Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan and Tomatoes

Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan and Tomatoes
Many of my posts are about foods that kids will love. Sometimes I like to throw a new food into my cooking mix just to expose my kids to it. With farmers' markets over flowing with potatoes, tomatoes, peaches, blueberries, and squashes, I decided to pick up a spaghetti squash to serve with dinner. I can't promise that your little ones will devour this dish, but you may get them to try it because the name of the squash includes "spaghetti" which is a kid-approved food.

If you have been following along on my cooking adventures for the past 2 1/2 years, you will know that I am pretty much of a tough love mom/cook with my family and even friends that come to eat at our dinner table. I feel that many parents label their kids "picky eaters" and basically throw their hands up to exposing them to new foods.

"Billy only eats chicken nuggets and hot dogs."

"Sally refuses to eat anything that is green."

It is easier to serve what the kids think they like then deal with the moaning and groaning of hungry youngsters at the dinner table. If the parents only serve hotdogs and chicken nuggets, then kids will think they only like hotdogs and chicken nuggets.

Now don't get the idea that I am some tyrant and make my kids eat lima beans and liver for dinner, but we may try them one day. I do strongly recommend that everyone tries what has been prepared for dinner. I am not force feeding any kid that dines at our dinner table, but I enthusiastically suggest that they try what is for dinner. They will never know if they like a new food unless they try it. More times than not my own No Thank You Boy has tried to opt out of eating a new food. But if he didn't try roasted green beans he would have never known they are one of his favorite vegetables.

Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan and Tomatoes is a fantastic recipe for those hot summer days when you don't want to turn on the oven to cook. The squash cooks in the microwave. Enlist the kids to help with the fun part of scraping the "spaghetti" out of the squash. If you get kids to help prepare dinner, they will be proud of their accomplishment and more likely to give new foods a try.

Two of my kids love zucchini so this close squash cousin was enjoyed by them. No Thank You Boy on the other hand tried it and said, "No thank you," to future bites. That's ok. He tried it. I love the fresh garden taste of this dish and the ease of preparation. Serve Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan and Tomatoes with Java Rubbed Strip Steaks and a loaf of crusty bread and your meal will be complete.

With the bounty waiting at your local farm stands, serve a new food tonight. You will never know if you like it until you try it.

Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan and Tomatoes

1 spaghetti squash, about 3 pounds
2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 - 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling on top
1 cup chopped tomatoes

Poke the squash with a metal skewer or sharp paring knife about 6 to 8 times. The holes will allow the steam to escape while the squash cooks. Place the squash in a glass baking dish and microwave at high power (100 percent) for about 12 - 15 minutes, or until it is soft when pressed. Let the squash sit in the microwave for about 5 to 10 additional minutes.

Remove the squash from the microwave and cut in half lengthwise. Gently scrape the "spaghetti strands" into a large bowl. Add the salt, pepper, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and tomatoes and toss to mix. Taste and season with extra Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper if needed.

For a unique presentation, return the squash and Parmesan mixture to the halved squash shells and serve with extra Parmesan sprinkled on top.


Denise said...

I absolutely am trying this asap. I love spaghetti squash and I think I will get my kids to help like you suggest, then maybe they will try it. Great idea.

Patsyk said...

I agree with how you handle new foods and kids. My kids both tried borscht the other night and one loved it while the other didn't. But, the TRIED it! yeah!

I love spaghetti squash, and usually spring that one on them a few times a year hoping that one of these times they will like it as much as I do. Will have to try your recipe to see if it's "the one"!

Creative Classroom Core said...

What a fancy looking side dish! Wow!

amandalouden said...

I love spaghetti squash--it's one of my all time favs.

Martha said...

This is funny - I have a spaghetti squash in the oven right now. A client requested it and I thought it was more of a fall/winter item. I haven't been able to find it at farmer's markets, but did find some pale specimens at my local supermarket. So I'm doing a trial run to see if the summer spaghetti squash is OK or if we should wait until fall. I'm planning just to do an herb-butter with it.

kat said...

we used to love this as kids. I'm with you on the picky eater thing & really see a difference in my nephews who try everything & those who don't have too

Donna-FFW said...

I must try it. I have heard great things about it and this idea is fabulous!

Robin Sue said...

Love love love this kind of squash. Too bad I can't get my family to eat it with me! So I get to have it all to myself. My kids aren't picky eaters, I call them refusal eaters. They refuse most things and then IF we can get it into their mouths 2 out of 3 usually like it. But oh the battles!! Someday they will appreciate me, someday.

PS- when they whine over a dinner I am making, I scream "fine go live with the neighbors that serve chicken nuggets every night and then see if you don't like my cooking!" Ha! That usually shuts them up!

Jeff said...

I grew up in a family where you ate what was in front of you or you went hungry. I think I may have been the only kid who knew what sweetbreads were, which animal had a great liver, and preferred celery and carrots to ice cream.

Can't wait for squashes to become plentiful here!

Lynn said...

I am scrolling through your recipes and they really do look amazing, every one. We have spaghetti squash in our garden, along with 4,000 tomatoes, so I'm printing this recipe out :) Thank you! Tonight for dinner we're having Tomatoes Tonnato (tomatoes w/ tuna/anchovy/capers sauce), oven-baked zucchini-Parmesan fries, and pear-walnut bread. I'M HUNGRY!!

Kathy said...

I love spaghetti squash! I always scoop it out though - not sure my kiddos would love it if they had to look at the actual squash! ;) Lol... I'm a tough-love kind of mom too! We have a polite-bite rule at our house! It took my son six years of always having one bite of green beans before they became his favorite veggie and he's now 11! I would tell parents out there that taste buds change, so don't give up! And who's the boss anyway!!! ;) Love your blog, btw!!!