April 26, 2012

Spaghetti Squash with Chicken and Veggies

You may have seen spaghetti squash all over Pinterest lately - I know I had never thought twice about the vegetable before people started posting it as a healthy alternative to pasta.  A couple months ago, I decided to buy one of these mysterious veggies at the grocery store.  Then, I googled how to cook it and threw together a little recipe that ended up being uber tasty and easier than expected!

So, here's the recipe I threw together and have made on pretty regular basis ever since.

Spaghetti Squash - one squash will feed two people easily, but I always cook two so that I have left overs!
Olive Oil
1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, pressed or chopped
1 package of Mushrooms, sliced
2 Tomatoes on the vine, chopped
1 package / bushel of Spinach
2-3 cups of shredded Chicken (previously cooked)
1-2 Tbsp of Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan for topping
 (Feel free to use any veggies you have on hand! These are just the items I had around the kitchen.)

 To cook the squash and get the tastiest results, I prefer baking it in the oven.  But if you are pressed for time, microwaving works too. Here are directions for both methods that I've used:

- Pierce the squash in several places with a knife
- Wrap in saran wrap
- Microwave for 10 mins turning the squash every few minutes
- Let squash cool, then cut in half lengthwise and deseed

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Cut squash in half lengthwise
- Deseed and sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Bake for 30-45 mins until squash is tender

Here is a photo after I baked some squash this past weekend:

Now, it's time to prepare all the 'fixins.' First, you want to heat up a few tbsps of olive oil in  rather large pan.  Then, go ahead and saute the chopped onions and garlic in the hot oil for a few minutes until the onions are translucent.

Next, go ahead and add the sliced mushrooms.  These will take about 5-8 minutes to caramelize.

While the mushrooms are cooking, this a good time to pull out the spaghetti squash (as long as it's cooled off!).  To pull the 'spaghetti' out, just use a fork and scrape it along the squash lenthwise.  You'll be suprised how easily it comes apart!  Then, just set it aside for later.

Once your mushrooms are cooked to your liking, then you can go ahead and add the tomatoes.

After the tomatoes have cooked for a minute or two, add the spinach.  Don't worry if it looks like a lot!  The spinach will wilt pretty fast into a quarter of it's original size.  At this point, you can also add a little salt and pepper to the mix.

Once the spinach is cooked, add in the shredded chicken.  I just used a rotisserie chicken from the market, and it works really well.  But you can also boil some chicken breast while you are baking the squash, as well!

Make sure the chicken is warmed up and mixed in well with all the 'fixins.' And then, add in the squash you've already shredded and set aside.

Heat up everything together for a few minutes.  Add a little more salt and pepper.  This is where I also add a little pad of butter, but you can also add more olive oil as a healther substitution.  Serve with a little grated cheese and fresh cracked pepper on top! Voila! Healthy and delicious meal!


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