Tag Archives: Cook

Squashed Spaghetti

I’m down to the home stretch. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Only a few more days in this vegetable desert! But for now, I’m still here, and I’ve gotta eat. So I’m still trying to mix things up a bit. Though at this point, everything is starting to taste the same.

My mouth is watering as I think about what’s coming. My friend, whom I’m walking in this desert with, will be cooking cheesy chicken enchiladas to celebrate the end of our diet. You better believe I will thoroughly enjoy them! I can almost taste their melty gooey cheesy goodness right now! I will, for sure, include a recipe for my own cheesy enchiladas when I make some for myself. As absolutely delicious as they are, they are extremely simple to prepare. You can watch for that.

For now, seeing as how my culinary canon is still in effect, I’m going to attempt to recreate a staple of any family’s dinner menu – spaghetti. “But you can’t have pasta!” you might be screaming right now. And you’re absolutely right. This is why I’ll be utilizing the often overlooked spaghetti squash!

Spaghetti-SquashFor those of you who don’t know what this is, the spaghetti squash is an oddity of nature. When you slice this squash in half and bake it, the flesh of the spaghetti squash comes apart in strands, resembling spaghetti noodles, and it has a slight buttery flavor. It still has the texture of squash, but if you close your eyes and imagine real hard, it’s almost like eating real spaghetti. It’s a great spaghetti substitute for those who are vegans, alergic to gluten, folks on a low carb diet, or even for those looking for a healthy and light alternative to the high-calorie traditional spaghetti.

It’s good with a little butter and Parmesan or Romano cheese, and an Italian meat sauce. Since I can’t partake of any of that, I’ll have to settle for a tasty homemade marinara with mushrooms. And instead of meatballs, I’m cooking up some chopped zucchini and yellow squash. … O meat, how I miss you so!

SpaghettiSquashAs it turns out, this is one of the better meals I’ve prepared during this diet. I think it ranks up there with my quinoa lettuce wraps.

One of the guests at our Monday night group – the event for which I prepared this delicacy – told me that no one has ever convinced her to eat squash before (she’s not a fan apparently). She liked this dish though, which is surprising, seeing as how it’s made up almost entirely of squash. It just Goes to show you that with the right combination of flavors and textures, you can turn anything into a delicious meal! Though she did pick out all the mushrooms (apparently not a fan of those either)…

If you’d like to try your hand at this squashy spaghetti facsimile, you can find the recipe in the recipes section of the blog.

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Holy Guacamole

Guac-IngredientsTonight, I tried my hand at a creation suggested by one of my good friends. She is walking along with me in this fruit and vegetable desert. We’re often exchanging ideas about how to break up what can become a monotonous stream of fiber. She’s very creative, so I’m always eager to hear what she’s coming up with. The other day she told me she had enjoyed black beans topped with guacamole. Anything, according to her, with guacamole on it is bound to be delicious.

I’m inclined to agree. So I borrowed her idea. However, I decided to add to it a bit to make this my own. What I ended up with is a simple yet delicious plate of seasoned black beans over a bed of brown rice, topped with a mango-lime guacamole.

The unlike most guacamoles I’ve tasted, the mango and lime work together to give it a sour and sweet quality that goes very will with salty things (such as tortilla chips). Unfortunately, tortilla chips are not part of the landscape of this veggie desert. This is where the beans and rice come in. Savory black beans with a sweet guacamole isn’t the same as guac and chips, but it’s still pretty damn delicious! I recommend it!

Black-Beans-and-Rice-with-Guac

If you’d like to try it, you can find the recipe in the recipes section of the blog.

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Monday Night Quinoa

Every Monday night, my friend and I host a weekly dinner and discussion group. We meet at her house, and most of the time I cook dinner for everyone. It’s a fun time. We all gather around the kitchen and talk about life while I cook dinner, and then we get to enjoy a lovely meal together. There are a few of us that are there fairly consistently, and when you share a meal like that every week, you begin to know each other like family. I love it!

It’s one thing to walk through this veggie desert by myself, but when I’m cooking for other people as well, I feel a particular pressure to make something that everyone will enjoy, even if they’re not eating a vegatarian diet. So I did what I always do when I need to cook something that needs to be tasty and fun. I cooked something I’ve never cooked before. Not only that, I cooked with ingredients that I’ve never used before. It’s a risk, I suppose, but over the years I’ve become confident in my culinary gifting.

QuinoaLettuceWrapTonight, I cooked up some lettuce wraps, using quinoa as a base. Quinoa is a grain, similar to rice. But when it’s cooked, it has a texture similar to couscous. I’ve never cooked quinoa until tonight, and I’ve only eaten it a couple times. I don’t have a whole lot of experience with it. Fortunately, like rice, it’s pretty easy to work with. To be fair though, I didn’t actually prepare the quinoa. My friend, at whose house we host this dinner discussion group, prepared it in her steamer. So I can’t take all the credit.

Anyway, this is what I ended up with. It turned out very nicely.

It’s a quinoa lettuce wrap with tomatoes, carrots, fresh green chillies, red bell pepper, sweet red onions, black beans, peaches, lime and cilantro with fresh avocado. It was quite a cacophony of flavors. Oh, and it was topped with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. The vinegar mingling with the peaches, oh what flavor! Top it with some avocado and a slice of lime… Delicious! Plus, if you try you can make it look very pretty. Pretty is always a plus when it comes to food.

If this is something you’d like to try for yourself – I recommend it – you can find the recipe over on the recipe’s section of the blog. It was pretty simple to prepare.

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disappointment

I was not feeling particularly led to cook anything today. Not really. I already have a couple sets of leftovers from the few previous meals I’ve cooked – all of them delicious – and there really isn’t a need. There’s that, and there’s also the fact that I’m still making my way through my self-imposed fruit and vegetable desert. When you can’t cook what you really want, the desire to cook is somewhat diminished. But… I figured since this is still a budding little blog, it would be a good idea to do something. So I thought, what can I cook that requires the least effort, but will still be worth sharing with all of you.

ImageLong story short, I cooked up some black beans and rice with avocado & mushrooms. It was alright, but it wan’t great. I plated it and tried to make it look nice and pretty, and honestly, for as simple as it was, it tasted pretty good. But the reality is, when all you really want is a bowl of fruit loops & milk, a plate of black beans & rice really doesn’t do much. You know?

So I finish my meal and get on my computer to check email and I see that one of my fellow food bloggers has posted a new recipe. I like to see what other cooks in the bloggosphere are up to, so I checked it out. Given the disappointing experience with tonights dinner that I just recounted, this was a poor decision.

I click on the link to go to her blog, and she has posted a recipe – with pictures – of Red-Lobster-style cheddar biscuits! WITH PICTURES!! Oh my word! I thought my beans and rice didn’t measure up to fruit loops. Put it up against those lumps of baked cheesy goodness, I might as well be eating mud.

Anyway, now that I’ve really sold you on MY creation, if you’d like to try it out for yourself and draw your own conclusions, you can find the recipe in the recipe’s section of the blog.

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