Confession time. A few months ago I was meeting a friend for a day at the zoo with the kids. We made our plans over a week in advance, but as life goes, I still found myself on the morning of our zoo date rushing to get out the door on time, only half prepared. (All the kids had their shoes on, so that was a plus.) We made a quick stop at the grocery store on the way and I dashed in for a few pre-made sandwiches from the deli, cookies, fruit, and some carrots. We met up with our friends just in time.
As we were transferring my hastily purchased lunch to our friend’s cooler, my mediocre store sandwiches looking very out of place next to her homemade turkey wraps, she made a confession of her own. I wanted to make lunch for everyone, she said, but when she mentioned it to her husband, he scoffed. You are going to cook for Martha Stewart? he teased. He’s right, she thought; I can’t cook for the food blogger. But when she saw my not-so-delicious last minute lunch purchase, well, she just laughed.
It’s such a relief, she said, to know that not all your meals look like the ones on your blog. And I’m here to assure all of you, that they most certainly do not! In addition to store-bought sandwiches on the run, we often pick up pizza on ballet nights, serve scrambled eggs and toast for dinner when I’m too tired to cook, and eat yogurt in the car on the way to school in the morning because everyone woke up a little bit late. That’s real life.
Of course, healthy family meals prepared at home are always my ideal and I do strive to make them happen often because they are important to me. But, I’m also a single mom with four kids, one of whom is an infant, so our reality doesn’t always measure up to the ideal. Sometimes it’s pizza. Last week it was pizza three times, ahem.
That being said, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve. This Moroccan Butternut Chicken Curry with Pomegranate is one of them. It’s a meal that works on a weeknight, even for a busy, tired, single mom. The finished product is both beautiful and delicious without committing yourself to extensive prepping or long cook times. I even bought the package of pre-cubed butternut squash at Costco to make it even easier and I give you full permission to do the same. Sometimes, you do what you gotta do.
The second part of this confession is that while my friends may feel a little intimidated by the pretty pictures I post here on my blog, I still feel pretty intimidated by all the other incredible food blogs I read. This recipe was inspired by the Moroccan Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Soup on Half Baked Harvest.
She kills me. Tieghan is a one-girl-kitchen-wonder and I have to admit to being both baffled and jealous of how she manages to pull out all the stops on her blog every single day. She’s really fantastic.
I tried to stop reading her blog so I could feel better about myself, but a week later I was back for more. She’s got me hooked. All of the recipes I have tried from her blog have been delicious and her Tieghanized version of Butternut Squash Soup is no exception. However, since I am not eating dairy right now, I decided to forgo the goat cheese and I morphed her delicious soup into a healthy, simple weeknight curry dish that my whole family loved! Simple and easy dinners are a necessity these days.
Bottom line: Whatever your approach to family dinner is, you can probably fit this one in somewhere. It looks special, but I’m telling you, this is do-able, really. Take it from the single mom who is typing this entire post with one hand because baby won’t have it any other way right now.
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized cubes
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 teaspoon hot madras curry powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ cup chopped roasted pistachios
- arils from one half pomegranate
- 4 cups cooked rice
- In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the cubed chicken and saute until browned completely, about 8 minutes. Add the cubed squash and saute an additional 2 minutes.
- Stir in the coconut milk and spices and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 10 minutes, or until squash is softened. Remove cover and simmer for an additional 5 minutes, or until sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and add salt/pepper to taste.
- Serve over cooked rice. Top with fresh cilantro, pomegranate, and chopped pistachios.