Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Luscious Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole

Spaghetti Squash Luscious Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole

Or Trim Healthy Mama -ified 

Mormon Funeral Potatoes.

I grew up with a mother who cooked for our big family and in a church with a warm-hearted tradition of providing a family meal for funerals. Often this hash brown casserole known as Mormon Funeral Potatoes (or just Funeral Potatoes) was served alongside ham, green beans, and homemade rolls -- food to soothe grieving hearts. Families gathered at round tables in the cultural hall and reminisced of happier days when they were together. This dish holds warm memories for so many, that I had to try this version to keep it on our recipe list while trimming our waistlines in a most delicious way.  . Cracker Barrel makes a good one, too, but mine is more slimming, when paired with a low carbohydrate dinner. Try it, even if it is your first attempt at spaghetti squash.

Almost... Funeral Potatoes

2 medium spaghetti squashes or 1 really big one

1/4 butter or coconut oil
1 large sweet onion, shredded on a grater
1 teaspoon dried  thyme leaves
1 cup sour cream or 0% Greek Yogurt
1cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese for the dish
1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese for topping

First cut squash in half. Use a big knife, stab through the middle and wedge it down toward the outside. Then take out the knife and repeat on the other side working outwards. (It’s easier that way than trying to cut through the whole thing at once). 

Now remove the seeds. Place in a covered dish with a ¼ inch of water and microwave for 10 -12 m
inutes, per each medium squash. Repeat for the second one, and check at 12 minutes on the large one, to see if it's tender enough for the strands of the squash to separate with a fork.

Or if you prefer, put all your cut squashes on a baking sheet with sides, cut side up in a 350* oven and bake until tender, approximately 45 minutes for all of them. They will look a little bit dried out, and a fork should be able to easily shred the flesh into spaghetti strands, when it's done. You can cook these ahead in the day, and then assemble the squash dish later on, if that's more convenient. Just start with warm or room temperature squash strands.

In a medium sized skillet over medium heat, add the butter or coconut oil, onions, thyme and cook until the onions soften but don't yet take on any color. Salt and pepper to taste. Start with a 1/2 tsp. of real salt, as this has to flavor the whole dish, not just the onions. You can add some minced garlic if your family likes it, here too, some ham or turkey chunks, or leftover roast beef to make it a main dish casserole.

Add the sour cream and 1 cup of shredded cheese, and stir to warm and melt together. Taste for sufficient salt, and don't forget the black pepper. If you like spicy food, you can add a pinch of cayenne pepper. Reserve the last cup of cheese for the top.

Using a fork, scrape the insides of the squash and transfer to a mixing bowl.  Pour the warm sour cream & cheesey onion mixture over the fork-shredded squash strands. Gently fold the sauce in, without smashing up the squash. Transfer the mixture to a buttered 13x9 baking dish and top with remaining cheese. If you prefer you can also toss 1/2 cup of low carbohydrate bread crumbs with 2 T of melted butter and top the dish to make a more crunchy topping.
Place into a 375º for 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top. If it browns too quickly, cover with a tent of aluminum foil to allow it to heat more evenly all the way through.

This is a delicious dish, as S for satisfying fats, on the Trim Healthy Mama plan. If you use 2% cheese and 0% Greek Yogurt, it would be an E for energizing.

To find out more about the book, Trim, Healthy Mama, please see the authors' website at 

No comments: