Cheater pasta

2 Dec

Looks like a ton of pasta, but it's mostly squash :)

OK, maybe not in an actual sense…I wanted chicken, I wanted spicy, and I wanted fresh veggies. I also wanted to feel like I was eating a big bowl of pasta (Uhm yeah…it’s that time of the month that will also require chocolate protein bars later.  Seriously..they taste like brownies.  I kid you not.  So good my 5 year old ate half the pan and thanked me.  Said 5 year old won’t eat cake.  Or pancakes.  Or french fries.  Or most things made for human consumption.  But he ate these and said THANK YOU *faint*).  Aaaanyway….so how do I make the above happen?  Easy.  Just like this.  This lunch is delicious, healthy, and in a world where even 30 minutes is tough…it took me about 15 and gave me leftovers.

Ingredients:

– Two large chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and cut into tenders (Why? Weight. I’m a believer in food scales. Tough to get 6-8 oz of chicken from a giant breast. You’ll end up cutting it up anyway. And as tenders right away, the seasoning is better distributed than on a cut up whole breast. Plus it cuts cooking time. All good things!)
– 1/2 Spaghetti squash (mine was steamed from last night. If you pierce your squash, 7-9 minutes in the microwave will steam the whole thing. Then c a r e f u l l y open it up and scoop it out. It will pour steam and the burns are no fun. It’s easier to do the whole thing than cut it when it’s not steamed.).
– 4 large handfuls of baby spinach
– 1 cup of spaghetti sauce (here’s where I cheated…I used jarred. I usually have some frozen, but I haven’t made sauce in a while. So today it was Muir Glen Organic Italian Sausage with Peppers.)
-Two cloves minced garlic
-Salt and pepper to taste
-Big blast of creole seasoning (paprika, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne, oregano, and thyme)
-2 oz dreamfields pasta or low carb pasta (optional)

Put deep frying pan on medium/medium-high heat.  Take the chicken tenders, season them in the creole seasoning and place them in the pan.  At the same time, start a pot of water boiling if you’re going to toss in a little pasta.  Once the chicken is cooked through and blacked, take it out, let it rest for a minute, and carefully cave it into chunks (In all seriousness, you can do this at the beginning. It’s a time saver. But when you cook larger pieces of meat I find they hold moisture better than the chunks.). Try to go with the grain of the meat (What? Grain you say? Yep…grain. When you slice it, if the knife isn’t going through easily and you’re not making nice cuts..if it feels more like sawing and tearing…turn the meat until it’s easy to cut. Then you’re with the grain and it’s much easier.). Put the chicken back in the pan and turn the heat to medium. Add your pasta to the boiling water at this time if you choose. Scrape out the spaghetti squash, add the spinach, garlic, and sauce all right to the pan. Cook everything down til the spinach is wilted but not demolished (spinach will turn to mush quickly). Once it looks done, and your chicken is coated and it’s all saucy and yummy, take the pasta out of the pot and add it. Give it a few tosses so it’s well incorporated in the chicken and veggies.  That’s it. That’s the whole thing.  It was spicy and delicious, tons of protein, lots of good nutrients in all the veggies, and I got my little bit of pasta (Dreamfields has 5 grams of digestible carbs, and 2 oz is considered one serving. By having half of that, you still feel like you’re eating pasta but you really aren’t hurting your diet at all! Plus it’s high in fiber and protein all on it’s own. Yay!).

Lunch(or dinner) can seem daunting, but now I’ve got leftovers waiting, I’m totally full, and I ate a great healthy meal (although those protein bars are totally calling my name).  It’s fun to experiment with what you have in your kitchen.  If it sounds good…do it!  You don’t need a recipe.  But learn my lesson…write down what you do because if it comes out awesome and you can’t remember exactly how you did it you’ll be kicking yourself.  I do it all the time and then grumble about how I have no idea what exactly I threw in it ’cause my hands get flying, I get busy cooking and chopping, then it’s done, it’s great, I wanna to it again….buuuuut I can’t.  Cause ADHD took over.  Lol.  Anyway, happy eating 🙂

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