My mother-in-law knows me. Of course she knows me…she has known me more than half my life (CRAZY). Last time she was in Michigan, she came with a butternut squash for me. Swoon. I love the produce of summer, but the food in the cooler months? It’s totally my vibe.
Truly, as summer was winding down, I was consulting every corner of the web, perusing recipes on my blog that we’ve enjoyed in the past, and I was coming up empty. Completely uninspired. That’s so unlike me as I most definitely think of myself as easily inspired with food.
My sister-in-law and her wife did a multi-course dinner experience in Chicago last night and whoa baby, it sounded amazing. I’ll most definitely be looking into tickets for Mark and I should the opportunity arise. We’d certainly enjoy it but it is most certainly not a place that we could take the girls…or that we would even consider taking the girls, let’s be honest.
My kids are definitely adding to my dinnertime woes. Mark and I would’ve existed on every which way to serve tomatoes for the past few months, but ahem, our children would never allow it. So, I slow roasted a ton of them and made a third batch of Homemade Roasted Marinara Sauce.
As the warmer weather moved out and the cooler temps slowly (albeit inconsistently) moved in, I was sad for the lack of sunshine but fully rejuvenated in the kitchen. My list of must-makes is LONG. I am inspired. I was in the kitchen whipping up several recipes this past weekend. AND…I prepped this recipe a few weekends ago to make for a super quick weeknight meal.
Sure, there’s prep. There’s most definitely prep. But wow-za, this one has all the Thanksgiving tastes, textures, and scents. That sweet-savory combo with the nutty rice, tender chicken, sweet cranberries, and savory thyme makes for one killer casserole. You can swap in celery, apple, and a variety of other thanksgiving flavors or even use leftovers from the big day to whip up a version of this recipe. Enjoy!
- 1 cup uncooked wild and brown rice blend
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
- ½ tsp salt, divided
- ½ tsp ground black pepper, divided
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium butternut squash (~2 1/2 lbs), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (~6 cups cubed)
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- ¾ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup (2 oz) shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- ½ cup roughly chopped pecans
- Cook the rice according to package directions. Note: this can be done ahead of time and stored in the fridge.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Place chicken thighs in a baking dish that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with half of the salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes; remove to rest.
- Reduce oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large, deep skillet with a tight- ﬁtting lid, heat oil over medium heat. Add the squash, onion, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Sauté covered for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Dice chicken into 1-inch pieces and add to the skillet along with the thyme, cranberries, and all but 2-3 tablespoons of the cheese and pecans; mix well.
- Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer.
- Bake for 15 minutes; remove from oven and sprinkle with reserved cheese and pecans. Bake an additional 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and serve hot.
Serving Size: 1.7 recipe
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 462Total Fat: 16.6gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 312mgCarbohydrates: 54.9gFiber: 8.6gSugar: 18.0gProtein: 28.0g
Looking for more Thanksgiving-inspired flavors and recipes?
Weekly Menu: November 6th – 10th