Utilizing all the knowledge I gained from the many years of watching Semi homemade with Sandra Lee and 30 minute meals by Rachel Ray with this dinner. It is definitely semi homemade and ready to go in 30 minutes or less!
I think that one of trickiest parts of planning meals to prepare at home, especially if you are trying to include a variety for a balanced healthy diet, is the work that goes into making all these meals. Realistically we just don’t have time to make everything from scratch and make a new a recipe every night. Besides, some of those old recipes are family favorites and there’s no reason to not have favorites on repeat as often as your family wants! Recipes like this one remind me that I don’t have to cook everything from scratch for my family to have a nutritious meal that we all really enjoy.
Kevin and I discovered that we have a taste for Indian dishes. I know very little about preparing this type of dish, so finding a simmer sauce that incorporated all the flavors we loved was awesome! I buy this Tikka Masala simmer sauce at Aldi on a regular basis. We mix it with chicken and serve it with naan or brown rice. This is a tomato based curry sauce filled with very aromatic flavors with a little spice as well. You could always make your own sauce, but for a quick week night dinner, this simmer sauce is awesome.
Now this meal would definitely not be less than 30 minutes if it weren’t for this quick cook method for spaghetti squash. It takes the cooking time down from 45-60 minutes to just about 15 minutes. The great thing is that you can be making the chicken and sauce while the squash is cooking. You can season the squash with salt and pepper only or if you have curry seasonings you can add those as well. I got the Spicy Curry Rub and Indian Curry Seasoning from Whole Foods.
An optional add in for a boost of nutrients and flavor is to sauté red, yellow, orange peppers, and white onion. This is one of my favorite combinations, but definitely a no go for my husband. To make this dish delicious to us both, I always sauté the extra veggies in a separate skillet to mix into my own chicken tikka masala. If your house has divided tastes buds like this, it is an option to consider.
One quick swap you can make, and that I did last time I made this was using precooked frozen sliced chicken. I have done this in a few recipes I have posted, but it can really speed up the cooking time when reheating the chicken is really all that is required. Plus, I hate the amount of times I have to wash my hands and counter when cooking raw meat. This takes care of that problem easily.
Like I said earlier, we usually serve our chicken tikka masala over naan or brown rice, but we decided to try something new and served it on top of spaghetti squash. We love spaghetti squash! I know often it is used as a low carb swap for spaghetti noodles, but we love using it because we love the dishes we can make with it and all the nutrients it can add to a meal!
On this particular night we served it with mini garlic naans. If you don’t know what naan is, it is basically a flatbread. It is absolutely delicious dipped in this tikka masala sauce. (I think that is Kevin’s favorite part.)
Chicken Tikka Masala Spaghetti Squash
1 2-3 lb spaghetti squash, cooked, split in half and raked through with a fork (see this post for a quick cook method)
½-1 jar Tikka Masala Simmer sauce
1 lb chicken breast, cut in 1 inch chunks or frozen precooked fajita sliced chicken
Optional- diced peppers and onions.
In a skillet over medium heat sprayed with non stick spray, cook chicken till fully cooked through. (If cooking peppers and onions separately cook at the same time. If cooking with the chicken, add to the skillet when chicken is almost fully cooked.)
Add ½-1 jar of the simmer sauce depending on the desired amount. Turn heat to low and stir frequently allowing sauce to warm and simmer. Turn off heat once it is heated through.
Divide the chicken tikka masala between the two spaghetti squash halves OR portion the spaghetti squash out onto each individual plate and divide sauce as necessary. Add peppers and onions as desired if they were prepared and cooked separately.