Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Hearty and Tangy Spaghetti Squash Bowl

The January weather in the United States is atrocious. Granted, the slightly chilly 60 some degrees Fahrenheit and rain in the Florida Keys or Southern California sounds pretty good compared to Chicago's forecast of  negative one and snow. Either way, a New Year's resolution to eat healthy is hard to keep when the weather is cold and what's really being craved is cozy comfort food. To answer this dilemma I came up with a quick and easy little recipe that is warm and satisfying, as well as a colorful treat for the eyes. If a bit of decadence had to be added to this dish, the Parmesan cream sauce from the post Savory Pumpkin Stuffed Pasta Shells would do the trick! Most of the people I know don't even make New Year's resolutions because they are hard to keep - or perhaps they are just doing life right anyway! But, for what it's worth, click on the for a small article I wrote about how to keep them:  "Tips for Keeping Realistic Resolutions."  In the meantime, enjoy this spaghetti squash bowl; it is yummy even if it is healthy. A side note - I think grilled shrimp or chicken would be a great addition if some protein was desired.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

1 good sized spaghetti squash
1 (5 oz.) package of arugula
1 carton of cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more to sprinkle
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground peppercorns
Some salt and pepper for sprinkling
Extra olive oil for drizzling 


To cook the spaghetti squash cut it down the middle lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Fill an oven or microwave safe pan with about 1 inch of water. Put the squash skin side up into the pan. Either bake the squash in a 350 degree oven for 50 minutes or microwave it on high for 20. Squash will feel soft to the touch when it is done. Carefully remove the two halves from the pan, and with a fork "rake" the flesh to loosen the stands of spaghetti squash into a bowl. Set aside.

Roasting the tomatoes is nice, but optional. Wash and dry the tomatoes, cut them in half, and place them in an oven safe dish. Drizzle with a little olive oil, and sprinkle them with a bit of salt & pepper. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until they are softening but still hold their shape. Set aside.

Wash and pat the arugula dry.  Arrange the spaghetti squash, tomatoes, arugula, and Parmesan cheese in a large serving bowl or divide and the ingredients among four individual bowls. In a small bowl whisk together oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Drizzle enough of the resulting dressing over the spaghetti squash, tomatoes, arugula, and Parmesan cheese to coat when gently tossed.

To serve, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Lucky Little Black-eyed Pea Salsa

Here's a quick little appetizer to put out for friends or bring to a New Year's gathering. It's very similar to White Bean Salsa . Actually there is a lot of room for variations in this recipe; any veggie diced small enough could be thrown in. Likewise, various spices could be added to punch it up such as chili powder, cumin, or even curry. It is said that eating black-eyed peas on New Year's will bring good luck. I'm not sure about that, but this recipe does add a bit of fun to any festivities - and it's yummy!


2 cups cooked black-eyed peas (I use a 15 oz. can, rinsed and drained)
1/4 cup combination of colorful peppers, diced
1 cup tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, finely diced
1 small clove garlic, put through press or finely diced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Crackers or pita chips to serve with the salsa


In a serving bowl gently combine the black-eyed peas, peppers, onion, tomatoes, and jalapeno pepper. In a small bowl whisk together the garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Pour the dressing over the black-eyed pea mixture and carefully toss. Serve with crackers or pita chips.