Filling and colorful, this flavorful spaghetti squash entrée will satisfy your pasta craving. Karen Schneider / For the Forecaster

On the morning of this writing, there’s a snowstorm here at the cove. My plan to get to town for groceries was postponed so I examined the insides of the freezer and pantry to see what might inspire me.

As my grown-up children checked in one by one, we reminisced about “the good old days” when they were all home for a snow day. We lived in Bowdoinham back then and had a prolific garden, apple trees and unlimited access to all sorts of wild berries. We also traded our abundance with neighbors and friends, sharing winter squash, peaches and venison, among other things.

Those days were often spent baking bread and cookies. Supper was planned around what was in the freezer and the root cellar. Jewel-colored jars of provisions we had preserved on warm summer nights were opened and appreciated.

To this day, I find it rewarding to make a meal “from scratch.” Today I devised a meal from what I had on hand, featuring a pound of venison sausage, a squash, a can of tomatoes and a package of celery hearts.

When I bring ingredients together, I attempt to keep things simple, economical and versatile. For example, this main dish recipe could easily be a vegetarian meal by leaving out the meat and adding a diced colored pepper and a few carrots.

This dish could also be made into a cheesy make-ahead oven meal by transferring it into a baking dish, adding a handful of shredded mozzarella, and letting it bake alongside the dessert, a peach cobbler made with a recipe given to me by a long-ago friend. This makes four small servings or three bigger portions. You may even want to double it. It’s especially delicious served steamy hot with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

This is how to embrace the snow days and enjoy time in your cozy kitchen.

Embellished Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 onion, diced 
3 cloves garlic, minced 
1 pound ground beef, pork or sausage 
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes 
1 teaspoon rosemary 
1 teaspoon oregano 
1 teaspoon basil 
1/2 teaspoon thyme 
1/2 teaspoon marjoram 
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
2 tablespoons red wine 
Salt and pepper to taste 
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place cut side down on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, until squash is easily pierced with a sharp knife. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown meat along with onion and garlic in olive oil over medium-low heat. Drain if necessary. Add tomatoes (including juice), herbs and wine. Simmer for 10 minutes or until most of the liquid has cooked away. Season with salt and pepper.

With a fork, gently pull strands of spaghetti squash and place in skillet with tomato mixture. Stir gently and serve with Parmesan cheese. Yield: 4 servings

Crunchy Celery Salad

1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, divided
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
2 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
5 cups celery hearts with leaves, thinly sliced
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, thinly shaved
2/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

In a glass measuring cup, whisk together olive oil, lemon zest, 1/4 cup lemon juice, shallots, celery seed, celery salt, salt and pepper.

Toast walnuts in a dry skillet over low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring until evenly browned. Allow to cool.

In a separate bowl, toss celery with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add enough dressing to coat celery. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Serve with shaved Parmesan and walnuts. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Yield: 4 servings

Sandy’s Peach Cobbler

1 large can (15-16 ounces) sliced peaches in heavy syrup 
3 teaspoons cinnamon, divided 
3 tablespoons cornstarch 
1 cup flour 
1 tablespoon sugar 
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
3 tablespoons cold butter 
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook and stir peaches, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and cornstarch in saucepan over medium heat until mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Continue to boil and stir 1 minute. Pour into a buttered 1 1/2-quart ovenproof dish.

Combine flour, sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly and add milk, stirring until a dough is formed. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto hot filling in baking dish and bake for 25-30 min. Yield: 4 servings.

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