Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spaghetti with Chicken & Veggie Pasta Sauce (Wheat/Grain & Gluten-Free)

This evening, both sons came for dinner. I made Spaghetti with Chicken & Veggie Pasta Sauce. I used DelGrosso's Fireworks Pasta Sauce (a spicy sauce) to save time. It's made with all good "real food" ingredients and doesn't contain any added sugar or other unnecessary ingredients (click the link above if you want to read about the sauce and see the list of ingredients). There are numerous pasta sauces that are healthy and contain the same type of fresh ingredients that you would use if you made it yourself from scratch. These sauces are perfectly okay to use in order to save a little time (and they are really good). Those of us that follow a wheat, grain and gluten free diet and who also avoid added sugar are pretty limited to very few convenience foods we can use that meet those standards, but I have found several good brands that are suitable such as DelGrosso, Rao's, Mezzetta, DeLallo, Mario Batali and others. You just need to read the labels to see what has been added in the list of ingredients.

To make the "pasta" for our meal, I used a gift my youngest son bought me, a Williams Sonoma Vegetable Spiralizer that is a great gadget to use when you want to make more than 1 or 2 servings of pasta. It looks almost identical to the Paderno World Cuisine Vegetable Slicer. When I just make 1 or 2 servings, I pull out my Spirelli or my Kuhn Rikon julienne peeler, simply because they are small gadgets and a snap to clean. This is the first time I've used my spiralizer and I must say..."I'm in love"! It made such quick work out of making the pasta and took only seconds to make mounds of it! After I make the "noodles", I spread them out on paper towels and lightly salt them and top with another layer of paper towels and let them sit for a little bit and then gently press them. I find that rolling them up in the paper towels into a "log shape" also helps gently squeeze the moisture out. Last time I made these noodles I had to change the paper towels a few times because they were exuding so much liquid. I only had to do it once with the zucchini I used today. I simply saute the noodles in a bit of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet for a few minutes until al dente. I served the pasta on plates (instead of bowls) -- in my photos, notice how very little liquid came out of my noodles. Salting them lightly and extracting the excess liquid seems to help drastically reduce the liquid you end up with on your plate. You can put this sauce over whatever kind of pasta you prefer (zucchini, yellow summer squash, spaghetti squash, etc.). I snapped a few photos as well as the easy peasy recipe below. Enjoy!

Spaghetti with Chicken & Veggie Pasta Sauce (Wheat/Grain & Gluten-Free)


3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
1-1/2 pounds boneless chicken breast, diced into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup diced fresh mushrooms
2 cloves minced garlic
6 ounces fresh baby spinach
1 26-ounce jar pasta sauce without added sugar (I used DelGrosso's Fireworks Sauce)
Grain-free Noodles (zucchini, yellow summer squash, spaghetti squash, etc.)
Grated Parmesan cheese, optional


Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 4 to 6 quart stockpot over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and onion and saute until onion is translucent and peppers are softened, about 5 or 6 minutes. Add the chicken; if necessary, add additional 1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil. Saute, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic, cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in spinach and cook just until spinach is wilted.

Pour pasta sauce over chicken and vegetable mixture; stir until combined. Simmer uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes to thicken slightly and allow flavors to meld. Serve meat sauce over pasta and top with grated Parmesan, if desired


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