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CHICKEN CARBONARA BAKE
by Coach Courtney, RD www.vitalitynutrition.ca
I love this recipe because it is loaded with veggies, fibre, and protein! The recipe is far from a 'carb'-onara (ha!) as the spaghetti squash is far lower in carbohydrate than the pasta used in a classic carbonara dish. Maybe I should have called the recipe "Chicken Low-Carbonara Bake"!
Fall is approaching and this recipe is one of my favorite ways to use the abundance of spaghetti squash offered to me from friends, family, and gym buddies! The spaghetti squash replaces pasta in this Chicken Carbonara Bake. The recipe is similar in concept to one of my all-time favorite recipes: "Buffalo Chicken 'Spaghetti' Bake." While the recipe is more time consuming than my usual meal prep, you can quicken the process by preparing the spaghetti squash ahead of time. I roasted my spaghetti squash in the oven, but you can cook it in the microwave for maximum efficiency.
Consider doubling the recipe for leftovers throughout the week - it tastes even better reheated! The recipe would be made even better with cheese - try grating some parmesean on top before baking.
1 medium spaghetti squash
2 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 white onion, diced (150g)
3 cloves garlic, minced
chicken, diced (300g)
1 can (14-ounce) artichoke hearts, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped (250g)
2 cups spinach, chopped
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup egg whites (or 4 eggs)
salt and pepper
Cut the spaghetti squash in half and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake for 45-60 minutes at 350F or until the squash can be easily removed from the skin with a fork. Set the squash aside. I like to complete this step the day before.
In a large pan or Dutch oven, saute 2 slices of bacon (or more!) until cooked through. Add the onions and garlic to the pan with the bacon and bacon fat and saute until translucent. You may need to add 1-2 tbsp of water or broth if the onions stick to the pan.
If you are using raw chicken, add the diced chicken and saute until cooked. When the chicken is cooked, add the artichoke hearts, mushroom, and spinach. Alternatively, use pre-cooked or rotisserie chicken and add it alongside the artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and spinach. Add the nutmeg, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.
When the mixture has cooked through, combine the spaghetti squash with the chicken mixture. Stir in the egg whites or 4 eggs. This helps the mixture set when baked.
Add the spaghetti squash mixture to a casserole dish or bake in the Dutch Oven you used to saute the mixture. I love my Le Creuset Dutch Oven for this recipe.
Bake for 45-60 minutes at 350F or until the top forms a crust that doesn't give when you press into the middle.
Yields: 4 Servings
Search "Vitality Nutrition Chicken Carbonara Bake" in MyFitnessPal to add the recipe to your food tracking.