Did anyone ever watch Sandra Lee- Semi Home Made? I have lots of respect for her, but I’ll admit she wasn’t the cooking guru I looked up to. Scratch cooking is so much sexier.
BUT– sometimes I’m like, sexy’s overrated, I’m tired and look at that — half the work’s already been done. Yes thanks.
Especially because I promise these Panko Breaded Chicken Breast Tenderloins are so good. (And I wish I was getting paid somehow to say that, but I’m not. Even though it sounds like a bad ad when you use the whole name like that.)
I never let the bag run out since they’re the perfect quick dinner when I’m in a pinch. Or didn’t have time to think ahead on dinner because I’m just too busy updating my instagram. Let’s be real. They’re great in a chicken parm sandwich, or over pasta, or in this roasted tomato basil chicken sandwich if you want to make it a little more indulgent. Or in this cobb! So good. They for sure step-up that salad. But I guess crispy breading makes pretty much everything better.
(Or maybe that’s just the ex-hot-dog-on-a-stick-employee in me talking.)
But you’d think that yummy exterior would kill your macros but it’s just not that bad. 13c/9f/20p for a 4 oz portion. Not always worth it, but … usually. And on this spaghetti squash it’s TOTALLY worth it to me. There’s room for it since everything else is so light, and it just does so much to elevate your spaghetti squash beyond sad wanna-be-pasta-that’s-not-pasta. I actually legitimately prefer the squash to pasta in this dish….
Also– (and I’m repeating this below in the recipe because I can’t trust you to read anything I’m writing here – and I don’t blame you! You might be hungry and I am a massive respecter of hunger.) Anyway ALSO…. now I forgot what I was gonna say…
OH! Also if you need more protein but don’t want the added carbs and fat from the panko-breaded, sometimes I’ll do one of these and supplement in some grilled chicken that I have on hand. Fills my belly and my protein needs without wiping out my precious hoarded carbs and fat.
The Easiest Spaghetti Squash Chicken Parmesan
- 200 g Spaghetti Squash roasted or microwaved– whatever you prefer!
- Tyson Panko Breaded Chicken Breast Tenderloins 130 g
- Mozzarella 12 g
- Parmesan 3 g
- 1/2 cup favorite jarred marinara sauce or homemade*
- For Homemade Marinara
- 1 tbs tomato paste
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
For the Marinara:
- Heat a pan over medium heat with cooking spray, add tomato paste and garlic and saute for just a minute. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
- Add tomatoes, crushing with a spoon as you stir them in.
- Simmer while you prepare everything else.
For the Squash:
- Cut off end with stem. Then cut in half long wise and scoop out seeds with an ice cream scooper. (If it’s too hard to cut, microwave for three to five minutes first to soften it a bit.)
- Spray with olive oil spray and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Place face down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast at 425 for about 45 minutes or until tender when you poke it.
- OR– you can just poke it with a knife when it’s whole and raw and microwave it for about 8 minutes, or until tender, rotating about half way thru.
- If it bothers you that it gets a little watery, pull out the strands of spaghetti squash and sautee them in a pan for a few minutes with some cooking spray. This also gives you a chance to add more flavor with a clove of garlic and some more salt and pepper if you’d like. Fresh herbs of course if you’re feeling extra fancy.
For the Rest:
- Bake chicken according to package directions, only pull out 2 minutes early to sprinkle a little mozzarella on top if you want it!
- Plate your 200 grams of squash. Top with chicken, 1/2 cup marinara, a sprinkle of parmesan, and of course some fresh basil if you have it. I HAVE to if I’m not eating a salad. Dinner never looks done to me without something green!
- Obviously you can throw jarred tomato sauce on spaghetti squash with any protein and call it a day. It’s such a great easy macro-friendly meal. And while these panko crusted chicken breasts aren’t as light as super lean ground turkey or grilled chicken, they really do make all the difference to me in this dish tasting indulgent instead of like diet food. Like it balances out having squash instead of pasta for me.
- Need more protein? Do part panko crusted, and add in some prepped grilled or rotisserie chicken from your fridge.
- Two of my favorite jarred marinaras with the best macros are the “Rustico” one from Trader Joes and “Victoria” from Costco. Both only 6 carbs for the 1/2 cup which is NOT always the case.