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  • The Chopping Blog

What to Do When You are Gifted Squash

Posted by Cara on Aug 20, 2018
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I recently walked into work to find a beautiful long squash on my desk. My mind immediately went to thinking it was a prank by one of my coworkers, because they do silly things from time to time. But no, it was The Chopping Block's Owner/Chef Shelley Young gifting squashes from her garden to us.   

Of course, I thanked her and immediately began thinking of ways to use it.

For inspiration, I remembered a cooking class I took in June at our Lincoln Square location, Culinary Adventure: A Trip to the Greek Islands. I enjoyed the orzo and goat cheese, and had used my newly found chicken cooking tips several times. I also had a few items left over from my summer trip to Greece. So, I decided to make something with chicken, orzo and squash. 

But wait, more ingredients are needed - baby arugula, corn (optional), goat cheese, chicken stock, olive oil, limes, Dijon mustard and honey.   


Start by boiling chicken stock for the orzo. Once at a boil, add the orzo and cook for about 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, season your chicken breast. While in Greece I purchased a Greek sea salt blend that included pepper flakes, dried thyme, basil, oregano and dried onion. I used this blend in addition to black pepper. You could use any favorite salt blend in place of this and Shelley's new, handmade Herbs de Provence salt blend would be amazing.  

I coated the grill pan with olive oil, but not just regular olive oil. I brought back Garlic infused olive oil! 


Then grill each side of the chicken breast for about 8-10 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the breasts.


A fun trick I learned in class is to poke the thickest part of the chicken breast. It should feel like the meaty part of your palm leading to your thumb when it bent in towards the center of your palm. That is an indicator the chicken is done. Don’t cut into it, as that will dry the chicken out. 

Once the chicken is done, put to the side and allow to cool. 

Add a little water to the grill pan, then cook the corn and squash, covered on med to high heat. 


The corn can take about 15 to 20 minutes or so, but the squash took less than 10 minutes. 

In the meantime, prepare your vinaigrette. Mix half a cup of olive oil, the juice of 2 limes, a tablespoon and half of Dijon mustard, tablespoon of honey (I used ORINO honey I purchased in Greece), salt and pepper to taste.


Once your corn is done and a bright yellow color with slightly char marks, take off the grill and allow to cool.  

Transfer your orzo to a bowl. Cut kernels off the cob and cut the squash. Add both to the orzo. Then pour in your dressing mixture and sprinkle with ¾ cup of goat cheese.


Time to plate! Put a nice bed of arugula on a plate, top with your mixture and sliced grilled chicken. 


This was a delicious dish inspired by a random squash, skills from a “Chopping Block experience” and my Greece ingredients! 

Learn cooking tips just like I did in any of our cooking classes. Check out our August and September calendars and start planning for your late-summer and fall meals. 

View our calendars

Topics: goat cheese, corn, Grilling, salad, Greece, chicken, Greek, orzo

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