Dinner / Health / Uncategorized

squashed

My hopes of making spaghetti squash with feta and tomatoes were squashed by, well, another squash. See, the commissary likes to do this tricky thing where they mis-label fruits and vegetables so people like me come home with a bunch of surprises. I’d say roughly 67.8% of the time, meals in the Johnson house are born out of grocery mishaps. Tonight I may have bumped it up to 71% but who’s keeping tabs?

If you read my blog because you think I know anything about food, good luck to you. If you find the fact that I can’t even identify a spaghetti squash funny, then we’re on the same page! Being such an unrefined cook can be incredibly fun. It’s like every night I’m being thrown a mystery ingredient on Iron Chef, and I just have to figure it out on the fly. Sprig of this, dash of that … voilà!

Tonight’s mystery ingredient was Long Squash, a.k.a. Opo Squash, Bottle Gourd, or Calabash Gourd. In my opinion it tastes a zucchini and a yellow squash had a baby. A large baby. I discovered that it has African roots but is commonly found in Italian and Indian dishes like soups, stews, and curries. Oh, and it makes an excellent cavity for ground beef and cheese (i.e. it can also be stuffed!)

I’m happy to announce this recipe is a 100% Abbey original! Usually, I consult Google to help me locate a stash of recipes to inspire a dish. Tonight I felt inspired on my own so I went rouge — no internet.

Long Squash Beef Bake [could easily serve 4]

1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef (or turkey)
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsps butter
Cooking spray
2 long squash [4 halves]
1 medium white onion, diced
2 medium roma tomatos, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 6oz can tomato sauce
1 1/2 tsps Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
3 sprigs fresh rosemary

  1. In a medium saute pan, melt olive oil and butter. Sweat onions over medium heat with a little salt for 7 minutes until translucent and tender. Add tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms and cook for another 10 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl combine, tomato sauce, Worcestershire, dijon, sage, thyme, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  3. Spray a large saute pan with cooking spray and brown the beef, breaking it up with the back of a spoon. Drain excess liquid and fat from pan and stir in tomato mixture, vegetables, and one sprig of rosemary until fully combined. Remove from heat. (I made this early in the afternoon and refrigerated it for several hours before I was ready to bake it.)
  4. Half the long squash lengthwise and scoop out the insides so you have little squash boats.
  5. Ladle beef mixture into boats and top with whatever cheese you have on hand. I used feta and freshly grated pecorino. Finally, top with remaining Rosemary pieces and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. A fortunate mistake in the squash aisle!

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