I have this sweet little boy that is just our world. He’s so wonderful in every way; adorable and lovable and sweet. Smart. Handsome. Hilarious. I could go on forever about everything I love about my little dude.
These days things are very different than the early ones that I would literally snuggle him all day. It’s filled with constant activity, shrieking (both laughter and frustration), babbling and learning to talk, and praying that we’re both able to get some quality sleep at some point in time. It’s fun and frenzied, all the time.
One of my sweet friends from college (hey Katie!) asked the other day how I cook with a toddler and I have to admit that it really just depends on the day. Some days he loves helping (“helping”) me so we just do simple things in the kitchen. Other days he wants to play by himself, so I just set up shop where I can watch and interact when needed while I cook. And other days he has no patience so we just don’t cook and opt for Chickfila (which, to be honest, you don’t have to twist my arm very hard for anyway). It’s a balance and kind of a crapshoot every time, but the days that he gets excited about cooking with me basically make my heart explode in happiness. I love it!
This dish is one of those that takes really minimal hands-on time, but produces really big and flavorful results. If your kiddos are into helping and playing with fun textures this is a really great one to let them in on, but just make sure the squash is cool enough to handle beforehand.
I have two favorite ways to prepare spaghetti squash – this one in the oven, or this one in the microwave. Either way you’ll want all the “spaghetti” from a medium/large squash, so give those kiddos a fork and let them have at it! Another thing to note is that you can really use any marinara sauce you like. This authentic Italian red sauce (in a crockpot!) is killer and a staple in our house, but I’m also a really big fan of Barilla’s marinara too (that’s not sponsored, I just like it).
Finally, I love that you can eat a LOT of this goodness and it basically counts as a vegetable. Seriously! I won’t lie and say that it tastes exactly like pasta, because nothing but real pasta actually tastes like pasta, but this is a great way to get some good Italian flavors in your belly without all the carbs. And really you should just make it and love it anyway 🙂
- flesh from one cooked medium-large spaghetti squash (about 3-4 cups)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 cloves garlic, pasted or grated on a microplane
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Combine the spaghetti squash, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and grated garlic until well combined.
- Place half of the spaghetti squash mixture into the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish.
- Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the grated parmesan cheese.
- Add the remaining spaghetti squash mixture, spread with the marinara, and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan.
- Place the dish in the oven and bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and hot.
- Let cool for about 5 minutes, then serve hot!