2 cups crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce (I buy the lowest sugar content I can find)
1 packet Stevia in the Raw or other sugar substitute
1 tsp. + 1/2 tsp. dried basil, divided
1 tsp. + 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 bay leaf
1 medium to large spaghetti squash
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs*
4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, 5 oz. each, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
Salt and pepper
Olive oil cooking spray (I use a Misto spray bottle with olive oil)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonaded (cut into thin strips)
*If you're trying to watch your carbs and don't want to use the bread crumbs, then just skip 'em. It won't have that crispy texture, but sometimes we'll just grill the chicken on the outdoor grill with the seasonings and not use any bread crumbs. Still tastes good!
In a medium saucepan, combine crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce, stevia, 1 tsp. dried basil, 1 tsp. dried oregano, garlic, onion powder, and bay leaf. Simmer for 30 minutes over medium-low heat. If you can simmer it for a little longer, that's even better. Taste it a couple times and adjust the seasonings to your taste.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread panko bread crumbs onto a baking sheet. Bake for 7-10 minutes until light golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove crumbs to a plate and add 1/2 tsp. dried basil and 1/2 tsp. dried oregano. Stir.
Spray each piece of chicken with olive oil cooking spray. Coat each chicken piece in about 2 T. of the bread crumbs. You don't need a heavy coating of bread crumbs.
On a baking sheet, add a rack if you have one and spray with cooking spray. If you don't have a rack, go ahead and put it directly on a sprayed cooking sheet. Place chicken on rack or sheet, then lightly spray the top of the chicken with cooking spray. Bake until chicken is cooked, about 12-15 minutes or until center reaches 165 degrees.
While chicken is baking, cook the spaghetti squash. Cut squash in half lengthwise. It can be hard to cut, so put some muscle into it and use a large sharp knife. But by all means, be careful! We don't want any squash accidents happening out there. Now that you've safely gotten through cutting it, scoop out the seeds and pulp. Microwave both halves on high for 8-12 minutes or until tender, rotating a couple times if you don't have a revolving plate. Let cool for a few minutes, then scrape the flesh away from the skin using a fork and a towel or oven mitt to hold the squash steady. It comes off in spaghetti-like strands! Scraping spaghetti squash still makes me slightly giddy, even though I've cooked a hundred of 'em ... If you're using pasta instead, prepare pasta according to package directions.
To serve family style, add spaghetti squash onto a serving platter. Top with about half the tomato sauce, then place the chicken on top. Add the remaining sauce and top with parmesan and fresh basil.
Nutritional information* per serving:
28 g. carbs (you'll cut about 6 g. carbs if you leave out the bread crumbs)
9 g. fat
52 g. protein
5 g. fiber
1045 mg. sodium
*estimated from myfitnesspal.com's recipe builder