How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in a Slow Cooker

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in a Slow Cooker

Did you know it was possible to cook spaghetti squash in a slow cooker?

This makes one of my favorite vegetables so much easier to prepare!

How can you not love a recipe where you spend two minutes prepping at 8 am, go about your business for the day, then come back at 5 pm and you have beautifully cooked dinner?!?

Maybe my favorite part of this cooking method is you do NOT need to cut your squash in half prior to cooking. Trust me, that is reason enough to try this method! Spaghetti squash can be near to impossible to cut in half. Those suckers are HARD.

 

Cooked Spaghetti Squash

There are a few things I learned by trial and error about this method of cooking a squash.

First, by the end of 8 hours my slow cooker will be almost out of water and your squash will start to brown on the side that is touching the bottom. DO NOT let your squash cook any longer than 8 hours or you may end up with a burnt mess.

Next, if you slow cooker tends to “spit” hot water during cooking, you can lift the lid, carefully add a bit more water, and return to cooking it. I’ve done this and it didn’t effect the cooking of the squash.

So how do you cook a spaghetti squash in the slow cooker?

  1. Use a sharp knife to poke several holes in the spaghetti squash.
  2. Add the whole squash and two cups water to the slow cooker.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  4. Carefully remove squash from slow cooker. Cut in half and scrape out seeds. Use a fork to separate squash into strands.
  5. Serve!

Serving your family spaghetti squash has never been easier!

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Grain-Free Cauliflower Tabbouleh Salad {Paleo, Raw and Vegan too!}

Cauliflower Tabbouleh Salad

I had this Cauliflower Tabbouleh Salad at a potluck over the weekend and loved it so much I went out the next day to buy the ingredients and try to replicate it for myself.

Cauliflower is the perfect substitute for barley in this salad. Chopping it in the food processor or a blender, it gets to the same size and consistency of barley.

But that’s not the only brilliant part to this salad.

Instead of using the traditional tabbouleh ingredient parsley, this recipe uses kale.

Using a superfood makes this salad super good.

Don’t be afraid of the whole jalapeno in this recipe. Scrape the seeds out to remove most of the heat without sacrificing the flavor.

Now as for the red onion, I like the recipe with the whole onion.

If you aren’t a big onion fan. Start with half an onion. You can always change your mind and add more.

Grain-Free Cauliflower Tabbouleh Salad {Paleo, Raw and Vegan too!}

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 5 oz package organic baby kale
  • 15 mint leaves
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Remove cauliflower from stem. Chop into big chunks before putting in work bowl of food processor. Pulse until cauliflower resembles a course grain.
  2. Scrape cauliflower into a large bowl.
  3. Next, add kale, mint, jalapeno, and red onion to the food processor. Process until all ingredients are finely chopped.
  4. Stir the kale mixture into the cauliflower mixture.
  5. Gently fold in cherry tomatoes.
  6. Whisk together the oil and vinegar and toss with salad. Add salt to taste.
http://thegreenbacksgal.com/grain-free-cauliflower-tabbouleh-salad-paleo-raw-and-vegan-too/

Bon appetit!

Grain Free Cauliflower Tabbouleh Paleo Recipe

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Lemony Pasta Salad For a Crowd

Lemony Pasta Salad

Lemon and Parmesan cheese are one of my favorite flavor combinations. A healthy dose of both makes this pasta salad a total crowd pleaser.

I am getting good at cooking for a crowd. Since my kids have started playing sports, we have done more all day tournaments with more food tables than I can count!

That’s how I know this Lemony Pasta Salad for a crowd is a hit with kids and parents alike.

I think one of the reasons this salad is so popular is the dressing is made with half mayo and half olive oil. It’s a dressing that pleases both types of pasta salad lovers – those that go for the creaminess or mayo and those that prefer the non-creaminess of an oil based dressing.

Using whole wheat pasta  will up the nutritional value of this recipe. You may need to order it since farfelle in whole wheat is hard to find at your local grocers.

When making this recipe up several hours in advance, I’d recommend throwing the basil in at the last minute. That way it won’t turn brown before you get a chance to serve it.

If you are looking for a recipe to bring to your next potluck, picnic or team table, I hope you’ll give this one a go.

Lemony Pasta Salad Recipe For a Crowd

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 boxes farfalle pasta (whole wheat if you can find it!)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 package frozen green peas
  • 2 zucchini, shredded
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes, halved (I like one red and one yellow)
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped

Instructions

  1. Cook farfalle in a large pot until al dente.
  2. While pasta is cooking, stir together the lemon juice, lemon zest, mayonnaise, olive oil, crushed garlic, salt and pepper in a large serving bowl.
  3. Add frozen peas, shredded carrot and shredded zucchini to a colander. Pour the cooking water with the farfalle over the vegetables to drain. Pouring the cooking water over the vegetables will quickly defrost the peas and will just blanch the carrots and zucchini.
  4. Immediately add the pasta and vegetables to the serving bowl and stir well to evenly distribute the dressing. Stir in the grated Parmesan, tomato halves and basil.
  5. Chill for 4 hours or up to 8 hours before serving.
http://thegreenbacksgal.com/lemony-pasta-salad-for-a-crowd/

One last note! The quantities of veggies are just a suggestion. I’ve been known to throw in more, much more. It’s a great way to make sure everyone is getting a healthy dose of their daily veggies!

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Bacon, Butternut Squash, Kale Salad Recipe

Bacon Butternut Squash Kale Salad Recipe

Kale. Love it or hate it?

What if you combined it with the saltiness of bacon and the sweetness of butternut squash then tied it all together with a southwestern style dressing?

This Bacon, Butternut Squash and Kale Salad Recipe is hearty enough to eat for lunch (I think) or it makes a really good whole food side dish to a roast pork tenderloin.

I bake my bacon in the oven at the same time the butternut squash is roasting. The bacon takes about 15 minutes at 425 degrees to bake to crispy perfection while the butternut squash will take about 30 minutes to get nicely caramelized.

If you’ve never baked bacon before, I’ve made a How to Bake Bacon video for you. You don’t need to make yours into bacon bundles, but the technique is the same.

After your bacon has baked for 15 minutes, pull your bacon out of the oven, stir the butternut squash a bit, tuck the squash back in for the next 15 minutes then lay your bacon out on paper towels to absorb the extra bacon grease. You’ll have at least 12 more minutes for the butternut squash to cook – the perfect amount of time to make your dressing and add your kale to your favorite salad bowl.

PRESTO! Side dish is ready to go in 30 minutes.

Bacon, Butternut Squash, Kale Salad Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 cups baby kale
  • 2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 tablespoons diced red onion

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Add kale to a large salad bowl.
  3. Toss butternut squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil and pinch of salt. Spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Line a smaller baking sheet with tinfoil. Lay bacon on baking sheet.
  5. Put both bacon and butternut squash in 425 degree oven. Bake bacon for 15 minutes or until desired level of crispiness. Stir butternut squash when you take the the bacon out. Allow to bake for an additional 15 minutes or until it begins to brown and caramelize.
  6. Chop bacon once cooled and drained.
  7. Whisk together 3 tablespoons olive oil, orange juice, salt, cumin, and ginger. Stir in diced red onion.
  8. Toss kale with roasted butternut squash, chopped bacon, and dressing. Serve.
http://thegreenbacksgal.com/bacon-butternut-squash-kale-salad-recipe/

If you try this recipe for Bacon, Butternut Squash and Kale Salad, please let me know how you like it!

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How to Cook Grains: A FREE Printable!

How to Cook Grains Small

How do you store your grains in your pantry?

I tend to buy my grains in bags or out of the bulk bins at the grocery store. Once the bag is open, I’ve found I can have a hot mess unless I put my grains in jars.

Look how tiny that millet is. A simple clip just isn’t up to the job.

Open bag of Millet

I have a great funnel I use for canning that makes this a pretty easy chore.

Use a canning funnel to put grains in jars

Once the grain is in the jar, I label it. Amaranth, quinoa, millet, cornmeal… they all look alike when in a glass jar. Labeling is key.

Label Whole Grain in Jars

Then I throw out the bag.

Which has the cooking instructions printed on the back.

Or if you buy from the bulk bin. You never had the instructions.

Enter: the How to Cook Grains Free Printable!

No more Googling water to grain ratios. No more wondering if it was 15 minute for barley or was that 15 minutes for bulgur?

This printable has the most common whole grains and how to cook them.

Let me show you how I use this at my house.

I purchased cork board squares from my Office Max. It came with adhesive, so it was easy to just put a cork board panel on the inside of the cabinet right next to my stove.

Corkboard organization inside cabinet door

Print out the How to Cook Whole Grains. It looks great in color or black and white if you are trying to save printer ink.

Then just thumb tack it up!

How to Cook Grains

Now you can toss out those bags with the cooking instructions with no worries. You’ll now how to make perfectly fluffy brown rice (or millet, or barley…).

Do you tack recipes inside your cabinet doors?

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Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Homemade Poppyseed Dressing

Spinach and strawberry salad - TheGreenbacksGal

As summer winds down, it’s time to make the most of the produce that is still available. For many of us, that includes strawberries and spinach.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad pairs strawberries and spinach to create a simple, tasty and refreshing side dish. It can be made into a main dish salad by adding a few strips of grilled chicken.

If you’ve never tried strawberries and spinach together, you might be surprised by how well they complement one another. Besides this salad, I like to use strawberries and spinach together in my green smoothies. The strawberries are an excellent way to hide the green flavor of spinach. In fact, they work so well you might not know there are any green leaves in the smoothie at all (except that it looks green!).

Back to the salad . . .

Poppy seeds make this salad visually interesting and provide an extra dose of minerals.

The spinach is nutrient-dense and gives us a healthy boost of vitamin K, carotenes, vitamin C, iron, folic acid, and B vitamins.

Strawberries add a delightfully sweet taste while providing vitamin C and K, dietary fiber, and flavonoids (which help fight inflammation, cancer, and heart disease).

Almonds add a little protein and fat as well as a nice crunch.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Ingredients

For Salad:

1 bunch fresh spinach leaves
1 pint strawberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons crumbled Feta cheese, optional

For Dressing:

1/4 cup honey
1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/4 cup sunflower or olive oil
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon paprika

Method

Wash strawberries and slice into quarters. Set aside.

Wash spinach and spin in a salad spinner to dry off the leaves (wet leaves don’t hold onto dressing very well).

Decide of you will make the salad in one large bowl or on individual plates. Either way, the spinach leaves go in first.

Lay spinach leaves on plate or bowl.

Place strawberries evenly over the spinach leaves.

Sprinkle sliced almonds and Feta cheese over the stop.

Homemade Poppyseed Dressing The Greenbacks Gal

Place all dressing ingredients in a jar, cover tightly with a lid and shake jar vigorously, until dressing is well blended and has a somewhat creamy consistency. The dressing can also be made in a blender, just add all the ingredients and blend.

Drizzle dressing over salad.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad Whole Food Side Dish

Optional addition:

Try toasting the nuts briefly in a skillet before making the salad (give them time to cool off). It will add a nice extra crunch and a stronger nutty flavor. 

Have you ever tried strawberries and spinach together?

Stacy is a preacher’s wife and homeschool mom. She loves creating her own natural skin care and herbal remedies and is pretty much obsessed with all things DIY. Stacy is intent on creating a happy, healthy home and strives to encourage other moms through her blog, A Delightful Home.

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Cherry Berry Rhubarb Salsa Canning Recipe

Berry Cherry Rhubarb Salsa

How do you feel about tart?

This Cherry Berry Rhubarb Salsa is just the right mix of tart and sweet. It takes full advantage of all the lovely sweetness that is plentiful this time of year.

If you are new to canning, this recipe is simple. All it really requires is some chopping and a very short boiling time before you start to can.

Cherry Berry Rhubarb Salsa Canning Recipe

This recipe makes 6 half-pint jars. Save a few to give as gifts at Christmas time!

Cherry Berry Rhubarb Salsa

Ingredients

  • 6 cups diced rhubarb
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cherries
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cups diced strawberries

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, combine rhubarb, sugar, cherries, vinegar and ginger. Heat to boiling.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and add strawberries.
  4. Ladle into 6 sterilized half-pint sized jars. Leave 1/2 inch headspace
  5. Process filled jars in a water canning bath for 15 minutes. Adjust processing time for high altitude.
  6. Remove from boiling water and allow to cool on a wire rack.
http://thegreenbacksgal.com/cherry-berry-rhubarb-salsa-canning-recipe/

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