2018 was a tough year. I lost my mom, I lost my dog, I lost my refrigerator. And in that importance ranking. And that year made me realize how important family, friends and pets (aka family), truly are. Sure, its easy to say, of course they are important. And we say that almost daily don’t we? But having them exit your life forever, takes your breath away and makes you sit back on your heels a bit. Or it should.
I am lucky enough to have a great family that supports each other and rallies when times are tough. I am also lucky enough to have those special friends that even though we may be miles apart, can heal your heart with a kind note, quiet dinner or weekend away when you really need it. (And thanks Lois, Marianne and Laurie!)
After having been away from home for 5 months, I am so happy to have my own bed to sleep in, my things around me, friends on the phone, and cook my own meals.
Truly my safe harbor is home.
Here is comfort food to help make your safe harbor a bit more comfy- Creamy baked spaghetti squash with spinach and chicken.
Creamy Baked Spaghetti Squash with Spinach and Chicken.
Serves 2 and quite heartily
2 – 3 lb spaghetti squash
3/4 lb single chicken breast
1 5 oz package fresh spinach
1 10-12 oz package frozen artichokes thawed and large chopped
1/2 large onion large chopped
4-6 oz cream cheese softened and cubed
1/2 c Parmesan cheese, grated + some for browning
2 T minced garlic ( i like to make it with 3, but I love garlic)
1 Tablespoon water
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
Putting it together:
Turn on oven to 400 degrees. While it is preheating, poke the spaghetti squash multiple times with a fork. Place in microwave and cook for 5 minutes. This will make splitting and coring the squash much easier.
Split the squash lengthwise and remove seeds. Place in oven and roast split side up for about 35-40 minutes. Will depend on the size of squash. Should be fork tender when done.
In a small ovenproof dish, cook the chicken till just cooked through. Or, sear and cook over low heat on your stove top. However you want to cook it, that’s fine. Once its cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
While the squash is roasting, make the chicken. Chop the artichokes, onion, garlic. Cube the cream cheese and place all in a bowl.
In a pan, place 1 T of water and heat. Add spinach and cook till just wilted. Turn your spinach often. Remove to colander. Let cool and squeeze out water. Be careful not to burn your hands!
Add the spinach to the bowl of ingredients. Add celery salt, red pepper flakes and Parmesan. Add the chicken to the bowl.
Chiffonade your basil and set to the side.
When your spaghetti squash is finished roasting, remove from oven. Take a fork and shred the squash lengthwise being careful not to break the skin. Add the shredded flesh to the bowl of tasty ingredients. Mix the ingredients well. Make sure to smash the cream cheese into the mixture well. Salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the mixture between the two halves of spaghetti squash. Top with additional Parmesan and bake. I would suggest about 10-15 minutes. Then turn on the broiler for 3-5 minutes to make a delicious brown crust on the top.
Top with basil. And devour.
This is restaurant quality at its finest. Remember, you can leave out the chicken for a delicious vegetarian version.