8.07.2014

WE EAT | Chicken Sausage Spaghetti {Squash} Pie

One of the greatest resources I have when I'm attempting to figure out what to feed my family every week are my girlfriends.  
With kids and without kids.
Although.  I have found the best recipes for 'quick and easy' from fellow mommas- and thats my motto these days.  Well, quick, easy, and {mostly} healthy.

My pre-babies cooking days were quite elaborate.  We ate promptly at 6pm, and I spent at least an hour preparing.  I also spent two hours at the grocery store and another two hours meal planning.  
I was a personal chef in another life {2 years ago}, and had virtually zero limits to what I was able to make.  One of my clients preferred that I choose the menu every week, and surprise them upon delivery.  I cooked for them for three years and they never ate the same meal twice.. unless requested.

ANYway.. Those days are behind me.  My motto remains and is standing ground strong.
My girlfriend and fellow twin mom turned me onto this recipe from PaleOMG.   She sent me a picture of her boys stuffing their face by the handful and I was immediately intrigued. 
"They are so precious.. but more importantly, what in the world are they eating?!"
And here we are.. three days and a trip to the grocery store later.

Chicken Sausage Spaghetti {Squash} Pie 
Original recipe adapted from PaleOMG {HERE}

1 large spaghetti squash
1 pound italian chicken sausage (about 4 links)
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 cup tomato/marinara sauce 
6 ounces baby kale
8 ounces sliced baby bella mushrooms

18 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 cup park-skim mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Place spaghetti squash cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes or until the skin of the squash gives when you press on it. 
Once squash is done cooking, remove threads and place one a paper towel lined colander, allowing as much moisture to be released as possible.  Transfer to an 8×8 greased baking dish.
Reduce heat of the oven to 350 degrees.
Place a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, sautéing until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant. Add in chicken sausage, and cook until pink no longer remains in the sausage and it is broken up into pieces.
Add tomato sauce, kale, basil, salt, and pepper to the pan and mix well.
Add sausage mixture to the 8×8 dish and mix well with spaghetti squash threads.  Stir in the mozzarella cheese.
Add whisked eggs to the baking dish and mix everything together until combined.  Top with parmesan cheese.
Cover the dish with foil and place in oven and bake for 1 hour or until the top of the mixture forms a slight crust that doesn’t give when you press on it in the middle of the dish.  Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes, until cheese is golden.
Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.
While we don't follow the Paleo diet {at all..}, this recipe is the bomb-diggity.  Really.  The epitome of fresh.  
Whole ingredients, healthy, and minimally processed.  
You can 100% leave out the chicken sausage to go extra healthy-concious on me, but seeing that it is relatively low in saturated fat, I'll leave the animal protein in there {hidden} so that my non-meat eating children {unless it is chicken nuggets} won't know what they are eating.


Both little birds have been weird about food lately. Every couple months they go through an eating strike for nearly three weeks, and then they are back to eating as normal.  
We do lots of smoothies during that time..
This go round of the eating strike I'm relating it to teething.
I was nervous to offer this to them for fear they would refuse to eat all together. I had a 'back-up' plan ready to go just incase.
Jolie dove right in.. 
Parker was having a moment.  We have been having 'moments' often at meal times lately.
This is when the silly airplane, singing, and dancing comes out.  Jordan does it best - I get the "she be cray" exchange between the two of them when I do it.  
If ever a 20 month old could make you feel dumb.  Add another one in there and you'll feel really dumb.
Parker loves pasta and red sauce, so if I could just get her to try it.. take that first bite, she would love it.
Little help and bribery from dad.  
..there you go.  You love it.  Told you.
Always listen to your mother.
The key with this recipe is to make sure the liquid is drained well.  I dry roasted my squash {without water in the baking sheet}, so I think that helped, but I still had quite a bit release after cooking was done and while it had a chance to rest.  Next time I make this I plan to make the squash a day ahead and let it sit in the fridge.  
Oh.. and I can't forget to mention that this recipe is EASILY made ahead of time.  I prepared the casserole in the morning to the point of baking, and then popped it in the fridge until it was around the time for dinner. It would freeze well, too, for those of you momma's getting ready for school to start.  Getting ahead of the game for those busy school year nights to serve something healthy to your family is always a win.  Not always easy, I'm sure - but the effort counts for something.  Summer nights have been lazy for us over here, and I can imagine for all of you that this might be the same.  
Getting back into the routine for including regular healthy meals for my family of four is helpful when I have simple {make-ahead} dishes like this one.
I can't wait for fall weather.. and fall ingredients. Pumpkin or sweet potato would be amazing in this recipe. OR how about a butternut squash sauce instead of the red sauce.  
Writing this down before my mom-brain lets me forget it..
true story.

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3 comments:

LittleLoomis said...

I made a hybrid of this and the original recipe and my son (and husband) just LOVED IT. Thank you for posting.

Lauren McDowell said...

I had my doubts about this one (you make it look great but just wasn't sure we'd like it). Made it for my boys and I while my husband is out of town and we all loved it! Will be great to eat on over the weekend. Substituted red bell pepper for the mushrooms. Thanks for the recipe!

Melinda said...

My 6 year old is anaphylactic to eggs, so I love that your version is egg free. Can't wait to try it!

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