Spaghetti squash. Love it. Easy to make: split open lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, place face down in a baking dish, prick with fork, bake until tender. Then top it like you would spaghetti. I made spaghetti squash earlier this week.
Since then, I’ve been eating a lot of tomato based things, and the thought of having marinara sauce for dinner just about made me vomit. My fridge was full of odds and ends of things, some with said tomato products, no ready-made meals (other than said tomato products) but too full to eat out. What to do? Make a new recipe!
I decided that if you can really use the stringy strands of spaghetti squash just like the pasta, why not make a baked dish out of it? (Thus also warming up my house slightly.) Why not something like chicken tetrazzini? Except, apparently, tetrazzini is supposed to have mushrooms in it, and I didn’t have any mushrooms in the house. So I used the random vegetables I did have: carrots that weren’t very sweet (bad for snacking, fine for cooking), leftover celery from another dish, my last leek and bell pepper from the farmer’s market.
I think it came out great! The celery has a surprisingly nutty aroma when sauted. Maybe that’s common knowledge, but I’m not the biggest celery fan, so I usually leave it out of recipes: mistake! I couldn’t believe the flavor! Since I was mostly using leftover items (had a chicken breast in the freezer, squash already made), this didn’t take too long to throw together. And, it makes a few servings, so I’ll have some food to eat during the coming week of torture: a presentation, an exam to give and grade, a paper to write, plus readings as usual.
Cooking time: One hour, including baking time
- 1 medium leek (about 1/2 cup when chopped) or equivalent amount of green onion
- 1 medium garlic clove
- 1 celery stalk (1/3 cup or so)
- enough carrots for 1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper
- 1 cooked chicken breast or 1 cup fake chicken strips (not the breaded kind)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour
- dash red pepper flakes
- black pepper
- dash nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp dried tarragon
- 1/4 tsp dried parsley
- just over 1/2 cup lowfat milk
- enough vegetable broth to equal 1 1/4 cup liquid with the milk (just over 1/2 cup?)
- about 3 cups cooked spaghetti squash
- 1/4 cup cheese–I used a little Ramano and a little Cheddar
- Slice the root end off the leek, and then split it open lengthwise. Make sure to rinse all the dirt out. Thinly slice the white and light green parts (or all of a green onion). Mince the garlic clove. Chop the celery, carrots and bell pepper into equal size pieces, roughly 1/2 inch square. Cut up the chicken into 3/4 inch chunks.
- Heat the butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat until foaming subsides. Add the leek and garlic. Saute for a minute or so. Add the celery and carrots. Saute 2-3 minutes or until almost tender. Add the bell pepper and the red pepper flakes. Saute about 2 more minutes. Add the other herbs and chicken. Saute about a minute or two (the celery should smell nutty by now). Add the flour and coat everything well. Add the milk-broth mixture all at once. Stir occasionally until the sauce is thickened.
- Preheat the oven to 350. Add the spaghetti squash to the pan, and stir together until everything is well-distributed. Add a tablespoon or so of the cheese.
- Spray a 2 quart baking dish with non-stick spray. Pack the skillet mixture into the baking dish. Top with remaining shredded cheese (it may not look like much cheese, but it oozes in the oven).
- Bake uncovered for 16-18 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling all around the edges of the dish. Let stand a few minutes before slicing and serving. Mmmm…