Dinner Party: Roasted Chicken with Butternut Squash

Cook’s notes: We welcomed the autumm season with a small dinner party featuring seasonal foods. This chicken dinner serves 4 and can be gluten-free (depending on the ingredients of the salad dressing you use). I bought a 12-oz bag diced butternut squash from Trader Joe’s and adapted this recipe to use it.

Menu:

  • Appetizer: Mozzarella balls stuffed into mild Peppadew peppers, skewered with a toothpick
  • Main dish: Roasted chicken with butternut squash and onion pieces (recipe below)
  • Brown rice (Trader Joe’s again; found in the freezer section)
  • Mixed green salad bar: green leaf lettuce, baby spinach, and small bowls of assorted vegetables (carrot sticks, diced red and yellow bell peppers, sliced cucumber, and diced tomato). Otpional toppings: Roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), pomegrante seeds, and shredded cheese.
  • Dressings: Assorted bottled dressings and homemade balsamic vinaigrette (blend 2 oz olive oil with 1 oz balsamic dressing; add dried herbs to taste)
  • Dessert: Gluten-free brownies, brought by our guests

Game plan:

  • Prepare the chicken and squash dish and place it in the oven 30 minutes before guests arrive.
  • While the chicken roasts, cut up vegetables for salad.
  • Let diners assemble their own salads.
  • Microwave the brown rice (takes 3 minutes).

Main dish instructions:

Heat oven to 425F. Place 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs; 12-oz diced butternut squash; and 1 small yellow onion, diced medium, in a medium-sized bowl. Drizzle 1/8 cup olive oil (2 Tbsp) over all. Stir to coat all the pieces well (I put on food-safe gloves and used my hands).

Arrange chicken, squash, and onion in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with seasoned salt and fresh-ground black pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and squash pieces are tender.

Source: Chicken dish adapted from a soup recipe in Everyday Food magazine, October 2010. The appetizer idea and salad dressing proportions are from the book Cook This, Not That!

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