Monday, October 7, 2013

Need Dinner Ideas? Check out Spaghetti Squash, Pasta Puttanesca Style

*Disclaimer - I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This week I experimented making quick dinner recipes with Land O’Lakes Sauté Express® Sauté Starter.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client. #SauteExpress 

The momentum of life just keeps going, doesn't it? Just trying to get through my to-do list each day wears me out. To save time and money we try to eat in most nights, but lately we have eaten out as a quick fix for hectic days. By the time we load up two kids and a baby, eat dinner, then get everyone unloaded at home its already bedtime. I would much rather fix something simple at home and have an evening free to spend with my family.

The last time I was at the market I noticed our local squash is in season. Even my kids love spaghetti squash, so I picked up a few for this week's meals. It is one of our favorite meatless Monday options, but is also one of my favorite quick dinner recipes for anytime.

If you have never fixed spaghetti squash, you are in for a real treat. When it is cut open it resembles any other squash. Just scrape out the seeds and pulp in the middle before baking. I like to halve my squash and then place it cut-side down in a baking dish with about a half inch of water. It keeps the squash moist and steams it nicely. Baked for about an hour at 350 degrees, the meat of the squash pulls away in big thick strands and resembles spaghetti.

Spaghetti squash can be tossed with marinara, pesto or Alfredo sauce for a simple meal, or dressed up as you would any other pasta. This time I was in the mood for my favorite garlicky dish - Pasta Puttanesca.

I like to bake a large spaghetti squash ahead of time and then refrigerate it to use as needed. One is more than enough to feed my family and I can incorporate it as a main dish or side dish for multiple meals.

Usually I saute my anchovies (don't worry, they just melt and impart flavor) and garlic in olive oil and butter, but this week I switched things up by trying out Land O’Lakes Sauté Express® Sauté Starter in Garlic & Herb. I had noticed it in my local Walmart, but hadn't had a chance to try it yet.

I started by melting one square and then sauteing the anchovies in that. It smelled amazing. I didn't just smell the garlic, but also the onion, vegetable base and parsley. It is a flavor combination that would normally take me 10 minutes to achieve by sweating down the vegetables and garlic.

This recipe is easy because I used my pre-baked squash and then toss it with the other ingredients to heat through. Besides the time it takes to bake the squash, this dish takes about 10 minutes to prepare. My kids are big fans of the olives.

Just before serving I toss in fresh, sliced tomatoes to warm and then top with fresh cracked black pepper and freshly grated Parmesan Cheese.

We like to serve our meal right out of the squash shell. It makes for a fun presentation and saves me from dirtying an extra serving bowl.

And there you go, frugal, easy and delicious. Using the Land O’Lakes Sauté Express® Sauté Starter gave my usual dish even deeper flavor. It was a hit at the table. You can grab a coupon here to try it for yourself.

Spaghetti Squash Pasta Puttanesca

You Will Need:
  • 1/2 of a large spaghetti squash
  • Land O’Lakes Garlic & Herb Sauté Express® Sauté Starter squares
  • 3 anchovies
  • 1/4 black olives, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 c. chicken stock
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, quartered and sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, diced
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese to top
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half. Scrape out the seeds and place the squash cut-side down in a baking dish with 1/2 of water. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the squash is fork tender.

In a large pan add the Land O’Lakes Garlic Herb Sauté Express® Sauté Starter squares and anchovies. One medium-low heat, melt the anchovies. Add the olives, capers, chicken stock and spaghetti squash. Heat on medium for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the fresh tomatoes last and warm through. Serve topped with fresh parsley and fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

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What would you make with the Sauté Express® Sauté Starters?

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