It’s Monday which means we’re all getting back into the groove after our weekend activities, some of which may have involved grilling chicken. Is there leftover grilled chicken in your frig? Mine too. Here’s what I did with not only my leftover chicken, but with some of my spaghetti squash, the hot peppers with their mysterious levels of heat and the newest veggie to ripen in the garden, the grape tomato (more accurately tomatoes — they’re multiplying like rabbits — oh my!)
I usually pair spaghetti squash with the obvious marinara or recently with a cheeeeesy chicken Alfredo — kinda like the diet Coke with the Big Mac and yes, I’ve rocked that too! — but with all this fresh produce, I needed another option. Introducing . . .Mexican Spaghetti Squash.
It lacks the heavy, oh so bloated feel I usually get from overeating Mexican — so hard not to overeat it’s so yummy! — but with all the flavor!
Recipe ingredients can and should be adjusted to your taste and whatever leftovers you have in your frig. Feel free to jazz this up any way you desire — zucchini would also be delicious if you happen to have a drove of them from your garden —
If you haven’t cooked spaghetti squash before, here’s what you do — it’s really easy!
Cut it in half stem to stern or length-wise and with a spoon, hollow it out, getting rid of the seeds. Brush a small amount of olive oil around the edges only. Lay it face down on a cookie sheet and bake 25-30 minutes or until you can easily stick a fork into it. Turn it over and with that same fork, gently rake it, creating what sorta looks like angel hair pasta (but which even a blind man wouldn’t mistake the taste for, no matter what health nuts tell you — though it IS yummy all on its own).
Now you’re ready to fill/top the spaghetti squash and as far as the amount of cheese you
measure throw in, well, far be it from me to judge you. Truly healthy eaters would say add a little cheese, but is it really a crime if you have enough cheese on this thing it strings out and leaves a thread of it on your chin? I don’t think so either. It’s the same as when “they” say we’re not supposed to drink alcohol in the morning. . .um, ever hear of brunch? Ole!
- 1- spaghetti squash
- Olive oil
- 1 can of Black beans
- 1/2 C corn (I used shucked/frozen I had on hand)
- Leftover chicken
- Black olives (optional/small can)
- Cheese (sharp cheddar, pepper-Jack, Colby-Jack, your choice or whatever you have)
- 1/2 bell pepper, color of your choice, chopped
- 1- small onion, finely diced
- 1 - hot/jalapeno pepper (more if you desire)
- Juice from 1/2 lime
- 3 T cilantro, minced
- Spices: I got lazy and just spooned about 2 teaspoons of the dry, packaged Hidden Valley SPICY Ranch. You could also season with salt and pepper, chili powder, paprika, cumin for equally great results. Again, use what you have!
- Cut the spaghetti squash in half from stem to stern.
- Rub or brush a small amount of olive oil along the edges of the squash. Lay the squash face down on a cookie sheet and roast 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees or until the backside of the squash is easily pierced with a fork.
- While the squash is baking, in a frying pan heat a drizzle of olive oil and sauté onions, bell peppers, hot pepper and whatever other veggies you're throwing in. Season with the Spicy Ranch or spices listed above. Stir in black beans, olives and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Squeeze the juice of half of a lime over the top and blend in. The lime gives it a bright, fresh flavor.
- By now the spaghetti squash will probably be done. Turn them over and with a fork, gently rake the squash, creating 'angel hair pasta'. Top with your chicken/veggie mixture and cheese. If you desire, you can return the squash to the oven and broil a couple of minutes until the cheese is browned -- or eat as-is.
- Optional toppings: salsa, sour cream, avocado.