Something for Sundays: Roasted Fennel & Butternut Squash

Amy Rizzotto Butternut Squash Move Well DC

Big batch recipes are where it’s at! Save yourself time, money, and brain space by making a sheet pan full of roasted vegetables, 4-5 servings of a healthy whole grain, and a pot full of beans or lentils at the start of each week to make workweek meals easy peasy. You can think of the recipe below like a formula – swap the veggies out for others you like (brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, etc) and change up your spices (cumin, red pepper flakes, curry, etc). Just be sure to keep an eye as you roast different combinations as some vegetables might not need as long to cook. Look for golden brown bits around the edges and avoid letting your vegetables get black and burnt – no carcinogens please!

Something for Sundays - Move Well DC - Butternut Squash and Fennel

Sunday Spread: BBQ Pulled Chicken w/ Asian Broccoli Slaw & Kale Chips

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my Jerk Chicken Sunday Spread. Well with NFL playoff season in full swing–GO PATS!–I decided y’all might enjoy another modified comfort food recipe, and one that will keep your guests happy and healthy. This Sunday Spread is tailgate-inspired with its sandwich, slaw and chip combo. The recipes are nutrient-dense and tasty as can be…leaving a little wiggle room for some of my signature perfect Manhattans (*insert devilish grin here*).

For starters, homemade BBQ sauce is the way to go. Not only do you know exactly what you’re eating and avoid a lot of preservatives, but you also get to control the acidity, sweetness and spice levels. At 32 g of lean protein per serving, the chicken in these sammys gives you a good dose of your recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of protein–which for adult women is 46 g and adult men 56 g. Cruciferous vegetables like the broccoli and kale used in these side dishes are packed with disease-fighting nutrients, including several carotenoids, vitamins C, E, and K, folate, and dietary fiber.

Get to cookin’ and enjoy this football-friendly Sunday spread, guilt-free!



What You’ll Need:

  • 2 lbs chicken (about 4 chicken breasts or 5 chicken thighs)
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup all-natural ketchup
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 whole wheat sandwich rolls

How to Make It:

  1.  Grab a mix bowl and combine the garlic, ketchup, tomato paste, vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, paprika, cumin, allspice and cinnamon. Give it a good whisk until smooth and well blended.
  2. Add your chicken breasts or thighs in a single layer at the bottom of your slow cooker. Sprinkle the diced onions evenly overtop. Pour your BBQ sauce mixture on top, cover and set heat to low. Let cook for 4-5 hours like this.
  3. Remove chicken from slow cooker. The chicken should be pretty much cooked-through, but now it’s time to shred. Using two forks, gently pull apart the chicken into stringy pieces and/or small chunks. Once you’ve shredded the lot, add it back to the sauce in your slow cooker and cook another 1-2 hours.


What You’ll Need:

  • 1 package pre-shredded broccoli slaw mix (your could use the cole slaw mix here as a substitute or shred your own cabbage and carrots)
  • 2 tbs green onions, sliced thin
  • 2 tbs fresh cilantro, minced

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbs sesame oil
  • 2 tbs low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1 tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tbs fresh ginger, grated

How to Make It:

  1.  Whisk all dressing ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add slaw mix, green onions and cilantro. Toss together until well-coated and combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.


What You’ll Need:

  •  1 head kale (whatever variety you like best)
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

How to Make Them:

  1. Pre-heat over to 300°F. Wash, stem and cut kale into bite size pieces.
  2. Toss kale and olive oil together in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle spices as evenly as possible over the kale then mix thoroughly with your hands, massaging the kale, for 1-2 min. 
  3. Place wire cooling racks on two cookie sheets. Spread coated kale leaves over both wire racks. (Note: the wire cooling racks allow heat to crisp the kale from top and bottom. Without this added elevation your chips will be soggy and oily.) Bake for 20-30 min depending on the oven. Keep an eye on them for the last 10 min or so to ensure they don’t burn.
  4. Remove from oven, flake them into a bowl and enjoy!

Sunday Spread: Jerk Chicken, Spicy Beans

As a nutrition nut and yogini, I am all about healthy eating. Every now and again, however, comfort food is 1000% necessary. In a lot of families, it’s a tradition to have Sunday suppers that are more bountiful and indulgent than your average dinner. The other weekend, I tackled my own Sunday spread to impress a lucky gent, making Roasted Jerk Chicken for the first time with a side of Spicy Beans (recipes below). I also made some fried plantains, which were a tasty treat and great balance to the serious spice going on in this meal.

Though I’m deeming this a meal to have in moderation, there is still a whole lot of good nutrition going on here. The beans are full of dietary fiber, the tomatoes and tomato paste are a good source of heart-healthy and cancer-fighting lycopene, and the chicken is, of course, a great source of lean protein. And since you’re making it from scratch, you have complete control over the quality of your ingredients. Skip the fried plantains and the meal is overall quite healthful.

We enjoyed this with a bottle of Torrontés, a white wine from Argentina and currently my favorite for fish and chicken dishes. Pinot Grigio would be a comparable pairing if that’s more your style.



What You’ll Need:

  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 shallot, coarsely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 3 habanero chili peppers, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 large limes, juiced
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1 tbs brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tbs fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp Jamaican allspice
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 whole chicken

How to Make It:

  1. Blend all ingredients (except chicken) together in a blender until smooth.
  2. Place the chicken in a shallow roasting pan and cover thoroughly with marinade, rubbing it into all the nooks and crannies.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or as long as overnight. Remove from fridge and let sit at room temp for 1 hour prior to roasting.
  4. Preheat oven to 450° F (230° C) and cook chicken for 10-15 min. Then reduce temperature to 350° F (175° C) and roast for an additional 20 min per pound.
  5. Remove and let sit for at least 10 min before carving up.


What You’ll Need:

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-oz can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1  15-oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbs fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp hot sauce (I like Frank’s Red Hot)

How to Make It:

  1. Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and shallots and sauté until translucent, about 5 min.
  2. Add garlic and spices (paprika, chipotle pepper flakes, cayenne pepper) and reduce heat to medium, cooking for another 2-3 min.
  3. Add tomato paste, fire-roasted tomatoes (and liquids), and both kinds of beans. Add herbs (thyme and oregano).
  4. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Add salt and hot sauce and let the ingredients cook on low heat for 45 min-1 hour (you can let this sit while the chicken is roasting).
  5. Taste for seasoning and adjust.

Get yourself a plate and pick your favorite cuts of chicken. Serve with a side of Spicy Beans over brown rice and enjoy!