Welcome to Direct Your Dining! This cooking series will introduce you to energy efficient recipes full of tips to keep your meals delicious without using every appliance in the kitchen. Preparing recipes with energy efficiency in mind at least once a week will make cooking a little easier, and may even help reduce your monthly electricity bill. Check in every week for a new recipe full of flavor and creativity that will surely impress your friends and family.
This week’s low energy use recipe is a throwback to our old Meatless Monday series – slow cooker spaghetti squash! This dish is easy to make, has a short cooking time (for a slow cooker), and is loaded with so much flavor that you won’t miss the meat.
The key to making spaghetti squash in the slow cooker is buying one that actually fits in your appliance. Thus, I opt for a medium-sized one so it doesn’t sit crooked in the slow cooker, making the butter sauce slide off.
The basic slow cooker spaghetti squash formula is pretty simple: cut the squash in half long ways, add any kind of homemade butter sauce, place an inch of water at the bottom of the slow cooker, and then set it on high for 2-½ hours. With this versatile technique, feel free to get creative with your preferred flavors and seasonings!
If you want to save even more energy, just don’t broil the squash in the oven with the cheese, and keep it in the slow cooker. The cheese might not brown on top to create that classic golden brown appearance, but the taste will be identical.
Some grocery stores now sell the ready-to-use roasted garlic mentioned in today’s ingredients list in the produce section. If you don’t have this available, just swap it for fresh minced garlic and the recipe will still taste great!
The flavors in this dish are so delicious pretty much anything would taste great – so go ahead and add that extra protein on top! If you do want to have meat in this dish, just add a layer of ground beef between the squash and the cheese, chopped chicken, shrimp, or pork will also work.
Get ready to enjoy a buttery, garlicky, delicious slow cooker meal!
Three Cheese Garlic and Herb Slow Cooker Spaghetti Squash
- 1 Spaghetti squash
- 3 tbsp. Butter
- 1 tsp. Roasted garlic (from jar)
- ½ Lemon’s juice
- ½ tbsp. Parsley flakes or chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ tsp. Sea salt
- ¼ tsp. Black pepper
- ¼ tsp. Onion powder
- ¼ tsp. Oregano
- 1 c. Whole milk ricotta cheese
- 2 tbsp. Cream
- 6 Large basil leaves, sliced
- ¼ tsp. Garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp. Sea salt
- 1/8 tsp. Red chili flakes
- 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
- ½ c. Grated Gruyere cheese
1) Measure out the roasted garlic, lemon juice, and butter and add to a bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds.
2) Add the parsley, ¼ tsp. of the sea salt, the black pepper, onion powder, and oregano to the butter and mix.
3) Cut the squash in half long ways and scoop out the middle seeds.
4) Place in slow cooker along with about 1 inch of water in the bottom of the slow cooker.
5) Pour the garlic/lemon butter sauce over the squash and cook on high for 2-½ hours.
6) Remove squash from slow cooker and pull the squash away from the outer edges using a fork to mix in the butter mixture with it. Mash it down in the shell to make room for the cheese topping.
7) Mix the ricotta cheese, cream, Parmesan cheese, basil, garlic powder, 1/8 tsp. sea salt, and the red chili flakes together. Spoon on top of the squash and mash it all down.
8) Top the squash with the grated Gruyere cheese.
9) Broil for 5-7 minutes to melt the cheese until it becomes golden-brown and bubbling.
9) Serve with a small garnish of parsley or basil.
Check back in every week for more Direct Your Dining recipes to help reduce your energy use in the kitchen while getting creative with delicious dishes!
Recipe and Images by Stacie Morgan