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Roast a chicken and butternut squash specifically for this salad: you won't be sorry. [Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

It may seem superfluous to roast a chicken specifically for a salad, but believe me: it's completely worthwhile (and you'll have extras for a sandwich, anyway). Here, the meat—torn from the bone—is mixed with butternut squash, oven-crisped jus-soaked croutons, grapes, and arugula, all swathed in cider vinaigrette.

Feel free to make the chicken in advance. It's just as tasty cold as it is room temperature or just a bit warm. The croutons are best fresh, though, as are the bits of squash, which gain complexity from being cooked in meat jus.

About the author: Jennifer Olvera is a veteran food and travel writer and author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Chicago." Follow her on Twitter @olverajennifer.

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