Sometimes cooking magic happens in my kitchen.
Let me set the pre-cooking magic scene for you: The day is creeping closer and closer to 5pm. Around 5ish the hubby will be home from work and almost as if a timer was set to go off the kiddos will begin asking “What’s for dinner?” followed by “I’m hungry, I neeeeed something to eat RIGHT now!” I, being the ever wishful dinner-planner-in-advance-wannabe, have yet again not given a single shred of thought to what we will eat for dinner before this moment. And as the kids go into auto-repeat with their dinner declarations, I begin pacing between the refrigerator and the pantry assessing what’s in stock hoping the big dinner idea blank will vanish from my mind and be replaced by something phenomenal that can be made in 30 minutes or less to stave off the hangry family members (extended hunger –> angry –> hangry, ya’ll know what I’m talking about right?).
Sometimes I do the fridge-to-pantry pace for quite some time which only amplifies the hangryness. BUT not last night folks! Last night dinner inspiration came like a lightning bolt, the heavens parted, and I’m pretty sure I heard some angels singing. I call it cooking magic.
It’s magical because sometimes my daily dinner blank vanishes as quickly as it arrives and is replaced with something that I know will be really, REALLY good. I opened the fridge and the pantry and BOOM, ingredients came together in my mind and then turned into reality on my plate. And dinner happened in 30 minutes. YEESSSS!
And I’m calling it Date Night Gnocchi.
Sounds dreamy, right?
And this dreamy dinner all began with these aaawesome gluten free gnocchi that I found at the grocery store recently.
These gnocchi are so good. They are better than good. They are dreamy and date night worthy. And even though my gluten-eating days of more than 5 years ago are now becoming a faded memory I’m pretty sure they’re near identical in taste to their glutinous counterpart. They are little potato dumplings of gluten-free bliss. And I am oh so happy about it.
After my college days I spent a year living in Italy working for a non-profit and gnocchi had become one of the staple foods in my life (besides the cappuccinos and loads of diversely shaped pasta I survived on…tough life, I know). But when that ill-fated day back in the states several years later revealed that my growing list of health issues was all related to gluten, it was like time stopped for a moment while I calculated how many of my favorite foods were being blacklisted, with gnocchi being one of them. Being the overcomer in serious food situations like this, I tried my hand at making gluten-free gnocchi from scratch. It was an epic foodie-failure that I have since shunned the idea of repeating. I’ve also tried some versions that can be found in the frozen food aisle but those left me disappointed as well.
But when I saw that box of g-free potato gnocchi sitting bravely by itself on the shelf among a sea of glutinous pasta at the grocery market and noticed through the little plasticy window on the box that it looked like the real deal I may have let out a little squeal of delight in the aisle followed by a short happy dance. Sometimes it’s the little things in life ya know.
So with all that to say these little qnocchies inspired this Date Night Gnocchi dish featuring pan-roasted chicken, butternut squash, kale (yes, that’s right, I said kale and I promise you’ll like it in this dish even if you’re one of those kale-haters simply because kale is so popular right now) all mixed together in a creamy alfredo sauce and topped with grated parmesan cheese.
When this got served up to my family that magical cooking evening, I knew it was good because there was a moment of silence. The type of silence when everyone is just savoring the food for a silent second because it’s THAT good. And then my hubby looked up and said, “Babes, you’ve got to put this on your food blog!”
So here it is.
And I’m calling it Date Night Gnocchi because this dish creates the perfect opportunity for you to invite those you love to the dinner table together for a shared meal. To take a step away from the fast-paced, rushed, social media filled moments of the day and to truly enjoy wonderful company with tasty and delicious food. This Memorial Day Weekend may provide the perfect opportunity to do so. Buon appetito friends. ❤Print
Date Night Gnocchi – a simple 30-minute dish featuring chicken, butternut squash, and kale combined in a creamy alfredo sauce and topped with grated parmesan cheese.
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 4 Tbs butter, divided
- 2-3 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon all purpose seasoning mix for the chicken
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 2 cups butternut squash, cubed
- 1 1/2 cups loosely packed kale, de-stemmed and chopped
- 2 (12 oz.) packages gluten free potato gnocchi (I use DeLallo brand)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- Heat the olive oil and 1 Tbs butter in a large nonstick pan over medium high heat. Add the chicken and sprinkle with the seasoning. Sauté until the chicken is slightly browned and cooked through. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the gnocchi and cook until they float to the top of the water (about 4 minutes). Drain and set aside.
- While the gnocchi is cooking, add the butternut squash, garlic, and 1 Tbs butter to the pan you used for the chicken. Sauté for about 8 minutes, just until the squash is fork tender, but not mushy. Add the kale and sauté an additional 2-3 minutes.
- To finish, add the cream, remaining 2 Tbs butter, and parmesan cheese to the pan with your veggies and stir until the sauce begins to thicken. Once sauce begins to thicken add the cooked gnocchi and reserved chicken to the pan and toss together for 2 minutes on medium heat.
- Serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Nutritional information is based on using 3 chicken breasts.
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