Pumpkin Mac and Cheese (Spaghetti Squash)

Hey ya’ll! It’s Monday. If this were a normal school, I would totally be happy because I would have the entire day off for Veteran’s day to study for my advanced nutrition exam that is on Wednesday, but no I have class from 3-9. Go me. In order to cheer myself up, I have decided to share another recipe with ya’ll with some of my favorite ingredients. One is obviously pumpkin. I think pumpkin is one of the greatest things about fall, besides my birthday of course. The other ingredient is spaghetti squash. Ya’ll know I can’t live without my spaghetti squash. Seriously that thing is a staple in my diet. A good one too. So today I have for ya’ll: Pumpkin Mac and Cheese Spaghetti Squash.

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Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

1/2 spaghetti squash (if you really don’t like it, you can use regular noodles)
1/2 to 3/4 c of pumpkin (depending on how pumpkiny you want it)
1/4 c of light cream cheese
1/4 c of skim milk
1/3 c of shredded cheese (I used WW Mexican blend)
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp of salt
sprinkle or two of pepper
Turkey bacon and green onions for garnish

1. First you will want to cook your spaghetti squash. I heat my oven to 400, stab my spaghetti squash all over with a knife, and then place in the oven for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. Then I remove, let it cool, and then split it in half. You only need half of the spaghetti squash or even less than half because it provides a ton of “noodles” for the recipe.

2. Place your noodles in a medium pot and turn the heat on medium low.

3. Add pumpkin, cream cheese, skim milk, shredded cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper to the pot. Continuously stir as the ingredients heat.

3. You want to heat the dish until the cream cheese and shredded cheese has completely melted through. There will be no white chunks in the noodles is when you will be able to tell that it is ready.

4. You can let it sit on low heat while you work on the garnish. Heat a small skillet pan and place two to three slices of turkey bacon on. Cook until crispy. Then chop up into small pieces to place on top of pasta dish.

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6. Split into two or three servings depending on how much you want to eat. It is a pretty low calorie recipe since you are using spaghetti squash instead of actual noodles. This way you don’t need to feel as guilty.

7. You can top each bowl with green onions too, which gives it a nice flavor. Enjoy.

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This sort of looks like a pile of mush that isn’t appetizing in the least bit. However then you realize it is made with cheese. Who doesn’t love cheese? If you don’t like cheese, we probably can’t be friends. Actually that is a lie because one of my friends is allergic to dairy and I still love him. Anyways this dish is cheesy goodness with a light pumpkin flavor. To get it more pumpkin flavored and less cheese like, you will need to add more pumpkin. I thought it was perfect like this because it was a cold day and I was looking for something warm and filling to bring for my dinner that evening to class. The best part about this dish, besides it being super cheesy, is that it is pretty healthy for you. All the cheese and milk was low fat or fat free. Plus the base of the dish is just a vegetable. That is why I love spaghetti squash. You can create any pasta dish that you want without all the unnecessary calories while still getting a good source of fiber. It is a win-win in my eyes.

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Cheeeeeeeeese!

Happy Veteran’s day! I’ll be having fun in class all day, so wooo!

What is the best thing you have made with spaghetti squash?
Have you ever used alternative options for noodles?

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Skinny Baked Potato Soup

Hey ya’ll! It is officially fall. The weather is getting chilly and I’m making soup to keep myself warm. I’m so excited that it is Friday. I’m going to the Bronx zoo today, so I am counting down the hours until I leave my apartment to go. I’m such a child, but oh well. I’m awesome. Plus this is my treat for getting an A on my midterm! Lets get to my recipe. I am going to be making a ton of soup recipes these days because it is gonna get freezing and soup is a quick warm thing to have. Today’s soup recipe is Skinny Baked Potato soup.

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Skinny Baked Potato Soup

2 medium russet potatoes
1 head of cauliflower or 1 bag of frozen cauliflower
1 1/2 c of vegetable broth
1 1/2 c of almond milk
1/2 c of fat free sour cream
salt
pepper
green onions

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1. Wash russet potatoes and then stab both with a fork all over. Place into a microwave safe dish and microwave for 5 minutes. Flip over and microwave for another 5 minutes.

2. While potato is being microwave, steam/cook the cauliflower until it is ready to be drained. Once the cauliflower is cooked, place into a blender or large food processor.

3. When potatoes are done, let them cool down and mash them in the container.

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4. Add potatoes, vegetable broth, and almond milk into the blender with the cauliflower. Blend the mixture until it becomes a thick creamy texture. Then pour into a large pot on the stove.

5. Heat on a medium to low heat until starts to bubble up. Then add in the sour cream, a dash of salt and pepper, and as many green onions as you want.

6 Mix well until you see that the sour cream has disappeared. Let heat for a few more minutes then serve into dishes (1 cup portions).

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I topped my soup with a sprinkle of fat free cheese, some more green onions, and a few pieces of turkey bacon. It literally tastes like a baked potato in liquid form. It was so delicious. It had gotten pretty chilly in the apartment, so it definitely warmed me up to eat this. You can’t even taste the cauliflower or the almond milk, so it was great to have healthy swaps that don’t ruin a dish. This makes a ton of servings too. I have a full plastic container waiting for me to enjoy every day in the fridge. It is really filling too because of all the fiber that is in the dish from the cauliflower and potatoes. This is a definite winter staple, so ya’ll should go out and make this immediately. You can get fun with the toppings too. Dress it up like it is your dream baked potato.

What do you like on your baked potato?
What is your favorite soup to have during winter and fall?

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

Hey ya’ll! We survived Monday. My last class was extremely painful, but I did it! We even got out 10 minutes early, which was amazing. The funny thing is that the class is so boring that at least 16 students were skipping class. I wonder if the professor knows how boring his class is. Anyways lets talk about food. I love food. Especially spaghetti squash. It is squash season right now and I am completely in my element. I have been coming up with squash recipes left and right, so I’m going to share one with ya’ll today. Let me introduce: Spaghetti Squash Carbonara.

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Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

1 c of Spaghetti Squash
2 slices of turkey bacon
1/2 c of peas
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tsp of butter/margarine
1 pinch of shredded Parmesan

Sauce:
1 egg
1/2 c of egg whites
1/2 c of skim milk
1/8 tsp of nutmeg
1/4 tsp of garlic powder
1/8 tsp of salt
1/8 tsp of pepper
1-2 tbsp of flour

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1. Preheat oven to 375. Place spaghetti squash in a pyrex baking dish. Either cut the squash in half or poke holes in the entire squash with a fork or knife. Then place in the oven for an hour or until soft.

2. Once cooked, remove, wait till cooled off, and then pull out spaghetti from the squash.

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3. Slice up the two turkey bacon pieces into fine bits. Place them in a pan that is on medium-high heat. Cook the bacon until it has become crisp.

4. Add in the garlic and cook for about 2-3 minutes.

5. Add in the butter and peas. This will take another 2-3 minutes to cook through.

6. Remove mixture and place into a dish with 1 c of the spaghetti squash.

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7. Whisk egg and egg whites in a small bowl. Then whisk in milk, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Whisk over medium heat for 2 minutes and then let sit for another 2 minutes. At this point add in the flour to make it thicken.

8. Pour over your bowl of prepared pasta and mix thoroughly. Top with shredded Parmesan.

This dish is so delicious and healthy for you. I love spaghetti squash. It is the best alternative to pasta. Low calorie and packed with nutrients. Spaghetti Carbonara is one of my favorite dishes at classic Italian restaurants, but it is one of the dishes that packs the most fat and calories. I obviously had to come up with my own healthy version that had just as much flavor. This was it. The smokiness of the cooked bacon with the garlic brings a nice flavor to the dish. The peas are very subtle in the dish and just provide a nice texture. The sauce is what really makes this dish. It is creamy and holds the noodles together. Topped with Parmesan it is perfect. I ended up eating this multiple times during the week. I brought it to class at night for my dinner twice, and of course everyone was staring at me yet again. Once it leaked in my backpack because my dish wasn’t sealed tight enough. Now my backpack smells like spaghetti squash carbonara. Oh well.

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Spaghetti squash contains a wide variety of vitamins. It contains a large amount of Vitamin C, which helps with immunity. Other vitamins that spaghetti squash contains is vitamin A, B6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, and Vitamin K. Each of these vitamins plays key roles in your body. It is important to get the RDA of each one every day, so that your body is functioning properly. There are also minerals in spaghetti squash. The dominant mineral is manganese, which helps in healthy bones, tissues, and hormones. It also plays a role in metabolism, regulation of blood sugar, absorption of calcium, and functioning of nervous system. Other minerals in spaghetti squash are potassium, magnesium, copper, calcium, and iron. Also this packs a ton of fiber, which helps with the digestive system and cancer. And that is just the squash! This dish packs a ton of health benefits, so please make this to enjoy it!

Have an awesome Tuesday, I’ll be spending the entire day studying for my Advanced Nutrition midterm.

Do you eat a lot of spaghetti squash?
What is the best dish you have made with spaghetti squash?