Tuesday, January 26, 2016


This is a hearty, colorful stew, with a variety of textures. I invented it in my head before I went to the store, so I selected the ingredients intentionally. Of course, it is a great way to combine root veggies that have accumulated in the fridge, and it doesn't matter if they are a bit wrinkly. I do, however, suggest that you peel the vegetables for a smoother and more savory taste without too many unwanted earthy tones. Refrain from adding leafy veggies, at least the first time you make it.

Ingredients: (these quantities will make a large batch, at least enough for 4-6 servings)

1 large onion
2-3 each: (cut into small/medium sized cubes)
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Parsnips
  • Beets (any color)
  • Turnips
  • Rutabaga

1 cup quinoa
1-1.5 quarts of broth or water
Salt, pepper, Tabasco or other peppy additive
Sour cream or yogurt for topping


Chop onion in big chunks and saute in oil. A Dutch oven is perfect, or you can transfer the cooked onions to a slow cooker if you choose. Cook according to slow cooker directions for stews and soups.

When onions are almost transparent, add all the veggies and one quart of liquid. Stir and bring to a boil. (If you have made a massive quantity, this is a good time to put some of the veggies aside to freeze for future meals.) Add quinoa and stir. Cook on medium heat, stirring from time to time, until the potatoes and sweet potatoes have become very soft and the quinoa is fully cooked. You may have to add more liquid as the veggies cook. 

Stir briskly with a whisk to break down the soft vegetables. This will create a nice, thick stock, leaving the firmer veggies to add texture and taste surprises. Season and serve with a lovely dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt.

Bon appetit!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Spicy Slow Cooker Butternut Squash and Chicken Chili

I adapted this from a recipe found in the winter issue of Progressive Farmer, a magazine to which we subscribe and is full of interesting tidbits and arcane information. It caught my eye, as it was the strangest combination of ingredients I've ever seen and couldn't imagine how it would taste. Always looking for more ways to camouflage winter squash for my hubby, I decided to give it a try. The original recipe called for beef stew meat and ground beef, but I used chicken thighs and ground chicken breast. It is one of the most delicious concoctions I have ever made!

1 lb. ground chicken (or beef)
1 lb. cubed skinless, boneless chicken thighs (or beef stew meat)
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (I used kabocha because it is my favorite and I had one)
2 cups hot salsa
1 small can peppers (3.5 oz - Anaheim or chipotle)
1 (12 oz) beer
1 cup water
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree

In skillet, brown chicken and onions (if using chicken, be sure to brown in oil)

In a slow cooker*, combine all ingredients EXCEPT pumpkin puree and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours until everything is cooked and tender.

Add pumpkin puree and heat through. Serve with toppings of your choice (avocados, sour cream, jalapenos, etc. Corn bread is a delicious accompaniment.

*To make without a slow cooker, use a large pot or Dutch oven on the stove, and follow the directions above. Simmer for about one hour, adding the pumpkin puree at the end.