It's Too Yummy Tuesday!
On select Tuesdays I share delicious recipes either inspired by my books or that are just plain delicious!
One of my favorite tools in the kitchen is my crockpot. Year round, I use it to make soups, chili, pulled pork, chicken, and I've even made chocolate cake! Fall is a prime time for me to bust this baby out and start making some super easy, delicious meals, especially since squash is so plentiful in the market right now and I discovered what must be the simplest way on earth to prepare spaghetti squash. No boiling, baking, fuss, or muss...just cut a squash in half (the quick way-through the middle) and pop it in the crockpot into some sauce. That's it!
If you can't bring yourself to whip up the awesome sauce from scratch, two jars of spaghetti sauce will do the trick. But honestly, I love the rich, hearty flavor of the homemade version below--and it's so easy there's little reason not to give it a try.
1 small onion, diced
4 oz mushrooms, sliced (optional)
Olive or other oil for sauteeing
1 lb ground beef
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 28-oz cans San Marzano tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp sugar (honey or maple syrup works if you're avoiding table sugar)
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
Parmesan cheese to heart's content (optional)
1 spaghetti squash, washed and cut in half across middle (so you have one piece with the stem end and another piece with a blossom end)
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and saute onions until soft. Add mushrooms and saute until browned. Add ground beef and stir, breaking up until cooked. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add tomato, cumin, sugar, Italian seasoning, salt/pepper, and red pepper flakes if using. Stir everything through and bring to barely a simmer. If you're using Parmesan, stir in about 1/2 cup at this point.
Pour sauce mixture into a crockpot. Scoop seeds out of spaghetti squash halves and discard (or save for other uses). Place halves, cut sides down, into sauce mixture. Cover crockpot and cook on low for approximately 6 hrs, or on high approximately 3-4 hours or until squash is soft and strands separate easily with fork but are no longer "crunchy". (Unless you prefer it that way. I like mine just a bit "al dente".) Shred squash strand into bowls and top with ladles of sauce.