I think one of my favorite things about cooking is to hear someone tell me how much they enjoyed it. I mean don’t get me wrong, I love eating it just as much as making it but when someone else gets as excited about it as me I feel like what I set out to do has been accomplished. I love that I can challenge myself in new ways by using new ingredients I’m unfamiliar with, experimenting with combinations I’ve never tried before or just by venturing outside of the box and creating a new dish that has only ever been successful in the imaginary kitchen inside of my head. The challenge to create a dish I can be proud to share with everyone is what fuels the passion for what I do.Growing up I often felt lost, like I didn’t really have that one thing that made me push myself, want to try as hard as I could, or that I even really felt I was all that good at. I tried sports, dance, theater, you name it I tried it. I would beg my parents to sign me up for something, convince them it was my life long dream, they’d give in and invest ridiculous amounts of time and money for me only to end up quitting after a week. It’s not that I was necessarily BAD at these things I so desperately wanted in the moment but it just wasn’t the thing that made me feel whole. None of them.
It wasn’t until I started blogging that I really began to ENJOY cooking. I didn’t so much as dislike it before creating my blog I just really didn’t know what the heck I was doing. I mis-measured a LOT of things, dried out chicken that could be termed a choking hazard, salted foods only a horse might love and even almost burned down the kitchen…twice. Case in point, even though I could basically say I sucked at cooking I still never wanted to quit. I was never quite ready to throw in the towel and admit that this just wasn’t for me. Regardless of how challenging it was and how much food ended up in the trash there was just something about it that made me hold onto hope I might actually be able to do this, and do it well. Once I began experimenting with ingredients and trusted my own taste buds I started to see that very glimmer of hope peek its way on through. Looking back on my recipes from the beginning to now I can see how far I have come in both my cooking and my writing. (It’s also safe to say I am now able to find more eager taste testers.) The thing about it is that I know I can only become a better cook and writer as time goes on. That’s the best part of finding what inspires you, what fuels your passion for life, is that nothing can stop you. Nothing can stop you from growing and becoming even wiser, stronger and more confident in your abilities than you were yesterday. You become a superhero of sorts in that you channel an inner strength and determination to become good, no GREAT, at what it is that you love and you’ll stop at nothing to achieve just that. Finding that passion inside for something that makes you whole is what allows you to also see a light within yourself, a hope, a love, a positivity that whether intentional or not spreads like wildfire to anyone around you. Being able to share that kind of thing is a power that in itself you should be proud of.
And even if you haven’t quite found that very kind of passion yet don’t give up that it’s not out there. It is, I promise.
These fall inspired spaghetti squash boats are a must for any busy weeknight when finding time to make dinner doesn’t quite fit into the schedule. Not only is this an easy shopping list (all of these ingredients can be purchased at Trader Joe’s) but you can whip up this delicious and healthy meal in less than an hour! This recipe is the total package of flavors with sweetness from the salsa like butternut squash, pumpkin and apple, a bit of a kick from the chilies and a little saltiness from the goat cheese. Plus, as a bonus, it makes awesome leftovers!
Harvest Enchilada Spaghetti Squash Boats
Serves: 4/Prep time: 10 minutes/Cook time: 40 minutes
- 2 large spaghetti squash
- 1 tbsp Trader Joe’s avocado oil
- 1 lb fat free ground turkey
- 1 c sweet onion, diced (about 1 small)
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced (about 1 large clove)
- 1 c Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce, plus an additional few tbsp for topping
- 1 4oz can Trader Joe’s fire roasted green chilies
- 1/2 c Trader Joe’s Fall Harvest Salsa
- 1/2 c Trader Joe’s crumbled goat cheese (omit if strict paleo)
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- handful of chives, chopped for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with tin foil.
- Wash and slice the spaghetti squash down the middle the long way. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Place all four halves cut side up on the pan.
- Brush each half lightly with the avocado oil then flip to face cut side down. Roast for 30 minutes or until squash is fork tender. When ready, remove from the oven and allow to cool on pan.
- In the meantime while the squash is roasting, heat a large non-stick sauté pan over medium heat and add the ground turkey. Allow to cook until no longer pick, about 10 minutes.
- Add the diced onion and minced garlic to the pan. Give it a quick toss and allow to cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until the onion is translucent and fragrant.
- Add the chilies and enchilada sauce to the pan and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and let cook for another 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
- When the squash are cool enough to handle, shred the insides using a fork and transfer “spaghetti” to a large mixing bowl. (Do not shred all the way to the skin. Leave a little extra to allow for a sturdier base for the filling.)
- Add the turkey mixture to the squash and fold to combine.
- Fill each squash shell with a quarter of the mixture and top each with a drizzle of the additional enchilada sauce, a few tablespoons each of the salsa and then crumbled goat cheese.
- Bake for an additional 5-7 minutes to warm through. When done, sprinkle with chives just before serving.
Nutrition: (per half) 332 cal/10g fat/24g carbs/9g sugar/33g protein (macros will vary slightly if omitting the goat cheese)