Skinny Spaghetti Bake

My husband and I were at a dinner party the other night, and one of the topic that came up around the table was; “If you had to choose only 3 types of cuisine to live on for the rest of your life, to the exclusion of all others, what 3 would you choose?”   It was so interesting to hear that choices everyone would make, and why they loved that particular cuisine.  Indian, because of the curry and bountiful spices.  Chinese for the stir frys, dumplings and mixes of protein and veggies.  Island food for the lovely marinades, fruit and fresh seafood.  Italian for the pasta, sauces and crusty breads.  French for the sauces… no one makes a sauce like the french…, pomme frites and profitteroles.  I could go on and on.  It was such a lovely conversation about food.  But, in the end, what it boiled down to, was that everyone there inevitably chose their home countries cuisine first.  Venezuelan, Italian, Indian, American.  Each country represented thought their countries cuisine was best.  Fascinating how our palates are formed and grow with us as we grow, but it always comes back to our own comfort food, right?  My choices were, of course, #1, American.  To me, American is all-encompassing.  You’ve got the farm fresh California cuisine, the BBQ of the midwest and south, the fresh seafood of the coasts, and in most big american cities you kind find authentic Chinese cuisine in Chinatown, authentic Italian in little italy (North beach in San Francisco), the south’s Southern comfort foods… need I go on?  American cuisine takes care of it all!!!  Then my next two choices were Italian and Mexican.  I think between those three cuisines I could live happy as a clam for ever and ever!

So, what led me to share all of that with you, is that I love Italian food.  But as we all know, Italian food involves a lot of pasta and a lot of carbs.  This recipe is a low carb way to enjoy an Italian meal, with all the flavor, texture and goodness.  Give it a try and let me know if you don’t just love it.

SPAGHETTI SQUASH BAKE

 

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 medium zucchini, julienned
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ cup cream cheese
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the spaghetti squash length wise into 2 halves.  Using a large spoon, scoop out the seeds and guts from the squash.  Brush the sides of the squash with olive oil and place it face side down in a microwavable dish that has a fitted lid.  Microwave on high 10-12 minutes, until the squash has softened.  Remove from microwave and using a fork, shred squash insides into a large casserole dish or 9×13 pan.  Add zuchini.

In a large saucepan, heat the marinara sauce, oregano, basil, cream cheese and parmesan cheese over medium heat until the cheese has melted and can be incorporated into the sauce.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add sauce mixture to casserole pan and toss to coat.  Top with mozzarella cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes until cheese is bubbly.

Garnish with extra shredded parmesan and fresh basil.

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Roasted Zucchini Bites

Turn these raw, chopped zucchini’s into this:

I was talking about these zucchini bites with a friend the other day and knew I had to make them! I am really trying to eat more vegetables these days and this seemed like an easy, flavorful way to do it! (every little bit helps!) These are also a healthy snack for the kiddos when they come home from school. Or use them as an appetizer at your next gathering. They make a healthy substitute for french fries or onion rings. They are packed with flavor and crunch! Yum!

Roasted Zucchini Bites

  • 2 green zucchinis, sliced in circles
  • 1 1/2 cup plain Panko crumbs **
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning  (I use McCormick Italian seasonings)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs + 1 Tablespoon water, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a shallow dish or bowl beat eggs and water. In a different shallow bowl combine panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, Italian seasonings and salt. Stir until combined. Dip each zucchini slice in the egg and then immediately in the crumb mixture. Make sure to coat the entire zucchini slice. Place coated zucchini’s on a parchment lined cookie sheet and oven roast for 12-14 minutes. Serve hot!

**You could also use traditional plain bread crumbs, I just prefer the crunch! I am addicted to the Panko crumbs!