Early to mid-October is one of the harder times of year for me to decide what to cook.
Since the Kansas weather can’t make up its mind, I’m never sure if it will be a day where I’m happy to heat up my kitchen by firing up the oven or if I’ll regret raising the temperature in our house.
Despite that, I’m never wishy-washy about all of the fall vegetables that start to hit the grocery store shelves. I could subsist almost completely on squash and sweet potatoes, and I’m always excited to get to cook with them again each year.
So, on a day this past week when I was pretty sure it was going to be an “oven day,” I grabbed some squash and Brussels spouts and hurried home to whip up my first official fall meal so I could share it with all of you.
The recipe I tried comes from the blog “Julia’s Album.” You can find the original post at https://juliasalbum.com/autumn-chicken-dinner-roasted-vegetables/. I added extra spices and garlic to my version.
Fall Chicken and Vegetables
- 3 cups butternut squash peeled and cubed
- 12 ounces Brussels spouts halved
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 9 ounces cheese tortellini
- 1 pound boneless/skinless chicken breasts or thighs cut into strips
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 6 to 8 cloves garlic minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper for easy clean up.
- Add the squash and Brussels sprouts to the baking sheet, and then pour on two tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Mix the vegetables with a spoon or your hands until everything is evenly coated. Spread the vegetables out as evenly as possible, and bake for 30 minutes or until fork tender. (Stir them around a bit after about 20 minutes in the oven.)
- While the vegetables are roasting, cook the tortellini according to package instructions, drain and set aside.
- For the chicken, place the strips into a bowl and season with the paprika, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir the chicken with a spoon or your hands until the spices are evenly distributed onto all the chicken.
- In a large skillet (go big; you’re adding the vegetables and pasta later), heat the other two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, add the chicken and saute for about five minutes on each side until the chicken is browned to your liking and has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside for now.
- Add the butter to the skillet. When it’s melted, add in the garlic. Saute for about two minutes, until the garlic is lightly browned a fragrant.
- Add the tortellini to the skillet and toss to coat it in the butter/garlic mixture.
- Add in the chicken and any accumulated juices and the roasted vegetables and toss again to evenly distribute all of the ingredients. Add more salt and pepper, if desired, and serve hot.
This was delicious. I definitely went back in for another helping, and it made a lot of food. I will say it was not quite as good when reheated as it was the first night we had it, but the leftovers were still pretty tasty.
The flavor profile for this is quintessentially fall, which I was excited to experience.
And even if the weather keeps dipping back and forth on the temperature gauge, I’ll keep this recipe around and ready for the rest of October and November.
I’m ready for some autumn flavors, even if Mother Nature is not.
This piece first appeared in print on Oct. 19, 2023.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.