Here I go again, making squash pie for dinner. Although, last time it was spaghetti squash, and this time it’s butternut. Totally different…
Truth…I’m a southern girl. If it’s in a pie shell, there’s a really good chance I’m going to like it. Plus, it looks fancy even though it’s really easy.
This dish is vegetarian, but carnivores should expect a hearty, complete meal with protein. Between the eggs, nuts and cheese, you’re covered. Add it to your meatless Monday rotation.
It’s also complete from a nutritional perspective, and the flavor and vehicle is family friendly.
Savory Butternut Squash Pie
- 1 frozen pie shell
- 1 bag of frozen butternut squash
- 1 handful of frozen kale
- 1/2 small onion
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1/3 cup parmesan
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 handful of walnuts
Preheat oven to 400.
Cook onion in olive oil until golden, add garlic, stir for one minute, add squash and kale and cook until fully defrosted, remove from heat and add to pie shell.
Whisk eggs, basil and a sprinkle of each salt and pepper. Pour over mixture in shell. Top with parmesan then walnuts.
Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
Just so we’re clear, I love peanut butter and would use it in/on everything if that was an acceptable option. From this information you can derive that I was more than excited to add it to this batch of soup. You can omit it if you’re dealing with allergies, but “hint of pb” goes a long way in it if you are cleared for peanut consumption.
I made this soup the same day I had the pleasure of staying late at the gym to workout with Tony Horton. What an excellent excuse to work late, and a wonderful dinner to come home to.
Before I start with the recipe, I’ll cover some variations for this soup. You can use rotisserie chicken (pulled/chopped with skin removed) as a shortcut, dark or white meat will work equally well – you could even use turkey to make it taste more like Thanksgiving; the cayenne is optional if you’re not into spice; you can puree the squash (or use frozen butternut squash puree) rather than cube it depending on your desired consistency.
This soup is perfect for fall and full of protein, good carbs, and spices that will make you feel warm from the inside out.
Spiced Butternut Squash and Chicken Soup
- 1 3lb butternut squash cubed (Click here for instructions on peeling and chopping these tough buggers!)
- 1 pkg (just under 2lbs) boneless, skinless chicken thighs/breasts
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small red onion chopped
- 1 red pepper chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp of each of the following: ginger, cumin, cinnamon, paprika (smoked paprika, preferably)
- 2 tsp curry
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1 Tbsp peanut butter
- salt and pepper
Add cubed squash, red pepper and dried cranberries to the slow-cooker /crock pot. Salt and pepper the chicken and cook with red onion in olive oil until you can’t see anymore pink on the outside of the chicken. While chicken and onion cook, mix all remaining ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup. It’s okay if peanut butter doesn’t separate while stirring. It will blend easily by stirring once the soup is hot from cooking. Add chicken and onion to crock pot and pour liquid-spice mixture over it. Mix with a wooden spoon, and don’t worry about the liquid not appearing to be enough. It will all cook down and magically turn into soup.
Cook on med-high for 4-6 hours (medium if all day). Before serving, scoop out about 1.5 cups of the squash and mash it up with a fork. Stir the mashed squash back in to make the soup thicker and creamier. Give it a taste and add more s&p if your tastes say it needs it.
Serve on its own, or you can top soup with a spoonful of yogurt, cilantro, basil, toasted squash seeds or parmesan.
I’ve been on a quinoa kick recently, and last night I tested it as a risotto substitute. I’m happy to say it was a very easy success.
I was able to get my hands on a butternut squash last week, so I used that and some arugula in the risotto. All told, we had a healthy serving of veggies, protein, calcium, fiber and a little healthy starch and fat.
The sweetness of the squash and the pepperiness of the arugula paired very well, and the parmesan added creamy deliciousness without fighting the other flavors. I added a little salt and pepper during cooking, but it may not even need it. The ingredients came together to take care of all of it perfectly.
We served the risotto next to a couple lean ribeyes. My husband might be the huge Jimmy Buffett fan of the house, but I’m the one with the carnivorous habits. Last night was great though because he really loved his steak, too. I’ve switched up my marinade, and he mentioned how much he liked it, and how it didn’t need any A1 sauce, multiple times.
We were both proud members of the clean plate club last night.
For the steak marinade, I mixed equal parts good balsamic vinegar and worcestershire sauce with a little dijon mustard, a small squeeze of agave nectar (could also use honey) and garlic pepper. I only had about 3 hours to marinate them, but it proved to be enough time for all the flavors to meld.
This recipe serves 4 as a side, or 2 as a vegetarian meal.
Butternut Squash Quinoa Risotto
- 2.5 cups cubed butternut squash
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1/3 cup diced onion
- 1 cup dry,uncooked quinoa
- 1 large handful / half a bag of fresh arugula
- 2.5 cups chicken broth
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Cube and steam squash until it is almost mashable.
In a large skillet, combine oil, garlic, onion and quinoa over low-medium heat. Stir continuously for about 4 minutes, or until you can smell the quinoa starting to toast. Add squash and arugula, along with about 3 turns each of your salt and pepper grinders. Turn the heat up to medium, and continue stirring for another 2 minutes. Add half of your broth, and cook until all of it is absorbed. Heat the remaining broth and add 1 cup more of it to the dish. Stir regularly, and begin mashing up the squash with your wooden stirring spoon. Leave just enough unmashed to give it a little texture. Once all of the broth is absorbed, turn the heat back down to low, add the cheese and stir. Finally, add the remaining (hot) 1/4 cup of broth and stir until the risotto is creamy. Serve hot, and enjoy!