Butternut Squash Chili

I usually think posts that start with “it’s been awhile since I posted here” are so cliché, BUT it’s been a while since I posted here! Training for my first marathon ate up my most of my time, while homework, work, and life devoured the rest. After months of scavenging for calories anywhere I could find them during my training, I am trying to get back on track with my paleo meal plans. So far, so good!

Let’s talk chili. Now that it is finally getting cold in Kansas, what better way to welcome the fall and winter? While the chili recipe market is a quite saturated, I think you will find this one a bit unique. I fell in love with butternut squash earlier this year and used it in the kitchen any way I could: roasted, mashed, salads, casseroles, and soups. But above all, I really wanted to incorporate it into a chili recipe. After some experimenting, I think this is a keeper. The butternut squash adds a nutty and subtly sweet flavor, while providing for a perfect consistency, thick and hearty. It is a beautiful marriage of butternut squash and chili that makes for the perfect fall and winter comfort food. Eat it as a soup, or try serving it over spinach for something different. Top it with onions, bacon, cilantro and/or whatever else your heart desire. I would love to hear your feedback! Comment below or find me on Facebook and Instagram.

Butternut Squash Chili
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb Ground beef
  2. 1 Butternut squash
  3. 1 Onion, chopped
  4. 1 (15oz) can Crushed tomatoes
  5. 2 cups Water
  6. 2 Tbsp Chili powder
  7. 1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
  8. 1 1/2 tsp Olive oil
  9. 1 tsp Salt
  10. 1/2 tsp Paprika
  11. 1/2 tsp dried Oregano
  12. 1/2 tsp ground Cayenne pepper
  13. 1/2 tsp ground Cumin
  14. 1/2 tsp Black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel and cut butternut squash in half. Scoop out seeds. Cut squash into 1/2-inch bite-size pieces.
  3. Roast butternut squash for 25-30 minutes, flip halfway. Let it cool for a few minutes.
  4. Process half of the roasted butternut squash in a food processor or blender, until smooth.
  5. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook ground beef until evenly brown. Stir in onions, cook until tender.
  6. Add water, processed butter nut squash, and remaining ingredients to pot: crushed tomatoes, garlic, salt, chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, cumin, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. Add remaining bite-size butternut squash pieces, and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Notes
  1. If you don't have a food processor or blender, or you just don't want to process the squash, you can just mash it in a bowl with a spoon or fork while it's still hot.
  2. Eat as is, or serve it over spinach for something different.
  3. If you want to get fancy, top with cilantro and/or onion. If you be awesome, top with bacon!
BeckyAmyLew http://www.beckyamylew.com/

Chicken Stock (Bone Broth)

bone-broth

For some odd reason, I have always disliked buying chicken broth. Low sodium, low fat, fat free…too many choices. How do you know if any of them are really that good for you? Consequently, I usually make my own broth. I used to wing it and throw in whatever I felt like that day. However, it seemed like I always reduced to adding excessive salt to achieve flavor. 

I found this bone broth recipe on Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain. Love her! I love her, because the majority of her recipes are simple. I have a threshold of about 10 ingredients and 5-10 steps before I move onto the next, because “ain’t nobody got time for that”…at least I don’t. This bone broth is great in soups. You can freeze it to use for later. And, if you become obsessed with it like me, you can drink it! The vinegar and parsley really give it a nice flavor, so you do not need to add much more for a simple chicken or vegetable soup. I like to buy rotisserie chicken and save the bones to use in this broth. If you do not plan to make it right away, freeze the bones. The best part about this recipe, is that it is in a crockpot! No more heating up the house and accidentally letting the water boil over on the stove top. Set it, and forget it!

Chicken Stock (Bone Broth)
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Ingredients
  1. 12 cups Filtered water
  2. 3 lbs Bone-in chicken parts and gizzards
  3. 1 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
  4. 1 Yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  5. 3 large Carrots, cut into large dices
  6. 4 cloves Garlic, smashed
  7. 2 stalks Celery with leaves
  8. 2 Bay leaves
  9. 1 tsp Sea salt
  10. 1/2 tsp Cracked black pepper
  11. 1 bunch Fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. Place water and chicken parts in a slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours.
  2. Skim off any foam from the surface and remove the chicken. Shred the meat off the bones, and set the meat aside. Return bones to the pot.
  3. Reduce slow cooker to low. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the parsley, to the pot and cook on low for 12 hours or on high for 6 hours.
  4. Turn off the pot, skim the fat off the top, stir in the parsley, and cover for 30 minutes.
  5. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Store in the refrigerator or freezer for later use. Scoop off any solidified fat before using.
Notes
  1. ~I do not worry about the filtered water.
  2. ~I always seem to forget about the gizzards. Not sure if that has much impact on the flavor, but it is probably rich in nutrients.
  3. ~Sometimes, I skip step 1 with the chicken, and just use leftover bones I have the freezer.
Adapted from Against All Grain
Adapted from Against All Grain
BeckyAmyLew http://www.beckyamylew.com/