I’m not sure what exactly we did to offend the sun in Milwaukee, but it went on solar strike for nearly two consecutive weeks. By the sixth day of gray skies, my mood began to turn equally gloomy, so I decided to warm things up around the house however I could. I turned on peppy music, cranked up the thermostat, and added homey, comforting recipes such as these cheesy Spaghetti Squash Boats with Chicken and Bacon to our menu.
Is the weather a dominant topic of conversation where you live too? It comes up often in Wisconsin. Yes, the weather is the ultimate go-to for easy small talk, but I suspect that its popularity is also due to the mutual relief that can be found in knowing that others find the cold and gray as abysmal as you do.
I wonder if people in California or Florida talk about the weather with the same frequency. Can you bond over moderate temps and abundant sunshine the way you can over frigid air and permaclouds?
While I can’t give you that answer, I can say with certainty that, no matter the temperature and region, we can all unite around simple, delicious weeknight dinners such as these Spaghetti Squash Boats with Chicken and Bacon. They’re comforting enough for a cold Wisconsin night while being healthy enough to be appropriate for a lighter evening meal (just like this Spaghetti Squash Lasagna).
About These Spaghetti Squash Boats
These Spaghetti Squash Boats with Chicken and Bacon remind me of chicken Alfredo, without the heaviness and excess. Like chicken Alfredo, they are creamy, cheesy, and satisfying, but (unlike chicken Alfredo) they are well-balanced and won’t send you into a total food coma afterwards.
Instead of pasta, these spaghetti squash boats rely on the roasted spaghetti squash itself, which shreds into thin, noodle-like strands. Alfredo’s signature heavy cream is replaced by protein-packed Greek yogurt. The chicken is juicy and garlicky, and a handful of sautéed spinach gives the dish beautiful color and an extra serving of veg.
To keep things from becoming *too* virtuous (we are still going for comfort food, after all), I topped the spaghetti squash boats with a shower of extra-crispy bacon. I love the way the crunchy pieces contrast with the melty cheese and creamy chicken, and the bacon’s smoky flavor makes these boats a little more special too. I love it so much that I also created this Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole.
It’s been sunny all week here (AT LAST), so I’ve been spending extra time outside, face pointed right into that big, beautiful sun. According to the grocery store cashier, radio DJ, morning talk show hosts, and check-in lady at my gym (all of whom mentioned the weather in the last 24 hours), the clouds are due to hold off for a bit longer. And when they return? I’ll be ready with a big, warm serving of Spaghetti Squash Boats with Chicken and Bacon.
More Stuffed Squash Recipes
- Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats
- Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Kale
- Instant Pot Stuffed Acorn Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice Cranberries and Chickpeas
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
- To Make Ahead. The squash can be roasted and “shredded” up to 1 day in advance. The entire dish can be assembled up to 1 day in advance as well. Bake as directed just before serving.
- To Store. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
- To Reheat. Reheat in the oven or gently in the microwave until hot.
- I do not recommend freezing, as the spaghetti squash will become mushy.
Spaghetti Squash Boats with Chicken
For the Squash:
- 2 medium spaghetti squash about 2 pounds each
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Chicken Bacon Spinach Filling:
- 4 strips thick-sliced center-cut bacon roughly chopped
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups baby spinach torn into pieces
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese divided
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil plus additional for serving
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Roast the spaghetti squash according to this recipe for Roasted Spaghetti Squash. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over medium and add the bacon. Cook until the bacon is crisp and the fat has rendered, about 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate and pat dry. Discard all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat from the pan and increase the heat to medium high. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Sauté until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, then add the spinach. Stir the chicken and spinach together until the spinach wilts, then stir in the Greek yogurt, half of the mozzarella cheese, and basil.
- Once the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to shred and fluff the inside flesh so it’s no longer attached to the walls and makes a “nest.” Divide the chicken filling evenly among the boats, using a fork to lightly mix it with the spaghetti squash. Arrange the stuffed squash on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the reserved bacon and remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Bake until the cheesy is bubbly, about 10 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve hot, sprinkled with additional fresh basil.
- The squash can be roasted and “shredded” up to 1 day in advance. The entire dish can be assembled up to 1 day in advance as well. Bake as directed just before serving.
- Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. Reheat in the oven or gently in the microwave. I do not recommend freezing, as the spaghetti squash will become mushy.
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