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Hungry Girl Today: 1.27.12
GIRLS BITE OUT

There are many pasta swaps in the HG repertoire, and with good reason. Some days, we want chewy, tofu-based noodles; other times, we crave broccoli slaw cooked to perfection. And then there are the days when we need the slightly sweet flavor and tender veggie goodness of today's honoree. Spaghetti squash, we salute you!

What Is It?


Spaghetti Squash
PER SERVING (1 cup cooked strands): 42 calories, <0.5g fat, 28mg sodium, 10g carbs, 2g fiber, 4g sugars, 1g protein -- PointsPlus® value 0*

"The spaghetti squash is an oblong seed-bearing variety of winter squash... Its center contains many large seeds. Its flesh is bright yellow or orange. When raw, the flesh is solid and similar to other raw squash; when cooked, the flesh falls away from the fruit in ribbons or strands like spaghetti."

Thanks, Wikipedia, for the fact-filled (albeit dull) intro. However, this description doesn't come CLOSE to conveying why spaghetti squash rules. At first glance, you'd never suspect that this golden gourd could so easily be converted into a guilt-free swap for starchy noodles. But cut it open and cook 'til tender, and you'll uncover spaghetti-like strands that are easily scraped out with a fork.



Why Do We Love It?


Swapability - Once cooked, the noodle-like strands are an ideal alternative to actual spaghetti, which has about FIVE times as many calories. And for those of you who are skeptical of Tofu Shirataki (another of our favorite pasta swaps), cooked spaghetti squash can be used in those recipes too.

Low in Calories, Highly Nutritious - The fact that a cup of cooked strands has only around 40 calories (and a PointsPlus® value of 0*) is pretty sweet. Plus, it's a very good source of fiber and loaded with lots of key vitamins and antioxidants. Winter squash is almost always a good choice in this regard...

Super-Tasty - People LOVE this stuff. Ruby Tuesday even has a popular Spaghetti Squash Marinara dish among its Fit&Trim selections. Spaghetti squash has been a delicious secret weapon of calorie counters for years, and we think it's time to make everyone fall in love with it...

BFFs


The Microwave - Nuking the entire squash for a couple of minutes will slightly soften it, making it easier to cut. Then you can just halve it lengthwise, ditch the seeds, and steam or bake until soft!

Strainers - It's a good idea to strain your freshly scooped squash strands. Why? So that you don't run the risk of diluting your dish. Some squash contain more liquid than others, and a squash that's all wet can really mess up a meal.

Actual Spaghetti - If you're not down with straight-up replacing all your pasta with this squash, go halfsies. Mix a serving of cooked whole-wheat spaghetti with cooked squash strands, and BOOM. You've got a large and satisfying serving without going overboard on the starch -- we've got a recipe for this supersized dish below!

Low-Fat Marinara Sauce - Plenty of brands make red sauce with 3 grams of fat or less -- we're big fans of Dei Fratelli and Classico. Creamy tomato soup with 4 grams of fat or less per serving, like Amy's Chunky Tomato Bisque, is another incredible option for topping off spaghetti squash.


Two-Part Squashy Recipe Roundup


Part 1: Actual Spaghetti Squash Recipes!
Our best spaghetti squash recipes... so far.

Twice-Baked Spaghetti Squash - This dish is nothing like pasta but EVERYTHING like something delicious. Make it ASAP.

Spaghetti Supersized with Spaghetti Squash - Totally basic and totally necessary. Spaghetti lovers, this recipe is waiting...

Spaghetti Swap & Meatballs for Two - A homemade sauce, lightened-up meatballs, and a less-starchy noodle swap? How can you resist?

Part 2: Recipes for Things That Would Be Delicious Served Over Spaghetti Squash!
Try these saucy options over cooked squash!

Simply the Pesto - Our lightened-up pesto is GREAT. And it stands to reason that it would be GREAT on spaghetti squash too.

Dan Good Chili - Chili and spaghetti make a great couple, but spaghetti squash is the hot new thing in town!

Chicken Amore! - The sauce on this chicken dish is so good, we usually want to lick the plate. Better to have a heap of spaghetti squash underneath it!

All the Rage Bolognese - If you've got a copy of Hungry Girl 300 Under 300, spoon this chunky sauce onto a pile of squash and mangia!



For links please go to:
http://www.hungry-girl.com/biteout/show/2197
--
HG News You Can Use! It's your last chance to get in on our Box-O-Goodies BOGO Vita Pack special! You'll get TWICE as many decadent, all-natural treats -- including new 50-calorie mini VitaCakes. Click NOW to order! (Expires 1/27/12 at midnight ET.)

CHEW ON THIS:

It's almost the end of National Carrot Month. We've got just the soup with which to celebrate!


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*The PointsPlus® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark. For more info on the new PointsPlus® program, visit weightwatchers.com.

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