Sunday, March 2, 2014

Chicken Spinach Spaghetti Squash Bake


One of the food trends on the rise is vegetable based pasta substitutions.  I have a few recipes to share in upcoming posts, but today we will focus on the squash family.  Spaghetti squash is not new to the nutrition world, but with the recent trend it continues to rise in popularity.

Spaghetti squash is a larger variety of the winter squash family.   The flesh of the squash is a bright yellow or orange color and the center is filled with seeds.  Once the squash is cooked and the seeds are removed the flesh separates into thin spaghetti like pieces.

The squash can be roasted, microwaves, or baked.  I typically go with the microwave method due to a lack of time.  To cook, you need to cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. In the microwave on high, it will take about 8-12 minutes to cook, while baking it will greatly extend the length of time to about an hour.

Spaghetti squash is preferred to traditional pasta for the lower calorie and carbohydrate amount.  One cup of cooked spaghetti squash will cost you only 42 calories, while one cup of cooked pasta is about 200 calories.  Furthermore, one cup servings of each will provide approximately 7 grams of carbohydrates compared to 45 grams.

Chicken Spinach Spaghetti Squash Bake is a pseudo casserole with spaghetti squash - meaning the squash is actually cooked twice.  Spaghetti squash has a hint of sweet flavor if eaten alone, however with all of the ingredients in this recipe you wont be able to taste the sweetness.  The combination of flavors offered in the dish are absolutely delicious.  I literally ate the dish 3 days in a row and couldn't wait for each meal it was part of.

Your family's dietitian,
Kristen Smith
Chicken Spinach Spaghetti Squash Bake

by Kristen Smith
Prep Time: 20-30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Keywords: entree veggies
Ingredients (6 servings)
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 3-4 boneless (skinless) chicken breast, diced
  • 2-4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, crushed
  • 4 1/2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1-2 cups low fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • optional: parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit; spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray
2. Carefully cut spaghetti squash in half; spoon out seeds; spray with non-stick cooking spray (consider salt and pepper); place upwards on microwave safe plate and microwave on high for 8-12 minutes; let cool, fork out squash in shape of spaghetti (if doesn't come out easily might need to cook longer)
*can also roast in oven for about one hour
3. While squash cooking heat olive oil on medium; add garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes; add diced chicken, salt, pepper, and parsley; brown the chicken on both sides until cooked through (about 10 minutes); add wine and broth; add spinach and cook for about 3-5 minutes on medium high (liquid should reduce to about half); add squash (I didn't end up using all squash, but if 4 chicken breast used you might need)
Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
4. Transfer mixture to baking pan (if there is too much liquid drain a small portion), top with cheese(s)
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes (if cheese does not brown broil last few minutes)
Serving size: ~1/6 recipe • Servings: ~6 • Calories: 189.6 kcal • Protein: 20.4 g • Carbs: 1.4 g • Fat: 10.6 g • Fiber: 0.5 g • Sugar: 0.1 g • Sodium: varies (up to 627 mg)
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