This summer my mother-in-law came to stay for two weeks. You read that right. TWO weeks. 17 days to be exact. And it was wonderful. She got some much needed downtime and the boys and I had some wonderful quality time with her. But I have to say, one of the highlights of the visit was coming home from work to this amazing, healthy meal of oven-cooked spaghetti squash with grilled chicken and Alfredo sauce on top. After posting some photos of my first solo successful attempt, some friends were clamoring for the recipe. I don’t really do measurements (hence the Food Beyond Measure category) when I’m cooking, so here it is… with pictures and guesstimates.
Here’s what you’ll need: spaghetti squash, parchment paper, olive oil, fresh ground pepper, salt, basting brush, baking sheet and a sharp knife.
Next, take your sharp knife and cut the squash in two. This is the hard part. If you have a teenage boy around you can enlist for help, do so. If not, just take your time and keep your fingers clear. Then scoop out the gooey insides and the seeds like you would a pumpkin before carving it. If you’re thinking ahead, you’ll also get the oven pre-heating to 420°F while doing all this.
Now you’re ready to season the squash. Brush the inside, including the rim with olive oil. Then sprinkle on salt and pepper.
Line your baking sheet with the parchment paper and place the squash halves face down. Pop it in the oven and cook until the skin easily pierces with a fork. When cooking two squash (four halves) this takes between 30 and 35 minutes with the oven at 420°F.
Once the skin pricks easily with a fork, remove from the oven and let sit for five minutes to cool down a bit. Then turn them over and scrape the insides with a fork, thereby fluffing up the strands of squash. If you weren’t sure before now why it’s called spaghetti squash, you’ll know.
And now you’re done! You can eat them plain, without any toppings, or add whatever sounds good to you. To add protein and make this a time saver, while the squash is baking I pop chicken tenders in the oven with them. All I do is line a pan with foil, grease it, season the chicken with some Emeril’s Essence spice (another thing my mother-in-law introduced me to) and let it bake along with the squash. Then I dice it, toss it on and top it all with a drizzle of Alfredo sauce (get the light version for fewer calories) and sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese.
Special thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law for teaching me how to cook this. The children request it on a regular basis and it’s now become part of the bi-weekly rotation.