This week I have been all about quick and easy dinners. Something that I can get on the table in 30 minutes (ish) or less. It’s my first week back at work after about a week of R&R, and let me tell you, getting back on the wagon is hard! Laziness is like the plague, it ain’t easy to kick! Buttttt its just about completely out of my system, thank goodness!
The recipe that stole the show, both cost wise and preparation wise, was this ahhhhmazing stuffed spaghetti squash! From start to finish it took me 28 minutes to completely finish. [Don’t judge me, but I timed myself LOL!]
Inspiration struck me when I noticed spaghetti squash is on sale for .79c a pound this week! It normally sits at about $1.49, which doesnt sound like a lot but it really does start to add up. This MASSIVE squash, which was 3.5lbs, was only $2.75! To feed two people that’s nothing! After I snagged all the ingredients I needed, dinner for just us two only cost $19.06! Super budget friendly, super easy, and SUPER delicious for less then $20! I mean come on, you just can’t beat that!
I bet you’re thinking…Girl, you got a cooked squash on the table in 28 minutes? SURE DID! I love that roasted flavor, but I don’t always have time for that roasting process; ya know what I’m sayin’?! To get that flavor in less then half the time I put my Instant Pot to use! [I freakin’ love that contraption!] I cook it in the Instant Pot until its about 3/4 of the way done; thats usually about 2-4 minutes depending on the size of the squash. [I love it aldente so I tend to go for less time.] Then to finish it off I pop it under the broiler, which gets you that oven roasted flavor you’re lookin’ for! Give it a whirl, total time saver!
So without further drag, I’ll let you get to cookin’! Leaving you with those thoughts of sweet little grape tomatoes, and the scent of garlic filling your house!…
- Spaghetti Squash; size of your choice
- 4 cloves garlic; thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 container grape tomatoes
- 8 basil leaves; julienned
- fresh mozzarella
- 4 chicken breast
- 1/2 cup milk
- italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- canola oil; for pan frying
- Salt & Pepper
- For the squash: Split length wise, using a spoon scrape out the guts/ seeds into the trash. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. -If you choose to oven roast: preheat oven to 400*, on a foil-lined cook sheet, roast cut side down for 40-50 minutes or until squash slightly resists a fork. -Instant Pot Method: place squash in pot, secure lid, and cook on Manual Mode for 3 minutes. Once finished quick-release pressure so the squash doesnt continue to cook. Remove from pot. [This is the fun part.] Using a fork, drag across the meat of the squash width-wise to create spaghetti-like strings! Leave in the skin.
- While squash cooks prepare chicken: In a large sautee pan, add just enough canola oil to cover bottom of pan, and heat over medium-low. Soak chicken in milk; one at a time remove from milk, dredge in breadcrumbs, and place in pan. [Be sure not to crowd the pan or the chicken won’t cook evenly.] Fry until golden brown perfection on both sides, remove, and set aside.
- Once all the chicken has been cooked, discard oil, and wipe pan with a papertowel. [No burnt bits, no one likes bitter…ew]
- Heat olive oil in pan over medium-low, add garlic and sautee for about 5 minutes or until super fragrant. [Be sure not to under-cook the garlic, you really want to get some rockin’ flavor going here!] Once the garlic has reached maxium flavor potential add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Pour oil mixture evenly over both halves of the squash. Season with salt & pepper.
- Now to assemble this beautiful masterpiece: Place chicken on top of squash, tear pieces of mozz and scatter over evenly. [I LOVE A LOT OF CHEESE!] Place both halves under the broiler until cheese is melted and begins to bubble slightly, remove from oven and sprinkle basil on top. Enjoy out of skins! [my mouth is watering!]
Until next time