Up until a couple months ago, I had no idea what to do with a spaghetti squash. Now I can’t get enough of the year-round veggie! I had been incredibly intimidated by how to prepare it, but it’s actually pretty simple. In fact, the hardest part is just cutting the thing in half. Below is my fool-proof method for preparing spaghetti squash, followed by a recipe I created — inspired by a dish at Maman.
Preparing the spaghetti squash: First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Then slice your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Use a metal spoon to scrape out the seeds and gunk from the center of each half (discard or bake the seeds). Drizzle a little olive oil on the inside of the spaghetti squash and season with salt and pepper. Place the halves face down on a baking sheet and drizzle some more olive oil on the outside of the squash.
Pop in the oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes. At that time, if you can easily pierce the squash’s skin with a fork or knife, it’s ready to take out. Flip the halves face-up and use a fork to scrape the inside of the squash. Plop all the spaghetti squash into a bowl.
Pesto chicken and spaghetti squash: To make this dish, I bake the chicken while I bake the spaghetti squash. You can prepare your chicken to your liking, but I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I filet them lengthwise and stuff with spinach, pesto, and/or mozzarella cheese, then close up and top with pesto.
Once both the chicken and spaghetti squash have finished baking, I add a little bit of pesto to the spaghetti squash and mix it in so it’s evenly distributed. I top the squash with toasted corn nuts for a little crunch and some shaved/grated parmesan cheese. Plate the spaghetti squash with the chicken, and voila!
Although it might take an hour from start to finish, once you’ve popped everything in the oven you can pretty much just sit back and relax until everything is cooked. I’ve made this dish several times now, and it’s a hit!
Recently I read a post on my favorite blog, Cup of Jo, about five essential kitchen items. What are the five things in your kitchen you’d never be caught without? It got me thinking. It took me a while to winnow down my list, but here is what I came up with:
Back in February, we watched the Super Bowl at our friends’ apartment on the Upper West Side. Sara prepared the most amazing buffalo wings that we all devoured within seconds. Knowing how much Rob loves anything buffalo-flavored, I decided I’d try to make them myself. This was something way out of my comfort zone – the only meat I’ve ever bought with bones are ribs. I found my wings at Trader Joe’s, then after watching some YouTube videos and recruiting Rob to help me cut/separate the wings, I got to work on the fun part – seasoning and cooking!
Baked Chicken Wings (1 dozen wings)
Separate (cut) drumettes and flats. Remove tips and throw away. (Check YouTube if you’re unfamiliar with how to do this – that’s what I did!)
Rinse wings and pat dry with paper towel
Toss wings into a mixing bowl and pour olive oil, salt, pepper, and Rendezvous seasoning and toss until wings are coated. I just eyeballed the amount of seasoning, knowing we like things pretty flavorful. (Rendezvous is a dry rub seasoning used for BBQ recommended by our Memphis friends. Any BBQ dry rub will work.)
Place wings out flat on parchment paper and bake for 45-50 mins until skin is crispy
Rotate wings halfway through baking
Buffalo sauce (prepare while wings are baking) Ingredients: 1 tbsp melted butter
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
Mix together above ingredients in a bowl
Whisk in 1/8 to 1/4 cup hot sauce (I use Frank’s) and keep warm until ready to toss with wings
Once wings are finished, toss into a big mixing bowl and add buffalo sauce. Toss to coat. Add as little or as much as you want of the buffalo sauce.
Serve and ENJOY!
*Recipe is easily doubled or tripled for large gatherings!