Oofta! Last week was my first week back to work after 6 months of maternity leave, and all of a sudden dinner time has become so much more difficult!
There are a few important things I think about when I plan our meals for the week ahead...
- Is it easy to make?
- Will it taste good?
- Do I have any of the ingredients already on hand?
- And of course — will it provide a good amount of nutrients?!
When I was asking my husband what he felt like for dinner last week, he said, “We have shrimp.” So, I got to thinking, what could we have using shrimp? I’ve tried a shrimp scampi recipe before and loved it, but wanted to try something a little different.
We did. Using spaghetti squash and... It. Was. Amazing.
Spaghetti squash and shrimp? Why not?!
First of all, I adore spaghetti squash. If you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out. It’s a great substitute for spaghetti and is seriously delicious. Honestly, even my husband prefers it over regular pasta.
It’s great not just because it’s a good low carb option (you can replace ONE cup of pasta with FIVE cups of squash for the same caloric intake), but it’s also a great way to add more veggies into your diet, and is incredibly versatile. Best of all, one squash makes a TON of food, so you’re bound to have leftovers, which is life-saving as a busy working mama of 3!
It’s also super easy to cook. Honestly, the hardest part is cutting the darn squash in half!
Spaghetti squash is also available most of the year, so you don’t have to worry too much about missing it during specific seasons. (Although it tends to be cheaper and easier to find in the Fall)
What are the health benefits of spaghetti squash?
I found these health benefits listed online:
- It’s packed with vitamins. Vitamin C, A, B6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and vitamin K to name a few!
- And full of minerals. Manganese is the dominant mineral which plays a huge role in the production of healthy bones, tissues, and sex hormones. It also plays a role in metabolism, regulating blood sugars, absorption of calcium, and helping with nervous system functioning! Additionally, you’ll find spaghetti squash contains small amounts of potassium, magnesium, calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus, sodium, zinc and selenium.
- It contains much-needed fiber. Okay, we all know fiber helps your gastrointestinal tract... But did you know it has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular (heart) disease and can help to lower cholesterol?! Fiber also helps you feel fuller for longer. It’s a win-win!
- It’s low in calories and carbs. I mentioned this above as a low carb option. While I do NOT recommend eating a “low-carb diet”, if you’d rather have your carbs a different way and don’t want to go overboard on carbs, this is a great alternative! Spaghetti squash has just 10 carbs and 42 calories in 1 cup of squash.
- It is DELICIOUS! Alright, this isn’t a “health benefit,” but it’s still true!
Alright... are you ready for this recipe?
Spicy Garlic Shrimp & Spaghetti Squash
Don't get intimidated by this ingredient list, if you take a look, you'll find that it's just a lot of seasonings... not a TON of actual ingredients. And it's super simple to prepare. Remember how I mentioned that the hardest part is cutting the squash? Well, here's how you can make it a little easier...
How to cut spaghetti squash more easily...
To make it less of a hassle to cut in half, you can pop the entire spaghetti squash in the microwave for about 5 minutes before cutting. This helps soften the squash just enough to help get the knife through it! You can also score the squash with the tip of your knife all the way around before microwaving to make it even easier!
- 1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 pound large fresh or frozen shrimp, peeled and deveined*
- ½–1 cup sweet onion, diced
- 1–2 tsp of garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cans (15 oz) crushed tomatoes
- 1–1½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried parsley
- ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup plain greek yogurt, room temperature**
- Fresh parsley (optional)
- Fresh basil (optional)
- Goat cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Cut spaghetti squash in half, and scoop out seeds.
- Place squash cut side up in a 9x13 dish with approximately ½ inch of water at bottom of the dish
- Sprinkle the flesh of the spaghetti squash halves with salt and pepper and a bit of dried basil and oregano to your preference.
- Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the squash is tender.
- Let the squash cool slightly before scraping out the flesh with a fork.
- While the squash is cooling heat skillet over medium-high heat and spray it with cooking spray.
- Once the skillet is hot add in the shrimp and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook shrimp for about 2-3 minutes per side then remove them from the skillet onto a plate.
- Place the skillet back on the burner and add in the olive oil.
- When the oil is hot add in the diced onion and cook for about 5 minutes or until translucent.
- Add garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt, basil, oregano, and parsley and stir everything together.
- Simmer the tomato mixture over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the chicken broth then remove the skillet from the heat.
- Add in the greek yogurt and stir the sauce until it is incorporated and smooth.***IMPORTANT NOTE BELOW
- Add the shrimp back into the sauce and stir to coat them.
- Serve the shrimp and tomato sauce on top of the prepared spaghetti squash. Top with fresh basil, parsley & goat cheese, if desired
- *We used previously cooked shrimp from Costco to make it super simple!
- **I recommend whole milk or 5% greek yogurt to get a serving of healthy fats, but 2% or nonfat works as well.
- ***Be sure to add the greek yogurt with the pan off of the heat, otherwise the yogurt with curdle!