Chicken Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Chicken butternut squash soup recipe | jessicagavin.com

I’m really bumming out… Today is my official first day back at work from maternity leave, I sure hope I can make it at work without crying, yikes! It’s been the most amazing and challenging 4 months since the arrival of baby James. I can’t believe how much he has grown and taking on his own jubilant personality! It’s been a blessing that I’ve been able to indulge in each tender moment. I’ve learned how to navigate through epic diaper blow outs in public, the ninja creep out of the nursery after putting him to sleep, getting my zombie wake up calls during those late night feedings, and I’m a whiz at cooking and eating with one hand, haha.

Spending each day with my adorable buddy has given me the chance to see him grow into a strong and healthy boy, hear his first full bellied blissful laugh, knowing that he recognizes us, and that we can make each other smile. My favorite times are our mornings when Jason brings our little early bird into our room and we get some family cuddle time before we start the day. It’s so cute how he likes to watch The Chew and Ellen, by the way I need to start recording my favorite day time TV shows!

Sorry for all the sappy puppy dog lovey mommy stuff, it’s mostly for James to know someday if he ever reads this, just how much he is loved and that he has made me a better person.

Now that it’s back to reality! That means back to work and being more efficient with my time at home. What I needed was some quick, easy and hearty meals that I could prepare as soon as I walked through the door so we could maximize our time with the little guy. A big pot of chicken butternut squash soup is one of the answers., Who doesn’t love a steamy wholesome bowl of chicken soup?… 

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Herb Brined Butterflied Roasted Chicken

Herb Brined Butterflied Roasted Chicken recipe | jessicagavin.com

Are you having a more intimate holiday this year, maybe a romantic dinner for two? Sometimes roasting a whole 12 pound turkey seems a little intimidating or excessive (unless you like lots of leftovers, which is not a bad thing). How about a super flavorful crispy roasted chicken in under an hour? The answer is a delicious and juicy herb brined butterflied roasted chicken!

Nothing is better than filing your home with smells of a fragrant roasted chicken on a cool evening. I especially like cooking the bird on a hearty bed of root vegetables, like for my lemon and herb roasted chicken recipe, it’s a full meal all in one! But I wanted to try a few new techniques to make an even more flavorful and tender bird. As the holidays are approaching I feel like this year’s culinary buzz words for cooking your poultry is “dry brine” and “spatchcock” aka butterflied, hehe, I know. Both of these preparation and cooking techniques are designed to save you time and effort, while adding flavor and even cooking. Yes!… 

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Chicken Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce

serving dish of chicken pumpkin enchiladas | jessicagavin.com #mexicanrecipes #food

Oh man… I am so excited to share this recipe with you, it’s my new fall favorite and guaranteed to score you some high fives from the fam bam!  I’ve added pumpkin purée to as many sweet recipes that you could imagine, but this was my first time with a savory dish. To my surprise, these chicken enchiladas with pumpkin sauce are my best pumpkin inspired dish so far! I seriously couldn’t wait to devour these amazing mini burritos the next day, and I wasn’t in the mood for sharing!

Enchiladas have been one of my go to meals to make for a crowd while on a budget. This worked especially well during those penny pinching college days. I used to just grab a whole roasted chicken, canned red enchilada sauce, flour tortillas and Mexican blend cheese and called it good. I’d call my hungry study buddy’s over for a mini feast and we were fueled up for the long cram sessions ahead. Enchiladas are so simple and filling, but I really wanted to make the enchilada sauce from scratch. Instead of the traditional red or green chili sauce, even though it may sound strange, I thought a pumpkin sauce may be a nice way to switch up. Oh yes, it was divine and I’ll tell you why…… 

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Broccoli Slaw and Kale Salad with Chicken

delicious broccoli slaw and kale salad with chicken | jessicagavin.com

Did I ever tell you that during my pregnancy I craved kale salads? Yup! It was probably one of the healthier foods for my taste buds, compared to all of the sweets that I typically want. As I was roaming the aisles of my local Trader Joes grocery store, I came across a single serving broccoli slaw and kale salad with chicken and thought it would be the perfect lunch for the next day.  I enjoyed the taste and texture of this salad so much, that I created my own recipe! This also saves your wallet, since buying these individual portions could break the bank over time…. 

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Super Tasty Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken

delicious tequila chicken marinade | jessicagavin.com

Very interesting things can happen when you’ve been drinking… some you remember, some you don’t. Well this drunk chicken infused in a margarita inspired marinade sure had a good time! Summer is officially less than a week away (woohoo!) and these hot summer nights I’d rather not be cooking in my sweltering kitchen! My husband certainly appreciates a yummy meal, but there are times I feel like I just did a steamy session of Bikram yoga after cooking for an hour (so not attractive). Since moving into our new house, this is the first time we had the chance to use our “gently used” Weber barbecue left behind by the previous owners. To commemorate the occasion, I decided to make a grilled tequila lime chicken with a refreshing mango salsa…. 

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Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms

chicken marsala with mushrooms recipe | jessicagavin.com

You can find chicken Marsala with mushrooms on most Italian restaurant menus and for good reason, it’s simple to make and delicious. I typically order handmade ravioli when I’m having Italian food, however I recently wanted to try something new. I was pleasantly surprised to see how quick and easy it is to make this timeless chicken Marsala dish. Not to mention, the sweet and savory Marsala mushroom sauce is simply addicting!… 

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Chicken Andouille Sausage Gumbo

chicken andouille sausage gumbo pot

New Orleans is a melting pot for extravagant culture, exuberant energy, live music and it’s incredible food! I traveled there a few years back for work and I didn’t know it at the time but when I had my first taste of delicious gumbo, I was hooked! It immediately became my favorite dish from Louisiana. While I was there I had to try the various types of gumbo from each restaurant in The Big Easy!… 

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Buttermilk Fried Chicken

buttermilk fried chicken stack on waffles

I’ve never been a person to say no to fried chicken, it’s my culinary kryptonite. I just can’t get enough of the salty, crispy coating, and biting into the tender and juicy chicken meat. My childhood diet often times consisted of orders of McDonald’s chicken nuggets with sweet and sour sauce (which I still love), red and white striped buckets of KFC fried chicken (I prefer original recipe), and little fried drumettes from Oakland Chinatown which had the tastiest scallion batter. Fried chicken has certainly evolved with many chef’s adding their own blend of spices and coatings, sandwiching them between waffles and served at the swankiest and hippest restaurants…. 

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Thai Chicken Vegetable Curry

healthy serving of fresh curry mixed with veggies

I have a culinary confession to make, I have an obsession with Trader Joe’s grocery stores. I simply love their philosophy: all natural ingredients, non hydrogenated fats and no GMO’s. Without overly plugging them, I just want to say that I am consistently happy with their selection of tasty and fun offerings that change with the seasons. Okay, so I may have a little bit of a bias here because my two best friends – Soren & Kristina work for Trader Joe’s but that just means I get great insights on new items in the store from yummy desserts, cheeses to wines. Thanks guys!… 

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Spiced Lemon Chicken

Spiced lemon chicken with humus

Are you in need for a fast healthy and tasty dinner? I personally struggle with having time after a long day at work to cook an elaborate dinner. I try my best to make meals that are packed with nutrition in order keep energized for the next day. My spiced lemon chicken recipe is the perfect wholesome meal during those hectic weekdays. I always stock my pantry with essential spices such as garlic, cumin, coriander and paprika, so I can make a quick spice blend to add more flavor to my proteins and the best part is you do not need to marinate for hours!… 

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