Tag Archives: spaghetti squash

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Happy Easter!

Hello everyone, long hiatus again. I got hit with some serious writer’s block,  lack of inspiration in the kitchen and gym and just plain old busy schedule the past few weeks. But, I am now on a four day weekend which means time to refocus and get back in the kitchen. My little break started Friday and I spent it over at my Grandma’s house with my cousin Sara making cake for Easter.

Sara and I make a cake every year. Usually, it is a bunny cake that we make different colors but we decided to make a carrot cake this year. We are decorating it on today as an Easter egg hunt. I’ll make sure to get a picture and put it up here to see. It looks cool so far and it’s only frosted white with a green hill up on top.

The recipe that I have for you today is from a week ago. I had some inspiration in my kitchen but then couldn’t write the post. I think I am back on track with my mindset. I’ve been seeing some recipes like this around Pinterest. Growing up, I loved cheesy chicken casserole with rice or some kind of pasta. The gooey cheese wrapped around the pasta screamed comfort to me. I wanted to make a more healthy, veggie-filled, low carbohydrate (for mom and dad) version of that childhood memory. Thus my cheesy chicken spaghetti squash casserole was born.

It was a little runny when I made it because I forgot a step but I’m adding it here so you don’t run into the same problem. It thickened up when I reheated the leftovers but the first day was a little too runny. But, still tasted awesome. We were all going back for more.

I took my spaghetti squash and cooked it how I showed in this post. You want to do this ahead of the rest to give it time to drain. Set the cooked spaghetti squash noodles in a colander over the sink or a bowl and let it drain off for 10-20 minutes. This will help decrease the amount of liquid in the baking dish and cause a more firm, held together casserole.

Once the spaghetti squash is set to drain. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Take diced zucchini, onion, and garlic and sprinkle with oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Diced chicken and season with the same 4 seasonings also. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over med-high heat. Once heated, add the chicken and veggies. Cook 7-10 minutes until the chicken is browned and the veggies are soft.20130323_164729

Next, mix the chicken and veggie mixture with the spaghetti squash. Try and keep most of the cooking liquid out of the mixture. I used a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken and veggies into a bowl with the spaghetti squash. Give it a good mix until all is incorporated. Add in half the cheese and stir well. Pour into a casserole/baking dish. I used one of my mom’s which she got for Christmas this past year. Isn’t it pretty?20130323_171146

Then top the casserole with more cheese and pop it into the oven for 30-35 minutes. I let mine go the 35 because it had too much moisture in the dish and I wanted to evaporate some of it.

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Let it sit 5 minutes to let everything settle and serve in bowls or on plates. Enjoy your slightly less sinful cheesy chicken casserole.20130323_174507

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole (Serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

1 large spaghetti squash, baked and set aside to drain

2 medium zucchini, diced

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb chicken breasts, diced

oregano, basil, salt and pepper

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

2-3 cups cheddar cheese

1. Cook spaghetti squash, scrape out with a fork and set aside in a colander to drain

2. Preheat oven to 350 F

3. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat

4. Season chicken, zucchini and onion with oregano, basil, salt and pepper

5. Saute chicken, zucchini, onion and garlic for 5-10 minutes until soft

6. Combine chicken and veggies in a large bowl with the spaghetti squash. Taste and add more seasoning as needed

7. Mix in half of the cheddar cheese and pour into a large casserole/baking dish and top with the rest of the cheese

8. Cook 30-35 minutes until cheesy is bubbly on top

9. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving

Enjoy!

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Spaghetti Squash Dinner

Well I think fall might be on its way out the door and winter is coming. It’s been pretty cold and my car was frosted over this morning when I left for work. Brrr.

I was in charge for dinner tonight and it felt good to be back in the kitchen. After talking to Alex’s mom, Rita, about spaghetti squash this past weekend, I figured tonight was a good night to roast one up and make spaghetti and meatballs. We had a purple cauliflower head that was starting to go bad so that got steamed up on the side.

 

Please excuse my sad picture-taking skills. I really need learn how to take better photos.  This dinner was really easy as it used jarred tomato sauce from Zia’s which is one of my favorite Italian restaurants in St. Louis and meatballs from Market Day. Use your favorite jarred sauce or make your own. I have not yet adventured into the realm of sauce making but it’s on the list. I remember my mom used to make one when I was younger that would simmer on the stove all day. Yum. Anyways.

For those of you who are new to spaghetti squash there are a couple of ways to prepare it. You can poke a bunch of wholes in it and microwave it. For how long you ask? I don’t know. My mom told me a story the other day that kept me from trying this. When we were younger she poked a bunch of holes in one, microwaved it for the specified time and then, when she went to take it out, it exploded all over her and left her with burns on her arms and face. That’s enough for me to just roast it in the oven.

To do so cut off the stem then stand the spaghetti squash on the newly created flat end. Cut length-wise (or hot dog style if you prefer that term) in half. Scoop out the seeds and inside pulp as you would any other winter squash and discard. Or save and roast the seeds. Lightly coat with some olive oil and place cut side down on a foiled sheet pan. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 45-60 minutes. When you press into the squash it should give in to you with little effort and the “noodles” should pull away from the skin and each other easily.

Cook your sauce and meatballs while they roast. Once the squash is done, take it out of the oven and flip it over using tongs. I find this is the best way to keep from burning yourself. Let sit face up for about 5-10 minutes until they can be handled without burning yourself. Then use a fork and pull the noodles out and place into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper then top with your meatballs and pasta sauce. Or you can find one of the zillion recipes out there in the interwebs. There are too many spaghetti squash recipes that I want to try and not enough time in winter to get through them all.

Enjoy your tasty low cal, low carb pasta dinner. 1 cup of spaghetti squash has only 42 calories and 10 g carbs compared to 1 cup of regular spaghetti with 220 calories and 43 g carbs. Not that carbohydrates are bad but it’s a good alternative calorie wise. And, it’s a great way to get in another tasty serving of vegetables. Yummy.

What’s your favorite way to prepare spaghetti squash? Have any horror stories like my moms?

Laura

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