Creamy Chicken & Barley Skillet with Acorn Squash

Chicken & Barley Skillet

Don’t you love one pot meals?  Me too!  This is a recipe I developed with the goal of trying new grains instead of my go-to rice, and barley works great!  Make sure you use ‘quick barley’.  Regular cooking barley would not work for this one pot meal. And if someone in your family doesn’t like acorn squash, by all means, change the veggie: corn, green beans, carrots…would all be delicious.  Enjoy!!

Creamy Chicken and Barley Skillet with Acorn Squash (serves 6)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 8-ounce package sliced mushrooms

1 pound skinless, boneless, chicken breast, cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes

½ cup dry white wine

1-½ cup uncooked quick barley (I use Quaker Oats)

2-1/2 cups chicken broth

1-1/2 cups cooked, diced acorn squash (prepared from 1 pound fresh*)

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper

Salt and pepper chicken pieces.  Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add onion, garlic, thyme, and mushrooms.  Saute for 5 minutes or until onion is tender.  Add chicken and sauté 2 minutes until lightly browned on all sides.  Add wine and cook 2 minutes more until liquid begins to evaporate.  Stir in broth and barley, bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 10-12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat and allow to sit covered for 5 minutes.  Stir in squash, cheese, and parsley.  Salt and pepper to taste.

*To prepare squash:  Cut squash in half with large sharp knife.  With a spoon, carve out seeds and stringy pulp.  Place cut side up in a microwave-safe dish with a cover.  Microwave for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool.  Cut slices along natural ridges.  With a paring knife, cut off skin (it should come off easily). Dice and set aside.

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