Hello hello! I’m finally peaking my head back into the world of blogging. I haven’t shared one meal since my Thanksgiving dish. Eeek! I was hoping to check back in sooner but no such luck. It seems I am in my groove and once again finding the time. In my defense we traveled for just over three weeks and were sick forever – like really – over 8 weeks of sicknesses. And to be honest, the end of last year was busy with the holidays approaching and us leaving town, that I felt the need to minimize my responsibilities to some extent. But here I am. Happy New Year two months late. Now let’s talk food!
We still follow the Whole30 approach for most meals. Yes I drink beer and eat chocolate. I don’t restrict myself so I indulge when I desire. But as time goes on, I realize more and more which foods don’t treat me well. It’s learning to find the balance of pleasing your body and not your mind. I love being in this place. I do not have food allergies so I technically don’t have to avoid any foods. But I have come to be in tune with myself – dairy does leave my bloated and uncomfortable so I use it sparingly, beans and legumes I don’t digest too well, and wheat products (carbs) also leave me bloated and mess with my digestion so I rarely eat these. Even nuts can upset my system. Discovering these sensitivities has reduced processed food from my diet, along with watching unnecessary sugar. Of course there are snacks around for the kids, which I munch on from time to time, but they really don’t make up any part of my diet. And I can easily skip them as they don’t offer me much in terms of fulfillment. The buzz word here is clean eating. I’m glad to see so many people jumping on board with this concept.
Now for this dish. Those who know me know I’m no stranger to one pot meals. I prefer cooking this way, blending flavors and textures. And on the plus side it’s less clean up and quicker cooking, most of the time anyway. These are things I definitely appreciate living the family life. I roasted a butternut squash and some sweet potatoes and created a mash flavored with orange juice, ginger, Chinese five spice and cayenne. My protein of choice was shredded chicken, I used a rotisserie – for simplicity and quickness. Most meals I try to incorporate something green, so baby spinach fulfilled this. For added flare I incorporated toasted coconut flakes and pecans and creamed it all together with a bit of coconut milk. Super tasty and super filling. We enjoyed this for dinner but leftovers with a fried egg on top would be great for breakfast. And it’s kid approved!
Orange Chicken Mash
- 3 cups shredded chicken (I used a rotisserie)
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 2 large sweet potato
- 1 whole orange
- 1 medium sweet onion
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 6 oz baby spinach
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp chinese five spice
- dash cayenne, or as much as you like
- baby spinach
- 1/4 – 1/3 coconut milk
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Slice squash in half lengthwise and season the inside with s&p. Lay face down in a large 9×13 pyrex dish. Peel sweet potatoes and chop into large chunks (3-4”). Place in pyrex dish around squash and season with s&p. Zest orange and set aside. Slice orange in half and juice one half over sweet potatoes. Set other half aside. Cover dish with foil and bake ~45 minutes until sweet potato and squash are very tender.
- Meanwhile thinly slice onion into half moons. Heat up coconut oil over low heat in a large pot and slowly cook onions to caramelize.
- Toast coconut flakes in a saucepan over low heat until fragrant. Set aside.
- Toast pecan pieces in a saucepan over low heat until fragrant and lightly browned. Set aside.
- Add chicken to the cooked onions and squeeze the juice from the other half of the orange into the pot. Continue to cook over low heat to warm the chicken through.
- Scoop squash flesh from skins and add to onion mixture along with sweet potato. Season with salt, pepper, ground ginger, Chinese five spice, and cayenne. Stir/mix well to break down the squash and sweet potato.
- Next add the spinach in batches to wilt, while stirring.
- Lastly stir in coconut milk, pecans, coconut, and orange zest – reserving some of the coconut to garnish. Serve once fully heated through.