It was one of those nights where we had a half pound of ground beef and spaghetti squash that needed to be used. And I was in a mood. I didn’t want to follow a recipe too closely or make anything complicated. But I also wanted our meal to taste good. And I don’t typically cook spaghetti squash so I didn’t have an index of past meals to work off of. So I made this. By pretending I was going to make lasagna. Only with spaghetti squash instead of noodles. And soft goat cheese instead of ricotta. And not really layered. So very loosely based on lasagna. But it was so so good.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut spaghetti squash in half. Spoon out the seeds. Cover the entire squash (both sides) with olive oil. Sprinkle inside with salt and pepper to taste. Place in oven, inside down, for 30-35 minutes. It should be done when you stab the skin and the knife goes in easily. But don’t get too stab happy because we need the shell intact to use as a bowl later.
While squash is cooking, make the sauce. Brown ground beef until it is almost done but not completely done. Drain the excess fat. Then cut the uncooked bacon into the pan with the ground beef. I use a kitchen knife and cut the bacon into the pan.
While bacon is cooking, add in diced red pepper, onions, and garlic. Add in tomato sauce, a glug of olive oil, a glug of wine, rosemary, and parsley. Toss in salt and pepper to taste. Simmer.
Remove spaghetti squash from oven once cooked. Take a fork and pull the squash from the shell without destroying the shell, as you will be putting everything back into it.
Place squash into a medium size bowl. Mix in goat cheese and shredded cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon squash back into each shell. Top with sauce and sprinkle cheese.
Place back into the oven and cook for 10 additional minutes.
Every morning, I let Pancake out our back patio door so she can go to the bathroom, chase the turkeys, and otherwise run around the pastures before she decides to make her way back to the house. The last couple of mornings I have followed Pancake out the door, stood on the patio, and soaked up the morning sun. Guys, it is starting to smell like summer.
Summer in Minnesota is a thing. After months and months of snows (sometimes even creeping into May), once the weather starts to hit the mid 60’s, it is as if all Minnesotans collectively sigh a deep breath of relief. Winter is behind us. We open our windows. We plan meet ups around happy hours for patio bars/restaurants. Lake parks are filled with people running, biking, laying, playing. It is hard to imagine not seeing the sidewalks, parks, and downtowns not packed with people enjoying our Minnesota summer to the fullest. All plans seem to revolve around being outside as much as possible. If the sun is up, we are outside.
And with summer comes summer cookouts. I have never been one for consistent meal planning. Whatever is in the fridge, I will toss together. But in the summer, my lack of meal planning becomes even more narrow, and I happily delegate a portion my cooking duties. Now, the extent of my meal planning is, “what should Matt grill out for us tonight?” I am just in charge of the side dishes.
This is a fabulous side dish. Hand to God, every time I make this side dish for guests, someone asks me for the recipe. And every time I say, yeah, I should really write it up and put it on my blog so it is easier to share. Well guests, I finally have!
Box of Orzo
Can of Corn, drained (feel free to sub out-I only add it about half the time)
1-2 cups black olives, sliced
1 red/orange/yello bell pepper, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2/3 cup red onion, diced
1 package of pearl fresh mozzarella (or get a big ball and cut into cubes)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 handfuls of cilantro, shredded
1 Tablespoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cumin
6 Tablespoon lime juice
5 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Cook orzo per box instructions. Yah know, boil water. Add salt so it’s as salty as the dead sea. Toss in the orzo. Take out when soft to taste. Let the orzo cool (or run cold water over it-that may be a not chef like. but I don’t always have the time or patience to wait)
Mix all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl. Whisk til well mixed.
Combine all ingredients for main dish in a large bowl. Only add the orzo once it is cooled (or you’ll get gooey cheese). Mix well so that the olive oil is mixed throughout.