Chicken and Butternut Squash with Lemon and Za’atar, Bad Day, part II

I found this recipe on Diabetes Forecast, which is an online ‘Healthy Living Magazine.

Along with her recipe for the Chicken Thighs she gives her recipe for homemade za’atar.

I made a few changes as I cook for 2, not 4, and I added a few things, including the butternut squash. I should point out that our chickens are smaller than the ones found in the U.S. – I couldn’t believe the size of a boneless chicken breast the last time I was there!

I would have tossed a potato into the mix as well, but my baking tray wasn’t big enough.

Chicken and Butternut Squash with Lemon and Za’atar

Total time: 45 minutes minutes  plus marinating time


  • 3 chicken thighs
  • 3 chicken legs
  • 8oz (240gr) butternut squash, sliced
  • 3 small onions, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed lightly
  • 1/2 tsp za’atar
  • Marinade:
  • juice of 1 lemon, 1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml)
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs dried parsley
  • 1 tsp za’atar
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sumac
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt

Chcken and Butternut Squash with Za'atar


  • Put chicken, onions and garlic in a bowl or dish to marinate
  • Mix all ingredients for marinade and spoon over chicken. Stir / turn to coat.
  • Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, turning once or twice.
  • To cook:
  • Remove the chicken and lay skin side down on a baking sheet
  • Add butternut squash to bowl and stir to coat with marinade.
  • Spoon / arrange vegetables around the chicken.
  • Pour any remaining marinade over all.
  • Roast in pre-heated oven 400F (200C) for 15 minutes.
  • Remove, turn chicken and vegetables.
  • Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tsp za’atar.
  • Return to oven and roast 15 minutes longer 
  • Remove and serve.

Print Recipe

Waiting is not what I do best….. But I got to practice on Wednesday.

After they dismissed me from the exam center we headed home. We passed a McDo’s, thought about it for a second and decided to skip the Big Mac and have lunch at home.

It was still early –  just after 12:30.

About five minutes after reaching cruising speed on the motorway we heard a strange noise.

It didn’t go away.

On French motorways there is an orange SOS pillar every two kilometers with a space to pull off the road and park. We made it to the next one and stopped.

Mon mari got out and looked – we had a flat tire.

Cars don’t have spare tires any more. There’s not even a place to put a spare tire. Instead, there are these extremely useful kits. The idea is that one fills the tire with gunk, adds air and limps to a service station.

Mon mari thought our tire was too far gone for that to work.

I was instructed to call for help.

I’ve always wondered how the SOS things worked. Now I know

There is an instruction sheet on the side in four languages and a big green button. I pressed the button and a person answered. I explained the problem as best I could, which was not very good, but apparently good enough. I gave her the details (car, license number, etc.) I was told that help would be there in 30 minutes.

Twenty minutes later mon mari was bored and decided to play with the repair kit. He got the tire inflated…. Sort of.

Fifteen minutes later he decided we should try to make it off the motorway – the next exit was 20 kilometers. He left the flashers on and we crawled along the shoulder. At the next SOS spot we stopped and checked. The tire seemed to be holding air.

On to the next SOS (every two kilometers) and we were still okay.

Before the next SOS there was a proper wayside. We pulled in.

Mon mari got out but before he could even look at the tire a big flatbed rescue truck pulled in behind us. The driver got out and, rather sternly, explained that he (and the entire world) had been looking all over for us and finally spotted us pulling off. He looked at the tire, shook his head and told us he was taking us in.

While we stood there discussing it all it started to rain.

Decision made – we got in the truck, he loaded our car and off we went.

Once at the garage I called our insurance roadside assistance number. As usual, I got the ‘phone tree’. Unlike in the U.S. the first choice is not your preferred language. After hitting numbers, trying to explain our plight, being transferred all over the world I finally took my phone out to the driver and let him do the talking. He got it all sorted out in thirty seconds.

It was so frustrating…. I had just spent 4 hours talking to all sorts of people in French – probably poorly, but being understood and even told I was doing well only to be totally thwarted by a phone call.

Anyway, the driver hung up and told us everything was fine. But he didn’t have a matching tire in stock. By law the front tires have to match each other (as do the back tires).

He’d order it and it would be there on Thursday, provided the truck-driver strike didn’t happen. Whatever, we could take a taxi home (an hour’s drive each way) and back again whenever the tire came in. The insurance would cover it.

We don’t have a second car. It’s all very nice that the insurance would cover a taxi to and from the garage, but what do we do without a car? What if the tire doesn’t come in right away (which is very likely), etc., etc.

We already knew we had to buy one new tire – how much for two?

We had lunch (a candy bar and orange soda) and discussed our options.

We decided on buying two new tires – the kind they had in stock.

Could they do that right away? Yes, of course.

Our definition of ‘right away’ is somewhat different. I mean, really, how long can it take to put on two tires?

Apparently the answer is three hours.

At 5:45 we are, once again, on our way home.

Yes, the girls were very happy to see us. (I had called our neighbor right after the flat and she let them out for a romp.)

Last update on January 23, 2015

9 thoughts on “Chicken and Butternut Squash with Lemon and Za’atar, Bad Day, part II”

  1. Whew, What a day. I hate going to the doctor and you managed to make the whole experience even worse. LOL. Glad you made it home and hope all of your tests turn out well. Your meals are the best.

  2. Ohhh Katie…I too would have been soooo frustrated with a day like that! Glad you finally got home safely. As to the larger chicken in the States, I hate to say it but it was probably a chicken loaded in hormones and anti-bio-tics. From the research I have done, France is wonderful in keeping their meats, and most other foods free from such chemicals, GMO’s etc. – keeping them as natural as possible. I have to search well to find natural foods like that in Canada, although, it is getting much better than it used to be. By the way as usual your dinner sounds wonderful!

  3. Quelle horreur! I’ll bet you were glad when that day ended! And thank heavens for helpful neighbors! (P.S. I didn’t know you had any neighbors. The photos you show are always of sweeping fields).

  4. Penny, it was one I was glad to see over. Thanks for the kind words.

    Ina, that would explain it. Our chicken breasts are a nice single serving. And yes, I’m very happy with the care the French take with the food.

    Kate, yeah, it was wonderful… Actually, it was good – the first candy bar and orange soda I’ve had in ages LOL

    Zoomie, we do have neighbors, 2, each about 2 blocks away, one below our little woods and one at the entrance to the lane. Just close enough….. And yes, very handy.

  5. I’m so glad the flat wasn’t a blow-out! You’re fortunate too that the gunk worked. I don’t use that here because it ends up screwing up the tire pressure sensor monitor and once used, that’s another $150 to replace. As to the giant chicken breasts, a chicken fed a family of four for at least two and sometimes 3 days 100 years ago and they were so much smaller. Then again, so were the portions we tend to consume here which is why in part, we’re such a fat, fat country. I also have a theory on the relation between all the hormones they pump into our food to make it bigger and the fact that kids these days are hitting puberty so much earlier, but that’s a conversation for another time…

  6. Oh my. I would SO NOT LIKE to be stuck on one of those freeway SOS waysides. But at least no harm was done — freeways can be dangerous places to have any sort of mechanical problem.

  7. ICK. What a bloody day. Cars are wonderful – so long as they work. You did well dealing with the situation.

    I know what you mean about American chickens- what chemicals must they use to make those birds grow to that size?

  8. nightsmusic, I think you’re right about the hormones… My mother fixed one chicken for our family of 6 and it was plenty, with leftovers – but always lots of veggies.

    Betty, it was a first for us. I was just glad we made it to the spot to pull over. There’s not much room otherwise. The the trucks are fast LOL

    Jerry, it was, truly, a bloody awful day. I think our chickens taste better, too 😉

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