Chicken Alfredo Spaghetti Squash Boats

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Yum, yum, yum!  I saw something similar to this on Pinterest  a while back, but didn’t pin it…. so I kinda had to wing it when I finally decided to give this recipe a try.

Basically I just baked the spaghetti squash for a bit and then added all the yummy stuff on top and baked it a bit more.  Not rocket science….. really, really yum though!  Baking the squash with the sauce in it really added flavor to the squash.

Chicken Alfredo Spaghetti Squash Boats

Ingredients:

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash (How to: HERE) – Only thing I did differently was that I roasted it right side up, like a boat, instead of upside down.  Be sure to leave enough squash on the ends so that your ‘boat’ doesn’t leak!
  • 1/2 Recipe OMG Alfredo Sauce  (HERE)
  • 1 – 2 tsp Garlic, minced
  • 1 c. Chicken, shredded
  • Parmesan & Mozzarella Cheese (I used about a 1/2 a cup…. more or less to your preference)

Directions:

Slice both ends off the spaghetti squash (don’t slice off too much or your sauce will leak out of the ‘boat’) and scoop out the seeds.  (You can save the seeds and plant them later!)  Place both halves of the squash in a glass baking dish, right side up, and bake at 375° for 30 minutes.

Remove the squash from the oven and layer the garlic, chicken and mozzarella in the ‘boat’.  Top with as much Alfredo as you like (or as much as your boat can hold!).. be generous, the squash will soak up some of the sauce.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top and bake for another 25-30 minutes.  Parmesan cheese should be bubbly and golden brown.

Transfer each squash boat to a plate and enjoy!  Use your fork to scrape up the squash and mix with the chicken and sauce as you eat.

 

Spaghetti (Squash) & Meatballs

Brian and I hosted our second Gluten Free Living: Diner & Discovery party last night.  My friend, Kim opened her (amazing) shop, Eclipse Holistic Fusion to us for the evening.  It was so much fun!IMG_8382

It is exciting to be able to share all the things we’ve learned over the past two years of living Gluten Free.  We’ve learned so much about our health and the influence that food has on us.  We always knew that it was important to eat healthy… but what exactly is “healthy”… and how do you know if what you’re eating is doing you any good?  I’d always thought that I had a fairly healthy diet… I just thought that I ate too much… or maybe it was the sugar?  That donut couldn’t have been causing my headaches.  A slice of bread wouldn’t make my knees ache… or cause my insomnia….. right?

Wrong!  Sometimes now I want to run up to people and slap the bagel right out of their hands.  “That thing will kill you!”

Mom keeps warning me that I sound like a televangelist… “Be gone foul flour!”

I just struggled for so long and felt so bad…. I would have never believed that wheat (and gluten) was causing so many of my health problems… until I was so bad that I was willing to try nearly anything.  I eliminated wheat and suddenly I was on the road back to healthy…. after years of trying and struggling.  For a generation that was raised on “healthy whole grains” it sounds insane….. “Healthy Whole Grains” were killing me.

photo 1 2Now I have the opportunity to share my experiences and help others find their way back to health too.  Hopefully, through these classes we’ll be able to help others transition to a wheat-free life easier.  Sharing favorite GF products and restaurants… travel tips and new cooking techniques…. how to incorporate more healthy fats and oils into our diets… healthy sweets!

In class I am pushing people to try things that they wouldn’t expect to enjoy.  Last night we started with guacamole for our appetizer.  There are healthy fats in the avocado that make you feel more satisfied… I’ve become hooked on guacamole.  (One avocado and 2 tsp of Wildtree’s Guacamole Seasoning… YUM!) Several people admitted that they hadn’t expected to like guacamole…. but they did like it!

Salads in a Jar and How to Roast a Spaghetti Squash demonstrations followed.  Neither recipe is difficult, but both were things that we’d all heard of or considered, but hadn’t tried for one reason or another…. I shared my tips and tricks and hopefully saved the others from making some of the same blunders that I made in the beginning.

An Avocado Brownie doesn’t sound delicious…. but it sure tastes delicious!  It was easy to convince everyone to try the brownie… The coconut oil in their hot tea?   Enh…?  Peer pressure can be a good thing sometimes.  No one quite believed me that it would taste good and not like a hot cup of grease…. but if everyone else was going to try it…. and darned if I wasn’t right!  A teaspoon of coconut oil in your coffee or hot tea is a yummy way to get a bit of extra fat into your diet and help balance blood sugar, improve your metabolism and a whole bunch of other goodness! (Check out what Dr. Oz says about coconut oil.)

For our main dish we had Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs.  Who knew that a squash could be substituted for our beloved/evil pasta… be be just as good, if not yummier?  My class!  They know first hand now!

Spaghetti (Squash) & Meatballs

Ingredients

Meatballs 

  • 1 lb Ground Turkey (or Hamburger)
  • 1 lb Pork Sausage
  • 1 Onion, small, chopped
  • 2 Tbs Garlic, diced
  • 2 tsp Wildtree’s Garam Masala Blend
  • Red wine or beef/chicken stock

Sauce

Squash

See how to roast a spaghetti squash HERE.

Directions

In a large bowl combine all of the meatball ingredients until thoroughly mixed.  Roll mixture into 1 – 2 inch balls.  Add meatballs into a hot pan. (Make sure meatballs are not piled on top of one another.  They should all be touching the pan and have room to roll around. You will most likely have to cook them in 3 to 4 batches.)  Add 1/4 cup wine or stock to the pan and cover.  Allow meatballs to cook 7-10 minutes, giving the pan a good shake to roll the meatballs around every few minutes.

Meanwhile combine the crushed tomatoes and Wildtree’s Hearty Spaghetti Sauce Blend in a sauce pan and allow to simmer at least 20 minutes.  (Longer if desired.)

Top the spaghetti squash with the sauce and meatballs… and cheese!

Freeze the extra meatballs to use later.

Avocado Brownies

Brian and I hosted our first Gluten Free Living: Dinner & Discovery event last night.  It was even better than I’d hoped!

We had six guests, old friends and new friends, some totally new to the lifestyle and some who have been living it for a while now.   We spent a great evening cooking, eating, chatting and learning.  It is so nice to be able to share the excitement and frustration of living Gluten Free with others who are on the same path.  We all had tips and questions and ideas to share…. it was wonderful!IMG_6965

We started dinner off with appetizers and sharing our stories about how we had each come to be (or consider becoming) Gluten Free. While everyone was snacking on fresh guacamole and corn tortilla chips Brian demonstrated how to make Avocado Brownies.  (MINI Food Processor: Black & Decker HC306 1-1/2-Cup One-Touch Electric Chopper …. buy one, you will love it!)

One of the things we want to do with these Dinner & Discovery parties is showcase the products and tools that we’ve found to be really useful for cooking Gluten Free. Remember, we’re not getting most of our food out of a box anymore, we’re making it.

We also want to share the recipes that we KNOW work.  When we first went Gluten Free, Brian and I ruined so many recipes because we either didn’t have the right tools (ever try putting one avocado in the full sized food processor?) or we didn’t understand the new foods (hello, coconut flour) that we were working with.

Once the brownies went into the oven, I grabbed the roasted spaghetti squash and demonstrated the way they should look and feel when they are done.  I also showed everyone how easy it was to go from squash to spaghetti…. something I hadn’t quite believed would be so easy when I first started making spaghetti squash.

With the demonstrations done, we headed to the dinner table and dug in.  Conversations wandered from food to travel and families and back again…. it was wonderful.  Good friends and good food…. good for the body and good for the soul.

Menu

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Avocado Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 large, Ripe Avocado
  • ¼ c Butter
  • ½ c Honey
  • 4 oz Bittersweet Baking Chocolate
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • ¼ c Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Flour (sifted)
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • ¼ c Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (to sprinkle on top)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°

Cut avocado in half, peel and add to mini food processor.  Process until VERY smooth.

Melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil together in the microwave or over a double boiler.

In a stand mixer, combine avocado and all remaining ingredients (except chocolate chips) and whip until very fluffy (3-5 minutes).

Spread batter into greased 8×8 or 9×9 and sprinkle the top with chocolate chips.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes.  Remove when toothpick comes out clean.

Spaghetti Squash: How-To

Spaghetti SquashI was really hesitant to try spaghetti squash.  I don’t quite know what my issue was…. I just didn’t want to “deal” with it.  It was another thing to figure out and I just honestly didn’t think I was going to like it.  I mean, it’s squash…. not spaghetti…. how could it ever rival my beloved spaghetti?

Mom finally nagged encouraged me to go ahead and try to make spaghetti squash.  I’d been living wheat free for over a year and was trying to go low-carb too.  Heavens knows I’d botched up enough other new “gluten free” recipes, what was one more.

So I bought the squash….. and I liked it.  Brian liked it.  I even served it at Family Dinner Night a time or two and they (most of em) liked it!  Holy Cats!  Why did I wait so long to try it?!

And the truth is… it looked weird and scary.  I had my mind set that I wasn’t going to like it and I was just being a baby.  Thank goodness Mom was there to nag encourage me.

Okay… it doesn’t taste exactly like spaghetti.  Get over it.  That is one of the biggest things that I have had to learn since going wheat free…. stuff isn’t going to taste exactly the same as the evil wheat filled  foods.  And that’s fine.  Actually, that’s good!  I have discovered so many new foods and flavors since going wheat free…. I was missing out.  There is a whole world of tastes and textures and smells that I missing when I lived in my dull, wheat filled world.

Spaghetti Squash doesn’t have much of a “taste” really, the big difference is the texture…. there is a bit more of a “snap” or “bite” to the squash.  Once you get over the idea that it is supposed to be “spaghetti” and realize that it is just a carrier for the sauce and cheese anyway…… yum…. happiness. Gluten free, low carb, and delicious…. what more could I ask?

It’s not that hard to cook either.  It takes a bit more time, but I’ve discovered that I can freeze the extra and it thaws and reheats just fine (can spaghetti do that?).  It also holds up in the fridge too.  I haven’t “experimented” longer than two or three days…. who leaves leftover spaghetti that long anyway!?

Here is what I do.  I use one large (2.5 – 3lb) spaghetti squash for two people.  (Sometimes we get a third serving, but since we’re not adding all those carbs or calories from the wheat spaghetti anymore, we’re a little freer with the spaghetti squash.)

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients

  • 1 large (2.5 – 3lb) spaghetti squash
  • 1/8th c Olive or Grapeseed Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

Pre heat oven to 400°

Slice the ends off the squash then slice it long ways down the middle.  Using a large tablespoon, scoop out the seeds.  (I saved my seeds and planted them.  They are currently taking over my garden and beginning to escape across the back yard.  I bought an organic squash… not sure if that makes a difference.)

Drizzle the oil around the inside of the squash and sprinkle lightly with the salt and pepper.

Place the squash upside down (skin up) in a glass baking pan.  Bake at 400° for 45 – 60 minutes.  Baking time varies with the size of the squash.  Use aIMG_6632 fork to test if the squash is done by poking at it… if it is no longer firm and the skin seems loose, it is done.

Remove from the oven and if you are sensible, you will let it cool.  As for the rest of us impatient people… grab a baking mitt and try not to burn yourself!

Using a fork, scrape the squash out of the skin.  It comes right out… easy-peasy.

That’s it… use it as you would spaghetti  noodles.  You can store it in the fridge and even freeze it.

I have read that you can roast it in a slow cooker too, but I just haven’t tried it yet.  Can’t see why it wouldn’t work though.

 

Dill-icious Chicken Bites

Dill Dip Chicken Bites

After our Wildtree Launch Parties we had a a few leftovers… not much, but enough to play with and create an interesting, easy dinner for ourselves the following day.  At first, I thought I was just being good and using up leftovers…. Nope….  I was creating our new favorite dinner!

I had a little of the Dill Dip left over and a cup or so of the Spaghetti Sauce…. I didn’t want to throw it away, and eating it with a spoon seemed a bit silly.  (I did consider it though.)

I thawed out a few chicken tenders and some spaghetti squash (yes, I freeze leftover spaghetti squash… it turns out just fine.) and got to cooking.  Brian says this is his second favorite meal.  Woo hoo!  Good thing too, because we had it twice in one week because it is one of my favorites too! Best of all, it is pretty Low Carb (just the corn-flakes are naughty) and Gluten Free.

Now, don’t just open a jar of spaghetti sauce and call it done.  You will be missing out!  I used to be a spaghetti sauce in a jar kind of girl too.  I never saw a problem with it….. tasted fine to me…. until I tried the Wildtree Hearty Spaghetti Sauce Blend.  I’m telling you…. this stuff is delicious! Aside from the awesome taste, the other huge bonus to using the Wildtree blend is that you can cut the recipe down to a proper size for your family.  When I’m doing a Family Dinner night, I use a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes.  When it’s just me and Brian, I can use the smaller can and half the amount of spice….. no more half empty jar of sauce in the fridge.  Yay!

Dill-icious Chicken Bites with Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients 

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash, roasted and shredded
  • 2 Chicken Breasts (I used about 5 Tyson, Skinless Boneless, Chicken Tenders)
  • 2 c. Corn Flakes, Crushed
  • 1/4 c. Sour Cream
  • 1/4 c. Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. Wildtree Dill Dip Blend
  • 14oz can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Tbs Wildtree Hearty Spaghetti Sauce Blend

Directions

Spaghetti Sauce:

In a small sauce pan combine the Hearty Spaghetti Sauce Blend and the whole can of crushed tomatoes. Let the sauce simmer while you work on the chicken.

Chicken Bites:

Preheat oven to 350°

In a medium sized bowl, combine the mayonnaise (I used Miracle Whip), Sour Cream and Dill Dip Blend.

In a second medium sized bowl crush the cornflakes into small pieces.

Spray olive oil on the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch pan or baking sheet.

Slice the thawed chicken into bite sized chunks (Mine were fairly healthy chunks… two-bite, bite sized). Coat each chunk in the Dill Dip and then roll in the crushed corn flakes.   Place coated chunks in/on your pan.  Repeat until all the chunks are coated.

Bake at 350° for 15 – 20 minutes.

Combine the squash, chicken bites and sauce to your preference (I like to dip the bites into the sauce…) and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Wild News!

Brian and I have a bit of exciting news….. We’ve become Wildtree Reps!

Last weekend Mom, Brian and I were at a Strawberry Festival and as we were wondering through the booths we came across a company that I hadn’t heard of before (I’m an Event Coordinator for another festival, so I know a lot of direct sales companies).  Wildtree is direct sales company that specializes in all natural spices, mixes and oils.  Every Wildtree product is natural: containing no additives, preservatives, MSG or food dyes.  The typical Wildtree event is done as a tasting party.  Does this sound like me and Brian, or what?  Eeep!

We bought the Infused Grapeseed Oil Set and the Alfredo Extraordinaire at the festival.  I wanted the Alfredo sauce mix because I’ve found it hard to find many without wheat and  I actually knew what all the ingredients in the mix were!  (How rare is that?)

We sampled a number of the oils at the festival….. The reps even had popcorn for us to dip into the oil samples.  How’s that for nice?  Most companies that offer samples just have pretzels or bread cubes.  Popcorn for those of us avoiding gluten… nice!

I couldn’t wait to get home and start trying out the oils and the Alfredo sauce mix.

Since we’re trying to stay low-carb, Brian and I have been on a Spaghetti Squash kick.  I already had some squash roasted and frozen, so I just grabbed it out of the freezer and let it thaw for the afternoon.  I put it in the oven for about 30 minutes to heat it back up.  I hadn’t tried freezing and reheating it before, but it turned out just fine.

I was really pleased with the Alfredo sauce mix. Yes, you can just buy Alfredo sauce in a jar, but one jar is too much for just the two of us (and have you read the list of ingredients?  Do you know what half of those things are?).  Most of the time I don’t have all the ingredients on hand to make Alfredo sauce from scratch, but I always have butter and milk. This will be nice to just have on hand.   I’m already imaging other recipes!

Over dinner we discussed Wildtree and talked about signing up as reps.  Working for a small family company, I either have tons of time available or none at all.  Something like this would give me some nice flexibility.    I had considered joining a direct sales company before, but hadn’t come across a product that I felt passionate about.  Wildtree is FOOD… HEALTHY FOOD!  And instead of those parties where the reps convince you to buy purses that you will use twice or candles that you will yard-sale……I’ve bought plenty in my time… not knocking em…. that’s just not for me….. These are FOOD Parties!  What is more fun than getting together with your friends and having a tasting party?!  Brian liked that these are parties that, as a guy, he would enjoy too.  We especially liked that the products were all natural and preservative, additive, dye and GMO free.  This is a product and a company that fits US.

So you are going to be seeing more recipes on my blog using Wildtree products.  Not ALL of my recipes…. but more.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! If you are interested in more info about the products or hosting your own Tasting Party please message me!  I would love to introduce you to Wildtree!  Of course if you just want to shop online, you can use my online store too.


Spaghetti Squash Chicken Alfredo

Ingredients

1/2 c. MilkSpaghetti Squash Alfredo

1/2 c. Alfredo Extraordinaire

5 Tbs. Butter

2 Chicken Breasts

1 Spaghetti Squash

Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil

Directions 

In a small pan, cook the chicken with a tablespoon or two of the Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil.  (I hate dirtying multiple pans, so I set the chicken on a plate and reused the same pan.)

Melt 5 tablespoons of butter and add the milk and Alfredo sauce and mix.  (I just followed the directions on the package.)

Top roasted spaghetti squash with Alfredo sauce and chicken (and mushrooms if you like!)