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Chicken Pesto Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

clean eating, tosca reno, autumn calabrese, Spaghetti Squash, Spaghetti substitute,, vanessa mclaughlin,, chicken dinner
PASTA IS LIFE!!! Yep, I said it.

I follow a meal plan where I can't eat most grains (to lower inflammation in my body), but I can't live without pasta! I was born in Italy, grew up there for a few years, and still have family there. Pasta is like water to me, it is in my genetic make up! It's a matter of survival.

So, I got creative. I already eat lots of zucchini noodles (zoodles), but sometimes I need a change. So, this time, I satisfied my cravings with this delicious, cheesy dish. It tasted like comfort food, but with fewer calories, using spaghetti squash as a pasta substitute. This recipe says it yields 4 servings, but you know what? I ate TWO!! No shame, here. It's packed with lean protein and veggies. I doubled the recipe and had it the next day for lunch, and it was just as delicious. This one's a winner!

Chicken Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

2 small spaghetti squash
1 lb chopped chicken (can also use ground chicken or turkey)
1 onion, chopped
2 large handfuls of spinach
6 TB basil pesto
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 TB whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup low moisture part skim mozzarella
2 TB chopped fresh basil
2 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper

1.Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Split the squash in half (lengthwise) with a sharp knife and scrape out the seeds.
3. Line a tray with aluminum foil and season the inside of the spaghetti squash with a light drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place squash flesh side down and roast for 25 minutes.
4. Remove tray from oven and use a fork to scrape out the squash into long threads.
5. While the squash is baking, heat 1 TB olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook until chicken is no longer pink.
6. Transfer to a bowl.
7. Turn the heat down to medium and add the remaining TB of olive oil to the skillet. Add the onion and cook until tender, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and wilt, about 2 minutes.
8. Add the chicken and spaghetti squash strands to the pan. Sir in the pesto and ricotta, cook until heated through, about 1 minute.
9. Scoop the spaghetti squash mixture into the squash shells and top with evenly divided parmesan cheese, fresh basil, and mozzarella cheese.
10. Return to oven and heat until cheese is melted and bubbly.

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