Saturday, February 1, 2014

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Bake

Last weekend we had visitors!  My grandparents spent a couple weeks in Arizona and on their way back they went a bit out of the way and came to visit us for a few days.  Josh had to work most of the time, but the three of us had a great time and they helped me check something off my list of places to visit before we move.  My brother's girlfriend, Luisa, told me about a town called Lockhart that is the "BBQ capital of Texas".  Now, let's get this straight-yes, I know you can't compare anything to Kansas City BBQ.  Those Kansans have it down and there's nothing better.  (Side note: Shout out to Oklahoma Joe's for adding a portobella mushroom Z-man so us vegetarians can FINALLY eat there.  I ate one over Christmas and it was superb.  Get one.  Stat.)  Anyway, I went to Lockhart fully aware that it wouldn't be like KC, but it was fun to taste different sauces and see how food is cooked in other parts of the United States.  There are four different restaurants in Lockhart.  We went on Sunday after church and one of them was closed on Sundays so we were only able to visit three.  Thankfully, my work had been done for me and Luisa told me exactly what to get at each place.  She's the best.  First stop, Smitty's for some pork ribs.  I know what you're did I enjoy this trip?  Well, that's why I took two fellow meat lovers and that way I could just take a taste, get the experience, but not really eat a whole meal.  It worked out perfectly!  Smitty's atmosphere was very original in that they had their flames for their meat all on the floor throughout.  Which, gave me slight anxiety for all children present while I was in line, but I guess, just hold on TIGHT if you bring them.
 Enjoying Smitty's ribs.  Yes, I ate a few very small bites.  You only live once. 
Our next stop was Black's BBQ for some brisket.  Let me just say one thing before we get too much further.  When I was in college and still a meat eater, I requested the same meal every time I came home from my mom.  Brisket and cheesy potatoes.  I loved me some brisket.  I showed extreme restraint and only ate a half of piece of brisket from Black's.  Here's the deal.  My taste buds have changed and I don't miss meat at all.  Chicken tastes gross now and hamburger makes me want to gag.  But, one bite of this brisket and it brought me back to walking in the door from Nebraska and this yummy dish in the oven.  So, maybe that's why brisket didn't gross me out.  Or, maybe it's just because Smitty's is known for it and people travel from all over to eat it so it's just reeeeaaalllly good.  Whatever the reason, it was a delicious two bites and the BBQ sauce, while much different than KC sauce, was fantastic!  After some debate, this ended up being our favorite stop.  My grandparents particularly enjoyed the atmosphere here as there was a whole wall filled with pictures of famous people who had eaten there as well as old time country music.  It's hard not to get into the BBQ tasting mood with Johnny Cash blaring.

Our last stop was Chisholm Trail.  Luisa told us to go here last because she thought it was the least impressive and she didn't lead us astray.  She was right; if we had to rank them this would be last, but we still enjoyed our food.  My grandpa got a sausage, which I just couldn't bring myself to take a bite of, but I devoured some green beans and potatoes here.  I should also note that it was Sunday afternoon around 2 when we arrived in Lockhart and we waited in a fairly long line at each place.  It really is the BBQ capital of Texas and quite a popular destination.
It was my grandpa's birthday on the day we took this trip to Lockhart and I think he had a memorable day!
Now, on to the baked spaghetti squash.  We stayed home all day on Friday when my grandparents got there and I had some of this leftover in the fridge and my grandma loved it. Guess what?  So did Josh!  Okay, well, LOVE might be a tad strong, but he liked it on Meatless Monday which is a huge deal.  He's so hard to cook veggie for because he likes about 3 vegetables.  It's super, duper easy to make and you must give it a try.  Plus, you can pretty much add anything to make it to your liking.

I added spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms because this was kind of a last minute decision and it's what I had in my fridge.  If you eat meat add Italian sausage, pepperoni, or hamburger.
Going into the oven.  I planned on mixing in mozzarella cheese, but then didn't have any.  Whoops.  So, I just grated some fresh parmesan on top. 
I love that the egg keeps it together and it isn't a casserole that just mushes on your plate.  It's very easy to cut into squares and put nicely on your plate.  Healthy, delicious, and easy.  It's a winner!
Also, this recipe calls for pizza sauce.  I think Trader Joe's is the best purchased sauce, but I didn't have any.  Plus, my friend Katie taught me a much cheaper way to make pizza sauce.  Just take a can tomato paste and add water until desired consistency and add some Italian seasonings.  Easy peasy and super cheap.  That's what I did for this recipe and I think I added exactly one can worth of water and it equaled the amount of sauce called for in this recipe. 
I started following a few gluten free blogs since going gluten free.  I saw this one and knew I had to try it. 
Spaghetti Squash Pizza Bake
Recipe adapted from:
1 large spaghetti squash
½ yellow onion, diced
1 cup pizza sauce
1 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper, to taste
3 eggs, whisked
1/2 C. mozzarella cheese, optional
Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top, optional
Toppings of choice: basil, mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers, etc.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds.  Place spaghetti squash cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the skin of the squash gives when you press on it. Then reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.
Once squash is done cooking, remove threads and place in an 8×8 greased baking dish.
Place a large pan over medium heat and cook onion in oil.  Add remaining vegetables and cook 3-5 minutes until soft.
Add pizza sauce, dried basil and salt and pepper to the pan and mix well.
Add spaghetti squash threads to the pan and mix well.  Add the mozzarella cheese if using.
Lastly, add whisked eggs to the pan and mix everything together until you can no longer see the eggs.
Pour into a greased 8x8 pan and sprinkle with parmesan cheese if using it.  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.
Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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