My Idiot’s Guide to Mexican Spaghetti Squash with Chili Spiced Shrimp and Sauteed Avocado

Let me preface this: I’m not a trained chef. Well, if you count my mother as a trainer, then yes, I’ve been training all my life. I am just a girl on a budget who loves to eat everything and anything (except for red meat and poultry). My biggest hobby, aside from travel, is cooking and dining, if you didn’t know that by now.

For Cassie, who’s requested I post the recipe for my aforementioned spaghetti squash creation….

Sometimes I just crave things that really don’t make much sense together, so I try to make sense of them in a recipe and try to make it as healthy as I can. Last night, I wanted spaghetti squash and avocado. I knew I had to make something more filling, because I was having a boy come over (well, he’d like me to call him a man), and I wanted to make a flavorful, filling dish. And that I did.

I put time stamps in this recipe, because I always struggle with preparation times. So this idiot-proofs it for all of you who have the same issues with cooking….. you’ll never overcook anything if you timestamp, and everything will be ready on time before your guest arrives.

Having said that, just gather the ingredient list as is (below) and there is no prep time beforehand – all the prep is in the recipe below, with time stamps. So you won’t get to a point where you say “Oh no, I have to mince the garlic!” Just literally throw all the ingredients on a table and start with the first step.

Serving size: about 3-4, but if you’re a glutton like me and my ‘date,’ TWO servings

6:50pm

Preheat oven to  400/425   degrees

7:00pm Cut the spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds and place (cut   side down) on a shallow baking dish with a bit of water in the bottom (less   than quarter of an inch)
7:20pm Take two ears of corn and rub them with olive oil. Put them in a   shallow baking dish and sprinkle all over with salt, pepper, and chili powder   (or Cajun seasoning or Old Bay, if you have either).
7:25pm Put the corn in the oven on the rack next to the spaghetti squash.
7:25pm Take 1 red bell pepper and chop it up (as you would, say for an   omelette) along with three-quarters of 1 red onion (or 1 full onion). Put in   a bowl and save.
7:30pm Take 1 avocado (or two, if you really like avocado) and slice it into   squares and spoon out into a small bowl. Save.
7:32pm Open 1 can of black beans and pour into a strainer. Rinse with cold   water. Pat dry and place aside.
7:35pm Open the oven and quickly turn the two ears of corn over to make sure   they make on the other side. Close oven quickly.
7:35pm Take your shrimp and peel it. Put it in a bowl and smother with oil   and the following spices: cumin, Mexican oregano, salt, pepper, and chili   powder. Set aside.
7:40pm Mince four gloves of garlic. Set aside.
7:45pm Take out the spaghetti squash and corn. Turn over the spaghetti   squash so the cut side is facing up towards the ceiling. You’re going to let   it cool for about 15 minutes.
7:45pm Pour some olive oil in the middle of a skillet/sautee pan under medium   heat.  Once the oil has heated up a bit   (about 1 minute), put in half of your minced garlic. Add in salt and pepper.
7:47pm Once the garlic starts to smell fragrant, add in the peppers and   onions. Mix in with the oil/garlic and then add Mexican oregano, cumin, chili   pepper, and a bit more salt and pepper if you’d like. Also, feel free to add   in a little more olive oil. Not much.
7:50pm Take your roasted corn and stand up on one end while taking a knife   and shaving off the kernels into a bowl/plate. Do this to both pieces. Then,   mix in with about three-quarters of the rinsed black beans. Place aside.
7:55pm Put a burner on medium/high heat and place on a small skillet/sautee   pan with olive oil PAM spray. Then, add the chopped up avocado. Season with   salt and pepper (add a little chili powder if you like the spice).
7:56pm Time for the shrimp. Add a skillet/sautee pan to another burner and   pour in olive oil – put on medium/high heat. Once olive oil has heated (about   1 minute), add in rest of minced garlic and a bit of salt and pepper.
7:57pm Stir the avocado a little, flipping it over. If it’s starting to look   like it’s melting, lower it to a simmer. If not, lower it to low/medium.
7:58pm Now that the garlic is fragrant, add in the shrimp. Don’t overcrowd   the shrimp, make sure it all has one side flat down on the pan.
7:59pm Take your spaghetti squash and simply fork out the squash (it will   come out like spaghetti!). Put it all in one giant bowl. Set the skins of the   squash aside.
8:01pm Flip every shrimp over on its other side. Turn heat off under the   avocado.
8:01pm Pour the black bean/corn mixture in with the onion/pepper mixture. Add   in pinch more of cumin. Mix together with spatula.
8:02pm Pour the black bean/corn/onion/pepper mixture in the bowl with the   spaghetti squash. Mix well. Then, distribute equally in the two squash skins.
8:03pm Check your shrimp – make sure it’s cooked well (not totally white, a   bit translucent). If it’s ready, set it aside.  Should have about 1 minute left – you can   set it to simmer if you’re worried it’ll overcook.
8:03pm Sprinkle the top of the stuffed squash with your Mexican cheese. Use   as much as you see fit. Also, put the heat under the avocado onto simmer/low   to heat it back up.
8:04pm Set the oven to broil and put the squash back in the baking pan and   in the oven.
8:04pm Get your two plates ready. Check your shrimp – it should be done, it’s   been cooking for about 5-6 minutes. Take off heat.
8:06pm Check squash – it should really only take 2 minutes to melt the cheese   on top, depending on how much you put on. If it’s ready, take it out.
8:06pm Once you take the squash out, top immediately with avocado, shrimp, and a handful of pepitas (for the crunch!).   Serve deliciously!

Utensils needed

–          1 small sautee pan
–          1 medium sautee pan
–          1 large sautee pan
–          1 small spoon
–          1 large butcher knife (to cut spaghetti squash)
–          1 small knife (to cut avocado with)
–          2 forks (to eat)
–          2 shallow baking dishes
–          1 spatula
–          1 strainer
–          1 medium sized mixing bowl
–          1 large sized mixing bowl
–          Optional: a few small bowls to hold ingredients (or you can just set aside)
–          Two plates

Ingredients

–          Olive oil
–          Salt (from a sea salt grinder)
–          Pepper (from a peppercorn grinder)
–          4 cloves of garlic
–          1 red onion
–          1 red bell pepper
–          Cumin, Mexican Oregano, Chili powder
–          1 medium-large sized spaghetti squash
–          Two already-shucked and ready to go ears of corn
–          1-2 avocados
–           10 pieces of fresh raw/shelled but deveined shrimp (or more, depending on how much you want- you can also do frozen shrimp, just make sure to defrost it by running warm water over it in a strainer)
–          1 bag of shredded Mexican cheese
–           1 container of roasted pepitas

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