Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili

It’s snowing out!  We were supposed to get a mere inch of snow today but it appears that the weather guys were WAY off… there’s already over 4 inches of snow out there!!  Here’s the view outside and the radar map… the snow doesn’t show signs of stopping anytime soon!

December 8th Snow

Cold and snowy weather is the perfect time to enjoy a batch of warm, hearty stew.  I have this pork and green chile stew from Skinny Taste cooking in my crock pot right now and I want to share another yummy concoction that I made a few weeks ago: Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili.  The original, vegetarian version of this recipe came from Pami over at Omnomalicious.  I would have been happy with a meatless stew but Matt likes his meat so I took some liberties with the recipe and added in some ground turkey just for him. 🙂

281 Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili

This chili was seriously awesome.  The butternut squash was soft and just the tiniest bit sweet, and it blended really nicely with the black beans, peppers, and onions in a tex-mex-style broth that had just the right amount of kick.  YUM!  I will definitely be making this again soon!!

Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili (adapted from Omnomalicious)

You will need…
1 Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1 Onion, diced
2 Red Bell Peppers, diced
1 Jalapeño Pepper, diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Chipotles in Adobo Sauce, minced
1 can Diced Tomatoes
2 cans Black Beans, drained
1 cup Chicken Broth
1 tablespoon Cumin
1 tablespoon Chile Powder
1 tablespoon Mexican Oregano
1 lb. ground Turkey, browned
Salt and Pepper, to taste

272 Butternut Turkey Chili before and after

Oh yeah, did I mention that this stew is amazingly easy to make?  Simply combine all of the ingredients in a crock pot then cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours or until the squash has reached your desired consistency.  Season to taste and serve with a slice of freshly baked cornbread!

284 Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili

Spaghetti Squash with Italian Sausage

Shortly after Thanksgiving I bought a big yellow spaghetti squash at the grocery store with absolutely no plan or recipe in mind. Luckily squash keeps well so I had a few weeks to figure out what to do with it. By Christmas I decided that it needed to get eaten so I searched around online and found this beautiful, simple and delicious baked spaghetti squash recipe from Todd at White On Rice Couple.

This dish is basically a fun twist on spaghetti and meatballs that uses squash and sausage instead of pasta and ground beef. The result is a tasty one-skillet dish that allowed me feel like I was eating a relatively healthy meal… it’s mostly squash, after all! 🙂 Add some freshly grated cheese and oregano and you can’t go wrong!

Sausage and Spaghetti Squash

Before you read my version of the recipe, I strongly recommend that you check out the original recipe at WhiteOnRiceCouple.com. Todd’s photos are amazing!!

Spaghetti Squash with Italian Sausage, Parmesan and Oregano

You will need…
1 Spaghetti Squash, halved lengthwise with seeds removed
Olive Oil
5-6 Shallots, thickly sliced
3 cloves Garlic, crushed
3/4 lb. Italian Sausage, uncooked
1 cup Grated Parmigiana Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste

Drizzle approximately 1 tablespoon of olive oil onto a large baking sheet. Place the squash halves face-down on the olive oil and bake in a preheated 375° oven for about 45 minutes until the squash flesh easily separates into strands. Allow the squash to cool slightly, then use two forks to separate all of the flesh into spaghetti-like strands.

Making the Sausage Balls

While the squash cools slice open the casing on one end of a sausage and use your fingers to pinch about an inch of the sausage meat out of the casing. This will give you a small sausage “ball.” Repeat this process with the rest of the sausage and discard the casing.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and saute until soft, about 30 seconds, then carefully add the sausage in a single layer. Allow the sausage balls to cook, undisturbed, until the bottoms are browned and then continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is cooked through. Add the squash into the sausage mixture and stir well to combine. When the squash is reheated remove the skillet from heat and toss in the grated Parmigiana Reggiano, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a spring of oregano and some extra grated cheese and enjoy!

Sausage with Spaghetti Squash

Volunteer Vegetables!

Guess what?  All of these veggies came from “volunteer plants” in my garden.  Volunteers are plants that grow on their own, either from the wind or a bird dropping a seed or, in my case, from compost.  Seeds aren’t normally supposed to sprout out of your compost so, judging by the huge quantity of volunteers that are growing around my house, I think I must be doing something wrong!  (Or very right, depending on how you feel about volunteer mystery plants!)

The squash and pumpkin plants sprouted by our front door and quickly took over our pink cosmo/dahlia flower bed.  By mid-August the crooked-neck gourd vines were completely out of control and could be clearly seen from the street so we picked the mature squash and ripped out the vines.  The pumpkin vines were growing across our front walk so today I finally decided that the pumpkin looked ripe enough to pick it and pull out the plant.

The tomatoes are the most exciting volunteers because we’re actually getting to eat those.  We have about a dozen volunteer tomato plants and the campari-sized tomatoes are just starting to ripen on their vines.  This is perfect timing because my “planned” tomatoes are pretty much done producing.  Can’t wait to each some of them for dinner tonight!

Simple Grilled Zucchini

We’ve had a busy week!  It was Matt’s birthday yesterday so we’ve been going out to dinner a lot and haven’t cooked anything elaborate lately.  Despite our lack of exciting culinary exploits, I still wanted to share a recipe so here’s a very simple one for tonight: Grilled Zucchini.

Simple Grilled Zucchini

You will need…
2 small Zucchinis (or 1 large one)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Garlic Powder and/or Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute (optional)

Slice the zucchinis in half lengthwise.  Pour a small amount of olive oil onto the cut side of the zucchini and season with salt and pepper.  You can add extra seasonings like garlic powder or Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute at this point as well.

Place the zucchini halves skin-side down over direct medium-high heat on a preheated grill.  Grill for approximately 5 minutes and then flip the zucchinis over so that they are face-down on the grill.  Grill for another 5-7 minutes (longer for a thicker zucchini) or until they are tender.  Remove from the grill and enjoy!