Tonight’s dinner

BY ASHLEY and ALEX

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Last night we had a roommate night and cooked dinner together. Alex made a Pinterest board of options that looked good as well as incorporated ingredients we already had in the cupboard and in the fridge. After going back and forth on a couple options, we settled on roasted acorn squash with rosemary and balsamic vinegar and chicken mozzarella roll-ups. We then walked a block to the Orange Street Food Farm to get a few things we didn’t have on hand.

Here’s what we thought of the two new (to us) recipes …

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[Glazed squash, ready for cooking.]

Ashley here: While the recipe called for butternut squash, we used an acorn squash Alex had previously purchased. Having never prepped an acorn squash before, I found it really hard to peel and cut into cubes. “Gosh darn it, this better taste amazing,” passed through my mind, along with a few other choice words. Thinking the butternut squash might have been easier to tackle?

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[Alex and the kitchen chaos + flipping the squash squares at the half-way baking point.]

Alex here: So we decided to tackle the chicken roll-ups because they looked fairly quick and easy … in theory. Instead of four small chicken breasts we got two massive ones and cut them in half. Pounding the meat flat was fun but when it came time to roll them up, rolling the meat around the basil, cheese, and peppers was not as easy as it was made to sound. There were toothpicks sticking out all over the place. When it was done we had to keep reminding ourselves, “take out the toothpicks before you eat.” As it cooked, the toothpicks got swallowed up by the chicken and led to some interesting excavating before being able to try it.

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[The final product!]

And the verdict …

Alex’s opinion: The squash may have been tough to prepare (thanks for taking that on, Ash) but it was awesome. The balsamic got all sweet and carmeley. The pieces that looked burned actually ended up tasting the best. Tough on the cookie sheet though. I will need to test out this pin to get the rest of the baked on balsamic vinegar off of the pan. As for the chicken, the tomato sauce made it nice and moist, but in our old cruddy oven it should have cooked longer – even though we upped the baking temp to 400F. I was pretty unimpressed with the taste as well. It was bland and would have benefited from some garlic. I would probably try it again, but definitely beef up the amount of filling.

Ashley’s opinion: The savory squash squares reminded me of homemade sweet potato fries I’ve made before — with the balsamic being an awesome addition. You gotta try it. And I’m in agreement with Alex on the flavor of the chicken — more seasoning, please! The next time we make it, I’m going to suggest incorporating some pesto into the roll-ups.

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