Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Bake
This is a really filling, cheesy baked casserole that tastes like potato hash browns with cheese in it. It's very morish, but that's not a problem, because it's not fattening. You can make this up to a day ahead. It's a great addition to a buffet meal table. It's also really good at breakfast (make the night before and reheat.) You can bake it in an oven or in a slow cooker. You can easily double and triple the recipe. The recipe makes a total of 1.5 kg (6 cups). That's 6 servings of 1 cup (8 oz / 250 g) each
- Wash the outside of the squash, cut it in half lengthwise and scoop / scrape out all the seeds. Place cut-sides down in a dish that can be covered. Add 1/2 inch (1 cm) of water, cover, then place in microwave and nuke for about 14 minutes. When done, set aside to cool. (Tip: if you can do this at least an hour or two before you do the rest of the recipe, you'll be glad you did.)
- Mince the onion. Spray a non-stick frying pan lightly, add the onion, chile flakes, thyme, black pepper and broth, and cook the onion slowly until soft.
- Meanwhile grate the cheese. Reserve 1/4 of it to one side. Mix the other three-quarters of the cheese with the sour cream, the garlic powder, the salt and the parsley. Set aside.
- Lightly spray a 2 litre (8 cup) casserole dish; set aside.
- Start heating oven to 190 C / 375 F / Gas Mark 5.
- When the squash halves are cool enough to comfortably handle, take a fork and shred the insides quite close to the skin but not piercing the skin. Add this shredded squash flesh to the cheese and sour cream mixture, stir well, and turn into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the reserved cheese around the top.
- Pop into oven and bake for 30 minutes. At the end of 30 minutes, turn the broiler on for 5 minutes to bubble and brown the top.
- [Tip: Alternatively, bake in a lightly-sprayed slow cooker on low for about 2 to 3 hours. Test the time the first time out in your crockpot. Or, consider baking it in muffin tins for easy individual servings.]
- Serve piping hot.
For the spaghetti squash, look for one that is about 12 1/2 cm tall by 23 cm long (5 x 7 inches). This will be about 1.5 kg (3.3 pounds) before you start with it and after it's cooked, cleaned and shredded, it will yield about 750 g (4 cups) of flesh for the recipe. Instead of microwaving the squash, you can pressure cook it for 14 minutes or bake it for 45 minutes. When it's cooked, and before you let it cool, do a test shred with a fork to make sure it's going to shred easily: if not, cook for a few more minutes. The water / broth in the frying pan with the onion is there to stop it from drying out. You can add a bit more as needed. Try a sliced tomato on top (put on before you sprinkle with the cheese.) Try also some bacon bits in it. Feel free to play with the seasoning.
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