Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cooking Efficiency: Spaghetti Squash Two Ways

Since spaghetti squash was on sale, I picked one up for dinner.  Even though I got a smaller one, I cut it aside and designated it for dinner on two different nights. 
Spaghetti Squash Mediterranean Style
Spaghetti squash is easy to fix in the microwave.  Place cut side down in a microwaveable container with a little water, cover with saran wrap, and cook for 8-9 minutes.  Let it cool, then just take a fork and pull the squash into long, spaghetti strands.  Then, drain it on a paper towel.

The rest of the dish came from the salad bar and seafood department.  The grocery store steams shrimp at the store, so I got about a ½ pound on sale (it was steamed the day before and so needed to be sold soon).  I took off the shell and tails, then cut them in half.  Then, I took the feta, olives, parmesan cheese, and arugula I got from the salad bar and combined it with the shrimp and spaghetti squash.  Finished it with butter, olive oil, salt and pepper.    
Spaghetti Squash and Cheese Sauce
The problem of having to cook with a microwave instead of having a stove or burners is that it is hard to get that sense of gradual building of flavors.  To make up with that, I decided to make use of my coffee maker.

Because I just make tea in my coffee maker and clean it regularly, it doesn’t have that worrisome coffee build-up that could affect fixing other things in it.  Since I wanted to do a cheese sauce for my second spaghetti squash and so needed a gradual thickening action, I made the sauce in my coffee maker.    

To do that, turn on the coffee maker, put equal parts butter and flour in the coffee pot, place it on the burner.  Every couple minutes, stir the melted butter and flour.  Once you have a roux, add milk and a sprig of thyme.  Let the milk, thyme, and roux hangout on the coffee pot burner for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  After 10 minutes, add about a cup of cheddar cheese and return to the burner for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.  
During that time, microwave some additional vegetables, add those to the spaghetti squash, and season with thyme, salt, and pepper.  Finally, pour the sauce over the squash and vegetables.  Popped it all in the microwave for a minute to come together, and voila!  

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