Welp. It finally happened. I got my back-to-school cold. As my kids were growing up, it never failed. They returned to school in September, met their new teachers, began their new lessons and said hello to their new friends, the back-to-school cold viruses. Each virus was a little different. There was the “I’m pale with a hot fever” virus. There was the “I am a bad sore throat with a mild stomach upset” virus. And we can’t forget the “My laryngitis sounds terrible, but my throat doesn’t really hurt so I’m talking more than usual” virus, plus many, many more.
Oh, you’re right. My kids are gone from home and I personally don’t GO to school, but that never stops me from getting the back-to-school cold, even if it IS a solid two months since the school year began. Details. (I’m still calling this my back-to-school cold.)
There are advantages, though. A cold gives me an excuse to sit around and stare into space. (I do this a lot anyway, but usually I don’t have an excuse for it.) It also gives me a built-in, zombie-like appearance, perfect for this Halloween season.
Come on over and see for yourself! (What do you mean, “That’s alright, you’re good”???)
Let’s see now, how do I transition from talking about viruses to talking about delicious food? I sense a pivot in the form of a skilled presidential debate performer is in order. So let’s go with: Back to school always reminds me of fall weather, cool temps and beautiful leaves, a perfect time for something warm, hearty and comforting.
Which leads me to my wonderful recipe for Spaghetti Squash with Lentil Marinara! Here it is. Ta Da!
See how I used the spaghetti squash halves as bowls for the marinara??? That’s just blogging genius right there, that’s what that is.
- 3 spaghetti squash plus water for the baking pan
- ¼ cup water for sautéing
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 8 oz. chopped mushrooms (any kind)
- 4 oz. can chopped green chilies
- 2 medium carrots, washed and chopped
- 1 28-oz. can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes
- 4 oz. tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
- 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- ½ cup cooking sherry
- 1 cup dried, brown lentils
- 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Place the squash cut-size down in a rimmed baking pan. Place about a half inch of water in the bottom of the baking pan with the squash. Cook the squash for 30-35 minutes.
- Heat the quarter-cup of water for sautéing in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, chilies, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and parsley, cooking for another few minutes until the mushrooms and garlic are soft.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable broth, sherry, lentils and sherry. Stir to incorporate. Heat until the mixture comes to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer sauce for about 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
- Spoon the cooked sauce into the cooked spaghetti squash halves and serve immediately.
OK, that’s over. Pass me the tissues.