Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Basil Balsamic Grilled Chicken & Apple Salad w Butternut Squash Mash

Now that it is officially Spring, it's back to the grill for this quick go-to recipe.  I marinated my organic chicken thighs in leftover Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette from this recipe then grilled them up and placed them on top of a delicious apple salad.  Paired with a simple butternut squash mash, this dish was a hearty well rounded meal for the whole family (even baby P loved it).  I hope you do too.

Ingredients (Serves 4):
8 Organic Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
1/2c Basil Balsamic Dressing (see below)
1/4c Organic Chicken Stock
1 Butternut Squash, halved and seeded
2tbs Organic Butter
8c Organic Mixed Greens (I used Spinach & Arugula)
2 Organic Apples, diced
2 Avocado, seeded & diced
1/2c pinenuts
1/2c Pear Walnut Dressing (see below)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette:  (Recipe also found here)
1/4c organic extra virgin olive oil
1/4c high quality balsamic vinegar (I recommend visiting a local oil & vinegar store)
1-2 drops DoTerra Basil Essential Oil (can be purchased here)
Fresh ground sea salt & cracked black pepper

Directions:  Place in a jar and shake.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pear Walnut Vinaigrette:
1/4c Toasted Walnut Oil
1/4c Pear balsamic vinegar (found at a local oil & vinegar store, another fruity balsamic will do)

Directions:  Place in a jar and shake.  Add salt and pepper if needed to taste.

1. In a large gallon size ziploc bag, place chicken thighs.  Add 1/2c Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette and 1/4c Chicken Stock.  Let marinate in the refrigerator at least a few hours or up to a day.  Let chicken come to room temperature about 20-30 minutes prior to cooking.
2. To make the sqaush, line a baking sheet with nonstick foil.  Preheat the oven to 350F.  Place the squash, skin side up, on the baking sheet and bake until a fork easily pierces through the squash, about 45 minutes for mine.  Remove from the oven.  Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh into a bowl.  Add a few tbs of butter and mash with a potato masher.  Add a bit of salt if needed.  Keep warm.
3. When ready to cook chicken, heat grill to medium-high heat.  Add your chicken thighs and cook until tender but done (estimating 8 minutes per side for mine).
4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl toss mixed greens, apples, avocado and pear walnut dressing (add as much or as little dressing as you like).  Scoop out a serving onto each plate.  Top with pinenuts. 
5. When chicken is done cooking, slice on a cutting board and place on top of each salad.  Serve alongside a hearty scoop of butternut squash.  Oh yea!

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