Thursday, October 20, 2011

Falling for Squash

Fall is by far my favorite season. I grew up in Wisconsin where the seasons are drastically different. Winter is extremely long – actually too long. The first snowfall is quiet, peaceful, and beautiful. Of course, then there are frosty windows, huge snow banks, and bone-chilling temperatures. Excitement fills the air as spring approaches because the season brings green grass, fresh flowers, and rain showers. Summer means thick, hot air, longer days, thunderstorms and lakes that reflect the shades of green on the trees. Then there is fall. The most beautiful season of them all!

The sky is painted the most perfect shade of blue. The temperature gradually falls and there is a crisp bite to the air. The leaves on the trees change to beautiful, robust shades of red, orange, yellow, and gold. Now that I live in San Diego, the city of sunshine, these seasonal changes are not quite as obvious. I have to be more mindful, and observant to notice the subtle differences in the air, the flowers, and the temperature. Then I notice…fresh apples, pumpkins, squash and root vegetables that fill the stands at the farmers market and the baskets at our local food coop. I LOVE fall!

Our bodies naturally begin to request rich, warm, comforting autumn flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cumin. We give in and create some fabulous, healthy, comforting foods. Enjoy this dish that contains roasted spaghetti squash, brussel sprouts, and sweet apple chicken sausage with delightful flavors of cinnamon, maple, and cumin. When I cook I typically don’t measure anything! This is all a little new to me. With that said, please use your judgment and add more or less of any ingredient listed J

1 medium spaghetti squash
1 lb. of chicken sausage (any flavor you’d like or try soy-chorizo or tofu as vegetarian options)
2 cups of quartered brussel-sprouts
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
2 teaspoons of EVOO
2 teaspoons of cinnamon

Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds and stringy squash bits. Drizzle the cut side with ½ tablespoon of coconut oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon cinnamon per side. Place the squash, cut side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until squash is tender when poked with a fork.

While the squash is roasting, heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a large skillet. Add the brussel sprouts and chicken sausage to the skillet and cook for approximately 8-10 minutes over medium heat.

Whisk together the maple syrup, extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of sea salt.

When the squash is tender, remove from the oven and let it cool slightly.  Use a fork to shred the inside of the squash so that it resembles spaghetti. There truly isn’t an art to this, the squash will shred into noodle-shaped pieces automatically. Place a heaping amount of spaghetti squash onto each plate. Add a large spoonful of the brussel sprout/chicken sausage mixture and drizzle with the maple syrup sauce/dressing. You’re ready to eat!

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