How To Prepare Spaghetti Squash 3 Different Ways

Spaghetti Squash. If you are one of the few people who actually know what a spaghetti squash is, it’s probably safe to say you can only prepare it one way. Squash as spaghetti. Served with … what? Yep, you guessed it, pasta sauce.

Well, prepare to have your minds blown! We recently did a cooking demo at the Detroit Eastern Market where we displayed three different dishes using that oblong yellow vegetable. And, to add more of a wow factor, all three dishes can be created in 30 minutes or less.

With the varying dietary intake that has America divided like the current presidency, we decided to offer one dish as vegan, one as vegetarian, and one as carnivorous.

We’ll get more into that later. For now, let’s describe a spaghetti squash and briefly review its health benefits. If you’re in the majority of the people who haven’t even heard of this vegetable, then you’ll probably asking yourself “what is a spaghetti squash?” Picture this … a winter vegetable with a hard pale yellow exterior with a stringy flesh. Got an image in your head? Ok good, hold on to that for a sec.

Now let’s take a moment to reflect on the nutritional value of the almighty spaghetti squash. First of all, it’s very low in calories. I mean … we’re talking less than a half a gram of fat per cup. It’s also low in carbs, containing only 10 grams per cup. Two things this squash is high in is fiber and water content. All of these qualities bundled together makes the spaghetti squash pretty darn attractive!

  • good for weight loss
  • good for weight management
  • aids in regulating digestion
  • helps to reduce constipation
  • helps to lower cholesterol

Ok, enough of that. Let’s get back to the good stuff … how to take this vegetable nerd and turn it into three different delicious dishes.

The first dish is Spaghetti Squash with Rustic Tomato Sauce. It’s a hearty dish that warms the stomach on a rainy day. Vegan.

Spaghetti Squash with Rustic Tomato Sauce



The next dish is Spaghetti Squash Casserole. This meal is a flavorful twist on the classic spaghetti and meatballs. Carnivorous.

Spaghetti Squash Casserole


The final dish is Fried Quinoa Spaghetti Squash Cakes with a Moroccan dipping sauce. This is an appetizer that will surely impress anyone who takes a bite. Vegetarian.

Fried Quinoa Spaghetti Squash Cakes

Dipping Sauce for Fried Quinoa Spaghetti Squash Cakes

Trust me … you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this vegetable nerd. I do hope you enjoy these recipes. Don’t be afraid to experiment with them. Don’t be afraid to interchange ingredients. Don’t be afraid to make them your own.

How to Make Cauliflower Puree … to serve with Pan Charred Brussel Sprouts & Smoked Harissa Chicken Quarters

I recently visited one of my best friends in Nashville, TN. On our first night out, we had dinner at Sambuca. It’s a sassy, sexy restaurant located downtown that has great food and live music. Our drinks, appetizers, and meals were nothing short of amazing. I had a salmon dish and my friend had a chicken dish. And this post is dedicated to my friend’s magnificent meal. The general idea is pretty similar, but of course the actual recipe is quite different.

For tonight’s dinner, I made Vegan Cauliflower Puree, Pan Charred Brussel Sprouts, and Smoked Harissa Chicken Legs. I served it with one of my favorite wines, Robertson Winery’s Natural Sweet White Wine. Needless to say, it was a BIG hit! Another entry in the clean plate club.

I did a live Facebook (Culinary Kisses Facebook Page) post on how to make the Cauliflower Puree. It’s very easy, very quick, and very flavorful. I started with cauliflower crumbles, but you can just buy a head of fresh cauliflower and grate it yourself. I lightly steamed the crumbles, then added them to a food processor. The recipe below is vegan, but if you want your puree non-vegan just use your regular favorites instead of the veganized ingredients (i.e. margarine & sour cream).

Cauliflower Crumbles
Steamed Cauliflower
Pureed Cauliflower





Vegan Cauliflower Puree

For the brussel spouts, all I did was char them stove-top in the pan. At the end, I added sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Keep in mind that charring can be light, medium, or dark. The brussel sprouts are a dark char in this recipe.

Raw Brussel Sprouts
Charred Brussel Sprouts








Now for the star of the show … Smoked Harissa Chicken Leg Quarters! I recently came up with this spice mix, and it is totally amazing! It turned out exactly as I thought it would (no edits to the recipe required). I mixed together five main, individual spices plus salt and pepper.

Ingredients for Smoked Harissa Spice Mix

After seasoning the chicken, searing it on the stove, and finishing it off in the oven (spiked with a little white cooking wine), you end up with crisp chicken skin that is loaded with the perfect marriage of exotic spices. Underneath, you will experience moist, tender meat that seems to melt in your mouth.

Cauliflower Puree, Pan Charred Brussel Sprouts, and Smoked Harissa Chicken Leg Quarters

Smoked Harissa Chicken Quarters

The plate will impress, the flavors will make you fall in love, and the taste is supremely tantalizing!. Serve this meal to anyone you want to receive chef props from. Trust me, all who eat this will bow down to the apron!



How to be Sleek and Sassy in the New Year

Well, here we are again … at the top of another new year. This is the time when most of us take a moment to reflect on the prior year. We take a proud note of what we’ve accomplished and we beat ourselves up over what we didn’t. There’s one thing that’s on most of our “Didn’t Get To Do” list every year: LOSING WEIGHT! Most of us have a few extra pounds that we declare on the 1st day of every year to shed. We always start off strong and with the best intentions. Slowly but surely, those intentions diminish into wishes. Excuses begin to take over where determination once ruled. Procrastination pushes our weight lose goals further away from reality. And before you know it, you’ve slipped back into how things were.

How can we change this vicious cycle? How can we make 2017 the year of real change? How can we evolve from “yes I can” to “yes I did?” That’s simple, just don’t buy into any of the gimmick diet trends, the newest magic pill, or the latest fat melting gadget. Instead, adapt a healthy lifestyle. Make it a way of life and not a quick fix plan and you will surely succeed at being sleek and sassy in 2017.

Start off by choosing three ways to change your diet. Then focus on one change a month for three consecutive months. Take a look at the chart below as an example:


MONTH             TAKE AWAY                                           INCLUDE

January              Sodas & sweets                                      Smoothies & more water

February            Fried food & processed food           More fresh fruit & veggies

March                 All beef & pork                                      More fish & minimal poultry

You should also include more fitness into your life by following the same principle. January can be the month to walk, February can be jogging or aerobics, and March can be Zumba or swimming. These small, gradual yet effective changes will yield drastic results. Implementing guidelines will lead you into the healthy lifestyle you need, require, and deserve. So by the time April rolls around, not only will you be sleek and sassy, but you’ll have adapted a wellness way of life that you can benefit from for the rest of your life.

You may read this and think this plan sounds easy enough (and technically it is), but realistically it can be a bit of a challenge. Trust me, the cravings will come! Hold out. Don’t give in. The key is not avoidance, but replacement. Don’t try to talk yourself out of eating a quarter-pound hamburger, just replace it with a black bean burger. Or if you’re a lover of all things sweet, make sure you keep fresh fruit around at all times.

Also, you must be proactive with your daily meals. If you have several meetings planned back-to-back and know that you won’t be able to leave the office and take a lunch, then pack a sensible lunch (like an oven-roasted vegetable medley with rosemary lemon baked chicken) that includes a salad, a piece of fruit, plenty of snacks (like raw almonds or kale chips) and bottled water. Don’t allow yourself to get to the point of what feels like starvation or get stranded without any healthy eating options. If you do so you’ll want to eat the first thing you can get your hands on, and it probably won’t be anything healthy. Before you know it, you’ll more than likely over-indulge in this spur-of-the-moment, unhealthy food selection and regret your choice immediately afterwards. Guilt can be a tricky thing to deal with when it comes to your health, so avoid it by planning ahead and you’ll be just fine.

It’s a new year and it’s time to take control of your health once and for all. Don’t do it for the man in your life or for that person you want to impress. Do it because you love yourself enough to do it for yourself. Take back your power. Be an advocate for your own health. Make a statement in 2017. Fit and fabulous is nice, but sleek and sassy is taking it to a whole new level … so own it!