Oh friends. The struggle gets real every Friday/Saturday night, when we want to get out and enjoy the gorgeous weather, or the fun downtown area by our house, have a few beers, enjoy some good food, and have conversation that doesn’t involve someone’s preference for Peppa Pig over Dora, or whether or not a certain song by the Wiggles is appropriate since it talks about boogers (it does NOT talk about boogers, apparently it only SOUNDS like they’re saying boogers. Common misconception apparently.).
But alas. I cannot bring myself to pay $100 in babysitting before we even leave the house, and then spend whatever else on food etc. that I may actually wind up being too tired to consume or a movie I’m too tired to watch. So…we do date nights in. And I am exceptionally pleased with tonight’s plans! Like basically everything else in my Type A lifestyle, I have a little formula for these activities, lest I go crazy and spend more time googling what to do for tonight than actually enjoying the night (seriously, the google date night is a thing. A very very unfortunate thing.). So here’s how I make my plans:
- Food: do I wanna do a theme? (For tonight, yes. It was italian bistro. Totally classy, yet acceptable to wear a topknot and t-shirt)
- Activity: tonight’s was a movie, but we’ve been known to watch stupid YouTube clips for hours or reruns of some favorite shows on Netflix. We’ve also had late night drinks or snacks on our back porch by the firebowl.
- Snacks for activity: tonight it’s Junior Mints for the fella (an admitted weakness of his, which honestly borders on the ridiculous) and Blue Moons and dark chocolate granola for me. In the fall I like to do smores or hot chocolate outside, but I’m not ready to commit to having hot food outside while it’s hot. That would be insane.
- Plans for kids: sometimes I let them do a dance party downstairs, but tonight it’s a movie and popcorn with water bottles
Having said all that, check out what we had for dinner. It was super delish, easy and vegetarian, and had all the feel of a swanky dinner out. Here’s my Bistro Spaghetti Squash, which I served with a simple salad and garlic bread made from my pizza crust leftovers!
- 1 large spaghetti squash, roasted for 1 hour at 350
- 1 15 oz. can organic tomato sauce
- 1 cup of butternut squash puree (I bought these pre-made in pouches at Target, in their canned food section)
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 T shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 T italian seasoning (change up these herbs to suit your tastes)
- While your squash is roasting, warm your EVOO in the pan with garlic, sautéing until garlic is slightly browned. Reduce heat.
- Add tomato sauce, Butternut squash purée, parmesan, and herbs (you can add red pepper to make it diablo, or herbs de provence to make it more earthy). Stir and bring to slow boil over medium heat.
- Add white wine and reduce heat to simmer. Taste and add more seasonings until you’re satisfied 🙂
- After squash is complete, shred flesh into noodles, and add to sauce, tossing to coat.
- Serve in a bowl with a side salad and crusty bread. Bon apetit!
The butternut squash puree ramps up the nutritional content, and also thickens the sauce without making it overpowering with tomato-yness. The only downside is that the squash noodles are transparent before going into the sauce, and totally absorb the sauce color, so you’re left with what looks like the Devil’s pasta. Just trust me in that it is actually phenomenal and a very good way to enjoy spaghetti squash if your peeps are a little skeptical. We paired this with a nice glass of wine and excused the children to the basement for their evening with the Backyardigans. Now it’s time for our movie and a little break from clean-eating- bring on the Junior Mints! Happy date night 🙂