Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Look at Them Thighs!

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, or if we happen to be Facebook friends, you know that I post LOTS of pictures of food. Now I enjoy the pretty plating at a restaurant as much as the next girl, but the pictures that I post are mainly of my own cooking.

I'm no trained chef, but I will say that my cooking is pretty damned awesome.  This opinion is inflated by those of my family and friends, and aside from begging for the delivery of portions (I'm talking to you, Kyle!), the recipes are usually requested.
It is for this reason that I am going to make an honest attempt to photograph and blog the prep of some of my favorite dishes.

NOTE: I try to stick to organics 99% of the time. This is our personal choice and while I encourage everyone to adopt the same lifestyle for the betterment of your health, it's certainly not a requirement 

First up? A SUPER easy dish that is a regular contender on our weeknight menu.

Braised Chicken Thigh with Homemade Marinara and Spaghetti Squash

1 pack, organic boneless chicken thighs (about 5-6 pieces)
1/2 large purple onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
Approx 16oz marinara sauce - I use homemade, store-bought is fine
1 large spaghetti squash
Salt and pepper, other spices as desired
Fresh basil

Place a large, oven-safe pan on your largest burner and pre-heat it on high. Lay the thighs out and lightly salt/generously pepper both sides. Once the pan is hot, pour in a few tablespoons of olive oil and sear the chicken for about 2 minutes on each side. It WILL be raw in the middle. This is exactly how you want them!

Go ahead and heat your oven to 275 while these are cooking. 

Remove the thighs from the pan and place on a plate to the side. Once again, don't worry about the raw middle, it will all cook to tender deliciousness in the end. 

Using the "drippings" from the chicken, toss in the onion and garlic and sautee until the onion is just starting to  turn translucent. Go ahead and scrape the pan - you want all of those tasty cooked bits mixed in. 

Add the marinara and simmer for just a minute or two before replacing the thighs and pouring any juices that ended up on the plate back in to the pan. 
(By the way, your kitchen is going to smell incredible right about now!) 

Cover tightly with the lid and allow to cook in your 275 degree oven for 1 hour. 
While that's slowly turning in to melt-in-your-mouth amazingness, it's time to get started on the squash. 
I suppose you could use anything here (even noodles), but I don't know of any other veggie that shreds in to pasta-like strings which also take on the flavor of the dish, and noodles defeat the purpose of cutting the carbs. 
Not an issue for you? Go for it with the pasta! I'm sure it would be delicious as well.

Cut the gourd in half length-wise and scrape out the stringy/seedy mess just like you would with a pumpkin. 

Place the squash flesh side-down in a baking pan and add approximately one inch of water. 

When the timer beeps on your chicken, pull out the pan and use a fork to shred the pieces. The will fall apart easily right now, and this step is completely optional. 

Crank your oven up to 350 degree and pop in the pan containing your squash for 30 minutes, or until the inside of the squash is fork tender. 
At that point you can CAREFULLY* remove each half and simply scrape out the inside. It will simply form the pasta-esque strings. 

*I have burnt the hell out of my hands on this step. It is not fun.  
Use a dish towel and be mindful of the steam. 

You're almost there! 
Place a hearty serving of squash in a bowl, top with the chicken and a few spoonfuls of the sauce. 
I geeked out this spring and decided to test my green thumb, so picked a few leaves of fresh basil from my container garden to garnish this dish. 

Dinner is served and you spent a whopping 20 minutes in the kitchen. 
This meal makes plenty for your whole family and you can easily add more pieces of chicken, sauce, etc. for more servings. 
Hope you guys enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

What's your favorite weeknight recipe?


  1. I had so much fun cooking this recipe! It did smell amazing while I prepared it. Haven't tasted it yet but I'm sure it will be great! Thank you for sharing

  2. Glad that you enjoyed making it! Be sure to let me know how it turned out. xox