Chicken Enchilada-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
It's silly to be intimidated by a vegetable, isn't it? And yet, how many of us shy away from unfamiliar vegetables - Brussels sprouts, fennel, artichokes, turnips, and spaghetti squash - simply because our parents never exposed us to them? Or worse yet, our parents grew up hating certain vegetables, so they never served them to us either?
Becoming a Fat Loss Foodie has definitely expanded my vegetable horizons and opened the doors to new flavors and recipes beyond basics like green beans and broccoli. Discovering the vegetable used in this recipe - spaghetti squash - was nothing short of game changing!
A cup of cooked spaghetti squash (100 grams) has 30 calories and only 7 grams of carbs (1.5 g fiber). It has trace amounts of fat and protein - less than a gram of each. This vegetable is what we call a “non-starchy carb”: a carbohydrate that is low in calories, low in carbs, and high water content. We eat as much of them as we want!
Once I knew how to cook spaghetti squash, I started adapting recipes - like this one for Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Spaghetti Squash - influenced by recipes and foods that were high in calories, fat, and carbs like pizza, enchiladas, spaghetti bolognese. Your imagination is the only limit!
1 whole spaghetti squash
2 oz. Neufchatel cheese (reduced-fat cream cheese)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
1/2 c. - 1 c. green chile or red enchilada sauce (depending on how much sauce you like! I like a lot:)
1 red or green bell pepper, diced
1/2 c. shredded colby, cheddar, or monterey jack cheese
olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper - optional and to taste
1. For roasting the Spaghetti Squash: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. With a paring knife, prick squash all over. Place on a rimmed, lined baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes. Flip the squash over and roast 40 minutes longer, or until tender when pierced with a paring knife. Remove squash from oven and let it cool. Slice squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Using a fork, scrape the strands of squash out of the shells into a large bowl. Set shells aside.
UPDATE: To cook a whole Spaghetti Squash in an Instant Pot, click HERE for step-by-step directions from the Detoxinista blog! It will be done in under 20 minutes total!
2. For the Chicken Enchilada filling: In a skillet over medium-high heat, sauté diced bell peppers in a little olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes.
4. To the bowl of cooked spaghetti squash, add Neufchatel, chicken breast, sautéed bell peppers, and enchilada sauce and stir to combine. Season to taste with sea salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper (if using.)
5. Scoop filling back into emptied squash shells and place them on a lined, rimmed baking sheet.Sprinkle each half of the stuffed squash with 1/4 c. shredded cheese. Return to oven to bake for a few minutes or place under the broiler until heated through and cheese is melted and bubbly.