Stress eating is such a common struggle. When you are under stress, you want to reach for all things comfort. Comfort food is typically fried, creamy, salty, sugary, all things that are not real, whole foods. However, I am here to prove to you that comfort food can be healthy. It can actually help your body recover from stress, rather than exacerbating it. So here is a healthy comforting recipe: Chicken Tetrazzini.
Why is stress so hard on the body? Stress helps our body realize when it needs to "react" to something (think of a dangerous situation). It increases your breathing, heart rate, tenses your muscles, etc. All of these things are survival skills when you need them, however when we are living our everyday life we don't need these reactions. When our every day lives are causing chronic stress, this is when stress becomes an issues. Having constant strain on your body can lead to lowered immune system, digestive issues, chronic fatigue, heart disease, and hormone disfunction (leading to another host of issues). It is important to control your stress so your body is getting clear signals when it should be in fight or flight mode rather than being in the mode all day every day.
While you are taking a bite of some healthy comfort food, it is also important to take a step back and realize that food is not a coping mechanism. You should be using other strategies like walking, exercising, journaling, meditating and anything that helps you de-stress over reaching for food to soothe you. Food is meant to fuel your body, not to comfort your body in times of stress. If you are reading this and need some stress relief, I challenge you to re-evaluate your comfort food. Instead, also start practicing self-care strategies outside of food.
This is a Paleo-fied spin on Chicken Tetrazzini because who doesn't love creamy, chicken and pasta? If you love this recipe check out my Green Chili Enchilada Casserole recipe.
- 1 large or 2 small spaghetti squash
- 1 pound Italian ground chicken sausage check for sugar and preservatives
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup peas
- 1 cup cashew
- 1 cup Coconut milk
- ½ lemon juiced
- 1 tablespoon Garlic powder or 2 garlic cloves
- ¼ teaspoon Red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon Sage
- 1 teaspoon Parsley
- Salt and pepper
- Pre-Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Poke holes in spaghetti squash all the way around and microwave for 8-10 minutes or until it is soft enough to cut in half. Be sure to flip every 4 minutes so it does not explode in the microwave.
- While squash is microwaving, brown the chicken sausage on the stove until it is cooked through. Then add mushrooms, spinach and peas to the pan and saute until the spinach is wilted down.
- When you are able to cut the squash in half (be careful be it will be hot- I recommend using oven mitts), clean the seeds out of the center and trash them. Once the seeds are removed, let the squash cool while you make the sauce and the filling.
- To make the sauce combine 1 cup cashew, 1 cup Coconut milk, ½ lemon juiced, 1 tablespoon Garlic powder or 2 garlic cloves, ¼ teaspoon Red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon Sage, 1 teaspoon Parsley, Salt and pepper to a blender and blend until smooth. This should resemble the consistency of Alfredo sauce.
- Once you are done with that the squash should be cooled enough to scrape with a fork. Place spaghetti squash strands, sautéed chicken, mushroom, spinach, and peas into baking dish. Then pour cashew sauce over top. You can mix all of this together then place into oven for 15 minutes or until it is bubbly.