This stuff is just plain cute. Besides being yummy, serving it in the squash skin makes it fun to eat! I remember when I first had spaghetti squash. My mom served it under spaghetti sauce and said it was just like pasta. That caused the problem – unintended, but problematic. I expected some slight mushiness that started to soak up the sauce. What I got was slightly crunchy strings that mixed with the sauce, but did not absorb. I did not find it appealing after the first encounter. Flash forward a few years. I tried spaghetti squash again, with the expectation of squash, not pasta. It tasted lovely, absorbing the garlic and herbs tossed with it, instead of futilely attempting to soak up marinara. Now that I think back at the two experiences it reminds me to be realistic with Little B when she is trying something new. We often introduce new foods to Little B that may look like other stuff she has had, but will feel and taste different. For example, when you eat regular or instant pudding, then are given chocolate chia pudding, you will have different experiences. They both taste good, but the texture is very different, not to mention the expansive difference in nutritional value. Honestly, I sometimes generalize and refer to most meats as ‘roast’, because she likes roast and it is easier. When it is truly something new I try to describe it for her so she is more willing to not spit it out. When she likes something new she really likes it, but as she gets older she is actually less inclined the try something new. I think it is because of her natural desire right now to display her independence more than not wanting to try something new. I hope it is temporary because she likes spaghetti squash and it is so much better for her than pasta. My ultimate goal is to have new experiences be positive for her. Not always fun or ideal, but result in some learning experience that will move her forward, for the world is full of new experiences. There will be many more new food experiences in her life and I want her to jump into them feet, or mouth first with passion. I know it has made a world of difference for me!
Baked Spaghetti Squash with Cheese and Herbs
1 spaghetti squash
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
1 tsp garlic powder
½ – 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
¼ – ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried parsley
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Drizzle olive oil on the halves and use your hands to spread it all over the exposed meat of the squash. Place halves face down on baking sheet. Bake for 30 – 45 minutes until inside of squash is soft, but not mushy. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Flip over squash halves, carefully hold the hot squash with a mitt or towel. Using a fork, scrape the squash meat off the skin, but leave it in the shell. Sprinkle the squash with salt and garlic powder, then gently toss the meat within the skin. Sprinkle with a little more salt. Divide mozzarella on each half, followed by the oregano and parsley. Finish with sprinkling the Parmesan cheese on top. Return squash to oven on baking sheet, cheese side up. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and beginning to brown. Remove from oven and serve immediately – small squash can result in an entire half being a side dish, while larger squash may need to be cut into quarters for serving.