  I feel like I'm dining on an entire plate of pasta.

What makes it so fun is the variety of items you can add to the top. You can serve it like spaghetti, with red sauce and meat or just vegetables. You can serve it simply with butter and Parmesan cheese.  You don't need salt, so it can be a salt-free meal, too.

Now, the toughest thing to do is cut the gourd in half. I've made it quite an art. Ha!  As if! 

I lay it lengthwise on a cutting board and jab a thick-bladed knife into it. This feels very satisfying for a murder mystery author.

Then I pound the gourd on the board so the knife will go deeper into the gourd. Also very satisfying - to get one's frustrations out. Why pound? Well, I'm just not strong enough to saw through it. I've had the same trouble with other gourds.  They're thick and stubborn.

Mind you, this technique is not an exact science. If you master a better one, please let me know.

When I've pounded enough, I remove the knife and go at the gourd from the other end.

At some point, the gourd "breaks" open, and voila, you're ready.

Note: one spaghetti squash makes about 4 servings.


(for 1 - *double recipe for 2)

1/2 small spaghetti squash, cooked and removed from shell
1 cooked chicken thigh or breast, diced
1-2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
1/3 large onion, sliced
1/3 large zucchini, chopped
6 leaves basil, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped chives
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese or soy sauce, if desired (Yes, soy sauce)

To cook the spaghetti squash, cut the gourd in half and place in a baking dish, seed side down. Pour in 1 inch of water. Bake at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and remove from water.  Set aside.  (You'll get to the seeds in a minute. Some schools of thought say to remove seeds before cooking, but they're very stubborn, as well. It's much easier to cook and scoop.)

To cook chicken thigh or breast, wrap in foil. Set in oven when cooking spaghetti squash. Remove when the squash is done. Set aside. When cooler, dice.

In a large sauté pan, heat oil and sliced onions on medium high. Cook until onions are the texture you like. * I like them brown and almost crispy.  Add zucchini, basil, chives, seasonings, and diced chicken thigh.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When ready to plate, remove spaghetti squash from shell and set on plate in a flat mound. Top with cooked chicken and vegetables. If desired, add Parmesan cheese or drizzle with soy sauce. Yes, soy sauce. This is stir fry after all.

*If desired, you can stir the spaghetti squash first with butter or oil, enough to moisten.

*As an alternative, toss the spaghetti squash and cooked chicken and vegetables with 1/4 cup of your favorite spaghetti sauce (room temperature). It will heat as you toss.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Maple-Roasted Acorn Squash: A Cozy, Healthful Winter Snack from Cleo Coyle #Vegetarian

Warm and buttery, dripping with maple syrup, this roasted acorn squash feels almost sinful to eat, yet there’s very little butter and maple syrup involved. Packed with nutrition and dietary fiber, it makes a wonderful "writer’s snack" for me on a chilly winter afternoon.

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If you would rather not use butter and/or maple syrup, then lightly coat the squash with a neutral-tasting oil (canola or vegetable oil or even coconut oil if you like coconut flavor). This will protect the flesh against the high heat. You can eat it naked or sprinkle it with your favorite seasonings—be they nutmeg and cinnamon or chili and cayenne pepper. Or try a bit of orange juice, which is also delicious. 

May you eat with joy and in good health! 

~ Cleo


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PDF document that you can
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Your squash should feel heavy in the hand for its size. Green is the most common variety. The skin should be dark green and dull (not shiny)—partial orange on the green skin is fine, but overall it should be more green than orange. It should also be free of moldy spots, and the skin should feel hard and never soft or mushy. An acorn squash does not need to be refrigerated. Stored in cool, dark places, it can keep for a month or more.


Winter Squash is a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Folate and Magnesium, and a very good source of Vitamin C, Thiamin, Potassium and Manganese. Even the starch has health benefits. Studies have shown it to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, as well as insulin-regulating properties. Read more here.

Cleo Coyle's 
Maple-Roasted Acorn Squash


1 Acorn Squash

1 Tablespoon butter or margarine (1/2 T. for each squash half)

1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup (1-1/2 teaspoons for each half)

Pinch of kosher salt or coarse sea salt (optional)

Baking or roasting pan or glass baking dish (pan should have high edges)


Step 1 – Cut and clean squash: Preheat oven to 400° F. Cut squash in half lengthwise from stem to end, using the ribs as a guide (cut in line with the ribs and not across them). I cut the tough bottom off first, score it lightly and then move the knife around the scoring. That’s much easier than trying to force the knife through. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds and stringy innards. The seeds make a great snack (see end of recipe). 

Step 2 – Score and smear: Using a small knife, aggressively sore the insides of the squash halves in a checkerboard pattern. This simple step makes a big difference, allowing the butter and syrup to
better penetrate the flesh. 

Now gently smear the butter (1/2 T. for each half) over all exposed areas of the acorn flesh to protect it from the high heat. Drop the remaining butter into each cavity. (Optional – lightly sprinkle with coarse salt. For me, this makes a nice foil with the sweetness, but you can omit.) Drizzle 1 tsp. each of maple syrup around each cavity with the butter. Pour ½ teaspoon each into each cavity. Place these halves in a baking pan, as shown with the cut sides up.

Step 3 – Prep a water bath: The water is the magic key to the perfect roasting process with minimal butter and syrup, allowing the flesh to cook and caramelize without drying out or burning in your very hot oven. Add about 1/4 inch (or just a little less) of water to the bottom of your baking pan (which should have high sides) or glass baking dish.

Step 4 - Bake in your well pre-heated 400 degree F. oven for 1 hour. You may need to bake an additional 15 minutes or so, depending on your oven and the size of your squash and how many you cook at a time. Undercooking is the enemy here. You do not want a squash that has not cooked through and caramelized with that butter and maple syrup. So watch for the squash flesh to become very soft and the tops to become lightly browned (see my photos).

Step 5 – Spoon and serve: Remove the squash halves from the oven and spoon any visible syrup over the edges before serving.

Roasting the Seeds

Just like pumpkin seeds, the seeds from a winter squash are delicious and nutritious. Wash off the stringy goo from the squash innards and dry them well. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Spread the seeds in a single layer. Salt them lightly if you like, and roast them right beside the acorn squash (at 400 degrees F.) for about 6 to 8 minutes. 

Click here for the
Free Recipe PDF, and...

Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Alice and Marc in Central Park. 
Together we write as Cleo Coyle. 

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