Chicken Parmesan & Butternut Squash Bowl


Hi friends– With all the cakes and cookies we bake around here, I’m trying to stick to healthy-ish meals at dinner time.  This was a favorite.  Our student “room mate” Kendall even asked it this was hard to make.  I think he’s yet to develop kitchen skills (but he’s awesome philosophy student!).  I think you’d like this quick week night dinner as much as we did…

CHICKEN PARMESAN & BUTTERNUT SQUASH BOWL
1 large chicken boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 tab. olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 small butternut squash, peeled & cut to small chunks
2 cups farro
14 oz. can chicken broth
1  3/4 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. dried basil
1/3 cup cream (or whole milk)
1/2 cup parmesan
garnish:  green onion sliced

Cut the chicken breast into small bits.  Heat the oil in a large skillet and then drop in the chicken.  Salt and pepper it liberally and cook 5 or 6 minutes until the chicken is browned and cooked through.  Remove the chicken from the skillet.

In the same skillet, drop the butternut squash into the chicken drippings and cook 2 or 3 minutes.  Then add in the farro, chicken broth, water, salt, pepper and basil.  Bring it to a low simmer and cook uncovered for 12 to 15 minutes, until the squash is tender (but not mushy!) and the farro is cooked through.

Then stir in the chicken, parmesan and cream. And simmer a minute or two more to heat it all up.  Spoon it all up onto dinner plates and garnish with green onion.  Hot and hearty!

Ham, Pear, Goat Cheese Spinach Salad

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Hey there– I picked up one of those heavy, foiled wrapped spiral hams at the market last week, the kind you glaze with caramel and serve on a platter pink and salty.  It was for a Saturday brunch with friends– along with mimosas and yeasty waffles.  And the happy news is that there were leftovers!

So Sunday lunch turned into a green leafy salad with slices of that ham, pear and a few extras to round out the plate.  With a toasted chunk of whole grain bread, it was a cozy lunch sitting around the coffee table on a quiet Sunday.

HAM, PEAR, GOAT CHEESE SPINACH SALAD
5 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup farro
1 pear, cored & sliced
10 slices of ham
sprinkle of crumbled goat cheese
pecans
dried cranberries

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tab. cider vinegar
2 tab. maple syrup
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste.

Layer the ingredients for the salad on a platter.  When you are ready to serve the salad, put the ingredients for the dressing in a container with a tight fitting lid and shake it until it is thoroughly blended.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad and dig in!  (makes 2 dinner salads)img_4775

Kale Salad with Chicken, Peaches and Pecans

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Hello there– We’re enjoying the last hot summer days with salads like this flavorful bowlful.  We liked it so much I made it again when our kids came down this past weekend.  Add a sturdy loaf one whole grain bread and some iced tea.  Set it all out on the backyard table and you’ve got lunch.

KALE SALAD WITH CHICKEN, PEACHES & PECANS

1/2 cup farro, cooked*
4 cups kale, chopped fine**
1 chicken breast, cooked & cubed
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
1 ripe peach, pitted and cut to chunks
1/3 cup goat cheese crumbles

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tab. thick Balsamic vinegar
1 tab. honey
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Layer all the salad ingredients into an ample bowl.  Shake the dressing ingredients together in a container with a tight fitting lit until it’s well blended.  Pour on the dressing.  Done.

*The package of farro I bought said simmer in water for 10 minutes– then I rinse it with cold water to cool it for the salad.
**I like the packaged kale from Trader Joes– nice and tender

P.S. The good thing about this salad is that it’s sturdy enough to pour on the dressing and set it into the fridge for a a while while you get everything else on the table and it won’t get soggy.  That’s helpful.  Enjoy!

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Sugar Snap Pea & Farro Salad

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Hello — Staying at our Ani’s house last week, we pretty much went through a big bag of sugar snap peas from Costco.  So crispy and sweet.  And I’ve had them in mind ever since.  So I picked up some up at Sprouts for this salad– bright lettuces, sweet sugar snap peas, salty feta all on a base of hearty faro.  Simple but satisfying.

SUGAR SNAP PEA & FARRO SALAD
1/2 cup farro
pinch of salt
3 to 4 cups baby lettuces*
1/3 pound sugar snap peas (about 1 cup)
2 tab. feta

dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tab. cider vinegar
1 tsp. honey
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

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Cook the faro according to the directions on the package. Mine simmered 20 minutes with a cup of water and a pinch of salt.  When it’s tender, rinse it under cold water to cool it down.

Layer the lettuce, faro, peas and feta on a plate.

In a container with a tight fitting lid shake together the olive oil, vinegar, honey and salt & pepper until it’s completely blended.  Pour it over the salad just before you set it on the table.   Fresh and bright!

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