Thursday, November 10, 2011

Spaghetti Squash Alfredo with Chicken and Tomatoes

I love pasta, but my waistline doesn't. If I overdo it on carbs, my waistline is not happy with me. My husband loves to cook pasta, and I am a mean wife and get mad at him when he makes it for dinner too often because I don't want to overdo it on the carbs (not cool, I know, right?). So, any chance I get to have a healthier pasta dish, I jump at it.

Foodbuzz's Tastemakers program offered me the opportunity to try Classico's new Light Creamy Alfredo Sauce. I am a big fan of Classico's other pasta sauces, but usually steer away from the heavier stuff since it's not very healthy. I was pleased to find out about this new Alfredo sauce and couldn't wait to come up with something to use it in. As a child, fettucine Alfredo was probably the dish I ordered most frequently when my parents and I went out to dinner. I loved it: that creamy, smooth sauce with the delicious noodles was music to my five-year-old ears. There was even one dinner I remember going to a fancy restaurant (so fancy they didn't have a kids' menu) and I gave my parents the sad puppy dog face when my beloved fettucine Alfredo was nowhere to be found. My mom asked the waiter to have them make me some fettucine Alfredo, and here I am today writing about it.

For this dish, I decided to make a spin on the traditional noodles and sauce recipe. Since it's fall and squash is in season, spaghetti squash made the perfect substitute for pasta. (Okay, I'll admit it: it's not pasta, and it doesn't taste like those magical semolina flour noodles, but it's still pretty good!). Spaghetti squash is easy to cook: slice it in half, scoop out the seeds and pulp, and roast at 350 degrees cut side down on a baking sheet for about 45 minutes. Let it cool, then use a fork to scrape out the cooked flesh - it looks like angel hair pasta! It's also affordable: I bought it on sale at my local Sprouts for 88 cents a pound, so the entire squash was somewhere around $3. Pretty good for a home-cooked dinner!

Hubby loved this dish and I'm a big fan of it too. The sauce is thick and creamy, but without that heavy feeling you get with full-fat Alfredo sauces. The tapenade, chicken, and tomatoes add great flavor and texture. If you cook your squash the night before, this can be ready to eat in 20 minutes. It's fast enough for a weeknight dinner, but fancy enough to serve for a special occasion. Enjoy!

Get all your goodies together:

Heat the olive oil, garlic, red pepper, and herbes de Provence over low-medium heat.

Add tomatoes:

Your cooked spaghetti squash should look something like this:

Add chicken:

Add squash:

Give it a good stir.

Mmm...adding the Alfredo sauce!

Almost ready...

Sprinkle fresh basil over the top...

...and of course some Parmesan cheese. Yum!

Spaghetti Squash Alfredo with Chicken and Tomatoes
Serves 4-6 main size portions (depending on how hungry you are!)


  • 1 spaghetti squash, roasted and cooled, with the flesh scraped out (for your 'noodles')
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. herbes de Provence
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded (or substitute cooked shredded chicken of your choice)
  • 1 jar red pepper and artichoke tapenade (I used Trader Joe's)
  • 1/2 jar Classico Light Creamy Alfredo Sauce
  • 1 bunch fresh basil


  • In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over low-medium heat.
  • Add garlic, red pepper, and herbes de Provence; cook until fragrant.
  • Add tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until soft.
  • Add chicken and cook until heated.
  • Add spaghetti squash and cook for a few minutes until heated through.
  • Add Alfredo sauce and jar of tapenade, cook until heated through.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve topped with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese, if you wish. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I received a free jar of Classico Light Creamy Alfredo Sauce from the Foodbuzz Tastemakers program. They didn't pay me to say I liked it!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cake Decorating: The Final Frontier

Alrighty! My cake decorating classes are finally over, so I have to share my last cake from my Wilton Flowers and Cake Design class.

For the final cake, we had to show our mad design skillz and not just plop random flowers on the cake. I decided to use a bunch of flowers I had made from another class session (the large ones are primroses and the small ones are apple blossoms), and try to make them look pretty on the top. I think I succeeded! :) 

The green piping is royal icing, and the reverse shells (in white) are done in buttercream.

Here's a close up of the side of the cake. Those brown spots are chocolate cakecrumbs. I have to say this was the best tasting cake yet...and I used cake mix! Thank you Duncan Hines. There's a reason cake mixes exist :)

Here are some pictures of the stargazer lilies I made out of royal icing. The other few I made didn't look so hot, so pretend these are all different flowers :)

Sadly, the stamens (white and gray parts sticking out) are not edible. I wish they made them out of modeling chocolate.

Here is my sad looking daffodil. My royal icing was way too stiff, so several of them just turned to mush. Oh well.

And here are lots of royal icing roses. I think I got the hang of them! Here's a secret my class instructor shared with us: use a Hershey kiss as the base of the rose instead of frosting. Much easier, and no need to switch your decorating tips back and forth on the piping bag!

The green edges came from the tiny bit of green frosting left in my piping bag before I added the purple frosting. Yes, I'm lazy and don't like to waste piping bags. I like the way it looks!

Same thing with the pink. I'm a fan!

All together now...

And there you have it! Anyone need a cake decorated now? I'm happy to help! :)
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