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posted: 9/19/2012 4:12 PM

Nested Salsa Chicken Legs with Cilantro Pesto and Spaghetti Squash Tots

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  • Chuck Federici's salsa, chicken legs, spaghetti squash and pepitas creation.

      Chuck Federici's salsa, chicken legs, spaghetti squash and pepitas creation.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer


6 chicken legs (drumsticks)

2 cups 365 Everyday Value medium salsa, strained

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

4-5 pound spaghetti squash

Salt and pepper

Egg wash

Cilantro Pesto

1 cup cilantro

cup parmesan cheese

cup olive oil

teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Spaghetti Squash and Cilantro Salad

1 cup cooked spaghetti squash

1 cup whole kernel corn

cup fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Spaghetti Squash Tots (recipe follows)

For the marinade: In a small bowl, strain salsa, separate juice from solid chunks of salsa. Add the liquid and the spices to a resealable plastic bag; add chicken legs, seal and refrigerate 2-4 hours.

For the squash: Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Place cut-side up in microwave and cook 8-12 minutes. Squash is done when you run a fork over inside surface of squash and spaghetti like strands appear. You will use this cooked squash for breading on the chicken legs and the Squash Tots and Cold Spaghetti Squash salad.

For the chicken legs: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Flatten 2 cups spaghetti squash between two sheets of parchment paper; pat dry with a paper towel. Trim squash to fit chicken legs.

Remove legs from marinade and roll to cover the leg in squash. Brush coating with egg wash and season with salt and pepper. Place in baking dish and bake 35-45 minutes; chicken is done when internal temperature is 160 degree and the juices run clear.

For the pesto: Put all ingredients in food processor, blend well. Chill until ready to use.

For the salad: Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl.

To serve: Place 1 or 2 chicken legs on plate brush on desired amount of pesto. Serve with a scoop of squash salad garnished with cilantro leaves with squash tots and extra salsa on the side. Serves four comfortably.

Chuck Federici

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