When I think comfort food, I think a big bowl of pasta! However, over the last while I’ve been working on and tweaking my diet to ensure that I’m not only eating things that help me look my best but also things that make me FEEL my best. Unfortunately for my pasta-loving self, I’ve really determined that carbs and sugar are not my friends. I’ve always been cautious to unsure that I’m eating things with nutritional value but had noticed myself feeling a little more sluggish without a true “reason” to blame. I didn’t like how I was feeling so I started playing with my diet and quickly found the culprit of my sluggish days. Too many carbs! As a runner, carbs have always been in my diet but frankly as I’ve started decreasing the miles I run my carb intake should’ve also dropped. After a mere 2 weeks I found that I not only felt more energized and refreshed, I’d also dropped those few lbs that I’ve been fighting for the last year+ without really trying. Interesting. So I feel better without all the excess grains and sugar AND I’ve lost my annoyance weight without trying? All because of cutting carbs? Yep. Pretty much. That being said, anyone who knows me at all knows that I refuse to set true “off limit” foods/restrictions. (I don’t thrive with any sort of set rules, really…) so I’m not saying that I’ll NEVER eat a big bowl of pasta again but I have found a substitution that gives me that comfort food feeling without all the carbs (and calories!) so really…Why wouldn’t I skip it on the norm?
Have y’all tried this? This mild tasting yellow veggie is a super popular pasta substitution that has been in rotation for years with folks counting carbs but I’ve only recently jumped on board and tried it. It’s really been a game changer for me because I can successfully cut unnecessary carbs without losing one of my favorite meals. If you’re skeptical, know ahead of time it does NOT taste like spaghetti. So if you’re planning to find a miracle low carb and low calorie sub that tastes just like a big bowl of starchy white pasta, you’re going to be disappointed. For anyone who prefers a good saucy, flavorful bowl of pasta over a bland noodle and oil combo…keep reading! In my recipe the spaghetti squash is the base and the sauce is the star of the show. There are several ways to prepare the squash itself but here’s my personal favorite to get the best “pasta-like” result:
1) take a medium size squash and stab it in the center 3-4 times then microwave for 3 minutes. This will soften the squash and make cutting it in half much easier!
2) Scoop all the seeds and insides out then season with salt, pepper, and 1 TBSP of EVO. Bake at 400 for 50 minutes.
3) Let the squash cool 5 minutes or so ( just long enough so you can handle it) then take a fork and fluff away. Make sure you pull all the “noodles” away from the skin. Set aside.
~2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
~1/2 lb lean ground chicken
~1 tsp paprika
~1 tsp basil
~1/2 tsp thyme
~2 tbsp minced garlic
~2 cups of diced tomatoes
~1 cup of spinach
~3/4 cup of chicken broth
~1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
~1/4 cup grated parmasean
~2 tsp red pepper flakes
1) Heat a skillet over medium heat, add EVO, chicken, paprika, basil, thyme, and oregano. Cook and mix throughly.
3) add chicken broth and bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and mix in the mozzarella and 1/2 the parmasean. Add the spaghetti squash and mix throughly. Top with remaining parmasean and red pepper flakes. Serve immediately!
This will feed 3-4 light eaters or 2 hungry people ( aka Drew and I…)