Chilly Days Chili w/Spaghetti Squash

We didn’t get any snow this week in Charlottesville, but the threat was enough to create mental need for winter comfort food.  Enter: Meat-ful veggie chili.

I had 3lbs of grass-fed ground beef that had been Whole Food’s ‘deal of the day’ for 4.95/lb (!!!).  It went into the pot to simmer with onion and coconut oil.

As the meat browned, I chopped up the zucchini & yellow squash and added it in to simmer with the meat.

zucchini & yellow squash
a little added color & a lot of hungry excitement
fuel sweat grow - food blog
beans x 2 + crushed (or whole & chopped) tomatoes

Once everything was in the pot the heat went down to low and it simmered with a lid on for another 20 minutes to let the beans cook down and everything blend together.  I added salt, chili powder & my favorite Trader Joe’s everyday seasoning to the mix, and stirred occasionally.

yes. please.
yes. please.

Historically I have not been a chili + pasta combo person, but I’ve met some people in my travels who have liked the combo, so in the spirit of giving options, and also taking a short break from all things brown rice pasta, I decided to experiment with spaghetti squash.

Step 1:  Preheat the oven at 375.

Step 2: I made little knife pokes into its out most layer so the heat could release through, and  popped it in the oven before I started the chili.

Step 3: Let it cook for 1 hour (rotate once if desired).  Use a kitchen knife to test -if it slices in with minimum resistance, it’s done.

[If you want the most official roasting recipe for spaghetti squash, Martha has you covered: here]

fuel sweat grow - food blog
sittin’ pretty. pretty hot.

Step 4: Once the squash has a few minutes to cool, slice it in half and use a big spoon to scoop out the seeds from the center.  It’s really pretty easy, but keep your kitchen knife on hand to make in case you want to cut the seeds out a little quicker.

Step 5: Scoop out the spaghetti squash into a bowl (I like to hold the exterior and scoop out the middle like I’m cleaning out an avocado half).

One awesome part about spaghetti squash is that it really does take the place of the pasta, and adds the texture of the carb that we’re so accustomed to.  The best part, in my opinion, is that it always yields a pretty substantial amount of the spaghetti strands, and can easily be saved and used in additional meals later in the week.  Which is exactly what happened, which was helpful since this Chili made plenty of extra servings that are now living happily in the freezer.

This is one of my favorite winter time meals – always adapting and using different ingredients, but it’s super simple to make, and if you’re a non-meat eater, either use a meat substitute, or add double the veggies (plus carrots & peppers?) to keep it exciting.

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