I know, I know. There's a story behind this. When I was a girl, we owned four cute little Parakeets. They were my little babies, pretty much. Their names reflect my, um, creativity-- Kairi, Riku, Lemon, and Kiwi. (Yeah, I know. Don't be judgin'). But when I had them, I felt like I just couldn't morally eat a bird when we had birds. This meant none of my mother's delicious cheese-stuffed Mexican chicken, no turkey at Thanksgiving, even chicken broth was out of the question.
Well, the birds came and went (replaced by a pair of black kittens), and yet I still wasn't eating poultry. For some reason, I had just gotten into the habit and didn't see the need to stop. Two years ago, when I decided to try eating it again and ventured the smallest bite of chicken, I got sick-- as in, super sick. I never really wanted to try poultry again after that.
Until this recipe, that is.
Originally, this started out as just Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash Salad. And it was good. It was really good. But something was missing. I was absolutely craving the taste of some type of protein. And the word that kept popping into my head, nagging at the back of my brain...
Chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken....
So I decided to take a chance. I made chicken, marinated in fresh lemon and covered with bright grape tomatoes, roasted in the oven until it was perfectly cooked and juicy.
Oh my god, you guys. The recipe went from really good to.... really really good. The nutty, slightly sweet spaghetti squash is tossed with aromatic basil, fresh garlic, and salty feta cheese to create a satisfying base for the juicy, spicy, lemon-roasted chicken breasts and tomatoes. A touch of red pepper flakes add spice and excitement to the dish, highlighting the flavors of a nutritionally sound and delicious meal.
If I broke my 4-year fast for this, you know it's worth turning on your oven.
Guys, it was so worth it.
Mediterranean Lemon-Roasted Chicken and Squash
Serves 4 Serving Size: 1c. spaghetti squash mixture, 1 chicken breast, and 1/3c. roasted tomatoes
- 4 (4-oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2tsp salt
- 1tsp pepper, divided
- 1/4tsp ground red pepper
- 1 medium lemon
- 10oz grape tomatoes
- cooking spray
- 4c. cooked spaghetti squash
- 1/4tsp garlic powder
- 1/2tsp red pepper flakes, plus more for garnish if desired
- 1/4c. basil, thinly sliced
- 3/4c. (3oz) low-fat feta cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Meanwhile, place chicken in a baking dish so that they fit snugly next to each other. Sprinkle with salt, 1/2tsp pepper, and red pepper.
- Slice lemon into semi-thin circles, and layer the lemon slices evenly over the chicken. Put the tomatoes on top of the chicken/lemons, in the same baking dish. Spray with cooking spray. Cook at 400 degrees for ten minutes; then lower the heat to 350F and cook for another thirty minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and tomatoes have wrinkled slightly. Allow to cool for five minutes.
- Meanwhile, toss together spaghetti squash, remaining 1/2tsp pepper, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, basil, and feta in a large bowl.
- To serve, placed 1c. of the squash mixture on each of four plates; top each with one chicken breast and 1/3c. of the tomatoes. Serve with lemon, basil, and red pepper flakes, if desired.