Thursday, September 12, 2013

sausage cheddar quiche with a spaghetti squash crust.

My husband's job requires him to travel a lot. While I miss him very much when he is gone, I do enjoy the time in the kitchen that allows me to try new dishes that he may be reluctant to eat. I adore pretty much every vegetable and can be completely satisfied eating those alone-- don't get me wrong, I love a good steak as well. Dustin, like most men, has to have meat at every meal. I like to experiment with vegetable gratins, sauces, and other fun things that I think he wouldn't be crazy about when he is gone, and then fix the meals he enjoys when he is home.

Cooking spaghetti squash has been on my to-do list for what seems like forever. For those looking for a gluten-free alternative as we often are, this pasta-shaped vegetable is a great option! I have wanted to use it as a pasta substitute for some time now. I follow a lot of foodies on Instagram, especially those who post gluten free or Paleo recipes, since we avoid gluten as much as possible. When I saw a post about using spaghetti squash as a crust, I thought it was an interesting idea. Since Dustin was out of town earlier this week, I figured it would be a good time to try it out.

My mom has a great quiche recipe that I have always loved. It is a perfect blend of meat, cheese, and vegetables. What is not to love about that?? When I was menu planning for this week, I originally thought about making her quiche with the gluten free crust I used in my Vegetable Pie. Then when I saw this spaghetti squash crust idea, I had to use it. People often think of eating quiche for breakfast, lunch, or brunch but I always love breakfast foods for supper and my mom always made this quiche for suppers growing up. Plus the leftovers are great for breakfast!

Sausage Cheddar Quiche with a Spaghetti Squash Crust

For the crust:
Slice a two-pound spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake at 400* for 40 minutes or so. You want the squash to give a little when you press on it. Once done, let cool until you can handle it and remove the seeds. Then take a fork and rake out the "spaghetti" strands. Place the squash in the bottom of a greased pie plate and press up along the sides. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

For the filling:
4-6 eggs, whisked
3/4-1 lb sausage
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon parsley
a dash of garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the sausage, green pepper, and onion until the sausage is no longer pink and the vegetables are soft. While sausage is browning, combine eggs, cheese, spices, and herbs. Pour the egg & cheese mixture over the crust. Top with sausage and vegetables. Bake at 350* for about 35-40 minutes or until  cooked through and firm on top. 

Notes: I tweaked my mom's recipe a bit. Her recipe adds milk, uses less eggs, and more cheese. Make it your own. Use different meat (or no meat), veggies, or cheeses. I arranged my mushrooms on top just for fun. Momma always mixes hers in. Also, depending on how shallow or deep your pie plate is, you may have to adjust your ingredients so that you don't overflow! My pie plate was on the shallow side so I used about 3/4 pound of sausage and 5 eggs. To help with cleanup, my mom always puts a aluminum foil lined pan under dishes that may overflow in the oven. Such a smart woman. I loved this recipe with the spaghetti squash crust! The squash gives the savory filling a slight sweetness. Y'all know I love sweet with savory! I am curious to try pre-baking the spaghetti squash crust alone for a few minutes to see if that would make it a bit crisper. I'm not sure how that would work but if I try it I will let you know! I have yet to convince the hubs to try this. He claims he doesn't eat food that starts with the letter "q." He makes me laugh constantly! But I really think he would enjoy it. Maybe I can persuade him to eat one bite of the leftovers. Of course that is assuming I don't eat them all myself!

So according to my planner, today is National Day of Encouragement! I remembered this morning that my bible includes a great checklist of ways to build others up in 1 Thessalonians 5:11-23. I copied it down in my journal and wanted to share it! I love a good checklist and I love encouraging others. What better advice for encouragement than straight from scripture!?

Let's make a special effort today and everyday to encourage those around us! 
Have a blessed day! 

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