I have heard spaghetti squash is a great food and can be used "in place" of pasta and rice. So I decided to give it a shot and as I was craving Chinese I thought, hey lets make spaghetti squash Chinese!!
Let me preface this by saying spaghetti squash "Chinese" is NOT Chinese. It does not replace Chinese. It is a bunch of rarely used, cheap vegetables play'n like they are yummy Chinese.
After making this, I am not going to give up my old Chinese food because this is "just that much better". But, as a healthy alternative that gives you the same flavors of Chinese food...this is a winner! Like a big winner...something I would make even if I wasn't dieting.
So, back to the spaghetti squash. I had to be very open minded with this recipe as I am not a squash lover. The blandness and texture are just not pleasing to me. However, over the last 7 years I haven't been able to lose weight the way I wanted by eating the foods I was eating, so something must change. Enter...the squash!
Now, I think the reason the spaghetti squash is low in calories is because of how hard it is to get inside!!! This is when you need to be married to Wolverine. It took me forever to get into the raw squash and I swear I was going to cut my arm 15 times. I used the method of cutting the squash in half (with a guillotine perferably) and roasted inside part down with a little water in the pan for nearly an hour. Since that, a girl at work told me you can do this in the crockpot. Will be trying that for sure next time!
So besides a whole spaghetti squash cooked and removed from the skin, I also cut up a half a head of cabbage, 4 celery stalks, 2 cups frozen broccoli (steamed), 2 oz of chicken and an egg (the last two ingredients for my individual portion).
I cooked the cabbage & celery in a tablespoon of EVOO for about 5 minutes until it is just slightly softened. I then added the spaghetti squash, broccoli and a couple tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce. I "stir-fried" this for awhile until everything was combined and heated through.
I then added my shredded chicken and egg. I didn't make enough chicken for the entire recipe because, well, in case it sucked I didn't want to waste more food than I needed too!
(Which came first, the chicken or the egg?!)
Overall, my first attempt was good. It had any of the same flavors of chinese food. The cabbage and celery gave it some nice crunch to take away from the lack of consistency from the spaghetti squash. Plus, I got to eat a HUGE plate of food, which normally isn't the case when counting calories!! This recipe was 4 (large) servings and only 187 calories a serving for the spaghetti squash and cabbage mixture!! (Must add on the chicken, egg, and extra soy sauce as well which was still only an extra 130 calories) And I was seriously stuffed! You could probably do 6 servings to cut it down more, especially if you add brown rice.
The next day I reheated left overs, added some brown rice, scrambled up some eggs, and added some sriracha! Oh my, this was tasty!! Felt and tasted like chinese. Loved it actually. And like I said, it doesn't replace traditional chinese food but it is all about finding balance, right?! This is a great balance.
Some things I would do differently next time:
- Cook the squash in a crockpot so I do not cut my finger off cutting through
- Let the squash dry out a bit. Maybe spread it out on paper towel to remove excess moisture so it doesn't stick/clump together.
- Add more chicken and eggs
- Add some more veggies like carrots and peas
- 1 cooked spaghetti squash
- 1/2 head shredded cabbage
- 2 cups cooked broccoli
- 4 stalks chopped celery
- Lite Soy Sauce
- Couple Eggs
- Shredded Chicken breast
- Extra Lite Soy Sauce
- Brown rice
- Extra veggies
Calories (excluding the eggs and chicken) 187 per serving. 4 servings.
Cost: For the basic ingredients it was not more than $10.
Up Next I am going to try this with Quinoa!!