Busy, busy, busy!! Does anyone else feel like they're drowning this time of year? My to do list is out of control these days and I'm simultaneously trying to get as much done as possible, yet still be present with the kids and enjoy the holiday season. Weekends are always busy, but it seems like even weeknights have been filling up with holiday parties, events and activities as we get closer to Christmas. I'm exhausted when I get home from work and the kids are crazy from being cooped up in the house. It certainly doesn't help that it's bitter cold outside and dark well before I even leave the office. Dinner needs to be simple these days and I'm always on the lookout for anything that makes mealtime easier for me, while still tasting good and not costing a fortune. Enter Schnucks Simple Solution Meals - $10.99 or less for a whole roasted chicken, 15-16 oz American Salad (potato salad, egg salad, etc.) and a 1.25L of Coca-Cola.
I love this recipe because it's homemade, but comprised of ingredients you already have in your fridge. It's made with spaghetti squash, so it's low in carbs, yet still very filling. You can add/subtract/substitute ingredients really easily, as you want, making this recipe to fit your taste (or to include whatever you have in the fridge). I've included my original recipe below, but I've also included a number of substitutions, additions and other ingredient ideas.
Prep Your Squash
If you've never made spaghetti squash before, it might sound a bit intimidating, but I am here to tell you that it's easy as pie. Actually, it's WAY EASIER than making a pie, so you are in luck. All you have to do to prep a spaghetti squash is cut it in half length-wise, remove the seeds, drizzle with evoo with a sprinkle of salt and bake it open-face down on a cookie sheet in a 375 degree oven for 45-60 minutes. Cutting the squash in half is literally the hardest part of this entire recipe. It takes every ounce of strength I have to cut squash, even with my sharpest knife, so I just go ahead and consider this 5 minutes of brut force and squash wrangling an equivalent of 30 minutes of cardio. Seriously, if you can cut squash, you can do ANYTHING.
While you spaghetti squash is cooking, take the meat from a roasted rotisserie chicken and shred it into bite-size pieces. One side of a chicken breast is perfect for one spaghetti squash. If you're cooking two squashes, use both breasts. And for three squashes, use the entire chicken. Once you've pulled all the meat off the chicken, combine it with some pre-made pesto. You can use as much or as little as you want. I used about 2 heaping tablespoons of pesto - enough to completely coat the chicken. Add a big pinch of kosher salt (or a sprinkle of garlic salt) to the chicken and mix. If you're not a big pesto fan, just leave it off - the final product will still taste great without it. Or mix ranch dressing in with the chicken instead.
Once your squash is cooked, flip them over and start filling them. I put a thick layer of pasta sauce, topped with ricotta cheese, then the chicken and top with a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese. You could easily substitute cottage cheese for the ricotta, if you prefer. You can mix extra cheese and/or herbs in with the ricotta. Top with any type of cheese you like - mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, fontina or even crumbled goat cheese. Feel free to add an additional layer of pasta sauce on top of the chicken to make it a bit saucier.
Bake & Enjoy
Bake your squash until hot, bubbly and heated throughout. I usually turn the broiler on at the last minute to ensure the cheese on top gets melted and slightly browned. Once cooked, you can eat right out of the squash "shell" - no need to scoop everything out. Your fork is the perfect utensil for scraping the sides of your lasagna boat and pulling out that stringy spaghetti threads.Coca-Cola Floats
We also thought it would be fun to make Coca-Cola floats for dessert. I haven't had one of these since I was a kid and they were just as good as I remembered. All you have to do is pour some Coca-Cola over vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt and enjoy!
- 2 spaghetti squash
- 1 rotisserie chicken (2 breasts)
- 2-4 tablespoons pesto
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 cups pasta sauce
- shredded mozzarella cheese
- salt & pepper (to taste)
1. Preheat the oven to 375. Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place squash cut-side down on a cookie sheet (or baking dish) and cook for 45-60 minutes.
2. Combine pulled chicken breast meat with pesto and a hefty sprinkle of kosher salt.
3. Fill each spaghetti squash boat with about 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce, 1/4 cup of ricotta cheese, 1/4 of the chicken pesto mixture and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Add an extra layer of sauce on top of chicken, if desired.
4. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted.
Are you a spaghetti squash fan?