New Recipe: Artichoke Bruschetta Casserole!

Artichoke Bruschetta CasseroleI’m on a new recipe kick right now. I don’t often get inspiration from Pinterest recipes because they are either things we don’t eat, or are overly complicated or cutesy. Instead I draw ideas from cookbooks, magazines, stuff I see at the grocery store while  I cruise the aisles,  and Buzzfeed’s Tasty Videos that are all over Facebook.  I was jonseing for Olive Gardens now defunct Spinach Artichoke dip the other day, so imagine my surprise when I stepped foot into my local 99 Cents Only…

IMG_1755I found a jar of this Bruschetta at 99 Cents Only the other day and small jar of Artichoke dip. I knew I had to take them home and concoct something delicious!

I set to work in the kitchen to find some other ingredients that would pair well to I could whip up something fabu for a meatless meal. I pulled out a bag of frozen spinach and cheese to compliment the flavors of the dips.

 

 

IMG_1754We had a spaghetti Squash on the counter, so in order to keep the dish healthier and full of veggies and fiber, I opted to bake up the squash and use it instead of the traditional noddles or pasta in a casserole. If you’ve never cooked with spaghetti squash, I posted a tutorial here.

After rummaging through the freezer and fridge, I assembled the ingredients and got working! There is no photo of the finished product because it got eaten up quickly.

 

Artichoke Bruschetta Casserole

Directions:

  1. Clean and bake the spaghetti squash. For info on how that’s done, check out the tutorial here.
  2. While the squash is baking, mix together the two dips in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the spinach and half of each cheese. Stir until completely mixed.
  4. Prepare a 9×9 glass pan with spray release.
  5. Place all of the spaghetti squash shreds/”noodles” in the bottom of the baking dish, and smooth down to create an even layer.
  6. Pour the dip mixture over the top and smooth to evenly cover the squash.
  7. Top with the remaining cheeses.
  8. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese has started to brown and bubble.

This dish is gluten free and vegetarian. To make it vegan, use dairy-free cheese! If you HAVE to have meat, this would be great with grilled chicken, or Italian sausages mixed in or served along side.

This recipe serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish.

 

 

 

Cooking Tutorial: Spaghetti Squash!

We eat a lot of veggies. That was one of the huge lifestyle changes we made a few years ago that has helped us maintain healthier weights.

One healthy swap we made was to spaghetti squash instead of pasta.  A lot of healthy/food swap websites like Hungry Girl tout Spaghetti Squash as a good substitute for carb-y noodles.

Here is a quick tutorial on making spaghetti squash.

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  1. Select a squash that is firm and unblemished. Not sure what they look like? Here is the wikipedia article all about the vegetable with a few pictures.
  2. Chop the end with the stem off. You’ll need a good sharp knife. I love our Henckels Meat Cleaver.
  3. Chop the squash in half. I do it length-wise, so it takes less time to cook in the oven.
  4. Take a spoon and scoop out the stringy guts and seeds.  Discard them.
  5. In a large glass baking dish, place the squash halves cut side down.  Pour a 1/2 cup of water into the bottom of the baking dish.
  6. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until the squash are fork tender (about the same feeling as a baked potato).
  7. Remove baking dish from oven and set the squash halves on a cutting board.  Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes, or until you can comfortable handle the vegetable.
  8. With a fork, “rake” the interior of the veggie.  The “meat” of the interior should flake off in long strings that resemble broken spaghetti.
  9. Once complete, discard the exterior of the squash.
  10. Toss the “spaghetti” with the sauce of your choice.

1 medium sized spaghetti squash serves 2-3 people, with a serving size of about 1 1/2 cups. It’s yummy with sauce (Spaghetti/red sauce, pesto, or even a cheesy sauce), or just a little butter and herbs. It’s a great way to get extra veggies into your diet, or if you’re Gluten Intolerant, it’s cheaper (and tastier) than GF pasta.

Later today, I’ll be posting a recipe that uses spaghetti squash as a main ingredient! With winter veggies starting to make an appearance in grocery stores and farmers markets, you’ll start seeing more and more squash!