Baked Stuffed Eight Ball Squash (or Zucchini) with Leftover Pasta (Vegetarian or Vegan)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Farm Fresh To You sent me three little 8-Ball squashes this week – and I had a boatload of leftover pasta and so – this dish was born.   I used the three eight ball squashes & a green & a yellow zucchini I had, too.  The kind of squash is not important but the eight ball squashes do make a cute presentation.   You can eat the flesh (and skin) of the eight ball squashes but I think this might be less pleasant if yours are very large.  Mine were pretty small & got very tender in the oven.

I did stuff the yellow zucchini but ran out of stuffing for the green one & could not be bothered to make more – so – I just filled it with sauce.  I used a teeny bit of real mozzarella on top & a really tiny bit of real Asiago in the filling but vegan cheeses would work just as well.

I used leftover pasta like this & the jarred sauce below.  You can use any type of pasta & sauce you prefer – even homemade ones.  You could add ground meat – like Beyond Meat Beefy Crumble to either the squash filling or your sauce – if you wanted to add protein to the dish.

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Baked Stuffed Eight Ball Squash (or Zucchini) with Leftover Pasta (Vegetarian or Vegan)

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

12 oz cooked pasta

4 eight ball squashes (or 4 zucchini)

2 TBS olive oil

16 oz pasta sauce (or less but up to 16 oz – depending on how much sauce you like on your pasta)

1-6 garlic cloves

1 TBS fresh oregano – chopped (or 1 tsp dry)

1/4 cup vegan mozzarella)

1/8 cup grated Asiago (or vegan Parmesan)

S&P

Garnish – chopped basil or parsley and maybe extra vegan cheese)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cook the pasta & drain.

Cut the tops off the eight ball squash & carefully scoop out the flesh & set it aside.  A melon-baller or grapefruit spoon might make that easier.  If using zucchini – slice in half the long way & scoop out the seeds & flesh and set it aside.

Take about 1 cup of the cooked pasta & chop it a bit.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the squash flesh & saute a minute or so.  Add the garlic & oregano & stir.  Add the CHOPPED pasta, 1/2 cup or so of pasta sauce stir.  Add Asiago or vegan Parmesan & stir.  Season with S&P & set aside.

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Treat a cooking pan with cooking spray.  Carefully stuff your peppers in the pan.  Top each with a little more sauce, some grated mozzarella & then with the squash tops themselves.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until the squash are tender & the cheese is warmed (and/or melted).  If using zucchini – do the same thing – but there will be no little squash hats for the zucchini boats.

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This next part is up to you.  You can either boil water & put the remaining pasta in it for about a minute, just before you are ready to serve – or warm as much pasta sauce as you think you need for 2 servings & stir the pasta directly into it to reheat it.   The advantage to heating the pasta & sauce separately is that you can better control how much sauce each serving gets – because some people like lots of sauce & others prefer less.  This is your call.

Whatever you decide – when the squash is ready – plate some pasta & sauce on two plates & place two baked squash on top of each.

Garnish with basil and/or parsley & grated cheese.

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8-Ingredient Vegan Thai Keffir Lime & Red Curry Chicken – for the Slow Cooker or Stove Top

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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By odd coincidence – I posted another red curry recipe a year ago tomorrow.  It was my Vegan Red Coconut Curry with Chicken and Vegetables and Hominy (for the Slow Cooker) – seen in the white pot above.  That recipe had a zillion ingredients & made enough to cater a party.  My recipe today feeds two (with rice) and has only a few easy-to-find ingredients.  The only exotic ingredients are the keffir lime leaves – and – while they are not absolutely critical – they do add a flare of authenticity to the dish.  Lime juice & zest can be substituted but if you can find the keffir lime leaves in a local Asian market – grab some.   Apparently, they can be purchased frozen but I have never seen them like that.  You can buy them HERE on Amazon, too.

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I made this in my fancy new casserole slow cooker (above) – just because I wanted to use it but this dish can be made on the stove top in minutes.  I have a full-fledged slow cooker fetish & that one above is the 6th one under my roof.  I have two 7-quart cookers, one with a timer & one without, one 1-quart cooker & two little dipper ones.  I love using them & they are especially effective when throwing a large party.  Cook & serve from the same place & they work as chafing dishes.  No muss – no fuss.

So – as I said – this is a far simpler red curry than the one I posted last year & you can make it in the time it takes to cook rice.  I used Beyond Meat chicken because – I feel – it is the best vegan chicken on the market.  Go to their site to find a store near you that carries it.

8 ingredients & quick to prepare?  Why not give it a try?

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8-Ingredient Vegan Thai Keffir Lime & Red Curry Chicken – for the Slow Cooker or Stove Top

Serves 2 with rice

INGREDIENTS
9-12 oz vegan chicken – thawed & cut into cubes

1-2 serrano or jalapeno peppers (according to your tolerance for heat) – seeded & diced

2 garlic cloves – minced

1 small red bell pepper – chopped small

2 TBS red curry paste

1 (13 oz) can coconut milk (I used lite)

10 keffir lime leaves – sliced into strips OR the juice & zest of 1/2 lime

1 TBS kecap manis (SWEET soy sauce) OR 1 TBS brown sugar

Serve with cooked rice

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything in either a slow cooker & cook, on high, for 3 hours or until the veggies are soft & it is heated through – or do the same in a stock pot on the stove.  It should be ready in under 30 minutes on the stove.  Taste to see if it might need salt.

Serve over rice.

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