Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Kung Pao Spaghetti Squash and Broccoli

There are two things I've never done before: cook spaghetti squash, and write a recipe.
That's all changed.....
I know that I wrote allll about not cooking on weeknights, but on Monday and Friday nights I don't work out.  I got home last night, and it was snowy and cold, and I had a spaghetti squash and some broccoli, so cooking seemed like the cozy thing to do. 

The traditional thing to do would be some sort of Italian spaghetti squash, broccoli, and cheese thing, but I wanted to do something more interesting.  I liked my Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts so much, that I decided to Kung Pao my squash and broccoli!

Kung Pao Spaghetti Squash and Broccoli

For squash:
1 whole spaghetti squash

For broccoli:
1 lb broccoli, chopped to bite size pieces
2 tbsp olive oil

for sauce:
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp sriracha
2 cloves black garlic, minced

1/3 c roasted salted peanuts
crushed red pepper
sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 400. Slice spaghetti squash in half, and discard seeds. Prepare baking dish by adding 1/2 inch water, salt, pepper, and seasonings to taste.  (I added bean paste). Place squash cut side down in pan, cover with foil and roast for approximately 45 minutes.

Toss broccoli with olive oil, arrange on baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

To prepare sauce, combine ingredients in a sauce pan, bring to a boil, whisking to stir until thickened, about 5 minutes. 

Remove vegetables from oven.  Add broccoli to mixing bowl, sprinkle with crushed red pepper, and stir. Scrape flesh of squash into the bowl.  (this part was so fun! it was like magic to see the squash turn into "spaghetti!") Add the sauce, peanuts and sesame seeds to combine. 

Nutritional values will vary depending on the side of the squash.  I ended up with two big servings. 551 calories (higher that my usual meals, but not too shabby!), 13.3 g fiber and 19.3 g protein.

Far from a sad desk lunch!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Eating Right the Rachael Way

There are a lot of obstacles to cooking healthy meals at home. I get it.

I just find a way to work around the obstacles.
but seriously, what working woman wants to make a meal from scratch on a weeknight?  The secret? Cook ahead. Bonus points for a chest freezer.
I'm on  biweekly pay schedule, so I do my major shopping and cooking every fortnight.  Being an urban Gen X hermit, I use Instacart.  It's pretty awesome for an urban non-car owner. This week I got my groceries from Harvest Co-op

Since I've started this journey, I've found cooking so much more enjoyable. Done right, it is such a mindful experience.

Step One: gather your ingredients (and a glass of wine)

 I chose three recipes to make this week.  First, Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts. If there are two things I love, it's Brussels Sprouts and Chinese Delivery. I pretty much followed the recipe verbatim.  I used maple syrup, not honey, and skipped the cilantro, but used fresh scallions from the backyard. 
The finished product was super tasty:

I also made, in conjunction, Crispy Tofu Bites and Vegetable Baked Ziti. I'm pretty proud of myself for organizing three recipes to be made in conjunction.

We were out of garlic powder, so I used Carolina Dirt on the tofu bites.  Fusion cuisine! I subbed olive oil for coconut oil, and maple syrup for honey. While the tofu was marinating, I sauteed the veggies for the ziti:

Pasta turned out great!
Super cheesy! I got 8 servings.  I track my calories, fiber and protein.  Each serving came out to 303 calories; with 4.5 grams of fiber and 17.6 grams of protein. 

When the tofu was done, I packaged it with the brussels sprouts, and some vegetables I had roasted the night before.  I ended up with 6 servings. 475 calories per serving, a whopping 15.8 grams of fiber and 23.3 grams of protein.  Of course, the nutritional value of this one may be a little of since certain people kept sneaking tastes of the finished brussels sprouts while the pasta and tofu were in the oven. Anyway, these bowls turned out to be a tasty alternative to Chinese takeout- and are nutritional powerhouses to boot!

Into the chest freezer with everything.  Now, I have lunch for work, and if I get home and don't feel like prepping anything, I've got my meals ready and waiting.  Cheaper and healthier than ordering out!