Posts tagged ‘Spinach’

Italian Sausage & Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Spaghetti squash is a great option for people who want pasta without gluten or lots of carbohydrates. It readily absorbs flavors from sauce, herbs, and spices, so it blends very well with other ingredients. It is also easy to prepare; please see my Spaghetti Squash post for roasting directions. Spaghetti squash provides a lovely splash of color to any noodle dish, unlike bland beige wheat noodles.

Italian Sausage Spaghetti Squash Casserole 1A

This recipe is one of my favorite ways to prepare spaghetti squash. It is so colorful and flavorful, and it is easy to create various color and flavor combinations with different veggies. Additionally, you can use any protein you prefer, like veggie sausage, ground meat, cubed chicken, soy or hemp tofu, pine nuts, etc. You can also always dress your spaghetti squash with pasta sauces, too.

Keep in mind you are going to need a very large bowl to mix all of the components. It has been a while since, I used this recipe, so I quickly ran out of room as I added ingredients. I spit the recipe into two stages, mixing the squash, sausage, dried herbs, and cheese in one large Corning Ware dish and the fresh herbs and remaining vegetables in another. I used a third smaller bowl to help transfer half of the contents one bowl into the other, so I could incorporate all the ingredients together into each bowl and keep the right proportions. As a side note, even though I added the Daiya cheese to the sausage and squash while they were hot, it did not melt properly. Daiya’s shreds require higher temperatures to melt than dairy cheese, so I suggest reheating the casserole before it is served.

Italian Sausage Spaghetti Squash Casserole 2A

Italian Sausage & Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Yields 14 to 16 servings

Ingredients
1 Med Spaghetti Squash, roasted, skin removed
1 T Dried Ground Sage
1 T Dried Oregano
2-3 T Fresh Thyme
1 Bunch or 3 C Spinach or Kale, torn into bite-size pieces
1 Bunch or 1/2 C Fresh Sweet Basil, chopped
Olive or Grape Seed Oil for cooking
3/4 – 1 lbs Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage
3/4 – 1 lbs Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage
1 10-oz pkg Daiya Mozzarella-Style Shreds
1 Medium Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
3 T Fresh or Bottled Minced Garlic
1 lb String Beans, cut into 1″ lengths
3 Med Yellow or Orange Heirloom Tomatoes, chopped
4 oz Pea Spouts with long shoots, separated
Ground Peppercorns, to taste
Sea Salt, to taste

Directions
Be careful not to burn your fingers while handling the squash. In a large bowl, break up the squash into noodles with a fork. Mix the herbs and greens into the squash. Set aside to allow the dried herbs to absorb moisture from the noodles and the greens to wilt a bit.

Oil a large pan. If the sausage came in casings, remove them. Brown the sausage over medium heat. Mix the sausage and cheese-style shreds into the squash.

Saute the onion, garlic, and beans together in a large oiled pan. Add to the squash with the salt, pepper,  tomatoes, and sprouts. Serve and enjoy!

Shrimp & Vegetable Nabe with Shichimi Togarashi

With the donabe, I also wanted to give Mom a hot pot cookbook as a gift for Christmas last year, so she could learn about authentic ingredients and cooking methods, as well as gain some inspiration for cooking different dishes. When Anise and I went to Japantown, the bookstore was closed, so I looked at the local new and used bookstores in Petaluma and Santa Rosa. Nothing.

I also poked around online looking for hot pot recipes and found Harris Salat’s Japanese food blog, which has entries featuring some of the recipes (or similar ones) from the book that he and Tadashi Ono wrote, called Japanese Hot Pots: Comforting One-Pot Meals. It’s the best donabe and hot pot cookbook I found; it has lots of inspiring, colorful pictures and descriptions of the recipes and ingredients that will make you hungry. I highly recommend this book as a wonderful resource.

Shrimp & Vegetable Nabe with Wild Rice and Shichimi Togarashi
Adapted from “‘Strawberry’ Hot Pot” or
“Ichigo Nabe” from Japanese Hot Pots
by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat
Serves 8 to 10

Whole Grain Gohan Ingredients
Adapted from “Japanese Rice for Shime” from Japanese Hot Pots

Ingredients
2 + 1 C Filtered Water
1 tsp San-J Gluten-Free Tamari Soy Sauce
OR Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1/2 C Brown Rice, uncooked
1/2 C Wild Rice, uncooked

Directions
In the donabe, bring the 2 cups of water and tamari to a boil. Stir in the rice. Reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot, and cook the rice for 40 minutes. Check the water level, and add about a cup of water as needed. Return the lid. Cook the rice for 20 more minutes or until tender. Drain the rice, and set it aside in a large bowl.

I also used Ming Tsai’s instructional video on You Tube to make sure I knew how to cook the rice in the donabe without burning the grains to the bottom. His video is for sushi rice, which normally has to be rinsed to get rid of excess starch. I did not soak my rices, since they are a completely different variety. I also didn’t really worry about excess starch, since starch adds a slight sweetness to broths naturally when they are included. As you may have noticed I do not have a special rice cooking donabe, but my rice turned out perfect with the book’s recipe. I just added a little more water than the package directions called for, which did not adversely affect the grains, since the rice had to stay in the pot to lend to the other soup flavors.

Shrimp & Vegetable Nabe
Sauce Ingredients
4 C Filtered Water
1 tsp Ajinomoto Hon-Dashi
1/4 C San-J Gluten-Free Tamari Soy Sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1/2 C Kikkoman Aji-Mirin
1 T Sake
1 Fresh Lemon, juice of

Meat & Vegetable Ingredients
1 tsp Grated Fresh Ginger
1 T Minced Garlic
1 Fresh Lemon, zest of
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 lb Large Prawns, shelled, deveined, uncooked
1 – 1/2 lb Kale, stemmed, torn into bite-size pieces
5 oz Shiitake Mushrooms, stemmed, sliced
5 oz Baby Bella Mushrooms, stemmed, sliced
6 Stalks Celery, sliced into 1/2″ by 4″ sticks
4 Medium Carrots, sliced into 1/2″ by 4″ sticks
6 Scallions, trimmed, halved
1 – 1/2 lb Spinach, stemmed
Whole Grain Gohan (see above)
Shichimi Togarashi, optional garnish (see below)

Directions
In a medium pot, dissolve dashi in boiling water. Stir in the tamari or Bragg’s, aji-mirin, sake and lemon juice. Heat the sauce ingredients through. Set aside.

In the donabe, saute the ginger, garlic, zest, salt and prawns over medium heat until the flesh turns pink and white and is no longer translucent. Move the meat aside in the pot.

Cover the bottom of the donabe with the kale. In separate sections over the kale, arrange the shrimp, mushrooms, celery, carrots, onions, spinach and rice. Pour the sauce on top. Cover and cook the soup for 7 to 10 minutes over medium-high heat, pressing the top ingredients into the broth after 5 minutes. Turn off heat.

With an oven mitten or hot pan holder for each of your hands, transfer the hot pot to a trivet set on half of a plush towel (so that there’s also room to set the lid while serving) at the dining table. Ladle the soup into bowls, making sure to get a bit of each soup section of meat and vegetables. Garnish each bowl of soup with shichimi togarashi. Make sure you keep a hot pan holder or oven mitten at the table with the donabe in case you have to lift the lid and anyone wants a second helping of soup. When you are done serving your bowls of soup and have more room in the donabe, you can add more vegetables that you couldn’t wedge in before. As long as the lid stays on, the remaining broth and other soup ingredients will cook the newly added vegetables.

Shichimi Togarashi Inspired by “Shichimi Togarashi” in Japanese Hot Pots
This is a customizable garnish made from seeds and minced dried spices and herbs that can be sprinkled onto most anything, like furikake. Just pick ingredients to match the soup flavors. Get creative.
Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients
1/2 tsp Poppy Seeds
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp White or Black Sesame Seeds
1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning Mix
1/2 tsp Lemon Pepper
1/2 tsp Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Garlic Blend
1/2 tsp Mrs. Dash Original Blend
1/2 tsp Whole Cumin Seeds, roasted

Directions
You can mix together any or all of these ingredients into a small seasonings shaker container.

Make sure you smell or taste your seeds and seasonings first before mixing them in to make sure they are not stale or rancid; if they are, throw them away. I threw away poppy seeds, sesame seeds and fennel seeds. Also when shopping for ingredients you know you may not use very often, purchase small containers of them so you don’t end up wasting money.