My friend Lynn and I ventured over to Not Your Average Joe’s for lunch. The last time I had been there was before I became grain-free and paleo-ish so I was really curious to see how easy or hard it would be to find something that I’d be ok with. First off, I was pleasantly surprised to find a gluten-free menu already on the table. I didn’t even have to ask for it…there it was.
As I’m perusing said menu, my salivating glands go into overdrive when I spy Jambalaya on the menu. Luv me some cajun food, but alas…it’s served over rice. I continue to peruse and find a bolognese over spaghetti squash. I wasn’t feeling the bolognese but the spaghetti squash would be perfect instead the rice on my Jambalaya. With a simple request and a big smile I ask to have the Jambalaya served over spaghetti squash and just like that, I have a grain-free meal coming my way.
Lynn honed in on their gluten-free Harvest Mac & Cheese, served over gluten free pasta, She decides to forgo the gluten-free pasta and get it over spaghetti squash as well. It’s a dish with chicken, butternut squash, mushrooms and spinach combined with a cheese sauce.
One of my favorite things to do with food is to try and recreate a restaurant dish making it paleo-friendly. I was intrigued with both our selections and I decided to recreate Lynn’s “Harvest Mac & Cheese”. My first thought was to put another sauce over it, omitting the cheese and making it dairy free, but when I came to that part in the testing of my recipe, I decided to go sauce-less. Sometimes, less is more. It tasted that good to me. Since I couldn’t call my dish “Mac & Cheese”, Lynn named it Harvest Chicken and Squash. It really is yummy, and for me the extra bonus is that it is dairy-free as well.
This recipe uses left-over chicken from my Best Roasted Chicken Ever recipe, which I make every week so that I have options for lunches and dinners later in the week.
So, we start with simple and organic ingredients. Let’s get the spaghetti squash into the oven. Be sure you have a sharp knife and be extra careful. This is not the easiest vegetable to run a knife through. Once you’ve cut it in half lengthwise, drizzle with some olive oil and put them face down on a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake for 45 minutes and then turn the oven off. Flip them right side up and close the oven door. I do this last part because it seems to get some of the moisture out.
While the spaghetti squash is cooking, prep the other ingredients. Dicing the butternut squash is easy and you can see how to do it here. If you’ve perused the ingredients list below, you may wonder about the lack of seasoning. If you’ve made my Best Roasted Chicken Ever recipe, you’ll find there’s plenty of flavor on the chicken already. I added a bit of heat with the jalapeno pepper, however, red pepper flakes can do the same thing. In theory, you can use any type of pepper and adjust the amount to your liking. I like it spicy.
The next part goes pretty quickly so you don’t start it until the spaghetti squash is done and you’ve turned off the oven. Saute up the remaining ingredients starting with the butternut squash and jalepeno pepper. Depending on the size of your diced squash, it’ll take 3-4 minutes to get them to a happy medium between soft and firm. Then, add the kale and the mushrooms and continue to cook another 3 -4 minutes.
Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven. With a fork, scrape out the spaghetti “noodles” and divide it among plates. Half of one spaghetti squash should be enough for 2 people, but…you know your hunger better than I.
And finally, top with the chicken and butternut squash mixture and enjoy!!!
Do you have a restaurant recipe you’d like recreated? Let me know, and I’ll give it go!
Harvest Chicken and Squash
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 1 medium butternut squash diced
- 1/2 jalepeno pepper diced
- 2 cups pulled chicken
- 2 or 3 kale leaves chopped
- 8 oz baby bella mushrooms
- fine sea salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Very carefully, cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and rub the cut side with a bit of olive oil. Place cut side down on foil lined rimmed cookie sheet and bake in oven for 40 minutes. When time is up, turn off the oven, flip the halves over and close the oven door until ready for use.
- Start this part after the spaghetti squash has been cooked. Heat olive oil a saute pan over medium heat. Add the diced butternut squash and jalepeno pepper and saute 3-4 minutes. Squash should be slightly soft but still have some firmness to it.
- Add in the chicken and kale and saute another 3 minutes or until the chicken is heated through. Add in the mushrooms and cook for another 2-3 minutes stirring frequently. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove spaghetti squash from oven and scrape out "noodles" with a fork onto plates.
- Top with chicken and squash mixture and serve immediately.