Chicken Caprese Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

This week I have been all about quick and easy dinners. Something that I can get on the table in 30 minutes (ish) or less. It’s my first week back at work after about a week of R&R, and let me tell you, getting back on the wagon is hard! Laziness is like the plague, it ain’t easy to kick! Buttttt its just about completely out of my system, thank goodness!

The recipe that stole the show, both cost wise and preparation wise, was this ahhhhmazing stuffed spaghetti squash! From start to finish it took me 28 minutes to completely finish. [Don’t judge me, but I timed myself LOL!]



Inspiration struck me when I noticed spaghetti squash is on sale for .79c a pound this week! It normally sits at about $1.49, which doesnt sound like a lot but it really does start to add up. This MASSIVE squash, which was 3.5lbs, was only $2.75! To feed two people that’s nothing! After I snagged all the ingredients I needed, dinner for just us two only cost $19.06! Super budget friendly, super easy, and SUPER delicious for less then $20! I mean come on, you just can’t beat that!



I bet you’re thinking…Girl, you got a cooked squash on the table in 28 minutes? SURE DID! I love that roasted flavor, but I don’t always have time for that roasting process; ya know what I’m sayin’?! To get that flavor in less then half the time I put my Instant Pot to use! [I freakin’ love that contraption!] I cook it in the Instant Pot until its about 3/4 of the way done; thats usually about 2-4 minutes depending on the size of the squash. [I love it aldente so I tend to go for less time.] Then to finish it off I pop it under the broiler, which gets you that oven roasted flavor you’re lookin’ for! Give it a whirl, total time saver!

So without further drag, I’ll let you get to cookin’! Leaving you with those thoughts of sweet little grape tomatoes, and the scent of garlic filling your house!…



Guts:

  1. Spaghetti Squash; size of your choice
  2. 4 cloves garlic; thinly sliced
  3. 1 tbsp olive oil
  4. 1 container grape tomatoes
  5. 8 basil leaves; julienned
  6. fresh mozzarella
  7. 4 chicken breast
  8. 1/2 cup milk
  9. italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  10. canola oil; for pan frying
  11. Salt & Pepper
  • For the squash: Split length wise, using a spoon scrape out the guts/ seeds into the trash. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. -If you choose to oven roast: preheat oven to 400*, on a foil-lined cook sheet, roast cut side down for 40-50 minutes or until squash slightly resists a fork. -Instant Pot Method: place squash in pot, secure lid, and cook on Manual Mode for 3 minutes. Once finished quick-release pressure so the squash doesnt continue to cook. Remove from pot. [This is the fun part.] Using a fork, drag across the meat of the squash width-wise to create spaghetti-like strings! Leave in the skin.
  • While squash cooks prepare chicken: In a large sautee pan, add just enough canola oil to cover bottom of pan, and heat over medium-low. Soak chicken in milk; one at a time remove from milk, dredge in breadcrumbs, and place in pan. [Be sure not to crowd the pan or the chicken won’t cook evenly.] Fry until golden brown perfection on both sides, remove, and set aside.
  • Once all the chicken has been cooked, discard oil, and wipe pan with a papertowel. [No burnt bits, no one likes bitter…ew]
  • Heat olive oil in pan over medium-low, add garlic and sautee for about 5 minutes or until super fragrant. [Be sure not to under-cook the garlic, you really want to get some rockin’ flavor going here!] Once the garlic has reached maxium flavor potential add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Pour oil mixture evenly over both halves of the squash. Season with salt & pepper.
  • Now to assemble this beautiful masterpiece: Place chicken on top of squash, tear pieces of mozz and scatter over evenly. [I LOVE A LOT OF CHEESE!] Place both halves under the broiler until cheese is melted and begins to bubble slightly, remove from oven and sprinkle basil on top. Enjoy out of skins! [my mouth is watering!]

Until next time

✌💚🤘

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Creamy Corn Chowder


Happy October everyone! I cannot believe that it’s already October 1st, this year is flying by at a ridiculous rate! October is by far my favorite month though, so you won’t hear me complaining! I love all things Halloween and spooky! If I could leave my house decorated for Halloween all year long I would! {Ok ok maybe not because I’m a complete sucker for Christmas lights, and Christmas trees, and snowmen 😍 but I won’t get too ahead of myself! Snap out of it, slow your roll!} And the fact that the air gets a little more crisp every morning makes my soul smile. I LOVE when I can just see my breath walking to my car on my way to work!

I don’t know why but in my head October 1st is the first day of fall, and trust me I know that is completely not accurate, but I can’t help but think that way. I even change over my closet and pack away all my summers clothes! The end of September and beginning of October are those in between season days. Some days it’s 65* and perfect, other days it’s freakin’ 80* and I’m sweating! Ugh, my LEAST favorite. It’s those days where I have trouble getting in food-moods. {Food-moods are just my cravings, but it sounds way more intriguing when you put it that way right!?} Am I in the mood for something more light and summery, or something more cozy and hearty? Que this creamy, delicious, hearty, light, slightly-summery corn chowder! And believe it or not it really is all those things at the same dang time!


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I couldn’t think of a more perfect in-between-season dinner then this. It’s got that sweet, crisp, sun-kissed corn with that cozy, creamy broth. It’s seriously the perfect balance. After enjoying a bowl {or two!} you feel super satisfied without feeling heavy and uncomfortable.

With this chowder {actually most dishes period} I love to start by melting some butter and tossing around the onion and garlic. It doesn’t matter what season it is there is nothing better then that smell floating throughout your house! Personally I really like to pump up the flavor, so I’m never afraid to let just those two sauté for a solid 10 minutes or so.



Then comes my little secret weapon step! Instead of tossing my potatoes in towards the end of the whole processes and letting them cook simmering in the broth, I like to toss them in here and coat them in that onion-garlic-buttery deliciousness! Let them soak up and hold on to some of that flavor I’ve worked to create. This simple little step makes all the difference flavor wise, and honestly time wise. Since your sautéing the potatoes and partially cooking them before adding your liquid, you cut down on simmering and get dinner on the table that much faster. Who isn’t about that life!? I mean seriously!

 Durning this time I love to grill|broil corn right on the cob, and then slather those babies with butter! Once cool I stand them up on my cutting board and cut the kernels off the cob. If you decide to make this after corn season is over you can always use sweet whole corn kernels in cans. I stick with 3s, 3 ears or 3 cans. I feel like at the end of the day they pretty much equal the same amount.

I love to whip this up at the beginning of the week so I have leftovers for a few days. It’s one of those meals that actually gets better as it sits and steeps together. Since it’s so easy and super quick to make, it’s also perfection for those hectic weeknights where your goal is to get dinner on the table in an hour or less. Like those days where I don’t pull in the driveway until 6:30 and it’s already dark, this is my go to!

If you make this I hope you enjoy as much as my squeeze and I do! {This is one of his favorites!} And if you don’t scoff it all up the first day, I hope you enjoy the leftovers even more!

Anyways on to the nitty-gritty…

FOR THE GUTS:

  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 sweet onion; diced fine
  • 4 cloves garlic; minced
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme; stripped
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4-5 small golden potatoes; diced small
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 ears corn; cooked and cut off cob {or 3 cans sweet whole kernels}
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper {optional but highly recommend! I enjoy a little kick!}
  • salt and pepper
  1. In a 5-6 quart pot, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Once completely melted add diced onion and minced garlic. Cook stirring occasionally taking care not to burn any bits for 5 minutes depending on how hot your stove top runs.
  3. Add thyme and cook stirring constantly for another minute
  4. Toss in potatoes, cooking stirring frequently for another 5-6 minutes.
  5. Add both broths and heavy cream bring to boil and let roll for 7 minutes.
  6. Add corn, cayenne pepper, and season to taste with salt and pepper; whether fresh or canned bring chowder to a simmer and continue to simmer for 10-12 minutes. {I recommend keeping an eye here, all stoves cook differently, and if you notice your potatoes becoming over cooked, feel free to cut down your simmering time. The best way to check potatoes is to either taste or to poke with a fork|knife. If they resist they’re still not done, no resistance means done!}
  7. Ladle that bad boy into some giant bowls!

ENJOY!!!!

Until next time

🤘🏻💚✌🏻

 

50 Clove Butter Chicken

Whose tired this week? Two hands up here! I don’t know what the deal is but I’m exhausted, and I’ve been feeling super lazy. With this lazy sluggish mood I’m in I’ve been whipping up some of the easiest, tastiest dinners I can think of.

The first one on the list 50 Clove Butter Chicken! This dish is one of my go-tos. It’s so easy and so delicious, one of those comfort meals. No matter how exhausted I am after a long days work, I’ll always find the motivation to cook this up. There’s nothing quite like finally sitting down with a big plate of buttery, garlicky chicken and pasta and a glass of buttery Chardonnay to go right along with it! I even start to enjoy the wine while I sit and hand peel all 50 cloves of garlic! I mean, why not!?

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Since my laziness has trickled down to even grocery shopping, this dish becomes even more convenient since all of the ingredients are pretty much constantly in my house. That may not be the case for everyone, but I can always guarantee that I have at least 5 bulbs of garlic, chicken broth, and some type of pasta. So then I only have to drag my butt to the store to grab some chicken. I’m not a person that keeps meat in my freezer although most people do, I tend to forget it’s there and typically end up trashing it. Nothing breaks my heart more than throwing out food, especially untouched food. So to avoid the heartache I always buy fresh.

For this recipe I LOVE to use bone-in chicken, 9 times out of 10 I use thighs. If you’re not a bone-in chicken kind of person you can use breasts. Having cooked up both, I can definitely say bone-in chicken gives you a better result no doubt, 1000%. Once everything is combined and it’s done simmering, the chicken is so tender and juicy it just falls off the bone! My mouth is watering! This particular time I used breasts since that’s my other half’s favorite. In my opinion breasts don’t come out as tender but it’s most certainly still delicious.

When I do used breasts I tend to go heavier on the butter. It’s like I have Julia Child in my head reminding me that butter is always the answer! Lol! So instead of starting with 2 Tbsp I just toss in half a stick. Don’t judge! In fact you’ll probably thank me later! 😊

Here is where I’ll leave you; keeping it short and sweet today! With the thought of white wine, butter, and that intoxicating smell of sautéed garlic filling the air…

FOR THE GUTS:

  • 50 cloves garlic; peeled
  • 4-6 chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • splash of white wine {optional}
  • 1 stick of butter; cut in half
  • 4-6 sprigs thyme
  • S&P to taste
  1. Using a deep sauté pan, melt half of the butter over medium-high heat.
  2. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper, then carefully place in pan, and sear for 3 minutes a side. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Lower temperature to medium and add 2 Tbsp of your butter to pan.
  4. Once butter is melted, add all of your garlic. Cook stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until slightly caramelized. {you’ll know it’s caramelized when it has a slight brown or caramel color. Once you see color it’s will begin to cook more rapidly. KEEP A CLOSE EYE HERE!}
  5. Add thyme sprigs and sauté with garlic for about a minute.
  6. If using white wine, add here and deglaze pan. {deglazing is a fancy intimidating word for pouring some cold liquid into a hot pan to get all delicious brown bits unstuck from the bottom. Those brown bits hold tons of flavor, you don’t want to give that up!}
  7. Pour in chicken broth, season with salt and pepper, and add remaining butter.
  8. Give pan a good combining stir, and allow to come to a simmer.
  9. Add chicken back to the pan, and simmer COVERED for 30-35 minutes.
  10. Serve over pasta, or for a healthier option roasted spaghetti squash!

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Until next time

🤘🏻💚✌🏻