Monday, June 11, 2012

Healthy pad thai...

Since working from home, I've been bitten by the cooking bug. I usually take lunch right around the time the ABC show The Chew is on and have been inspired to try lots of new and different recipes.
Right after we got engaged, next to the same table here we sat on our first date. 
Ryan and I both love Thai food, in fact, we got engaged at the same Thai restaurant where we had our first date. So in my search for a dinner recipe, I wanted to make a thai meal I could "health up" so I decided on Pad Thai. Traditionally, Pad Thai includes noodles, spicy peanut sauce, egg, peanuts, cabbage, alfalfa sprouts, lime, cilantro and the meat of our choice, I prefer chicken.

To health it up a bit, I swapped out the noodles and replaced it with spaghetti squash. To be honest, I have tried spaghetti squash in a number of recipes, but this is the first one where I can honestly say, it was a perfect replacement for the noodles, it had the right consistency and held the flavor of the dish.

I didn't use a recipe for this dish, I made it up as I went, so here is a rough estimate of what I used.

(Serves 2)
3 chicken breasts
1 large spaghetti squash
1 cup of matchstick carrots
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
1 bottle of Thai peanut sauce/marinade (whatever brand you prefer)
Juice of one lime
Chopped cilantro to top
Hot and spicy peanuts to top

(I prepared the chicken and spaghetti squash earlier in the day and kept in the fridge)
1.  Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper, olive oil and cook at 350 for 25 minutes

2.  Cook spaghetti squash per the directions on the sticker, but generally you cut lengthwise, place cut side down in a backing dish with a little water at the bottom and cook for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

3. Shred squash with a fork to get the "spaghetti" and cut the chicken into bit-sized chunks.

4. Put the chicken in medium-sized pan and the squash in large pan on the cooktop. Cook both pans on medium heat, watch so the squash doesn't burn. Reduce heat if necessary. Both the chicken and squash are already cooked so this is just to warm through.

5. Coat both the chicken and the spaghetti squash with the peanut sauce to taste.

6. Add carrots to the squash pan.

7. Warm both pans through then add the chicken to the squash pan. Cook for a few more minutes to combine the flavors.

8. While the pan is cooking, in a separate dish combine the cabbage, lime, ginger and cilantro. This is the garnish for the dish. I tossed in a little peanut sauce too.

9. Remove squash and chicken mixture from heat and spoon into bowl. Top with cabbage mixture and sprinkle with hot and spicy peanuts. Add a wedge of lime if you choose. 

How delicious does this look?
This is the first meal we enjoyed on our new deck and, if I do say so myself, this was the best meal I have made in recent history. So much flavor you wouldn't even know it was healthy.
And it seems that my better half agreed! Two thumbs up. What more can you ask for?!


Kara said...

This looks amazing. I have been afraid to try the whole "substitute noodles for spaghetti squash" craze. Might just be time to start :)

Kara said...

or....substitute spaghetti squash for noodles. ha!

Jen said...

Kara, I've tried a lot of different spaghetti squash as a noodle substitute recipes, and I can confidently say this is the best by far!