Chicken with Mushrooms and Butternut Squash

by Jessica Randhawa in , , , ,

Chicken and Mushroom Stew with Butternut Squash

My favorite moments with Octavian are when we are snuggled up together on the couch, under a blanket, keeping warm because it is effing cold in California right now. He is the sweetest, most innocent, most beautiful child in the world.

Oh wait, I should also mention that he's SLEEPING!

Yes, he is all of these things when he is sleeping. I mean, just look at this adorable little angel...

Who wouldn't want to spend time with this kid I made?

I'll tell you who...

Anyone who even looks at a toy he wants to play with now, in an hour, or next week. Cross this sweet angelic child and you'll get knocked to the ground, bit on the back, flipped over and then bit on the hand. 

I swear, I have no idea where he even learns this kind of stuff!

Thankfully his preschool didn't send him packing right then and there (because that's what I would have done), but obviously they can't have a kid running around thinking it's cool to bite other kids. I say cool because I KNOW he knows biting is not acceptable, so I'm pretty sure that's why he does it.

Just like last night when he grabbed the bottle of sprinkles and as he was running away from me opened it up and dumped it all over the floor. Or, yesterday (same day), took his water and slowly started to pour it all over the kitchen island onto his food. Of course, he was just out of reach so I couldn't grab the cup and when I said NO he just smiled. And, as we were baking cookies, he couldn't help but grab each ball of dough I would place on the cookie sheet and smash it onto the counter. Yes, I gave him his own dough. No, it wasn't good enough. And then there's the refrigerator water dispenser, don't even get me started- it was like a flood.

Yep, my kid is an ass hole.

No, it is not my fault.

Yes, I still think he is the best kid in the whole world.

End rant. PHEW. Wow, I feel a lot better now.

Ok, so we've got chicken, mushrooms, butternut squash and a delicious creamy gravy. Packed full of delicious veggies like mushrooms (ok, those are actually a fungi, not a plant, but, same difference), onion and butternut squash, this stew is super yummy and delicious served over mashed potatoes, rice or yes, even cauliflower rice.

Despite the words stew and gravy, this delicious wintery dinner is actually quite healthy. I swapped out cream for whole milk and didn't feel like I was missing out on any of the creamy goodness that make heavier stews so good. However, if cream is you're thing, do it!

Annnnd, on that note- is it 5 o'clock yet?

Chicken Stew with Mushrooms and Butternut Squash

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings
Type: Stew, Chicken, Main Dish, Dinner, Easy


4 thinly sliced boneless skinless chicken breast halves
salt + pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Olive oil
1/4 cup flour, divided
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into cubes
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (10 ounce) bags crimini mushrooms, sliced (approximately 4-6 cups depending on how much you like mushrooms)
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup whole milk (or 1/2 cup half and half or cream)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley + more for serving


  1. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and dried thyme. Place the chicken in a large ziplock bag and drizzle with approximately 1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix chicken thoroughly to evenly coat with oil and sprinkle with 2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Seal the bag and toss around the chicken breasts until each are completely coated with flour. Set aside.

  2. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Melt 1-2 tablespoons butter and carefully add chicken breast fillets in a single layer. Cook for approximately 2-3 minutes, without moving, or until lightly browned on the bottom. Gently turn each fillet over and cook the over side for 2-3 minutes or until bottom is lightly browned. Remove to a plate and set aside.

  3. To the same pot melt 1 more tablespoon of butter or olive oil. Add chopped butternut squash and stir to coat. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, or until squash just starts to soften. Stir in chopped onion and cook for approximately 2 minutes or until just starting to turn translucent. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir in the minced garlic and sliced mushrooms (the mushrooms will shrink, don't worry). Continue to cook the onion and mushroom until the mushrooms have dropped their water and the onions have softened, stirring often, approximately 3-5 minutes.

  4. Add chicken back to the pot, carefully nestling among the vegetables and gently sir in the vegetable or chicken broth. Bring liquid to a low boil and cook, uncovered for 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, gently stirring to prevent burning.

  5. Ladle a few tablespoons of broth into a bowl. Slowly add 3-4 tablespoons of milk, cream or half-and-half and mix. Add in the remaining cream and mix. Slowly pour the bowl of cream into the pot with the chicken and gently mix to evenly distribute the broth and cream. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.

  6. Delicious served with fresh bread, wild rice and mashed potatoes.


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Black Bean Butternut Squash Soup

by Jessica Randhawa in , , ,

I think I'm addicted to cookies.


I haven't had any cookies in two days and now I plan to bake sugar cookies, thumbprint cookies, cake mix cookies and a slow cooker dump cake.

This week.

Rather than stop by TJs after picking up O from preschool today to get things like vegetables or... dinner... I went to Walmart and purchased sprinkles and various other essentials to start my own bakery. Octavian will be thrilled because I guess we're having cookies for dinner (kidding! but I will be saving room for more than I will ever admit), but my husband? not so much.

Whatever. 2 against 1. We win!

I may have a sweet tooth that can't be tamed (that would be boring anyway), but I am pretty good about eating healthy the rest of the time...

Ok, 75% of the time. Pizza and fresh buttered bread is my bff for a solid week out of each month. It's completely out of my hands.

Anyway, who needs delicious tasting naughty food when you can have delicious tasting healthy food?

...uuuh, don't answer that ;)

Healthy food like this Black Bean Butternut Squash Soup. Creamy, full of veggies and seriously comforting on a cold chilly night. You can use pumpkin or butternut squash, but unless I'm baking I typically cook with butternut squash. The black beans pack a surprise protein punch which helps keep you feeling full a little longer.

And let's not forget the toppings! You can really go crazy with the toppings in this soup- sour cream, shredded cheese, fresh cilantro, green onion, pepitas...

or don't. Totally up to you.

This soup is super easy to prepare and makes a great addition to any party, pot luck or as the main course on a busy weeknight.

Black Bean Butternut Squash Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 6 servings
Type: Soup, Healthy, Vegetarian, Easy


Olive oil
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
4 shallots, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
salt + pepper, to taste
1-2 teaspoons cayenne powder
1-2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into cubes
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water (more if needed)
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained

For Topping:
Sour Cream
Shredded Cheese
Chopped cilantro
Chopped green onion


  1. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, onion and shallots and mix well. SautΓ© onions and shallots for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. When onions and shallots are just starting to soften add the carrots, celery, salt + pepper (approximately 1/2 teaspoon each), cayenne, cumin and butternut squash to the pot and mix well. Add vegetable broth and water to the vegetables and stir. Increase heat to high and bring liquid to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for approximately 30 minutes- or until vegetables are soft and mushy. Remove from heat.

  2. Drain and rinse two (15-ounce) cans of black beans. Set aside half of the drained black beans and transfer the other half to the pot of cooked vegetables.

  3. Working in batches, puree the soup, only filling the bowl of your blender half way to prevent accidents. Once the entire pot of soup has been completely pureed into a smooth and creamy soup, season to taste (it will probably need more salt). If soup is too thick, add additional water or broth until desired consistency is reached.

  4. Stir in remaining black beans and heat on low until ready to serve.

  5. Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro, green onions or pepitas - or all of the above :)


Do you have any favorite holiday (or anytime) cookie recipes? Please share :) because clearly I need more cookies in my life.


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The Struggles of Toddler Tooth-Brushing and Finally a Toothpaste They'll LOVE

by Jessica Randhawa in , , , ,

This post is sponsored by hello Products but the content and opinions expressed here are my and Octavian's own. Thanks for reading (and watching :)
#BrushHappy #Sponsored @helloproducts

I've tried every kids toothpaste out there and O hates all of them! Finally, the struggle to find a yummy dye-free, artificial-sweetener-free, and preservative-free kids fluoride toothpaste is OVER! Say Hello to Hello Products, naturally friendly kids toothpaste. Just in time for the Holiday sugar storm headed our way, your kids will love them :)

(blue raspberry is O's favorite )

There are about a million other things I would rather do than brush my kids teeth. Things ranging from taking out the trash, trim our puppy's talons (I mean nails), scrub the grout in the bathroom shower, go to the dentist or clean out my car (it's scary in there).

In other words, I dread brushing O's teeth. What's worse, it HAS to be done...twice a day #thestruggleisreal

Before his molars made their appearance, I (may have) pinned him to the ground, distracting him with a short video as I quickly got in there to scrub that puppies down. Everyone was happy. Now, he gets TV on the regular, isn't afraid to bite off my finger and is seriously strong for his tiny size.

I tried to change tactics and explain that he had to brush the "germy bugs" off his teeth, all while making really cool "BOOM! POW! POP!" sound-effects. This worked two days.

Then the toothbrush transformed into a train...a plane...a boat! Through tunnels, clouds and big, huge giant waves these modes of transportation fought to reach all the bad, yucky germy buggies and "BOOM! POW! POP!" them away. This worked until, all of a sudden one day, my sensitive child said to me, "no mama, the babies will miss their mommies". And then started to cry.

I give up.

But then, as if by magic I discovered this naturally friendly hello toothpaste.

Coming in three flavors, Natural Watermelon, Blue Raspberry and Bubble Gum, these cheerful tubes of toothpaste are clinically proven to prevent cavities with,

NO dyes
NO artificial sweeteners
NO artificial flavors
NO preservatives
NO microbeads
NO triclosan
NO parabens
NO animal testing

Oh, but there's more...

All Hello kids toothpaste tubes are bpa-free and contain no phthalates, each box is made from 100% recycled paperboard AND each are made from completely globally sourced ingredients in the USA.


So, we know that Hello Products makes AWESOME kids toothpaste- it's good for you, good for the environment and come in colorful, happy packaging that will get your child excited to brush their teeth.

But how does it taste? After all, none of that other stuff really matters if you can't get your child to put it in their mouth.

Well, Octavian LOVES all the flavors (see video above or click here) and frequently requests to brush his teeth since we switched to Hello Toothpaste (as long as I leave the germy buggies out of it).

I allow him to pick his flavor, thus giving him back some control (this time in a positive way) - something I've learned my son likes to have (control, that is).

With our toothbrush battles sounding very familiar to many others' out there, I've decided to give the gift of clean teeth for Christmas this year to all the kiddos I know. Parents with thank me, kids will love me, and dentists will, well, that depends on the dentist.

But wait! Hello Products is not just for kids. They also make toothpaste for grownups!

...Like, mojito mint :)

I picked up several boxes of the adult hello toothpaste and love them. Plus, they make the perfect stocking stuffers.

(shhhh, don't tell my husband) :)

To learn more about hello kids toothpaste visit

To learn more about hello (grown-up) toothpaste visit


Thanks for reading :)

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