Don't Toss the Spaghetti Squash
A little spaghetti squash goes a long way, and that's a good thing because it means you have leftover squash to add flavor, nutrition and moistness to other dishes. Save time on future meals by preparing and cooking a whole squash and keeping the leftovers for later.
Uncooked squash stays good in the fridge for two to four days, and cooked squash stays good for three to five days. You can freeze either cooked or uncooked squash for 10 to 12 months, but the raw squash will lose its texture after it has been thawed.
Experiment with ingredients added to the squash for a side dish to go with chicken or seafood. Cook the side dish in a pot on the stove with a little water, or saute squash patties in oil using a large skillet (add an egg for binding). Add bacon bits and parsley; feta cheese and bell peppers; chives, Gorgonzola cheese and olives; or basil, tomatoes and Parmesan. Pop the dishes with cheese under the broiler to create your new, favorite gratin.
Soups and Stews
Any amount of leftover squash, from 1/4 to 2 cups, works in either homemade or store-bought soups or stews to boost the nutrition and texture of the original. Try it in beef stew, chicken pot pie filling, chicken noodle soup, tomato soup or potato soup. In dishes such as sloppy joes or chili, a bit of spaghetti squash will be lost amid the other ingredients and you'll be left with one less leftover in the fridge and a more nutritious entree.
Mild-flavored spaghetti squash can top virtually any salad. Raw squash, roughly chopped, adds crunch and color to coleslaw or to green salads. Cooked squash, kept in its string-form or chopped, adds a bit of texture, nutrition and bulk to green salads or whole grain salads. For a Greek salad, toss olives, thinly sliced onions, feta cheese and dressing (or oil and vinegar) with the squash, and for Mexican salad use black beans, canned green chilies and chopped cilantro, all dressed with salsa.
Just as you would add a fruit puree, grated carrots or raisins to muffins, quick breads, cakes and cookies for added moisture, you can also use spaghetti squash in the same way. Whether you make them from scratch or use a store-bought mix, baked goods gain nutrition and moist textures when you add from 1/4 to 1/2 cups of leftover squash, finely chopped, to the batter.
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Susan Lundman began writing about her love of cooking, ingredient choices, menu planning and healthy eating after working for 20 years on children's issues at a nonprofit organization. She has written about food online professionally for ten years on numerous websites, and has provided family and friends with homemade recipes and stories about culinary adventures. Lundman received her M.A. from Stanford University.