Spaghetti Squash with Chicken and Pesto

Saturday, September 7, 2013

This past week wasn't a great week for me. I blame it on the holiday. I couldn't possibly blame myself... now could I? I gained 2 pounds this past week but I am happy to report that I already lost those 2 pounds. Thank goodness! Now if I could lose a pound or 2 more by Monday then I would be ecstatic! I will keep you posted!

Now for the recipe!


I really love pesto, but it can be high in fat (although it is a good fat) when you purchase it in the grocery store. I used to make my own pesto using olive oil, basil, parmesan cheese and pine nuts, but I found it to be difficult incorporating the olive oil without the desire to use more than I was allowed on the Medifast plan. You may already know this, but you can only have up to 2 teaspoons of olive oil when having the leanest lean such as tilapia and only 1 tsp when having a leaner lean such as chicken. Now I don't know about you, but 2 teaspoons just isn't enough for my spaghetti squash :)

This recipe uses everything but the olive oil. In place of olive oil, Italian dressing is used. Ken's Steakhouse makes a wonderful basil and romano dressing that is perfect for this recipe.


Using this dressing instead of olive oil, allows you to use 2 tablespoons instead of 1 teaspoon for chicken as one healthy fat! The more the merrier!



I used my magic bullet to make the pesto sauce. First I added the dressing.


Then I added the chopped fresh basil.


Finally, I added the parmesan cheese, pine nuts and garlic.


Blend away until you get that desired consistency.


Yum! Look at that creamy goodness! Set aside until ready to use.

Spaghetti squash is one of those veggies that make a wonderful alternative to pasta. I love the slight crunch and sweetness of this veggie. Actually, I use it quite often when I am craving a pasta substitute. You can't go wrong with only 40 calories and 8 grams of carbs per 1 cup! Not to mention it is sooooo easy to prepare. The microwave is my preferred cooking method.


First, poke some holes around the spaghetti squash so steam  can be released. Otherwise, your spaghetti squash just might explode in your microwave! You can use a knife but I used a metal skewer. Place the squash on a plate and microwave in 3 minute intervals, turning the squash around between intervals so that the squash can cook more evenly. You know when it is done when it begins to get soft. Mine usually takes between 9 to 11 minutes, depending on the size of your squash.


 Let the squash cool before handling. Cut the squash in half lengthwise.


Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard.


Make sure you remove all the excess strands and the seeds.


Scrape the inside of the squash with a fork to loosen the spaghetti strands into a bowl or plate.


Spaghetti squash noodles!


Gather all your ingredients together... 2 1/2 cups prepared spaghetti squash, 9 oz of grilled or baked chicken chopped into pieces, 1/2 cup Italian diced tomatoes (not pictured) and 1/3 cup shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese (not pictured). You don't have to use mozzarella cheese but I am a firm believer in cheese making everything taste better :) If you want to leave the cheese out, then you would use 12 oz grilled or baked chicken.



Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and add the spaghetti squash, chicken and pesto over medium high heat. Toss the squash and chicken with the pesto sauce until evenly coated. I added the diced tomatoes at the last minutes. Divide the mixture into two portions and sprinkle with mozzarella.


Spaghetti Squash with Chicken and Pesto

Ingredients:

For Pesto:

1/4 cup Kens Steakhouse Lite Northern Italian with Basil and Romano Dressing (2 Healthy Fats)
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped (1/2 Condiment)
2 tbsp grated Kraft parmesan cheese (2 Condiments)
40 pine nuts (1 Condiment)
1 garlic clove (1 Condiment)

10 oz grilled or baked chicken (1 2/3 Lean)
1/3 cup shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese (1/3 Lean)
2 1/2 cups spaghetti squash strands, cooked (5 Greens)
1/2 cup Great Value Italian diced tomatoes, drained (1 Green)

Directions:

To make pesto, combine all the ingredients for the pesto in a small blender or food processor. I used my magic bullet. Blend until desired consistency. Set aside.

Lightly spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add spaghetti squash, chicken and pesto. Stir until combined and heated thoroughly. When heated, toss in the diced tomatoes. Divide the mixture into two portions. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese between the two portions. Enjoy!

2 servings with 1 Lean, 3 Greens, 2.25 Condiments and 1 Healthy Fat per serving


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