the ​go-to meal that will last all week: spaghetti squash casserole

Sometimes it is hard finding a meal that the whole family likes, and even harder, one they like and will eat multiple times throughout the week. When you are lucky enough to find that meal, you better hold on tight!

For my family, that meal is probably something that was created before my time, but something I just kind of stumbled upon. I love using spaghetti squash as a pasta substitute because we are generally a low carb household. However, one of my favorite dishes to cook for a nice Sunday dinner has always been lasagna. So, basically one day I thought, why not combine the two? Thus, the creation of my spaghetti squash casserole!

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash (medium size)
  • 1 29oz can of tomato puree (you will only use half)
  • 1 bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 bag of shredded Italian blend cheese
  • 1 lb of ground beef (or a ground meat of your preference)
  • Spices: Italian blend seasoning, garlic powder, salt & pepper, and olive oil

Directions:

I generally cook my casserole in a Corningware®  French White 2.5 qt. Casserole Dish that came with a lid so I don’t have to transport it to Tupperware later, but really any casserole dish of that size will work. Alrighty, here we go…

  • First, you have to cook the spaghetti squash. This is the longest part of the process and generally the most annoying because it is not fun cutting a squash in half (LOL). Preheat your oven to 400°F. I generally will microwave my squash for 5-6 mins to help soften it up, making it easier to cut. After you cut it in half (the long way), you need to scrape out all the seeds and gunk on the insides. Once cleaned out, coat the inside with a layer of olive oil and lightly sprinkle a dash of each of your spices. Rub it all together on the inside of the squash and place the halves facedown on a foiled covered cookie sheet and toss them in the preheated oven for 40 mins. Depending on the size of the squash, you may need to add or subtract cook time. When the squash is cooked, you will be able to pinch it together in the middle with ease. Flip the squash over once out of the oven to cool slightly. Keep the oven on.
  • While your squash cools, you cook your meat sauce. On a large skillet, brown your meat. While your meat brown, add a healthy sprinkling of your spices. You will really be spicing the meal to your preference the whole way through. Once the meat is browned, drain the grease. I usually soak it up with paper towels in the pan. Then add half of your can of tomato puree. (I use puree over sauce because of the slightly thicker consistency.) My grocery store only has 29oz cans available, so I buy the big one and save half for another meal. Add in more spices as you please. Mix it all up and let it start bubbling.
  • Go back your squash and start scraping out the insides with a couple of forks. Once it’s all loose, dump the squash right into your skillet with the meaty sauce and mix it up really good. Divide your skillet into two parts. Add half into your casserole dish then add half of each bag of cheese evenly over the layer. Then do the same thing over again, add your second layer from your skillet into the casserole dish and add the remaining bags of cheese over the top. I usually like to sprinkle a little bit more Italian seasoning and garlic on top, too.
  • Place the uncovered casserole back into the oven for approx. 15 mins or until the sauce starts to bubble and the cheese becomes golden and crispy on the sides.
  • Take the casserole out and either dig in or let it cool and cover it before placing in the refrigerator.

I usually make this every Sunday, regardless if we eat it for dinner or not– then we have it available for lunches throughout the week or a quick dinner if we don’t have time to cook. I usually pair it with cottage cheese, but a side salad and some breadstick go great, too!

I hope you give it a try and your family loves it! If you do, let me know!

xx, the windy city mama

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