Easy Stuffed Spaghetti Squash: Lasagna-Style!

This easy stuffed spaghetti squash recipe has all your favorite lasagna ingredients stuffed into handy (and healthy!) spaghetti squash boats. It’s an easy weeknight meal the entire family will love!

An overhead shot of two plates of stuffed spaghetti squash with herbs and a hunk of Parmesan.

I love finding ways to add an extra-healthy touch to a typically indulgent dish. While I’m certainly not against a hearty slab of lasagna every once in a while, putting all of the dish’s typical ingredients into a vessel that also just so happens to be a delicious vegetable ups the nutrition-factor AND presents the dish to the kiddo in a new and unusual way. You may recognize this tactic from my ever-so-popular Papaya Breakfast Boats recipe. Kids get such a kick out of eating out of something other than a plate or bowl.

So, here’s the scoop on this Easy Stuffed Spaghetti Squash: Lasagna-Style!

What You Need to Make Lasagna-Style Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

You don’t need much to make this delicious family meal, mostly all of the typical ingredients you’d use to make a classic lasagna, with spaghetti squash taking the place of the pasta.

You’ll need:
  • Garlic herb butter (Trader Joe’s has a great one!)
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Italian sausage
  • Marinara sauce
  • Ricotta
  • Mozzarella
  • Fresh oregano

And a few other basic things like salt, pepper, onion and garlic.

How to Make It

 Aside from a little bit of cooking time on the front end, this meal is very much “set-it-and-forget-it.” My favorite kind of meal!

A close up shot of lasagna-style stuffed spaghetti squash.

The first thing you’ll need to do is give your spaghetti squash a little head start on cooking. This will take the majority of the cooking time, about 30-45 minutes. You could also do this part in advance when you meal prep for the week!

If you don’t choose to prep your squash in advance, you can start on the filling while they’re cooking.  You’ll be preparing the “lasagna” part of this dish over the stove top, to make sure the meat gets fully cooked and all of the ingredients get nice and integrated.

Once your filling is ready and your squash boats have gotten their cook on, it’s time to stuff ‘em!

Sprinkle on the mozzarella and then it’s time to bake. The stuffed boats will only need to be in the oven for 10-15 minutes, with another 4 minutes or so of broiling to get your cheese nice and bubbly. Everything is already cooked through, we’re just putting on the finishing touches right now.

How to Serve Your Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

 Unless you have some hungry teenagers on your hands, you’re probably going to want to divide your stuffed squash halves in half once again after they’re cooked. Serve them with a little sprinkle of fresh oregano and some fresh bread to scoop up any extra filling, and you have yourself a delicious, well-balanced dinner on your hands!

A giant forkful of a stuffed spaghetti squash.

Other Easy Weeknight Meals Like This One

 You asked, so I’m answering. Many of you have mentioned to me that you need more ideas for weeknight dinners (hence this tasty recipe) so I also want to point you in the right direction of some other great weeknight meals I have here on the site. Here are some of my other favorite weeknight meals, especially for this time of year:

What are your favorite weeknight meals for fall? Let me know in the comments below!

Easy Stuffed Spaghetti Squash: Lasagna-Style!
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 10 mins
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
 

This easy stuffed spaghetti squash recipe has all your
favorite lasagna ingredients stuffed into handy (and healthy!) spaghetti squash
boats. It’s an easy weeknight meal the entire family will love!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: dinner, gluten-free, Italian, lasagna, squash, weeknight
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 552 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved with some of the insides scooped out to form a well Reserve any of the extra insides to stir into the filling.
  • 2 tablespoons garlic herb butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 of a large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 cup marinara sauce See notes for recipe, or use a jarred version.
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 ounces shredded mozzarella
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place spaghetti
    squash halves on a rimmed baking sheet facing up. Brush the garlic herb butter
    evenly over each of the spaghetti squash halves. Roast in the preheated oven
    for 30-45 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender.

  2. While the squash is cooking, prepare the filling. Place a deep skillet on the stove over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is heated, add the onions and sauté for a few minutes, until fragrant and translucent, then add the garlic and stir to combine. Let cook for a minute or two and then add the Italian sausage and cook until browned.

  3. Add in the marinara, ricotta and oregano and stir to combine. Let the mixture heat up and come to a gentle bubble, then turn off the heat.

  4. When your squash is fork-tender and you’ve pulled it out of the oven, lower the oven heat to 350 degrees. Then, carefully scoop the filling into each of the halves and sprinkle with mozzarella.

  5. Return the squash to the 350-degree oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, then turn on the broiler and cook for another 4 or so minutes, until the cheese on top is browned and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before cutting the halves in half and serving.

Recipe Notes

You can find a great recipe for homemade marinara here!

Easy Weeknight Beef and Veggie Stir-Fry

An easy weeknight beef and veggie stir-fry recipe that’s ready in just 30 minutes. Serve over brown rice for a well-balanced meal that the entire family will love!

A close-up of a big pan full of Easy Weeknight Beef and Veggie Stir-Fry.

When it comes to types of recipes you guys like to see here on the blog, some of the most requested are easy, weeknight meals. It’s something I’ve been working on bringing you more of, especially now that I’m in that season of life where they are oh-so-important. After all, there’s nothing like having your hands full with raising a tiny human to really put you in your place when it comes to what types of recipes you have time to make anymore.

So when my brother (who happens to have his hands full with three tiny humans of his own) texted me asking for a good homemade stir-fry recipe, I knew it was time to get one in my arsenal – and share it with all of you!

Why Stir-Fry is a Great Weeknight, Family-Friendly Meal

If you think about it, stir-fry is a pretty ultimate weeknight meal, for a number of reasons:

  • It comes together quickly
  • It’s adaptable for many different diets
  • You can pretty much throw in whatever you have on hand
  • It’s very nutritionally balanced
  • With the exception of some rice to serve it over, it’s a one-dish meal

Does this convince you that you need to make this Beef and Veggie Stir-Fry ASAP?

Well, what if I told you that, once you have the base recipe for this stir-fry down, you’ll be able to make this dinner in tons of different ways and improvise it however you want it so that you’re never serving the exact same thing twice? Let’s talk about the basic building blocks of a good stir-fry…

A dish of Easy Weeknight Beef and Veggie Stir-Fry ready to enjoy.

Basic Building Blocks of a Good Stir-Fry

When it comes to making stir-fry, there are just a few building blocks you need to make it a hit with the fam.

PROTEIN

You’ll want to always include some sort of protein, whether that’s beef, chicken, shrimp, tofu, etc. This will give the meal it’s “stick-to-your-ribs” quality so that you’re not raiding the kitchen for a snack two hours after eating.

VEGGIES

The fun part about stir-fry is that you can really use any combination of veggies you want. I used carrots, zucchini, broccoli and snow peas for this recipe, but some other great ideas might be:

  • Bell peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Bok choy
  • Water chestnuts
  • Mini corn
A TASTY SAUCE

There are tons of different ways you can go with sauces for stir-fry, but the basic one I’ve included in this Beef and Veggie Stir-Fry will work with just about any protein and veggie combination you decide on.

What You Need to Whip Up a Stir-Fry In No Time

The other great thing about stir-fry for dinner – especially on a weeknight – is how very little equipment it involves. If you have a wok, use it! But if not, a big, deep saute pan will do just fine. Aside from an Instant Pot or rice cooker to make some rice to serve it with and a wooden spoon to stir, that’s all you need!

An overhead shot of two delicious plates of Easy Weeknight Beef and Veggie Stir-Fry.

So if all of these reasons don’t convince you, you can stop reading now, but if an Easy Weeknight Beef and Veggie Stir-Fry sounds right up your alley for dinner this week, read on for the recipe!

And in case you’re looking for some more weeknight dinner inspiration, check out these recipes:

Easy Weeknight Beef and Veggie Stir-Fry
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

An easy beef and veggie stir-fry recipe that’s ready in just 30 minutes. Serve over brown rice for a well-balanced meal that the entire family will love!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Asian, beef, dinner, entree, main course, stir-fry, weeknight
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 354 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the stir-fry:
  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 3/4 pound flank steak, cut into thin strips or cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 1/2 cups snow peas, cut in half or thirds
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
For the sauce:
  • 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chicken or beef broth
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili-garlic paste (optional)
For topping:
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in your wok or large pan on the stove over medium heat. Once oil is shimmering, add flank steak and sear on all sides. Remove from pan and set on a plate while you start the vegetables. 

  2. Return wok to heat on the stove and add 2 more tablespoons of sesame oil. Once oil is shimmering again, add garlic and vegetables and stir to combine. Let veggies cook over medium heat while you mix up the sauce.

  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all sauce ingredients. Add to the vegetable mix, then add the flank steak back to the pan. Continue to cook on medium heat until sauce has thickened slightly and vegetables are cooked.

  4. Serve over rice and top with green onions and sesame seeds.

Recipe Notes

DISH DENSITY: Medium

Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken

In this tasty recipe for my Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken, chicken breasts are topped with a creamy, vegetable-filled peanut sauce to make a healthy, protein-packed comfort food meal for any night of the week.

Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com

Looks can be deceiving…I know, I know, this photo doesn’t necessarily jump out at you as the PRETTIEST dish around, but boy oh boy does it make up for its looks in flavor. There’s a reason Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken has been a favorite family recipe of ours for longer than I can remember!

Let me just paint a little picture of the cooking situation in my family for you: My dad is the one who never relies on a recipe, simply using them for “inspiration” and successfully pulling dishes together relying on his taste memory and previous cooking knowledge. When I was younger, whenever there was a dish at a restaurant that we absolutely loved, my dad would be able to taste it and recreate it back at home without even asking the waiter or chef what all was in the recipe.

My mom, on the other hand, is more of a by-the-book gal. This may be partly due to the fact that she’s the primary baker in the family, and we all know that bakers must adhere to much stricter measurements and instructions to come out with the perfect treat. Mom’s always skimming magazines and cookbooks and dog-earing different recipes she wants to try. Some of these recipes end up being massive fails, but others take us by surprise and end up appearing in regular rotation on the dinner table.

I can’t remember exactly where my mom found this recipe, but it’s since become her own, hence why I’m dubbing it Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken. It’s an incredibly homey meal, the ultimate comfort food, which is why I feel the need to share it now before our weather gets too warm for us to want to make anything that requires time both on the stove AND in the oven!

Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I am a HUGE peanut butta lova.  Yep yep! I’m pretty much addicted to it it and have been for as long as I can remember, which is why there should be no question as to why I love this hearty, tummy-warming dinner so much.  Seriously, take any dish and add peanut butter to it and you’ve pretty much sold me.

I also love that Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken is loaded with spinach and tomatoes, yet all of those veggies are covered up in the most delicious peanut butter flavor. Served over a bed of brown rice, this is a healthy, protein-packed meal that I’m pretty sure even the pickiest of eaters will love (yes, if they can get past the looks 😉

Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com

This dish is also incredibly easy to make, and even the most novice of chefs will have no problem whipping it up on any night of the week. The key to bringing it all together is a trusty Dutch oven, and if you’re looking for an affordable option, I highly recommend my go-to Lodge 6-quart cast-iron one, which you can grab on Amazon for less than $60. Seriously, you’ll never regret this purchase.

The Dutch oven and your stove/oven are ALL you’ll need to bring Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken recipe together in just about an hour and a half. We start with a quick sear of the chicken, and then throw all of the veggies and sauce ingredients into the same Dutch oven before literally setting it and forgetting it. That’s right, after you get all of the ingredients combined, you just pop this big pot of deliciousness in the oven and let it cook away for about an hour.

Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com

I do want to note that this recipe makes a HUGE amount of food. It’s great if you’re serving a large group (growing up, we were a family of five) or if you want to have days and days of leftovers 😛

While Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken is cooking, steam up some brown rice because you’re definitely want some extra carbs to soak up all of that delicious peanut butter-y sauce. Now how’s that for a complete meal?

Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

5 from 1 vote
Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com
Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins
 

Chicken is topped with a creamy, vegetable-filled peanut sauce to make a healthy, protein-packed comfort food meal for any night of the week.

Course: Main Course
Servings: 6 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 one-pound can Italian tomatoes, drained with liquid reserved
  • Reserved tomato liquid, chicken broth or tomato juice
  • 1 pound frozen spinach
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt plus additional for seasoning chicken
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper plus additional for seasoning chicken
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin (optional)
  • 1/2 cup ground peanuts, for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Heat butter and olive oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add them, in batches, to the pan, browning on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside to add back in later. 

  3. Add the onion to the warm pan and cook until translucent. Add tomatoes and spinach, stirring to combine. Add the chicken back to the pan.

  4. Place reserved tomato liquid in a measuring cup and add chicken broth or tomato juice until combination measures 1 ½ cups. Add liquids to a medium mixing bowl with peanut butter and whisk until mixture is smooth. Add ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and cumin (if using) and whisk to combine. Pour sauce over chicken mixture in Dutch oven.

  5. Place Dutch oven in 350 degree oven and cook for one hour, or until chicken is tender. When serving, garnish with ground peanuts.

Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com