Thanks to Barb from Creative Culinary  and Jenn from Jenn Cuisine , food bloggers around the world today are uniting to support the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. We’re all posting comfort food recipes, dishes we’d make and deliver to those in need if we could.
Although coastal North Carolina residents didn’t experience the same level of devastation as our neighbors to the north, Hurricane Sandy (and it was a hurricane when it hit us) left its mark here. I live in the Outer Banks of NC on Hatteras Island. The gale force winds and pounding rain for three straight days dumped a foot of water in our yard and more than two feet covered our roads in some places.
Sandy also shredded our main access road and damaged our bridge, our only connection to the mainland. NC’s Department of Transportation estimates repairs will be completed by Thanksgiving. In the meantime, we’ll be using ferries. A round-trip “up the beach” which normally takes a couple of hours will now take at least five, if you’re lucky. I’ve heard horror stories of 200 cars in line at the docks, waiting for ferries that run every 90 minutes and can accommodate about 40 cars on each trip.
We were very fortunate that Sandy stayed off-shore here. We didn’t lose power or Internet during the entire storm in the village where I live, we had minimal property damage, we have food in our grocery stores and we have access to gas. We can handle a little transportation inconvenience. My heart goes out to those dealing with much more dire storm consequences.
- American Red Cross  – is providing food, shelter, and other forms of support to hurricane victims. You can donate directly to the Red Cross by clicking the image above or you can text the word “Redcross” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
- Salvation Army  – is also focused on providing food, shelter, and support to victims, and takes donations to storm relief. (I can’t say enough about the good work they did on Hatteras Island after Hurricane Irene last year.)
- Feeding America  – is providing food, water and supplies to those who need it as part of their disaster relief program.
So, if I could prepare some food for those in need, I’d make this creamy, spicy, comforting casserole. It’s a perfect side dish, but you’ll be tempted to grab a spoon and eat it directly from the pan. It’s that good.
- 1 spaghetti squash (about 3 pounds)
- 2 cups nonfat milk
- 2 large jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- Preheat oven on 375°F. Carefully cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds and strings. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put squash, flesh side down, on baking sheet. Bake until fork easily pierces flesh, about 50 minutes. Cool.
- In a medium saucepan, combine milk and jalapeños. Warm over medium heat until bubbles form along sides of pan. Remove from heat, cover and let sit 15 minutes. Strain into a clean bowl or measuring cup (a spout will be useful later) and discard jalapeños. Rinse out saucepan.
- After squash has cooled, use a fork to scrape strands into a large bowl.
- Combine flour and salt in a small bowl. In the same saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour/salt until mixture is thick and lumpy, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in jalapenño-infused milk in a steady stream. Reduce heat and continue whisking until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Pour over squash and stir to combine.
- Spray a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Add squash mixture and top with cheese. Bake at 375°F for about 35 minutes or until cheese has melted and top has browned.