Category Archives: butternut squash

Chicken, Apple & Butternut Stew

stew

For me, this stew is comfort in a bowl. The recipe is adapted from  Cooking Light, and it has quickly become a family favorite, making regular appearances on our dinner table and in lunch thermoses the next day. The dish starts simply enough with cubes of boneless chicken thighs which are moister and more flavorful than white meat. A combination of butternut squash and parsnips take the place of the customary potatoes and bring both a sweet and nutty flavor to the dish. But it doesn’t end there. Both sage and ginger add complexity to the dish which is finished off with crisp cider and a generous amount of tart apples which ups the flavor quotient. There are a lot of flavors in this dish but they complement each other with no two bites tasting the same. It encourages you to go back for more. And more…. And more…..

CHICKEN, APPLE & BUTTERNUT SQUASH STEW

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash
1 cup  diced peeled parsnip
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups dry Normandy cider
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
2 cups chopped peeled Granny Smith apple
  • Sprinkle the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.
  • Add one tablespoon of the oil to a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Add half of chicken to the pan and sauté 6 minutes or until browned.
  • Remove chicken from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining oil to the pan.
  • Add the onion, sage and ginger and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the squash and parsnip then cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the vegetables with the flour and cook for one minutes.
  • Stir in the cider and chicken stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits.
  • Stir in the chicken, the remaining salt and the remaining pepper.
  • Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and cook, partially covered for 25 minutes.
  • Stir in the apples and cook for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Serves 4

Butternut Squash & Kale Saute

kale

Thanksgiving is just a few days away but are you ready? The turkey and all of the traditional sides might be set but what about adding a healthy and colorful dish to the table? My new go-to dish and one that I will be serving is this kale and butternut squash dish courtesy of Simply Recipes. Because it is only lightly sautéed, the kale remains bright and crisp while the butternut squash adds color and a sweet flavor to the dish. And when you add in cranberries and pecans, this side dish practically becomes a meal unto itself.

It is so good that even the non-kale eaters amongst you will love it. And it will be a dish that you make over and over again long after the Thanksgiving leftovers have been eaten.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH & KALE SAUTE

4 cups 3/4-inch cubes of butternut squash

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, divided

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups sliced red onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

6 cups thinly sliced kale

1/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries

1/2 cup slightly broken up pecans

Salt and pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 425. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Place the squash in a bowl and toss it with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, 1 teaspoon of the balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
  • Spread the squash on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes or until the squash is cooked through and the edges have begun to brown.
  • While the squash is roasting heating the remaining olive oil in a large pot set over medium high heat.
  • Add the onion and toss to coat. Cook for 7 minutes or until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  • Add the remaining balsamic vinegar and the kale to the pot. Stir until the kale and the onions are combined. Let the mixture cook until the kale is just wilted, about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the roasted squash, the cranberries and the pecans.
  • Season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Butternut Squash & Sage Risotto

photo 2-19

It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Squash and sage are a perfect flavor combination.  When cut into small pieces, the squash cooks quickly and you can even reduce the preparation time if you buy pre-cut squash from your grocer’s fresh food case.  If you can’t find butternut squash you can easily substitute any firm fleshed winter squash or even pumpkin.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH & SAGE RISOTTO

1 cup butternut squash cut into 1/2 inch dice

3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, minced

1 ½ cups risotto rice

½ cup grated Asiago cheese

2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced

  • Place the squash in a small saucepan adding enough water to just barely cover the squash.  Bring to a boil and steam until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.  Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth and white wine in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium-high heat.  Adjust the heat to keep the broth mixture at a low simmer.
  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, approximately 5-6 minutes.
  • Add the rice to the onions and stir to combine.  Add one ladle of the broth to the pot and stir well.  Stirring occasionally, continue cooking the rice until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding additional broth.
  • Repeat this process until the rice is al dente.  You may not need to use all of the broth.
  • Add the reserved squash and gently fold to incorporate.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated Asiago cheese and minced sage.  Serve immediately.

Serves:  4 as an entree or 6 as a side dish

Moroccan Beef Tagine

tagine

I feel like we are in the calm lull between back to school craziness and the madness of the holiday season. The cooler weather has been inspiring my cooking and has me wanting to spend more time in the kitchen putting together satisfying and comforting dishes. And because some of the best dishes are those that take time to make, this is the season to make them.  While the dishes take time to prepare much of the time is spent on the cooking rather than the preparations. And as these dishes cook their aroma fills the house with wonderful scents that give you a hint of the meal that is to come.

I’ve adapted this dish from a Jamie Oliver recipe and like so many of his recipes, it doesn’t disappoint. It is rich, flavorful and thoroughly satisfying. If you don’t have a tagine, or have one but also have a very small European sized oven that can’t accommodate a tagine, make this dish is a heavy, ovenproof Dutch oven. The slow cooked results will be the same. And if you want to make a fancy presentation like I do for company, I transfer the cooked stew into my tangine and serve it at the table.

MOROCCAN BEEF TAGINE

For the spice rub:

 

1 tablespoon sea salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

 

1 tablespoon ras el hanout spice mix

 

1 tablespoon ground cumin

 

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

 

1 tablespoon ground ginger

 

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

For the tagine:

1 pound stew beer

  • To make the spice mix, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Place the beef into a large bowl, sprinkle with the spice mix and use your hands to massage it into the meat.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
  • When you’re ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a tagine or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the meat and cook, tossing to ensure it is seared on all sides for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the onion and coriander stalks to the pan and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Add the chickpeas, tomatoes and stock to the pot.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Add the squash, prunes and additional stock if the mixture looks too dry. Cover the pot and continue to cook for an additional 1 1/2 hours until the meat is fork tender.

Adjust the seasonings and serve alongside couscous and topped with the slivered almonds.

Serves 4

Butternut-Boursin-Bacon Soup

IMG_4234

Here is a an easy and interesting soup from the great food blog, The Noble Pig. I’m a huge fan of butternut squash so am always on the lookout for recipes using this squash. My usual butternut squash soup is Asian inspired and infused with the flavors of ginger, curry paste and coconut milk.  This version, rich with bacon and melted Boursin cheese couldn’t be more different yet is equally as delicious.

I’ve tweaked the original recipe just a bit by adding more bacon and even sauteing my vegetables in bacon fat. I think it provides additional depth to the soup but if you prefer, use all butter instead. But then again you probably don’t want to because isn’t everything simply better with bacon?

BUTTERNUT-BOURSIN-BACON SOUP

8 ounces bacon, diced

Bacon grease and butter to equal 1/3 cup

1/2 of a large onion, diced

4 stalks celery, chopped

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

4 cups low sodium chicken broth

10 1/2 ounces Boursin Cheese with Garlic and Fine Herbs

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

  • Cook the bacon until crispy in a large heavy soup pot set over medium heat. Use a slotted spoon to move the crispy bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
  • Add enough butter to the pot to equal about 1/3 of a cup of fat. I used 2 tablespoons of butter.
  • When the fats have melted, add in the onion and the celery, cooking until softened, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add butternut squash and thyme leaves, cook for about 6-8 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour the add the chicken broth to the pot.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer on low for 10-15 minutes or until the squash is soft.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until it is smooth.
  • Return the pot to the heat, stir in the Boursin cheese, salt and pepper. Stirring occasionally, heat until the cheese has completely melted.
  • Serve in warmed bowls topped with the crumbled bacon.

Serves 4-6

Butternut-Boursin-Bacon Soup

IMG_4234

Here is a an easy and interesting soup from the great food blog, The Noble Pig. I’m a huge fan of butternut squash so am always on the lookout for recipes using this squash. My usual butternut squash soup is Asian inspired and infused with the flavors of ginger, curry paste and coconut milk.  This version, rich with bacon and melted Boursin cheese couldn’t be more different yet is equally as delicious.

I’ve tweaked the original recipe just a bit by adding more bacon and even sauteing my vegetables in bacon fat. I think it provides additional depth to the soup but if you prefer, use all butter instead. But then again you probably don’t want to because isn’t everything simply better with bacon?

BUTTERNUT-BOURSIN-BACON SOUP

8 ounces bacon, diced

Bacon grease and butter to equal 1/3 cup

1/2 of a large onion, diced

4 stalks celery, chopped

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

4 cups low sodium chicken broth

10 1/2 ounces Boursin Cheese with Garlic and Fine Herbs

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

  • Cook the bacon until crispy in a large heavy soup pot set over medium heat. Use a slotted spoon to move the crispy bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
  • Add enough butter to the pot to equal about 1/3 of a cup of fat. I used 2 tablespoons of butter.
  • When the fats have melted, add in the onion and the celery, cooking until softened, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add butternut squash and thyme leaves, cook for about 6-8 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour the add the chicken broth to the pot.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer on low for 10-15 minutes or until the squash is soft.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until it is smooth.
  • Return the pot to the heat, stir in the Boursin cheese, salt and pepper. Stirring occasionally, heat until the cheese has completely melted.
  • Serve in warmed bowls topped with the crumbled bacon.

Serves 4-6

Roasted Mushroom & Squash Risotto

IMG_4006

I love risotto. Whether served as an entree or a side dish I think it is the perfect comfort food. It is also wonderfully versatile; I’d be hard pressed to think of an ingredient that can’t be added into the rice.

I love this combination of butternut squash and portobello mushrooms. Because the vegetables are roasted ahead of time they are an earthy and perfectly tender compliment to the rice. The fontina cheese adds additional subtle flavor and creaminess to the dish. I usually eat this risotto as an entree but it is equally good served alongside grilled steak. Yum.

ROASTED MUSHROOM & BUTTERNUT SQUASH RISOTTO

2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

1 cup baby portobello mushrooms, quartered

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 shallot, minced

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

3/4 cup dry white wine

4 cups low sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup finely grated Fontina cheese

Salt and pepper for seasoning

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Evenly distribute the squash and mushrooms on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
  • Roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.
  • Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • Heat the broth in a large saucepan until it simmers. Reduce the temperature and keep warm.
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat.
  • Add the shallots to the butter and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the rice to the shallots and stir to coat with the butter.
  • Stir in the white wine and bring to a boil.
  • Once the wine is almost evaporated begin adding the broth, one ladleful at a time. Stirring regularly, but not constantly cook the rice until the liquid is mostly evaporated before adding in more broth.
  • Repeat the process until the rice is creamy and al dente. You may not need to use all of the broth.
  • Add the roasted squash and mushrooms to the rice and fold to combine.
  • Remove the rice from the heat and stir in the grated cheese.
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Serves: 4 as an entree or 6 as a side dish

Thai Butternut Soup

DSC_0011

It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays is over, its time to take a deep breath and prepare for the year to come. But regardless of the date, we all need to eat. For me, the holidays are the ultimate cooking frenzy where my stove and oven seem to be running non-stop. So now, I am digging into my collection of simpler meals to feed my family. But simpler doesn’t need to mean less flavorful as this soup adapted from Cooking Light can attest to.

Using frozen pureed butternut squash makes this soup cook up in a flash. If you don’t have any on hand it is readily available in most grocery store freezer cases or you can cook some up yourself. (The soup will take longer to make if you take this route but you can cook up the squash earlier in the week so once Friday hits you are ready to go). The Asian flavors add a nice surprise to what appears as an ordinary squash soup but that is what makes this soup so special.

THAI BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 tablespoon red curry paste

4 garlic cloves, crushed and minced

2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 teaspoons brown sugar

3 cups pureed butternut squash

1 14-ounce can coconut milk

2 teaspoons fish sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt

Juice of 1 lime

1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped (optional)

  • Heat the oil in a soup pot set over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion and saute 3 minutes.
  • Add the curry paste, garlic and ginger to the pot and saute for 45 seconds, stirring constantly.
  • Add the broth, brown sugar, butternut squash, coconut milk, fish sauce and salt to the pot.
  • Cover and bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.
  • Add the lime juice to the soup, stir well and serve, topped with the cilantro leaves if using.

Serves 4

Minestrone Soup

IMG_3045

Nothing satisfies on a cold day more than soup. Most weekends I will make a big pot of whatever strikes my fancy. I allow it to simmer on low all afternoon then we enjoy it with crusty bread for a Sunday night dinner. There are always leftovers which is perfect since soup tastes better the next day. I have yet to find a soup that I didn’t like but this minestrone is a soup that I absolutely love.

It is more of a method rather than an exact recipe; I will use whatever vegetables I have on hand or whatever looked good at the market that morning. I like to be heavy handed with the vegetables and go lighter on the pasta and beans but you could easily add more of the later if that is to your liking. Not only is this soup vegetarian but it is also low in sodium. Rather than using a pre-made broth, I simply add water as the soup base and allow the cooking vegetables to flavor the broth. The results? A rich, tasty and satisfying soup that everyone will love. Serve it with crusty French bread and dinner is served.

MINESTRONE SOUP

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, minced

1 leek, quartered and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

1 small zucchini, diced

1 small eggplant, diced

1 cup Brussels sprouts, quartered

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 26-ounce can tomatoes, roughly chopped

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

3/4 cup small pasta (shells or elbow macaroni works well)

1 large handful fresh basil, chopped

Salt & pepper to taste

Grated parmesan cheese, to serve

  • Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot set over medium high heat.
  • When the oil shimmers, add the onion, leek, celery and carrots and stirring occasionally, cook until soft but not brown, 4-5 minutes.
  • Add in the zucchini, eggplant, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, beans and canned tomatoes. Stir well.
  • Add enough water to the pot to cover the vegetables by 1 inch.
  • Bring the soup to a simmer then reduce the heat and cook uncovered until the vegetables are soft, 35-45 minutes.
  • Add in the oregano and thyme and season with salt and pepper.
  • At this point you can proceed to the next step or cover the pot, turn the temperature to the lowest setting and allow to sit until you are ready to proceed.
  • Return the temperature to medium-high.
  • Once the soup is boiling again, add the pasta, stir well and cook until the pasta is al dente, approximately 6-8 minutes.
  • Stir in the basil, adjust the seasonings and serve, topped with grated parmesan cheese.

Serves 6

 

 

 

Butternut Squash & Sage Risotto

photo 2-19

It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Squash and sage are a perfect flavor combination.  When cut into small pieces, the squash cooks quickly and you can even reduce the preparation time if you buy pre-cut squash from your grocer’s fresh food case.  If you can’t find butternut squash you can easily substitute any firm fleshed winter squash or even pumpkin.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH & SAGE RISOTTO

1 cup butternut squash cut into 1/2 inch dice

3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, minced

1 ½ cups risotto rice

½ cup grated Asiago cheese

2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced

  • Place the squash in a small saucepan adding enough water to just barely cover the squash.  Bring to a boil and steam until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.  Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth and white wine in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium-high heat.  Adjust the heat to keep the broth mixture at a low simmer.
  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, approximately 5-6 minutes.
  • Add the rice to the onions and stir to combine.  Add one ladle of the broth to the pot and stir well.  Stirring occasionally, continue cooking the rice until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding additional broth.
  • Repeat this process until the rice is al dente.  You may not need to use all of the broth.
  • Add the reserved squash and gently fold to incorporate.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated Asiago cheese and minced sage.  Serve immediately.

Serves:  4 as an entree or 6 as a side dish

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