Manna Mondays – Spaghetti Squash with Vodka Sauce

Tonight’s Mana Monday is one of my favorite homemade meals.  It’s relatively easy and for a semi-italian its fun to play with sauce and “spaghetti.”

Recently the hubs and I have decided to go back to being Gluten Free.  He’s been feeling less than stellar and I’m notoriously having G.I. issues.  (T to the M to the I).  We tried GFree this past summer and did pretty good, but there were too many variables to know if it was really worth doing or working, although I did have less problems this summer than recently.  Now that we’re on more of a regular routine/schedule we decided to try it again.  Its hard, so those who are truly Celiac, I cannot even imagine!! But for those looking to reduce possible food intolerance symptoms, you at least have the options to cheat on occasion (I don’t recommend it since it apparently takes 10 days to rid yourself entirely of gluten in your system).  But some days you just can’t help it… girl scout cookies saaaaayyyy whaaaat!

OK  – back to the topic at hand.  Spaghetti Squash.  If you’ve never had it, you have to try it!  Here’s the recipe and some fun iPhone pics (we really need to invest in a good camera and some photo editing software).  Recommendations pahleaaaassseee.

Ingredients:  (we doubled the sauce recipe because we always like to freeze the reserves for another time, so if you want to make it for 2 use half!)

SS Ingredients & Well Behaved Cat sitting on a stool

SS Ingredients & Well Behaved Cat sitting on a stool

1 large Spaghetti Squash or 2 small ones

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Sauce:

Bacon – I used 4 slices cut into 1 inch pieces

Onion – 2 small or 1 medium chopped

Garlic – 2 cloves diced

Red Pepper Flakes – 1/2 Tsp

Vodka – 1 cup of the cheap stuff

Diced Tomatoes –  two 28 oz cans

Heavy Cream – 1 cup

Parmesan Cheese – grated

Black Olives

Spinach

How To:

  • I start by cutting the Squash in half… If you don’t have a sharp strong knife, you can heat this in the microwave to soften in, but usually a good Chef’s knife will do the trick.  (I tend to not be able to cut evenly, if this happens just be cognizant and cook one half a little longer than the other).
  • I slather the squash with olive oil on both sides, salt and pepper it, lay it face down on tin foil on a baking sheet and cook at 350 degrees until done.

I recommend doing this first so you can make the sauce while the squash cooks in the oven, it could take upwards of 45 minutes.

Spaghetti Squash Cut in Half

Spaghetti Squash Cut in Half

  • Start with the Bacon in a large sauce pan or (have your italian grandparents/uncles/aunts/cousins cringe and make sauce in a Wok, like I do).  If you don’t have bacon or are a vegetarian feel free to use oil or butter.   Bacon adds that little bit of smokey flavor to it and of course is a nice lil snack while cooking.  Cook the bacon until crunchy then remove and set aside/throw out/ or eat.
  • Add the Chopped Onions into the pan and cook for a few minutes or until they are soft.
  • Add the Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes for a minute or less.
  • Once you’re good with that, throw in the Tomatoes and Vodka.  I recommend putting the tomatoes in first, just for safety reason.  If you’ve seen a pan go up in flames you could sense my concerns.
  • Let this cook at a simmer for  – 10 minutes or until vodka cooks down.
  • Add the Cream and Parmesan Cheese and cook until thickened.
Sauce-y

Sauce-y

  • Once the squash is done, pull it out and set it aside for a few minutes to cool a little bit before handling, then scrape out the squash either into a bowl or the sauce, if you have never done this before, its pretty easy.   I think I YouTube’d it the first time.
Cooked Spaghetti Squash

Cooked Spaghetti Squash

  • I add black olives, spinach and higher quality parmesan cheese to this recipe, but you can really do whatever else you’d like!

Voila!  You’ve made yourself a vegetable smorgasbord.  

Below is a pic of the hubs, he didn’t want olives or spinach in his… haters gonna hate.

Spaghetti Squash with Vodka Sauce

Spaghetti Squash with Vodka Sauce

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Manna Mondays – Stuffed Salmon & Mango Salsa

Its just another Manna Monday!

Tonight’s “Manna” is Salmon with Mango Salsa.  Hubs and I tend to like to cook more complex meals on a weekend, or meals that require fresh food.  So we implemented “Salmon Sundays” (I like themes…) over a year ago.  It’s our way to start off the next week on a healthy note with our favorite fish to cook, and we know the cats love to eat the little leftover scraps.

Stuffed Salmon with Mango Salsa Recipe

Stuffed Salmon with Mango Salsa Recipe

I’m not entirely sure where we got this whole idea to stuff the fish the way we do so I cannot quote the recipe but at this point we have really made it our own anyway!

Here’s our recipe…

Ingredients: (This is the amount we usually cook with… feel free to go lighter or heavier)

  • 1 1/4 lb of Atlantic Salmon filet with skin on
  • Handful of Cilantro – chopped
  • 6 Scallions – chopped
  • 1 Serrano Pepper – chopped and seeds removed (we like a lil heat… but this is obviously up to you, some days we use jalapeño or habanero (for color)).
  • 1 ripe Mango, peeled and cubed (this is for a salsa)
  • Juice of half of a Lime (i recommend rolling the lime with gentle pressure on your counter to make it easier to juice, you get the most out of your lime this way)
  • Olive Oil for the stuffing
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Ingredients

Ingredients

How to:

  • Let’s start with the Salsa… in a bowl combine the Mango, Pepper, Lime juice, half of the Scallion and half of the Cilantro, salt and pepper. I usually throw this in the fridge while I work on the rest of the meal to lock in the flavor
Mango Salsa

Mango Salsa

  • In another bowl combine the rest of the Scallion and Cilantro mixed with approx. 1 tbsp (maybe) of olive oil.
Cilantro & Scallion Stuffing

Cilantro & Scallion Stuffing

  • Take the Salmon and with the skin side up cut slits about 2 inches long and stuff with the scallion/cilantro mix (see picture below).
Example of 2inch cuts

Example of 2inch cuts

Cuts with Stuffing

Cuts with Stuffing

I always put the extra on the top side of the salmon with S&P and a lil EVOO

I always put the extra on the top side of the salmon with S&P and a lil EVOO

  • Once you’ve stuffed the Salmon, I throw on the oven at 350 cover in tin foil and bake until done.

enjoy!