I will be posting the new recipes I tried out of order, mostly because this one that I'm about to tell you about is the bees knees, in my opinion and it knocked my socks off. I will however post about the other two great recipes as soon as I can.
I'm most excited about my this recipe I tried because it was a food I had never eaten before. I've always liked squash, zucchini and more recently eggplant however until last night I had never tried Spaghetti Squash. And honestly until about a month ago I had never even HEARD of this vegetable either.
How it looks at your local produce department
What peeked my interest was a segment on The Rachel Ray Show where Rachel used spaghetti squash in place of noodles. I'm a pasta girl, I love that stuff, and I know that Rachel is the same way. Those of you that don't know me well, here's some background: I pretty much take most of Rachel Ray's opinions for gospel. Why you ask? Well it's never turned me in the wrong direction before. OK so there was one time I trusted her when she told me that Pumpkin Pasta was amazing and in actuality it was pretty freaking gross. I haven't given up on the thought of trying it again, I just haven't had the desire to work on it. She's the reason I learned how to cook and frankly taught me almost everything I know about how to handle myself in the kitchen. Well her and watching my mom for years as well. That being said Rachel sold me in the segment where she featured this recipe. I was less worried about the sauce, or the added ingredients and more worried about HOW this vegetable was prepared. I thought about making this for weeks after seeing the episode and never got around to it. Procrastination, whattttt?
Two weeks ago when I made another FIRST recipe for dinner, I went the route of using ONLY vegetarian friendly ingredients. Mike and I made our first vegetarian pizza. Doesn't seem like such a big deal but seriously, we are a meat and potatoes household for the most part, but since taking on the p90x meal plan I've realized how much my diet lacks in veggies and as one of the most dominate items on my menu list I might as well learn what I like, love and hate early on right? After making that Pizza [which I will share with you at another time], I wanted to start making a veggie meal once a week or twice a month if possible. Mike was game so I was all in.
Bring on the spaghetti squash. If you've never had this before it's an awesome and easy thing to make. When we purchased the single spaghetti squash Mike asked if it would be enough for both of us, the recipe assured me it would, I was skeptical but went with one squash to share.
I took Rachel's recipe and technique in the above link for the squash only and made my own Chicken Spaghetti sauce. I wasn't ready to go full on vegetarian for this meal, mostly because my fear was that I would HATE the squash and then what would we eat? We didn't have any noodles in the house to improvise if this recipe went south, so I figured worse case, we'd eat "sloppy spaghetti sauce chicken joes or something of that nature... ghetto joes maybe? Anychicken... here is the recipe.
CHICKEN SPAGHETTI SQUASH
INGREDIENTS FOR SPAGHETTI SQUASH:
- One large spaghetti squash [feeds two, get more if you have more people]
- salt and pepper for taste
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Added seasonings you think you might like
- Parmesan Cheese [fresh grated or container - just enough to top off the squash]
- Preheat oven to 400 Degrees [you may want 425 if your oven runs on the cool side]
- Slice Spaghetti Squash down the middle lengthwise into 2 halves. [use a sharp knife, this is like trying to carve a pumpkin and oddly enough smells just like it - which worried me at first after my pumpkin fail]
- Scoop out strings and seeds with a spoon and throw away [don't dig too deep you need that flesh to eat it at the end].
- With squash cut side facing up - drizzle liberally with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and any other seasoning you might like [I added garlic pepper]
- Place squash CUT SIDE DOWN on metal baking sheet
- Bake for 45 mins to 1 hour in preheated oven until outer skin is soft to the squeeze [think like a potato]
- Remove from oven and let cool for a moment - you may need to hold the squash with a oven mit for the next step. Flip slightly cooled squash face up on to serving plate or tray.
- Using a fork, gently rake the inside of the spaghetti squash causing the "meat" to turn into lots of "spaghetti like" noodles for your dinner
- Once you have "shredded" the inside of each half of the squash, top with seasoning of your choice to taste, you may also add extra olive oil if you like and sprinkle with fresh grated [or container] parmesan cheese.
After Roasting and Shreading
CHICKEN SPAGHETTI SAUCE
- Jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce [or your own homemade recipe, which by the way if you want to share I'm all ears]
- 2-3 chicken breasts chopped up in to bite size pieces, depending on how many people, I use 1 per person.
- 1 green pepper diced
- 1 onion diced
- 1 container of mushrooms rough chopped [more or less depending on your desire]
- 5 garlic cloves fine chopped [yes I said 5 you probably only need 2, I like a lot of garlic]
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste [plus other seasonings if you desire]
- Red Pepper Flake and Kicking Chicken are always used in my Chicken Spaghetti
visuals on the sauce and spices I used:
Newman's Tomato Basil - I like the fresh taste with chicken
Garlic Pepper - my favorite spice to use on steak and anything Italian
I love Weber's Kick'nChicken it's an obsession! I put it on all white meat!
- Pre-heat a non-stick skillet to medium heat
- Add about 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil to pan
- Once oil starts to ripple and slightly smoke add in mushrooms
- Allow mushrooms to cook and become brown in color [note: Rachel Ray always says not to add salt to this step, it draws liquid out of the mushrooms and you don't get a nice even cook on them when that happens - I told you Rachel never drives me in the wrong direction... minus the pumpkin mishap!]
- Once the mushrooms have cooked [about 2-3 mins.] Lower the heat just a tad and add in your onions, peppers and garlic. Stir frequently to be sure the garlic doesn't burn. It will become bitter and you will have to start over.
- Add salt and pepper to vegetables while they cook. Cook until onions just start to get transparent.
- Add in chopped up chicken and extra seasoning to taste - go easy on the salt until you have it all worked together with the sauce.
- Cook chicken until browned completely [no more pink showing]
- Add in sauce on top of all ingredients, stir to combine and season to taste.
- Let all ingredients come together and warm through.
Once you've made your sauce you are ready to place it inside your bowl of Spaghetti Squash. You can remove the squash from it's shell and serve on a plate or in a bowl OR serve right out of the shell as we did last night.
Note: Since the squash takes 45 mins. to an hour to cook I usually get that started first, let it cook and chop up and cook the rest of my ingredients. By the time your squash is finished so is your sauce and they are ready to combine together like magic!
This is so not my picture but it looked a lot like this, only less stylized.
It's simple and easy and SO filling and SO good! I can't wait to make it again.
Stay tuned for my other new recipe ventures I haven't written about AND a fun post before Super Bowl Sunday where a Packers fan [aka the awesome pants Cathy @ Antsy Pants] and a Steelers fan [Yours truly] unite to give you some great ideas for Party Food and fun for the big game day!