Chicken Chow Mein Spaghetti Squash

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So, Friday is my birthday.  It’s also my mom’s birthday.  Yep, I was born on her birthday (just barely – at 11:55 p.m.).  Hours and hours of labor with no drugs.  Happy birthday, Momma…you’re welcome!

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Mom always said I was the best birthday present she ever received.  She’s a sweet momma.  And I always loved sharing my birthday with her (still do).  It helped that she always let me have all the glory.  She’d cook my favorite meal and bake whatever flavor cake I wanted.  I’d always have all this planned out well in advance because I ALWAYS planned my birthday well in advance… like 6 months in advance.  That’s how much I love my birthday.  As an adult, I started celebrating my birthday ALL WEEK…because why not?  I did this until I had kids and then I had to give up my birthday week because… kids.  I still like to treat myself as much as possible all week though.  If nothing else, I make my favorite meals.  It’s my birthday week.  “I don’t care if you want hamburgers; I get to pick, kid!”  🙂  So this week I’ll be making one of my favorite healthy dinners:  Chicken Chow Mein Spaghetti Squash.

This recipe has a similar flavor profile as our most popular recipe to date, Egg Roll in a Bowl.  It is a bit more time consuming, since you have to roast the spaghetti squash, but that can be done in advance.  In fact, the chicken can be cooked in advance and the sauce mixed up too!  Combining them all at the end takes almost no time at all.  It’s worth the work because it makes a ton (Hooray for leftovers!) and the serving sizes are huge.  You can eat a whole plate full for very few calories/SmartPoints.  And it tastes amazing!  You don’t even notice that it’s spaghetti squash.  I don’t say that lightly because, normally, I believe there’s no substitute for real pasta.  However, in this recipe, it totally works.  And did I mention the serving sizes are huge?  Size matters.  ~Erin

 

Ingredients:

1 large spaghetti squash (mine was almost 4 pounds raw and made about 5 cups of “spaghetti”)

Non-stick cooking spray – I prefer olive oil spray

1 ½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat & cut into bite size pieces

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

1 T. garlic powder

3 tsp. sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil, divided

1/3 c. to ½ c. low sodium soy sauce (I use ½ cup.)

1 tsp. ginger paste or freshly grated ginger

3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

½ a large onion, diced

3 stalks celery, diced small

1 (16 oz.) bag tri-color coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage with carrots)

Optional garnishes:  chopped green onions, sriracha sauce, or red pepper flakes

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 460°F.

Line a baking pan with foil and spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.  Cut the spaghetti squash, length-wise, and scoop out the seeds.  Place the squash cut side up in the pan and spray the squash with cooking spray.  Bake in the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes.  (If you have a smaller squash, check it earlier.)  Remove the squash from the oven; using large tongs or oven mitts, carefully flip the squash over, cut side down, and bake for 5 to 10 more minutes.  Remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool completely.  Scoop the strands & set aside.  The spaghetti squashed can be cooked in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, ginger, and minced/pressed garlic cloves; set aside.

Heat 1 tsp. of oil in a large, high-sided skillet, pot, or Dutch oven on the stove over medium-high heat.

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, & garlic powder.  Add the chicken to the pan and allow to brown.  Flip and brown the other side.  Remove chicken from the skillet & set aside.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add 1 tsp. of oil, then celery and onion.  Continue to cook, stirring often, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the last 1 tsp. of oil and the entire bag of cole slaw mix to the pan.  Stir until the cabbage begins to wilt, about 3 or 4 minutes.

Add chicken, spaghetti squash, and sauce to the cabbage mixture.  Stir until heated through.

Garnish with chopped green onions and, if desired, sriracha or red pepper flakes.  Serve hot.

Weight Watchers Info.:  This recipe makes about 7 servings at a mere 3 SmartPoints each.  Each serving is 10 ounces (weight) or about 2 cups.

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Asian Beef & Broccoli

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Posted by Erin

The only “vegetables” (even if you can call them that) I at as a child were potatoes and hominy.  Hominy… not sure that even qualifies as a vegetable, it’s so over-processed.  My mom tried everything to get me to eat my vegetables.  She tried making me sit at the table until I ate them… I was apparently a very strong willed child.  She tried seasoning them differently or “hiding” them in casseroles… I didn’t fall for that.   She even tried paying me.  That one actually worked… until she quit paying me, then I quit eating them.  My poor mom.  Fortunately, my taste buds have changed and now I’m a lover of all foods, meat and vegetables alike.  Luckily for me, my kids are a lot better eaters than I was as a child.  One of their favorite veggies is broccoli so we have it a lot.  We like it roasted, steamed & seasoned, covered in cheese, or incorporated into a dish such as this one.  This Asian Beef & Broccoli is a one-pan meal, which you know I love!  (Okay, two pans if you count the one you cook the rice in.)  It’s fast & easy to prepare and tastes like Chinese take-out!

Ingredients:

½ c. beef broth (I use water & beef bouillion)

3 T. cornstarch, divided

2 T. sweet chili sauce (found in the Asian section of the grocery store)

4 T. low sodium soy sauce

1 T. garlic, minced

½ tsp. fresh ginger or ginger paste

¼ tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)

1 T. sesame oil, divided

1 (12 ounce) bag frozen broccoli florets, thawed and drained on paper towels (I chop them smaller so they spread more evenly throughout the dish & cook faster.)

½ a medium onion, chopped

1 lb. tenderized round steak (a.k.a. cube steak), trimmed and cut into small strips

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

Salt & pepper

Cooked rice, for serving (We also like to have more soy sauce on hand to season our rice.)

 

Instructions:

In a small bowl, combine beef broth, sweet chili sauce, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, minced garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes (if desired); set aside.

In a large skillet or wok, heat ½ tablespoon sesame oil over medium-high heat.  Sautee the broccoli, stirring frequently, until it gets some brown coloration on it.  Turn off heat, remove broccoli from the pan, and set aside.

In a bowl or plastic baggie, sprinkle steak strips with corn starch, garlic powder, onion powder, and a dash of salt & pepper; toss to coat.

Heat remaining ½ tablespoon sesame oil in the skillet again over medium high heat.

Add beef; cook and stir until brown and juice runs clear.

Add broth mixture & broccoli to pan with beef.

Reduce heat to low.

Simmer & stir about 5 minutes, until broccoli is tender and sauce is thickened.

Serve over rice; add more soy sauce, if desired.

 

Weight Watchers info:  Each 8 ounce (weight) serving is 6 SmartPoints; makes 4 servings.

Asian Lettuce Wraps

IMG_0416Posted by Tracy

When your favorite Asian restaurant is an hour from home, you learn to improvise – or at least I do.  I’ve learned to make my two favorites: Lettuce Wraps and Orange Chicken (I’ll share the chicken recipe with you later).  I’ve tweaked these Lettuce Wraps to my family’s liking by adding a little spice.  We had these for dinner tonight and they’re delicious – and at 6 SmartPoints per serving (for four servings) you can eat a lot! All you’ll need to do is remember to buy some fortune cookies.

 

Ingredients:

1 pound 99% fat free ground turkey (I’ve also used very lean ground chicken)

1 medium onion, chopped (about ¾ c.)

2 oz. pine nuts

2 T. minced garlic

1 T. reduced-sodium soy sauce

¼ c. hoisin sauce

1 T. minced fresh ginger

1 T. rice wine vinegar

2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)

1 can (8 oz.) water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

2 tsp. Asian sesame oil

1 head lettuce or bunch of romaine lettuce

Instructions:

Rinse lettuce leaves, keeping them whole.  Set aside on paper towels to dry.

Cook turkey and onion together in large skillet.  Once turkey is approximately half cooked, add the garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, vinegar, and crushed red pepper.  Continue cooking.

When meat mixture is fully cooked, add water chestnuts, pine nuts, and green onions.  Cook until green onions just begin to wilt.  Stir in sesame oil.

Spoon mixture into the middle of a large lettuce leaf.  Fold or wrap lettuce leaf around meat mixture to eat.

4 servings = 6 SmartPoints each