Seared Chicken with Roasted Honeynut Squash & Garlic Rice

Seared Chicken with Roasted Honeynut Squash & Garlic Rice

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
½ Cup Long Grain White Rice
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Honeynut Squash
1 Lime
1 Bunch Cilantro
1½ Tablespoons Pepitas
1 Tablespoon Honey
2 Teaspoons Mexican Spice Blend (Ancho Chile Powder, Smoked Paprika, Garlic Powder, Ground Cumin & Dried Mexican Oregano)

Preheat the oven to 475°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Cut off and discard the squash ends. Using a knife, carefully peel the squash; halve lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out and discard the pulp and seeds; medium dice the squash. Peel and mince the garlic. Using a peeler, remove the green rind of the lime, avoiding the white pith; mince the rind to get 2 teaspoons of zest (or use a zester). Quarter the lime. Finely chop the cilantro leaves and stems.

Place the squash on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; toss to thoroughly coat. Arrange in a single, even layer and roast 20 to 22 minutes, or until browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven.

While the squash roasts, in a medium pot, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Add the rice, a big pinch of salt and 1 cup of water. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook 12 to 14 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Stir in the lime zest. Set aside in a warm place.

While the rice cooks, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the pepitas and toast, stirring frequently, 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown. (Be careful, as the pepitas may pop as they toast.) Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately season with salt and pepper. When cool enough to handle, transfer to a cutting board and finely chop. Wipe out the pan.

While the rice continues to cook, pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season on both sides with salt, pepper and as much of the spice blend as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. In the same pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken and cook 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through. Remove from heat.

While the chicken cooks, in a bowl, combine the chopped pepitas, cilantro, honey, the juice of all 4 lime wedges and a drizzle of olive oil; season with salt and pepper to taste. To the pot of cooked rice, add the roasted squash. Stir to thoroughly combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the finished rice and cooked chicken between 2 dishes. Top the chicken with a few spoonfuls of the sauce. Enjoy!

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