Spaghetti Squash with Chicken and Pesto

I am a huge pesto sauce lover! I usually make my own pesto using olive oil, basil, parmesan cheese and pine nuts, but I wanted to try it with an Italian salad dressing in place of olive oil for added extra flavor! It was a success!

This recipe uses all the usual ingredients when making pesto except the olive oil. In place of olive oil, I used Italian salad dressing. 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 as one healthy fat with chicken! 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, 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 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

For the Pesto:
1/4 cup Kens Steakhouse Lite Northern Italian with Basil and Romano Dressing (2 Healthy Fats)
1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped (1 Condiment)
2 tbsp reduced fat grated Kraft parmesan cheese (1 Condiment)
40 pine nuts (2 Condiments)
1 tsp minced garlic (1 Condiment)

For the Chicken Spaghetti Squash Dish:
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)

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 Leaner Lean, 3 Greens, 2.5 Condiments and 1 Healthy Fat per serving

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