Bring on the cozy meals and the crock pot creations. Winter is here and that means shorter days and chilly nights. I am most happy when tucked inside my warm house binge watching Netflix and binge eating comfort foods. (….and wrapping presents and baking cookies…..)
Currently, I’m busy buying Christmas gifts and doing some last minute decorating. So choosing something simple for dinner is a top priority. When kids the kids return home from college next week, things will become a bit more hectic and there will be more mouths to feed. So anything I can make in a crockpot is welcome.
Spaghetti squash isn’t a typical crockpot creation.
I’ve cooked spaghetti squash only a handful of times. I am truly amazed by this vegetable. (Is it a vegetable? Yes, a winter vegetable. I did double check.) A spaghetti squash shreds into spaghetti like strands with a fork when fully cooked or roasted or microwaved.
Mind blowing, I know.
The few times I have prepared spaghetti squash, I have roasted it in the oven. It’s much healthier than noodles, but I don’t think you could ever completely trick someone into thinking it was actual pasta noodles. (If you have a picky eater, I would suggest using a combination of both pasta noodles and spaghetti squash noodles.) But, in my opinion, cooking the squash in a slow cooker is the closet you can get “consistency wise” to actual noodles. The spaghetti squash was more tender and buttery, yet not mushy, when slow cooked.
Cooking a spaghetti squash can be downright dangerous. Well, it’s not the cooking that’s the dangerous part but the preparation. Cutting a spaghetti squash in half. It’s a trick that could cost you a finger, I’ve actually watched videos to perfect a safer method. This recipe removes the fear factor and will eliminate a chance visit to the ER. You actually drop the entire spaghetti squash into the crockpot, nestle it right there in the middle, and cover with the meat sauce.
Crockpot Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce
- 1 pound spicy Italian sausage
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
- kosher salt and pepper
- 32 ounce can of peeled tomatoes
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup milk
- 1 medium to large spaghetti squash rinsed
- mozzarella cheese
- grated Parmesan cheese
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the sausage, ground beef, and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned all over and the onion is soft, about 5-8 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the meat to your crockpot. Add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, bay leaves, and milk. Stir to combine.
- Add the spaghetti squash to the center. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Carefully remove the squash from the crockpot and transfer to a cutting board. Wipe away any grease and then carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds, then using a fork, scrape the squash into strands.
- Divide the spaghetti squash among bowls and ladle the sauce over the top. Top with the cheeses and enjoy.