One of my New Year’s resolutions was to have a small dinner party every Wednesday. I hang on to my resolutions pretty loosely, people, so we may not make it through the year, but hey, week 1 down! We had our neighbors over with their 11 month-old baby. It was almost 2 hours of chaos, but fun in a messy sort of way. The real challenge with getting the kids in on the act is managing to have a conversation among the adults. We ended up sort of stringing a conversation together in between cajoling them to eat and refereeing the toy situation. Not the best way to get to know someone, but better than not trying, I think.
Dinner was pasta, which was unremarkable. I used up about a third of the tomatoes that I canned last fall, making this enormous sauce, so points for getting things out of the cupboard. Meanwhile I put 3/4ths of the sauce into the freezer, so minus points for adding to the freezer. When it was just about finished, I discovered that the sauce was almost painfully acidic because of my home canned tomatoes. Quick fixes included more wine and sugar, and about a cup of cream. It was pretty decent at the end.
For a vegetable, I made a spaghetti squash casserole (see recipe below). People, if you get a spaghetti squash from the store, ignore the little sticker on the thing that tells you how long to cook it, as it will probably be completely wrong. Depending on the size of the squash, you need to roast it at 350 for anywhere from 45 to 100 minutes before it will get nice and stringy. Adequate water is the key here too, to get the flesh to come apart easily with your fork. To start this recipe, roast your squash for 45 minutes, cut side down in a pan with water coming about 1/2 inch up the sides of the squash, and check with a fork every fifteen minutes or so after that.
Roasted spaghetti squash strands from one medium or large squash
2 carrots, finely chopped
4 oz mushrooms, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 – 4 tbs butter
1/4 C parsley, chopped
1 C Parmesan, grated
salt and pepper to taste
In a large saute pan, saute carrot, celery, and mushrooms in 2 T butter. Meanwhile, add squash and cheese to a large dutch oven, stirring well. When the carrots are soft (about 10 minutes), mix the vegetable mixture into the squash mix. Add a little heat as needed to melt the cheese if the residual heat doesn’t do the trick. Just before serving, add parsley and salt and pepper. Stir in some more butter, if desired.
I wish I could say that the kids just gobbled this up, but both mine HATED it. Honestly, I can’t figure out why. All that cheese and butter should have done the trick, and the squash was nice and sweet. I’ll be introducing this one to them again for sure, as I can’t give up the feeling that it should have worked better. I mean, I’m eating it for breakfast right now, and it is good!