Easiest Way to Cook Spaghetti Squash

I like making spaghetti squash, it’s healthy, but it’s always such a pain to prepare. I’m always afraid I’m going to chop off a finger, hand or something trying to get that thing cut in half. And then it’s so hard to scrape out the middle. The way I had been doing it would take me at least a half hour to prepare. Then cook. Well yesterday I was looking around online and found a great way to do it from Rachel Ray’s website that was so easy.

Directions

spaghetti squashTake your spaghetti squash and add a few slits to it. Or, if you’re like me, you can do it all around the whole thing.

Place the spaghetti squash in your slow cooker with one cup of water.

Cook on high for three to four hours, or low for six to eight hours.

Once cooked, take it out of the slow cooker. After it’s had a little bit of time to cool down, it cuts right in half without any trouble. Then just scrape out the middle with seeds. You really only have to do it a couple times on each side. From there, you can easily fork out the strands and away you go! You’ll have ready-to-go spaghetti squash in less than five minutes.

Good Add and Weight Watcher’s Points

spaghetti squashI recently found Hunt’s tomato sauce with oregano, basil and garlic which is a great way to quickly whip up something with your spaghetti squash.

Lately I’ve been cooking spaghetti squash in my slow cooker, then mixing it with a little bit of chicken that I’ve diced up and put a little garlic on and the Hunt’s tomato sauce. Whatever I have been doing says it’s zero Weight Watcher’s points. I’m currently just going to test and see if it hinders me losing any weight. If I can lose, this is a great lunch option!

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Ranch: Finally, A Good Light Version

weight watchers ranchPinterest is my go to for new recipes and where to keep everything I’ve found. I’ve recently gone back on Weight Watchers and was looking for some good easy recipes for lunch when I stumbled on a ranch that said it was 1 WW+ point! ONE! Per serving.

“Okay, what’s the serving amount?” I wondered. Ah, two tablespoons. Pretty decent but ideally I might want a little more. As I plugged it into my handy dandy points calculator I realized I could have four tablespoons if I wanted for 1 WW+ point!

I am a ranch person and am NOT a fan of light ranch. I think it’s gross, so I was a little worried this might be gross too as it has light ingredients.

Well let me assure you, I’ll be making this for myself from now on, whether I’m on Weight Watchers or not.

The recipe comes from Midlifeboulevard.com. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1-3/4 cups of buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup light mayo
  • 1 ounce package of Hidden Valley Ranch Packet salad dressing and seasoning mix

Instructions

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk together. I love my little Kitchenaid hand mixer and it mixes it so quickly. Once it’s mixed, put it in a container and let it sit in your refrigerator for at least an hour to thicken up.

If you’re like me the first time you made it, you will say “but AH! I want to try it now!”

To speed up that process, put it in the freezer for 20 minutes. I did that and it thickened up just fine!

The website said the recipe could last two to three weeks depending on the date of the buttermilk.

Servings

The recipe makes 2-1/4 cups and the serving is 2 tbsp. And if you’re like me… you can have up to 4 tbsp and be at 1 WW+ point.

Weight Watchers Info (30 calories for 2 tbsp)

  • 1.8g fat
  • 1g protein
  • 3g carbs
  • 0g fiber

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

As I’ve stated, I love prepping things for the week. I stumbled on SkinnyTaste’s “Crock Pot Kid-Friendly Turkey Chili” and modified it a bit. Be sure to take a look at the full recipe, or see my plain-jane version below!

Servings: 6 (approximately one cup per serving)

slow cooker turkey chiliYou’ll need:

  • 2 packages of lean ground turkey
  • 2 tsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 3 cups frozen corn
  • 16 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Spike seasoning

Directions

  1. Cook turkey, season with Spike seasoning
  2. Drain and put in crock pot
  3. Add in tomato sauce and garlic paste, stir in
  4. Add in corn, olive oil, cumin, chili powder, paprika and salt and stir in
  5. Top off with chicken broth
  6. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours

I really enjoy this recipe for lunch, but it’s great for dinner too. You can top it off with many things, such as cheese, sour cream, etc. Enjoy however you’d like and check out the original version for more ingredients at SkinnyTaste.com.

slow cooker turkey chili

Low Carb Breakfast: Egg Muffins!

One of my favorite things to do is prepare something for the week so I don’t have to do it during the week. I’ve been preparing lunches for the week for a long time and just discovered something heaegg muffinslthier for breakfast that isn’t yogurt full of all kinds of crazy ingredients I can’t pronounce: Egg muffins!

I found the recipe on Kalyn’s Kitchen’s and it’s a great low carb way to start your day. Kaylyn’s Kitchen is a great website to bookmark for low carb ideas, that’s where I found my absolute favorite mashed cauliflower from.

I’ll explain things for a metal muffin pan, but if you have silicone, be sure to check out that link.

Servings: 12 (each)

You’ll need:

  • 1 dozen medium eggs
  • 1 cup mild reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp Spike seasoning

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375°F and fill muffin pan with liners
  2. Spray with vegetable oil to keep egg muffins from stickingSpike seasoning
  3. Crack all the eggs into a large bowl and whisk
  4. Stir in cheese then Spike seasoning
  5. Pour into muffin pan approximately 3/4 way full
  6. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until brown on top

Let them cool for 15 to 20 minutes, then I just baggy them up or however you want to store them! I have a convection oven so during the week I will re-heat them at 350°F for five minutes then they are ready to go.

Also, the Spike seasoning is a great add to anything. I’ve tossed it into some of the things I have been making lately and it adds a lot of flavor.

egg muffins

Favorite Low Cal/Carb Recipes and Sites

When a friend said she was on a low carb diet, hadn’t had spaghetti squash before and inquired about it, I knew it was time to put together some of my favorite recipes I’ve stumbled on through Weight Watchers, Skinnytaste, Hungry Girl, etc. I’ll provide my directions for spaghetti squash then links for the rest. Enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash

I love love love spaghetti squash. I didn’t really understand what all the hype was about when I first heard about it, and to be honest, didn’t even like it the first time I made it. Then I went to Ruby Tuesday’s and tried their Spaghetti Squash Marinara and realized I was probably just not making it right. Every time I made it it was so watery and mushy. Straining it did not help. After trial and error with my oven, I figured it out. But if you’ve never made spaghetti squash before, there are all kinds of ways to cook it. Here is one of the guides to look through on About’s website.

The way that I think works best for me is to preheat my oven to 350°F then cut the spaghetti squash in half. It’s kind of hard, I usually have my husband do it because I’m lazy. Then once it’s cut in half, you scoop the insides out. Keep scooping until all the noodley goop is out so you get to a point where you’re scraping the sides. (You’ll understand what noodley goop is once you cut it in half. So basically you’re cutting around an oval shape).

Do the same thing to the other half then put them face down on a baking sheet and into the oven for about 30-45 minutes. For me, I’ll do about 40 minutes. That way it’s not undercooked or overcooked (which makes it watery). When done I’ll just pull out of the oven and let it cool for a bit because it’s really hot. Sometimes I’ll just leave it sitting there for 20 minutes.

Then I’ll just go through, take a fork and start scraping the sides and put it into a bowl. It looks just like spaghetti, but doesn’t taste like it. So don’t go in with a mindset that it tastes exactly like it.  Just enjoy it for what it is. I like to add some of Prego’s light marinara sauce to it too. A half a cup is one Weight Watcher point. Even better, there aren’t any points in spaghetti squash. I’ve been preparing it for lunches lately and storing it in tupperware bowls. It’s some work, but I like it a lot. A lot of people enjoy putting olive oil on theirs. Search around, you’ll find the way you like best!

Links to Favorite Recipes

Mashed Cauliflower (the recipe calls for nutritional yeast, which you can find at a Whole Foods or similar store. I ended up trying this with nutritional yeast and wasn’t a fan, but it’s healthier. I use parmesan as a substitute for nutritional yeast. Also, I have a Ninja which makes blending this super easy. It purees it perfectly).

Cauliflower Fritters

Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili

Crockpot Three Bean Turkey Chili

Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip

Links to Favorite Recipe Sites

SkinnyTaste

Hungry Girl (sign up for the emails! One of the few I enjoy getting)

Emily Bites

Weight Watchers (You have to subscribe to their website, but you can always find WW recipes online).