People ask me all the time where I find inspiration to cook different dishes for my blog, and the truth is I find inspiration to cook and bake just about everywhere (even todays snow storm had me dreaming of a dusting of confectioners sugar on an almond croissant). But what inspires me most of all is watching my friends shine in the kitchen. Nothing gets me more excited and motivated to cook than enjoying a delicious meal cooked by a good friend. I find myself constantly blown away by the skills and passion that my friends bring to the table...literally and figuratively. I'm very lucky to a have a few great friends who could knock your socks off in the kitchen, but today I want to talk about one in particular, my friend Jamie...or who you may know as Martha-In-Training.
I met Jamie through my best friend Robin, who also just happens to be Jamie's little sister. Over the years Jamie has become much more than just my best friends big sister, inviting me to every birthday, celebration, and outing, all the while making feel as though we had known each other for years. For someone who has a history of feeling like the odd one out, you can imagine how nice it felt to have someone so warmly welcome me into their life. I could go one and on listing everything that makes Jamie so special, but I'll stay on topic and list just one of her many strengths, her cooking skills. Jamie and I initially bonded over our mutual love for cooking, baking, and of course the Food Network, a topic of conversation that never goes without mentioning each time we see each other. As our love of all things food grew, we both began our own personal food blogs to share our kitchen tales with the world. Since starting her blog, I have become a regular follower of Jamie/Martha-In-Training, always eager to see what she's cooking up next, and what funny anecdote goes along with it. It's intimidating in the best way possible to see the incredible dishes that Jamie creates. Unafraid to take chances and try out different levels of difficulty in recipes, I can't help but want to push myself harder when reading her blog or sitting at her table. With every new post or dinner at her apartment I feel inspired to try more difficult recipes, be more risky, and follow my instincts. My last dinner at Jamie's was no exception.
Before heading out for a night of partying, Jamie whipped up a delicious and healthy meal that had me raving about it to my friends and family all week long...and had me imitating it here for you today! Inspired by Jamie's spaghetti squash with tomato sauce and veggies, I decided to make a carnivore version with ground beef, kinda like my take on spaghetti and meat sauce. My Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce turned out to be a hit just like Jamie's! My family loved this healthy take on a classic, and didn't even leave one bite of leftovers. The texture of the squash is so similar to spaghetti pasta that you can hardly tell it was substituted at all! The meat sauce was the perfect topper, filled with veggies and a ton of savory flavour, you're gonna want a slice of some country bread to sop up any leftover sauce on your plate.
1 spaghetti squash, washed, cut in half, seeds and loose flesh scooped out
1 tsp garlic
1 onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
about 2 cups mushrooms, scrubbed and sliced
1 lb ground beef
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
2 tsp butter
1. Grease a medium baking pan with olive oil. Drizzle about 1 tsp of olive oil inside each squash half and, using your fingers, spread olive oil around. Season with salt and pepper. Place the squash halves face down in greased baking dish. Bake at 375º for 35-45 minutes, or until squash is tender inside.
2. While spaghetti squash is roasting, drizzle some olive oil into a large skillet. When oil is heated, add the garlic, onions, and carrots. Saute, stirring frequently, until onions just start to become transparent. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until onions are transparent and very soft.
3. Add the ground beef, stir to mix and break up with a spatula. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until beef is fully cooked. Season with italian seasoning, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Add the tomato sauce, stir, and continue cooking until sauce is hot.
4. Remove spaghetti squash from oven and allow to cool for about 4 minutes. Flip squash over and, using a fork, lightly scrape out the spaghetti squash strands. Move squash strands to a serving dish, add butter, and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Top with meat sauce.
Phantogram - When I'm Small
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