There are nights that you get home and the LAST thing you want to do is cook. But, a bowl of cereal just isn’t going to cut it either. Image one of those days then add a three day moving process where so many things wen’t wrong you’ve lost count, and you just want it all to be over. That’s how the past week has been. I’ve been tired before, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never felt this level of exhaustion…falling into bed because I can’t bear to keep my body upright or my eyes open any longer. But I also can’t seem to stomach the idea of consuming another meal that doesn’t come from my own kitchen. I vowed that tonight was be the night, without and idea of what magic would happen to result in a consumable meal.
A quick triage of the fridge, pantry and cooking dishes quickly indicated that tonight was going to be a “throw together” meal and it was time to get a little creative. This was one of the meals where I just started chopping, sautéing and hoping that adding enough herbs would do the trick to result in a meal that was worth eating. There are a few kitchen staples that are always on hand (a post to come about that!) so that I can throw together a decent meal on little time and minimal ingredients and effort. One of my go-to fall meals is a simple combination of toasted quinoa, butternut squash and toasted chickpeas. I decided to do a variation on this meal with some delicata squash I picked up at the market and a few frozen chicken breast I had in the freezer. I have to admit, there were a few points in the evening that I started to calculate how quickly a pizza could be delivered but the end result was just delicious! This is for sure getting added to the “fall staples” list! Delicata squash are a city chef’s dream. They’re much smaller than other fall and winter squash (save maybe acorn squash) so you’re not lugging 15 pounds of squash home and you don’t have to peel them! They’re super simple to thin slice and pan cook or roast in the oven on a foil sheet at 425 to get that delicious, caramel, melty, amazing squashey goodness!
To make this recipe vegetarian, substitute the chicken with toasted chickpeas.
Delicata Squash, Quinoa, Chicken
1 medium Delicata squash
2 chicken breast
1/2 cup dry quinoa
Fresh chopped or dried parsley
Cracked pepper to taste
- In a medium stock pot, toast the quinoa over medium heat, moving the quinoa in the pan, until you see it start to brown. Remove from heat, wash, place back in pan with 1 cup water, cracked pepper and fresh chopped or dried parsley. Cover and bring to a boil then turn off the heat and let it sit until the rest is ready.
- Meanwhile, pre-heat a pan with grapeseed oil or any other high cooking heat oil. Wash Delicata squash exterior, cut in half, scrape out seeds and slice thin then add to the pre-heated pan with some fresh cracked pepper and parsley. Move in pan until lightly browned.
- Cube the chicken and add to pan with the squash. Add cracked pepper and parsley to taste.
- Move contents of pan chicken and squash are browned. Cut one of the pieces of chicken in half to assure it’s cooked throughout.
- Serve in a bowl with peanut sauce, fig or stone fruit compote, or balsamic drizzle.