Recipe: Sweet & Spicy Butternut Sqash with Pineapple

If you haven’t been following my Instagram feed, I posted this video this past weekend about my cooking process. It’s a little scattered and open to interpretation. Ha!

But seriously, I love to mix and match. Sometimes the groceries I buy don’t even end up getting used that week. Sometimes what I think I’ll make gets switched around. Food is an art. You never quite know when you’re “done,” you just get too hungry to wait! And voila, dinner.

Like any other artistic endeavor, though, you win some and you lose some. Some meals ended up FANTASTIC…and others, not so much. I made something “edible” for the first few days. Not my most shining moments.

And then Wednesday happened.

This recipe is purely inspired by the season. I was actually pretty darn proud of myself, too, after being in a culinary slump all summer. After all, though, who needs an excuse to be inspired to cook besides the fact that it’s fall? Pumpkin and squash flavored everything, please (like my last recipe)? 

Of course, I can’t make enough food for just one night. My husband and I are batch cookers. Might be a great recipe for the holidays or any big get together you are planning (unless you like batch cooking, too, then go for it!).

So without further ado, here is the recipe I’ve been teasing on my Facebook and Instagram accounts:

Sweet & Spicy Squash with Pineapple

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SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

2 small yellow onions, chopped
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 20 oz can of pineapple chunks
2 serrano peppers, minced
2 red bell peppers, chopped
2 cups veggie broth
1 13.5-oz can lite coconut milk
1 bunch fresh cilantro, minced

PREPARATION

Place the chopped onions, butternut squash, and serrano peppers into a large pan with the veggie broth. Let cook on medium heat for about 15-20 minutes, or until squash is soft. Put coconut milk, red bell peppers, pineapple, and half of the cilantro into the pot, and let lightly simmer (uncovered) until bell peppers are tender (but not overcooked). Remove from heat, and spoon over a bed of spinach. Place additional cilantro on top for garnish.

I almost added raisins to the recipe, but forgot at the last minute. If you try it, let me know how it tastes!

Sesame & Lentil Quinoa with Peas

INGREDIENTS

2 cups quinoa
1 cup dried green lentils
6 button mushrooms, sliced
1 10-oz package frozen sweet peas, thawed
8-10 leaves of basil, minced
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon tamari sauce
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup sesame seeds

PREPARATION

Boil four cups of water and pour quinoa, lentils, and mushrooms into water. Lower to medium heat and cook for about 20 minutes, or until all water is absorbed. Next, mix in thawed peas, basil, peanut oil, sesame oil, tamari sauce, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. Mix well. Spoon onto plate next to your sweet and spicy butternut squash, and you have dinner!

Vegetarian Chili

Fall is officially here! Cold weather is coming and so are the holidays. In our family, there is nothing more heart (and tummy!) warming than having a pot of chili on the stove that everyone can pick from throughout the day when hanging out for a visit. This was one of my recent creations, and it was an immediate favorite. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Chili

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SERVES 10-12 Continue reading “Vegetarian Chili”

Impromptu hummus recipe

When you eat as much hummus as we do in our house, the concept of making our own began to look more and more attractive to me. We use hummus on our tortilla wraps, as a dip for veggies, and even whip it in with a little salad dressing for some added protein.

It was last week on our most recent food shopping excursion that I let my partner know that I was finally going to make some, “So go get the chickpeas.” He shrugged in mild acceptance, and wandered off to find out what on earth a chickpea was. But I knew he was happily anticipating the results of my newest culinary adventure. And I was greatly intrigued to see if my skills could create a concoction worthy of the name “hummus.”

We then searched the store high and low for our ingredients, including the very elusive tahini sauce. It was a hunt, but our efforts did not wither in vain. It found its way into our carriage and we happily skipped back home. While in my research I have not been able to ascertain why tahini is such a vital ingredient in hummus, I did discover that you can often substitute it with peanut butter. Not the processed stuff like Skippy, but the real stuff that is riddled with peanut oil, and therefore a tad bit soupy. The two, tahini and peanut butter, have much the same consistency.

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My first step was to soak the chickpeas overnight. The next morning, I washed them off and I threw them in the slow cooker on low for eight hours, covered in water, while I was at work. When I got home, they were the PERFECT texture for blending.

Then came the creative part. Rummaging through my fridge and spice cabinet, I came up with the remaining ingredients. Now those who know me, have heard me say over and over again – cooking is alchemy! Not a science. Science is very exacting, measured, tested and tested again. But me, I sprinkle spices and ingredients like a fairy sprinkles fairy dust – indiscriminately. And besides, we all have so many wide ranges of tastes, that one recipe may be great as written for some, but others like less garlic or more lemon juice…

So when I give you this recipe, it’s as close as I can estimate what originally went into the food processor – and the rest, I leave up to your judgment.

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1   Cup dried chickpeas/garbanzo beans

3   Cups water

3   Cloves of garlic (or season to taste)

1   Cup of fresh cilantro

1/4  Cup tahini

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1   Lemon, juiced

Olive oil (Drizzle)

Dried crushed chilies (season to taste)

1/2  Cup water

Take the ingredients above, put them all into a food processor along with a half a cup of water, and blend until smooth. Drizzle more olive oil, lemon and seasonings to taste, if you so choose.

And that’s my impromptu recipe. It came out nicely after refrigerating it overnight. I will certainly be trying it again.

Hummus is a very healthy. It is a fantastic source of protein for all of you vegetarians, and the healthy fats in the tahini and olive oil are great for regulating cholesterol in your blood. Garlic has always been known as an amazing food medicine, helping with immune system support and is an anti-fungal. Lemon juice is chuck full of great antioxidants and vitamins that help prevent cancer.

Overall, hummus provides iron, vitamin B6, manganese, copper, folic acid, and amino acids such as tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosine that help with sleep cycles and mood elevation.

Add to that all those awesome fresh vegetables, and you are golden.

So dear reader, go forth, cook, and be vibrant!

Hummus