Spaghetti Squash

A farmer at the Saturday market in my town had spaghetti squash. I grabbed one not really sure what I was going to make with it but it sounded like fun. I was running low on my groceries by the end of the week but my van was still in the shop. So time to come up with something using what I had available.

I had the spaghetti squash, but no sauce. Not even tomatoes or tomato sauce. I did have lemon, garlic and butter. That would make a fine sauce. I also had a dab of okra to fry and a few potatoes left to mash up. No meat but it would be a good supper.

I found this link on how to cook the spaghetti squash. I may have cooked it once before but it has been a long time. I let my teen boys help with the fork to turn the squash into noodles after it was cooked.

My second son asked how I was planning to use the bacon in the fridge. “Wait, I have bacon in the fridge!” I had bought two packages this week but then counted use of one pack this week and one last week. Ooooh, this is gonna be really yummy!

I looked at this lemon sauce pasta recipe for an idea and then took it in my own direction. I cooked the bacon in a cast iron skillet. It wasn’t as crispy as I would like so I took the bacon and put it in a pan in the oven on 400 degrees while I prepared the sauce.

I added a stick of butter to the bacon drippings. I let it melt. I juiced two lemons in a glass jar to use fresh. I minced about 6 big cloves of garlic. Once the butter was melted, I added the garlic to the butter and bacon drippings. Cooked for only a couple minutes on a lower heat so as not to burn the garlic.

I added the sauce to the squash and then the lemon juice. Tossed the noodles. Added the crispy bacon which might could have crisped in the oven a bit longer but we were eager to taste it.

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This is sooooo delicious! There were no leftovers. Definitely a keeper. It’s a super way to get more veggies into the diet of a not-so-enthusiastic veggie eater. I intended on mincing someĀ  fresh basil and sprinkling with Parmesan. It can be done that way next time.

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Ratatouille

What meal can you make with 1 onion, 1 1/2 bell pepper, celery, 1 eggplant, 4-5 squash or zucchini? And have your family scrape the pot clean? It’s ratatouille. My family of 7 polished off five quarts of this veggie stew. The next week, six of us ate four quarts. This must be a regular in our house from now on.

The recipe was inspired by this book, Alabama’s Historic Restaurants and their Recipes by Gay N Martin. I used the Station House Grille’s Ratatouille recipe and adapted it to what I have on hand. Here is my version

Honey Love Farm’s Ratatouille

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cups chopped ham (shank ham baked with honey is what I prefer)

1 onion, chopped

1/2 of three colored (red, orange, and yellow) bell peppers, chopped

1 cup chopped celery

1 1/2 tsp salt or to taste

1 tsp red pepper flakes

3/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

1 eggplant, cubed

4-5 zucchini and squash, sliced or cubed

6 medium tomatoes chopped

1 Tbls garlic, minced

1 tsp Italian seasoning

Heat oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add ham and saute for about 2 min. Add onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes, or until vegetables are slightly wilted. Add eggplant and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until slightly tender. Add squash, tomatoes, garlic and Italian seasoning. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-12 minutes or until mixture is a little soupy. I cook a little longer for softer veggies but can be left somewhat crunchy.

We love the movie Ratatouille so this was fun and delicious. I expected leftovers but everyone kept going back to the pot til it was empty. Hope your family enjoys it as much as ours.

Pomegranate oatmeal

Pomegranate is a seasonal item around the holiday season. Several years ago, I added it to our holiday tradition. We have enjoyed them sprinkled on bowls of ice cream. They are fabulous in homemade cobbler. I love them in oatmeal.

In the past, I have allowed the fruit to soak in water to loosen the kernels (not sure if that is the proper term but they do resemble corn kernels). Now I just slice in half and beat on the back with a wooden spoon to loosen the kernels into the bowl.

I don’t ever follow a recipe with oatmeal. I just add whatever strikes my fancy that day. Today, I added about 1/3 cup of confectioners sugar, 1 T vanilla, about 1/2 cup half and half to six servings of oatmeal with one pomegranate.

It is super scrumptious. I love how the confectioners sugar adds a richness that complements the pomegranate.