Thursday, October 20, 2016

Southwestern Spaghetti Squash Pie for Crazy Ingredient Challenge

The third Thursdays have become pretty crazy around here.  I have three monthly events that are all posted on this day, #BundtBakers, #ImprovCookingChallenge and, of course, #CIC, for which this post is written.

I love all three of these groups and am thankful for the scheduling options offered by blogger that allow me to prepare and serve the meals anytime that is convenient, write out the blog at my leisure and then share it with you on the designated day.

That is how it usually works but not this month.

This month was moving month.  We began moving on October 8th and went nonstop for an entire week.  I was finally back in the kitchen on October 12th and made our first meal in our new home. Now that the kitchen was up and running, I was able to plan a dinner party for our daughter's birthday this past Sunday.  That took care of Bundt Bakers but I still had Improv and CIC due.

Monday night our daughter, Nicole and her husband, Pierre came for dinner. Nicole hadn't had a chance to see the house yet. They had previous plans for Sunday so decided to come over after work the following day.  This was a perfect opportunity for me to get in my next two challenges.  Nic and Pierre are adventurous eaters and always up for trying new dishes.  They also like eating meatless so Meatless Monday is a perfect day for them to visit.

In Crazy Ingredient Challenge we vote between several items on two different lists each month. Whichever ingredients get the most votes is what we use to create a meal.  This month the winners were......Spaghetti Squash and Cornmeal.

I love Spaghetti Squash so I was very happy to participate.  I knew that I wanted to do a casserole of some sort using the cornmeal as a topping.  I stumbled upon this Santa Fe Spaghetti Squash Casserole at Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.  Susan has a lot of great recipes on her blog.

Susan had you microwave the squash which would have made this dish ready much quicker than my method of oven roasting it.  You can cook yours however you like.  I used 1 1/2 spaghetti squashes because I had a half left from another meal that needed to be used but wasn't enough for this recipe.

Other than roasting the squash, the rest of the recipe is just combining the ingredients.  We are not completely fat free in this household so I used olive oil to cook my veggies.  I used red, orange and yellow peppers instead of green.  Substituted Ranchero Beans for the black beans and taco seasoning for the chili powder.

I also made the cornmeal mixture a little thicker than Susan had written in her recipe.  This meal was a huge hit.  Pierre ate two large servings and was happy to take the leftovers home with him.  "This is my kind of meal", he remarked.  I think when I next make this casserole, and there will be a next time, I will add some fresh jalapeno peppers in with the onion and sweet peppers.  I thought the dish needed a little extra kick.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately depending on your outlook) we got busy talking and visiting and when we sat down to eat, I forgot to take any photos of the finished pie.  I remembered when I was packing up the leftovers for them to take home, so I pulled out a plate and snapped a shot of a piece of the casserole.  It was dark outside and the photo suffered from no natural light but take my word for it, this is a casserole you can be proud to serve.  Thanks, Susan, for the great inspiration.

This is the perfect recipe to ease me back into the FMD eating plan on Monday.  The cornmeal crust would not be allowed but I think and almond meal crust would be delicous and make this dish Phase 3 Friendly.

Make sure you stop by to see all the other Spaghetti Squash and Cornmeal inspired dishes following the links after the recipe.  Have a great day!

Southwestern Spaghetti Squash Pie
adapted from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

1 1/2 medium spaghetti squash, cooked and scraped into strands (learn how here)
2 t. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 each mini red, orange and yellow peppers, diced (or 1 lg red pepper)
1 (15 oz) can Ranchero Beans, rinsed and drained
1 (4 oz) can green chiles, drained
1 c. corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 c. packed baby spinach leaves
1 t. taco seasoning
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 c. corn meal
1/2 c. hot water
pinch of salt
1/2 t. agave nectar

Heat oil in large skillet over med high heat.  Add the onions, garlic and peppers.  Cook and stir until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the spaghetti squash and allow to cook some of the moisture from the squash for another 5 minutes.  Add the beans, chiles, corn and taco seasoning.  Mix to combine.  Add the spinach and cook for a minute or two until wilted.  Stir in the lime juice, taste and season with salt and pepper.  Turn into a casserole or deep dish pie plate that has been treated with cooking spray.

Combine the corn meal, water, salt and agave in a small bowl. Pour over the squash casserole, spreading the batter to cover.  Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 30-40 minutes, until the crust is cooked through and golden brown on the edges.


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