If you love squash and chili, you’re going to love this recipe from the Half Baked Harvest blog. Tieghan Gerard has done it again!
Cincinnati Chili Stuffed Spaghetti Squash is best served on a beautiful fall or winter day, whether it’s cool, downright cold, rainy, or snowy, Tieghan’s dish is only one of her phenomenal comfort food offerings. Sweet and stringy spaghetti squash topped with a mild chili flavored with cinnamon and allspice is a yummy pairing of flavors. Tieghan has several recipes where she uses cooked spaghetti squash as the vessel for a wide variety of cheesy and meaty toppings. Like this one for Spanakopita Stuffed Spaghetti Squash. You must check out her blog.
I started cooking spaghetti squash several years ago. I like that it’s not pasta. It has a slightly sweet flavor with a stringy bite. Most times I baked it, scraped the beautiful flesh into a serving bowl, tossed with butter, salt, pepper, and a little Parmesan cheese, and served it as a side dish. But I like the idea of serving the squash strands in their skins, little boats, topped with great stuff. I’m serving this more and more as I’m looking for lower-calorie meals. Yeah, there’s meat and cheese and stuff, but count the squash as a low-calorie alternative to pasta, and you won’t feel guilty at all about the calorie-filled toppings. And think about carbs – there are practically no carbs! Spaghetti squash is gluten-free! Hail, hail to the lovely spaghetti squash!
Spaghetti squash is the perfect side or main for children and grandchildren. (Heck, I think it’s fun!) Wouldn’t you love to watch them drag their forks across the flesh and watch the magic happen? It’s fun! Besides, spaghetti squash is filled with vitamin C, vitamin B6, niacin, potassium, manganese, and even some calcium. There are only 42 calories per cup. Seriously, spaghetti squash is a nutritional no-brainer!
Spaghetti squash is also very easy to grow. I planted a couple of plants in my Billings garden one year and had wheelbarrows full to share with neighbors. If you have garden space and enthusiastic friends, be sure to include a plant in the spring.
Are you curious? Are you hopeful? Are you HUNGRY??
Make Cincinnati Chili – OH, Yes!
Put together ingredients for Cincinnati chili. Skyline Chili in Cincinnati is a food icon and this chili recipe pays homage to that recipe, perfectly done. Yes, it should simmer for 3 hours, stovetop or CrockPot. I made the full chili recipe, served half, and froze the other half for Coney dogs or traditionally served over spaghetti with lots of cheese on top. I’ve visited Skyline Chili in Cincinnati. Eaten their Coney’s – two of the cutest little hot dogs in buns topped with lots of chili, chopped onion, and tons of finely shredded cheddar cheese. I’ve ordered their chili over spaghetti topped with lots of cheddar cheese. This stuff is addicting. Tieghan’s mother’s recipe is spot on!
Make the chili with ground turkey or ground chicken instead of ground beef. Add a can of drained and rinsed pinto beans or light kidney beans in place of or along with the ground meat, if that’s the way you roll.
When I pick spaghetti squash, I go big or go home. I made this recipe with one large squash. Richard & I ate half for dinner and had leftovers the next night. It’s the perfect dish served for 2 people with enthusiastic appetites.
Bake Your Spaghetti Squash
Cut the squash in half and remove seeds. Place the halves on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the inside lightly with olive and sprinkle salt and pepper. Turn the halves over and repeat. Bake skin side up in a 350°F oven for 45-50 minutes. Remove and allow to slightly cool.
OK – I hear you. “Mimi, 3 hours for chili and 1 hour to bake the squash? Are you nuts?” Yes, I am but it’s so worth it!
Return to oven/broiler to melt the cheese. I chose the broiler.
I need to pay more attention to showing my dishes at serving. I’m just so excited about eating that I don’t pay too much attention to photography once dinner is ready and I’m hungry! HA! You can serve with sour cream, extra cheese, mashed avocado, salsa.
- 2 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, dark or regular
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1½ teaspoon allspice
- 1½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder, not garlic salt
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1-28oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2-8oz cans tomato paste
- 1½ teaspoons vinegar (I used cider vinegar)
- 1 Tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 small or 4 large spaghetti squash
- Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- 2-3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Set a large heavy bottom soup pot over medium heat. Add olive oil then onion and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the ground meat to the pot, breaking it up with a spatula as it browns.
- Add the next nine ingredients. Stir and briefly cook until the spices become fragrant.
- Add chicken broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, Worchestershire sauce and bay leaves.
- Stir and simmer over low heat or in a CrockPot for at least 3 hours.
- About an hour before you're ready to eat, heat the oven to 350F.
- Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, and set the ovals flesh side up on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Brush the inside with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Turn the halves over, skin side up, and repeat.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes. If your squash is small, 30-40 minutes.
- When done, flip the squash over into a shallow bowl and begin to scrap the insides with a fork to reveal the lovely squash strands.
- Ladle chili over the squash inside the cavity. Liberally sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese.
- Place under the broiler for 5-7 minutes until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.
Feel free to serve with your favorite chili toppings - sour cream, mashed avocado, extra cheese, crackers, hot sauce.
You can use cans of drained and rinsed pinto or light red kidney beans in addition to or to replace part or all the ground meat.