I have always been a person that was willing to try something new (now, read this as new - not crazy). I have also been a parent that encourages my kids to try something new. I have often been heard saying "you should try something new every day" and "you should learn something new every day."
On Saturday - as far as my weight loss is concerned, I did both. I learned how to cook a spaghetti squash in the microwave AND tried spaghetti squash for the first time.
I had heard somewhere once long ago that you can replace half your spaghetti noodles with spaghetti squash noodles. Then you get a serving of vegetable along with fewer calories and carbs. Win-Win I thought... but never tried it until Saturday.
I must admit - I really liked it. I tried it plain (out of the microwave) and I liked it. I could see myself eating it on its own, maybe a little bit of butter and salt - much like a baked potato. I thought it had a very light flavor - a blank canvas food, as I often call them. I felt it tasted a little starchy so it may make a good potato replacement too. My son said it was "ok" which translates into I won't gag now but don't expect me to eat it ever again and my daughter thought it was nasty from the first moment she laid eyes on it. Honestly, this was quite the role reversal on their part and I was a little surprised since they are fruit and veggie lovers. To each their own - I was at least glad they tried it.
After we all had a turn at sticking our fingers into the bowl to try it plain, I took the leap - I put half my spaghetti on the plate and tossed in a huge spoonful (a good cup) of the squash. I mixed it all up with my sauce and took a bite.
I must admit - the texture was a little strange at first. Obviously, spaghetti noodles are squishy. The squash was not squishy - it still had a little firmness too it. Once I bypassed the texture change, it tasted like spaghetti. Because the squash is a "blank canvas food" - it absorbed the tomato sauce and blended with the noodles.
Now, I've been told in the past of various "replacements" that can be made and after trying them I say "uhm... what is wrong with your tastebuds?"; however, this isn't half bad. Again - the texture is a little different than spaghetti but not in a bad way. I'll definitely be making my spaghetti like this again.
Now, how did I cook it? I know a lot of you probably already know how but I figured I'd share it here in case someone reading this blog has no idea how to cook one.
First, I washed it and followed that by cutting it in half. I scooped out the seeds with a spoon and then used the knife to puncture holes all over the flesh of the vegetable. I used my butter flavored cooking spray and gave the meat side of the vegetable a light squirt. I lightly salted and peppered the meat side as well.
I then turned both sides meat side down onto a microwave safe plate. I wrapped it with plastic wrap and poked a few holes in the plastic wrap with the knife. I microwaved it on high for 7 minutes. I have a rotation plate in my microwave so if you don't, you will need to stop every couple minutes and give your plate a turn.
I knew the veggie was done because it was soft to touch, tender enough to easily poke with a knife, but was not squishy.
I took it out of the microwave (cafefully - its hot) and removed the plastic wrap (again - hot hot hot steam!). I turned the veggie meat side up and used a fork to "fluff" the insides out so it looked like spaghetti noodles.
It was SO easy and really tasty. I've since been dreaming up different ways to use spaghetti squash in my meal plan.
EDITED to show the difference between whole wheat spaghetti (what I normally get) and the spaghetti squash. Keep in mind I easily eat 2 cups of pasta at any given meal (love the stuff!) even though I know I shouldn't. So this time, I probably ate 2 cups of the squash and less than a cup of actual pasta. Other than the sodium, I definitely reaped the benefits of this hearty, much-too-often-over-looked vegetable.