I am one of those weird people who don’t usually hate Monday’s as much as the rest of the world seems to. I don’t particularly enjoy waking up for work any day of the week, Friday included. Today, however, I feel differently. This Monday sucks. I think it’s because of the whole daylight savings thing. I have exactly zero motivation to do anything. Including cook. Luckily, I have a ton of super quick recipes for days just like today. Unfortunately, there is no such “super quick fix” for working.
Full disclosure: I pre-made some of this stuff (like the pesto) and had it in my fridge when I went to make my lunch this morning. BUT because I was resourceful, I brought my lunch to work and stayed good on my “no eating out during the week” for Lent. I’m pretty proud of myself. I know it’s technically only been like 4 days (if you count work days, not weekends) but I am actually surprised I have made it this far. Now let’s see how much longer it will last..
The picture to start this post was just for looks, this is how I made and took my lunch to work today. Not that impressive. Sorry.
So first things first: spaghetti squash. Have you ever had it? I actually tried it well before I decided to really give paleo a try. My friend Betsy told me about this squash that you could cook and it would magically turn into a stringy pasta-like dish. Obviously I thought she was insane. So I told her she had to come over and cook it for me. I promised that I would make meat sauce from scratch if she cooked her magical squash.
At the time I didn’t immediately fall in love with spaghetti squash, because let’s just call a spade a spade here: it isn’t spaghetti. Nothing is spaghetti except spaghetti. You can’t replace pasta, just like you can’t replace bread. However, you can eat things that resemble those foods and have a crap ton more health benefits/nutrients than pasta or bread ever will. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we’re really looking for here? Plus spaghetti squash is like stupid easy to cook. It takes little to no brain cells to make, which is exactly what I needed today.
1 spaghetti squash
1/4 cup paleo pesto sauce. You can find the recipe here
3/4 cup chicken. I used shredded chicken that I made in the crock pot yesterday for TJ’s lunches this week, but you can use pretty much anything here. Leftover rotisserie chicken would be really good too.
Cooking the spaghetti squash can be done a few ways. You can cut it in half before cooking which will help cut down cooking time, plus you can season it this way. Or, you can literally throw it in the oven whole at 375 for about an hour (prick the skin a few times with a fork or knife before you put it in).
If you cut it ahead of time, you’re going to need a very large, very sharp knife. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove any pulp and seeds. Add a little oil, salt and pepper to both halves and pop it in the oven face down at 375 for about 40-45 minutes. You can also cook it in the microwave (which is apparently anti-paleo but whatever, sometimes you don’t have the time!) Just place both halves face down in about an inch of water in a glass baking dish (or do one half at a time if they don’t fit in your microwave together) and cook in the microwave for about 7 minutes. Cooking times will vary based on the size of your squash. Once the skin is soft to the touch, it is done.
If you decide to cut your squash after cooking, you need to make sure you don’t burn yourself when removing the pulp and seeds. Then you just need to pierce the skin with a fork or knife and throw it into the oven whole.
Once your squash is cooked (and de-seeded), let it cool a bit and separate the strands with a fork. Put your “spaghetti” into a large bowl, add your chicken and pesto sauce, mix it up and you are good to go! This is a great meal to make ahead of time and take with you for lunch all week. One spaghetti squash should feed one person for 4-5 days.