We had a shift in health priorities at our house over the holidays. Mr. Curtis essentially had a heart attack (the doctor said it was a "heart event" since his heart damage wasn't severe). Doesn't matter what you call it, it was a wake-up call.
Mr. Curtis was a college athlete, a high school basketball coach and athletic director. He's married to me (a self-proclaimed gym rat) and can be found at the gym 4-6 days a week. All that exercise didn't make a bit of difference to his arteries. He ate like a 17 year-old boy - soda, chocolate, fast food.
Last week, I told my man that I was tired of making the four vegetables he finds palatable - mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower. Last week, I threatened him with a new vegetable - spaghetti squash.
"What is spaghetti squash? It sounds like something your mother would make."
(Apologies to my mother. And here's me blushing because I haven't forced a variety of vegetables on my family...until now!)
I explained it's a squash, but when cooked, it shreds like spaghetti. He wasn't sold. So I made him help me cook a dish with spaghetti squash. If you don't know about this miraculous squash, here are some tips:
Spaghetti squash is surprisingly hard to cut. Poke about 6 slits in yours with a knife, like you would a baked potato (my mom liked to poke them in a dotted line where she was going to cut later). Put it in the microwave and cook for 4-5 minutes. It will be hot. Let cool, and then take a knife to it and cut it in half lengthwise.
Scoop out the seeds and basic strings like you would a pumpkin, leaving about 3/4" of pulp on the rind. Season each half with your preference: a little olive oil, salt/pepper, garlic, etc.
You can either bake it for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees (face down), or put it back in the microwave on a microwavable plate for about 10-12 minutes (face down). Then you take it out, let it cool enough that you can handle it, and scrape out the "spaghetti" with a fork (see photo above).
My mom never served this to us in place of regular spaghetti noodles, but you can. My mom always made it in some kind of casserole with other veges and cheese. So I made a casserole with spinach, grape tomatoes, chicken, and - of course - cheese. It passed the finicky man test.
I hope to broaden Mr. Curtis' horizons more in the coming months. Do you have a vegetable you make that your family once turned up their noses at? I'd love to hear about it!
Melinda Curtis is an award-winning USA Today bestseller of contemporary romances. Her latest releases are on pre-order: Frankly, my dear...Creating Unforgettable Characters (3/21 on Amazon); Love, Special Delivery (4/4); and A Kiss is Just a Kiss (4/27).