Cheesy Broccoli-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls

Cheesy Broccoli-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls are a modern makeover of twice-baked potatoes. Each roasted squash half gets stuffed with a mixture of shredded cheese, steamed broccoli florets, and basil pesto. Dinner done!

Easy. Family Pleasing. Vegetarian. Gluten Free.

Cheesy Broccoli-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls via #vegetarian

Spaghetti squash is my go-to winter squash because it cooks up quickly, and it’s super versatile. My boys love the mild flavor and I love its endless dinnertime possibilities. You can top it with just about any combo of ingredients:

Beans, sauteed bell pepper, and gooey cheese for Taco-Topped Spaghetti Squash Bowls

Meat-free crumbles, mushrooms, baby spinach, pasta sauce, and cheese for Spaghetti Squash with Meat-Free Bolognese Sauce

Never roasted a spaghetti squash before? Check out my how-to guide.

Cheesy Broccoli-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls via #vegetarian

We’ve always loved twice baked potatoes, but I’m impatient and prefer the 40 minutes it takes to roast spaghetti squash vs. the hour-plus for potatoes. And as far as I’m concerned, the squash is just as versatile as potatoes, and for some kids it might also be more fun. Think, spaghetti!

Cheesy Broccoli-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls via #vegetarian

A few words about cheese:

I recently posted a spinach mac & cheese recipe, and I got pushback from a reader on the use of low-fat cheese.

For years, I’ve used low-fat cheese in most of the recipes here on Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen. I am not a fan of fat-free cheese, because I don’t like the way it melts (or shall I say, the way it does not melt). But I’ve always had great luck with low fat in terms of the flavor and meltability.

Cheese provides calcium, protein, a complex mix of fats, and a flavor kids (and adults) adore. While I typically cook with low fat, lately, I’ve been turning more and more to full fat. Yes, the calories are higher, so when I use it, I use it in moderation. But I don’t worry about its impact on heart health like I used to. A growing body of intriguing new research shows that the calcium, some of the fats, and the good bacteria in cheese (cheese is a fermented food) may protect against heart disease by lowering blood pressure and raising our body’s good HDL cholesterol. I’m not talking about giant cheeseburgers here. Adding a small amount of luscious cheese to a diet rich in fruits, veggies (like spaghetti squash!), whole grains, nuts, and seeds is the goal. Think, healthy eating pattern.

Cheesy Broccoli-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls via #vegetarian

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cheesy Broccoli-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls
I'm just a little bit obsessed with spaghetti squash. No, make that a lot obsessed. Spaghetti squash is easy to prepare and it's nutritious, providing fiber and potassium. Once it's roasted and shredded into strands, you can top it with just about anything. For this recipe, I chose cute little steamed broccoli florets, which boosted the vitamin C, gooey cheese for bone-building calcium, and super-flavorful basil pesto.
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4
  • Two 1½ to 1¾ pound spaghetti squash
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 cup + 4 tablespoons shredded part-skim or whole mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup prepared basil pesto
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Carefully trim off the squash stems. Cut squash in half lengthwise, and use a spoon to remove the seeds. (To soften the squash first, poke a few holes into the squash, place on a microwave-safe plate, and heat in the microwave about 3 minutes.) Brush the insides of the hollowed out squash with the olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.
  3. Place, hollowed side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake until tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
  4. While the squash is in the oven, steam the broccoli until tender, about 4 minutes.
  5. Remove the cooked squash from oven and allow to cool about 10 minutes. Shred the cooked squash into spaghetti-like strands. Scoop the strands into a large bowl. Add the broccoli, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and basil pesto. Stir well to combine, and season with kosher salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Scoop the mixture back into the empty squash bowls, and sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup mozzarella cheese evenly over the tops.
  7. Place back into the oven until the mixture is heated through, about 10 minutes.
Each serving provides 45% calcium and over a day's worth of vitamin C.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: (1/2 squash), Calories: 225, Fat: 11g, Saturated fat: 2g, Carbohydrates: 15g, Sodium: 585mg, Fiber: 5g, Protein: 17g,

Ok spaghetti squash fans. Go ahead and share YOUR favorite ways to prepare it.


Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese: Macaroni & Cheese Gets a Healthy Makeover

Classic macaroni and cheese from a box gets an adventurous and healthy makeover with whole wheat elbow pasta, convenient frozen spinach, a low-fat cheese sauce, and marinated artichoke hearts.

Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese via #dinner #pasta #wholegrain #spinach #healthy

The secret is in the sauce. My low-fat cheese sauce starts with a roux made with extra virgin olive oil instead of butter, 1% low-fat milk and vegetable broth, and three cheeses including reduced-fat Cheddar.

Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese via #dinner #pasta #wholegrain #spinach #healthy

Leftovers can easily be frozen.

Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese via #dinner #pasta #wholegrain #spinach #healthy

Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese
I'm not going to lie: I've made mac & cheese from a box plenty of times for my family. But when I do, I buy whole wheat varieties, and I often add "mix-ins" like beans and salsa, peas and tuna, or leftover chicken and sauteed mushrooms. And sometimes I make mac & cheese from scratch, because it's easy and it gives me more control over the ingredients. For this mac & cheese dinner, I turn to whole wheat pasta, convenient frozen spinach, a low-fat sauce made with three flavorful cheeses, and marinated artichoke hearts, which elevates the flavor even more.
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 8 to 10
  • One 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 3 cups dried whole wheat elbow pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 bunch green onions, cut into thin rounds
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • One 6.5-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, shredded (1 generous cup)
  • 4 ounces Gouda cheese (use smoked Gouda if you can find it), shredded (1 generous cup)
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 tablespoons
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Drain the spinach in a colander. Press with the back of a large spoon to remove excess moisture. Set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta according to package directions until almost tender. Drain and set aside.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  5. Raise the heat to medium, add the remaining oil, flour, and pepper, and whisk constantly until smooth, 1 minute. Whisk the milk, broth, and mustard slowly into the flour mixture. Raise the heat and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer and stir gently until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the artichoke hearts, Cheddar cheese, Gouda, ⅓ cup Parmesan, and spinach until well combined. Add the cooked pasta and stir to combine. Spread the mixture evenly in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan or dish. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and bake until bubbly and the top turns golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Bonus nutrients: 36% calcium, 22% iron, 90% vitamin A, 15% vitamin C.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: (1 generous cup), Calories: 320, Fat: 23g, Saturated fat: 7g, Carbohydrates: 31g, Sodium: 490mg, Fiber: 5g, Protein: 16g,

What are your favorite mix-ins for mac & cheese?

Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese via #dinner #pasta #wholegrain #spinach #healthy

19 Healthy Slow Cooker Soup Recipes

January is National Soup Month. The fact that Soup Month takes place during the chilly month of January is no surprise, but you may be surprised by this healthy roundup of soup recipes made easily in the slow cooker. No fuss, no muss! From Barley Bean Soup and Smoky Chili with Sweet Potatoes to Chicken Ramen Noodle Soup, let the slow cooker do the work for you, especially when you’re outside shoveling snow 🙂

Healthy Slow Cooker Soups via #soup #slowcooker

I do most of my hibernating in winter, but when there’s snow on the ground, I strap on my snowshoes and walk through the network of trails and farms near my house. Sadly, here in Boston, it’s currently rainy, wet, and cold, but I’m still craving soup.

A few years ago, during one of our mega New England snow storms, I created the most warming new recipe for Barley and Bean Soup, and I wanted to share it with all of you again today along with a dozen-plus other slow cooker soup sensations. Most of the recipes that I gathered from my fellow food and nutrition bloggers are plant based—made with beans, whole grains, squash, and sweet potatoes—but there are some chicken recipes peppered throughout as well. Let me know which recipe whets your family’s appetite the most. Personally, I’m not sure where to begin.

Healthy Slow Cooker Soups via #soup #slowcooker

Smoky Chili with Sweet Potatoes from Sharon Palmer at The Plant-Powered Blog

Slow Cooker Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Quinoa Chili from Maria at Halsa Nutrition

Slow Cooker Black Eyed Pea and Pork Chili from Katie at Mom’s Kitchen Handbook

Healthy Slow Cooker Soups via #soup #slowcooker

Slow Cooker Potato Leek Soup from Kara at The Foodie Dietitian

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Vegetable Chili from Lauren at Bite of Health Nutrition

Tuscan Chicken and Sorghum Soup from Holley at Holley Grainger Nutrition

Healthy Slow Cooker Soups via #soup #slowcooker

Slow Cooker Barley Bean Soup from Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen

Hearty Crockpot Mung Bean Soup with Vegetables from Sarah at Family. Food. Fiesta.

Slow Cooker Sorghum and Black Bean Chili from Kathy and Tracee at Triad to Wellness

Healthy Slow Cooker Soups via #soup #slowcooker

Smoked Paprika Sweet Potato Chili from Elizabeth at Shaw’s Simple Swaps

Slow Cooker Potato Leek Soup from Jill at Just the Right Byte

Chicken Chili from Marissa at New Kid on the Guac

Healthy Slow Cooker Soups via #soup #slowcooker

Yellow Split Pea Daal from Dixya at Food, Pleasure, Health

Spicy Winter Coconut Lemongrass Squash Soup from Ginger at Champagne Nutrition

Quinoa and Bean Chili from Kitty at Gluten-Free Slow Cooking

Healthy Slow Cooker Soups via #soup #slowcooker

Slow Cooker Chicken Ramen Noodle Soup from Ann at My Menu Pal

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore from Dana at Dana White Nutrition

Healthy Slow Cooker Soups via #soup #slowcooker

Gluten-Free Minestrone from Kelli at Hungry Hobby

Slow Cooker BBQ Chili from Amanda at The Nutritionist Reviews

I’m curious about something: If you live in a warm climate, do you still crave soup in the winter when you’re running around in shorts and a T shirt? My inquiring mind wants to know…

Cabbage From My CSA + Our Intern’s Recipe for Thai “Bland” Soup

From coleslaw and kimchi to this Thai “Bland” Soup and salads, cabbage is a versatile vegetable that adds crunch, flavor, and good nutrition. Cabbage is a good source of fiber, folate, and vitamin C, and it contains antioxidants that promote good health.

Thai Bland Soup via

Guest Post:

Hi, I’m Ben, a senior in nutrition from Boston University. A few weeks ago, Janice gave me and my fellow B.U. intern, Brett, a challenge. She had two Napa cabbages in her refrigerator that she got from her Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), and she wanted us to create a recipe with them.

Read more

Recipe for 3-Seed Lentil Cakes: #RecipeRedux from Laurel’s Kitchen Cookbook

These vegetarian 3-Seed Lentil Cakes are packed with great nutrition, plus they are gluten free. Like mini meat loafs you can top them with a bit of tomato sauce and serve with a side salad, coleslaw, vegetable and/or rice!

We have been participating in The Recipe Redux healthy blogger challenge for several years now, and this month’s challenge was to “Grab your nearest cookbook and ReDux the recipe on page 201, 16, 216 – or any combination of the number ‘2016.’”

Read more

Kale Salad with Lemon Yogurt Dressing + $100 ALDI Gift Card Giveaway

This Kale Salad with Lemon Yogurt Dressing is now my number one, go-to recipe when I’m craving something healthy, flavorful, and budget friendly for dinner.

Kale salad with Greek yogurt dressing via #aldi #salad #budget

I fell in love with this salad during a recent trip to ALDI headquarters outside Chicago where I had an opportunity to tour one of their flagship grocery stores and learn about their lineup of good-for-you, low-cost offerings.

{My trip to ALDI was paid for. I was compensated for this blog post, but all opinions are my own.}

Kale salad with Greek yogurt dressing via #aldi #salad #budget

As part of the ALDI experience, Chef Brigitte Prather demonstrated how to make this kale salad. I appreciate the simplicity of the dressing—made with  Friendly Farms plain Nonfat Greek yogurt, lemon juice and zest, Carlini Extra Virgin Olive Oil, balsamic vinegar, and SimplyNature Organic Wildflower Honey—and the versatility of the salad itself.

And you can’t beat the price at just $1.83 per serving.

Kale salad with Greek yogurt dressing via #aldi #salad #budget

Kale salad with Greek yogurt dressing via #aldi #salad #budget

While the original ALDI recipe (which I’m sharing below!) calls for add-ins like Marcona almonds, avocado, and Southern Grove Dried Cranberries, when I recreated it for my family, I set out a bunch of other ALDI finds: Specially Selected Pitted Kalamata Olives ($2.99), Southern Grove Dried Apricots ($2.79), Specially Selected Smoked Salmon ($3.49), and Specially Selected Blueberry and Vanilla Hand Rolled Goat Cheese Log ($3.99).

Kale salad with Greek yogurt dressing via #aldi #salad #budget

Have you ever tried blueberry goat cheese? It’s creamy with a touch of sweetness and a great addition to this build-your-own dinner salad.

Do you have an ALDI supermarket in your area? ALDI is no frills, which is one way they keep their prices down. It’s easy to navigate, and you’ll be surprised by their line-up of good-for-you food options. Check out my post on 6 Reasons to Shop at ALDI for more information.

4.7 from 30 reviews
Kale Salad with Lemon Yogurt Dressing
This recipe is from ALDI. I kept the recipe as is, but my photos reflect a few changes. When I assembled the salad, my avocados weren't ripe, so sadly, you won't see any avocados in my pictures. I also subbed raw almonds for the Marcona and added a few additional toppings: smoked salmon, goat cheese, and olives.
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 8
  • ½ cup Friendly Farms Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons Carlini Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons SimplyNature Organic Wildflower Honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Iodized Table Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground Stonemill Essentials Peppercorn Grinder
  • 16 cups SimplyNature Organic Kale
  • ½ cup Southern Grove Dried Cranberries
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces, divided
  • ½ cup roughly chopped Marcona almonds, divided
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, honey, lemon zest, salt and pepper until smooth.
  2. Toss dressing with kale and thoroughly mix, massaging into leaves. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Toss in dried cranberries, half of the avocado and ¼ cup almonds. Mound into a large serving bowl and top with remaining avocado and ¼ cup almonds.

Aldi gift card giveaway via

Giveaway News!

Win a $100.00 gift card to ALDI (U.S. only please).

TO ENTER post a comment here and tell me why you shop at ALDI and/or about your favorite ALDI food products. Post a comment here to be eligible to win. I’ll pick one winner at random on December 16, 2016.

I will enter you into the giveaway additional times if you …

> Tweet about the giveaway with a link back to this post.

> Share the giveaway news with your Facebook fans and friends with a link back to the post.

> Follow us on Pinterest.

 Follow The Meal Makeover Moms on Facebook and Twitter (@MealMakeovrMoms)

Post additional comments every time you do something extra 🙂

Good luck!

Other fun ALDI posts to enjoy …

Facebook Live Recipe Demo: Potato Cauliflower Smash
by Teaspoon of Spice

Kale Salad with Lemon Yogurt Dressingby Nutritionist Reviews

Quinoa Salad with Spinach & Onions – Gluten Free, Vegan & Paleo FriendlyFacebook Live Recipe Demo: Wild Hunt Quinoa Salad by Shaw’s Simple Swaps

Tropical Superfood Smoothie (Plus Video)by Love & Zest

Kale Salad with Lemon Yogurt Dressing and ALDI Giveaway!by The Foodie Dietitian

My 4 Favorite Ways ALDI Keeps Prices So Lowby Healthy Aperture

Facebook Live Holiday Solutions: How to Set Up a Dessert Crostini Bar by Holley Grainger

Facebook Live Recipe Demo: No Bake Energy Bitesby Michelle Dudash

Pita Pizzas with Thai Chicken and Broccoli Slaw

Add a fun, flavorful and healthy twist to pizza night with our Pita Pizzas with Thai Chicken and Broccoli Slaw. Each “pie” is made with toasted whole wheat pita, a layer of cottage cheese and sautéed chicken, bell peppers, and green onions, and a topping made with broccoli slaw, fresh herbs, Thai peanut sauce, and chopped peanuts. The combination of ingredients will definitely tempt the adventurous eaters at your table.

Pita Pizzas with Thai Chicken and Broccoli Slaw via

We’ve made plenty of pizza pies over the years, and for the most part, we’ve used pasta sauce for the base. For this recipe, we use cottage cheese. It’s a surprise for sure but works wonders in this recipe for a few reasons: Cottage cheese provides a hefty helping of protein (25 grams per cup), and its mild, fresh flavor balances out the hint of spicy in the peanut sauce and the brightness of the herbs.

Pita Pizzas with Thai Chicken and Broccoli Slaw via

We also love the unexpected crunch from the broccoli slaw and the peanuts. If you want to kick up the flavor even more, use a chili lime flavored peanut 🙂

Pita Pizzas with Thai Chicken and Broccoli Slaw via


Pita Pizzas with Thai Chicken and Broccoli Slaw
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4
  • Four 7-inch whole wheat pita breads
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlics clove, minced
  • 1½ tablespoons Thai peanut sauce, divided
  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • ½ cup shredded low-fat Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup broccoli slaw mix
  • ¼ cup packed fresh basil
  • ⅛ teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the pita bread on a large baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip the pitas over, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, bell pepper, green onions, garlic, and 1 tablespoon of the Thai peanut sauce and cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is no longer pink and the peppers are tender, about 4 minutes.
  3. To make the pizzas, spread ¼ cup cottage cheese evenly over each of the pita rounds. Top evenly with the cooked chicken mixture and mozzarella cheese. Place back in the oven and cook until the cheese melts, 5 minutes.
  4. While the pizzas are in the oven, make the topping by placing the broccoli slaw, basil, lime zest, and the remaining ½ tablespoon Thai peanut sauce in a bowl; stir to combine.
  5. Remove the pizzas from the oven and cool slightly. Top evenly with the broccoli slaw mixture and the peanuts. Serve each pizza whole or slice into quarters.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: (1 pita), Calories: 360, Fat: 12g, Saturated fat: 3g, Carbohydrates: 35g, Sodium: 790mg, Fiber: 6g, Protein: 30g

Can’t wait to hear what you think of the recipe.

Healthy Teriyaki Tofu & Veggie Protein Bowl – {Recipe Redux October Challenge}

Plant-based protein bowls are a food trend that makes me very happy. They’re easy to make, nutritious, versatile, and filled with big flavors and lots of crunch. This Teriyaki Tofu and Veggie Protein Bowl is no exception.

Healthy Teriyaki Tofu and Veggie Protein Bowl via #vegetarian

{Picky Eater Advice}

If your family tends to shy away from vegetables, set up a build-your-own  bowl bar filled with an array of ingredients so everyone can decide what to take … or what not to take. Giving finicky eaters control over their individual food choices (especially when they’re all healthy choices) is often a big motivator for trying new foods.

Healthy Teriyaki Tofu and Veggie Protein Bowl via #vegetarian

The bowls I like to make include some sort of whole grain including brown rice, farro, quinoa, or whole wheat pasta, crunchy vegetables, fresh herbs, and one or two protein-rich foods — beans, tofu, grilled chicken, salmon, nuts, seeds, or eggs.

Read more

25 Fast and Healthy Family Dinners for Back to School – National Family Meals Month {Podcast #291}

September is National Family Meals Month, an initiative spearheaded by the Food Marketing Institute. It’s designed to encourage families to gather around the table more often and to educate everyone about the many health benefits of breaking bread together.

We’re both on board with #FamilyMealsMonth and hope you are too. To make family mealtime easier (especially now that kids everywhere are back in school) and more nutritious, we collected 25 fast and healthy recipes from our dietitian blogger friends to share with you. We organized the recipes into three categories: seafood, poultry, and vegetarian.

Fast and healthy family dinners via #FamilyMealsMonth

From cookbooks and blogs to food magazines and family archives, there are literally millions of recipes out there. Yet, when we ask our readers which meal of the day frustrates them the most, the majority say, DINNER.

For family dinner inspiration, tune in to this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast. Click the player button below to listen, and head on over to iTunes to subscribe.

If you are new to Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen and Cooking with the Moms radio, we’d like to WELCOME you, and we hope you’ll stop by again 🙂

Family Meals Month

Read more

Next Page »