Tag Archives: butternut squash

The One Pot Wonder

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I’m all about the one pot meal.  Meals that only require dirtying one pot and then one plate or bowl are the essence of my being. Well, actually being adorable and modest are the true essences of my being, but one pot meals also kind of play a part. Anytime I can throw a bunch of stuff into a pot or pan and call it a meal is awesome in my book (which, by the way, will be coming out just as soon as I can find a publishing company willing to pay the right amount of money). The fewer dishes to do at the end of the night, the better. Not that I’m the one who ever has to do the cleaning up. My diminutive little paws are much to delicate to have to deal with the harsh chemicals contained in dishwashing soap. No no. We leave that job to mi mama. Deep down, I think she secretly enjoys cleaning (OCD, perhaps). Especially when it comes to loading the dishwasher. If mi papa puts an item in the dishwasher, she will smile at him sweetly, thank him for being so helpful, and then immediately rearrange the dish to her liking once he turns his back. I watch this routine play out just about every evening and it always makes me chuckle. I should videotape it one of these days– well, just as soon as I figure out how to use a video camera, that is.

But anyway, back to what I was originally talking about. Yo quiero the one pot meal. Especially on those evenings when I’m trying to make two different dinners at the same time. One of the vegetarian variety for mi mama and one of the not-so-vegetarian variety for mi papa. Even though mi papa is all about eating non-meaty dinners for the most part, every once in a while the man craves a little animal carcass. And when he does, I like to oblige. On those nights, their meals each require one pot, so I guess technically they should be called the Two Potters, but when broken down each meal still comes from only one pot. One pot per each type of meal. Got it? Hmm, that was probably more rambling and too much detail than you needed to be told. I should really cut down on the caffeine in the afternoons. It’s a slight addiction and sometimes just kind of fun to steal a couple licks of mi mama’s Chai tea when she’s not looking–especially right after I’ve licked the floor or some of my boy-dog parts… hee hee 🙂

Last night happened to be one of those nights when mi papa was really craving a meat dish and since he’s my provider and pretty much my sole reason for living (other than chef-ing and scratching myself), I was happy to acquiesce. And being the genius that I am, I managed to come up with two separate meals whose only differences were the protein sources contained within each. Other than that, all the ingredients in it were the exact same. Unfortunately, I still had to use two separate pots but sometimes there’s just no way around that. And like I said, I’m not the one who cleans up the dishes. I just give em a good licking before they go in the wash.

Chicken (or not) Butternut Squash Tagine

 2 tsp olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 2 cups vegan sausage, chopped into 1″ chunks

1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained

2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced

1/2 cup raisins, dark or golden

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp ground red pepper

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1) Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and chicken/sausage. Saute until chicken is no longer pink, about 7 minutes.

2) Add the rest of the ingredients. Turn heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Lower heat to low, cover and allow to simmer 15-20 minutes or until squash is softened.

3) Remove lid and serve atop a bed of cooked millet, couscous, quinoa or rice. Enjoy!

One (or two, as in this case) dirty pot and two satisfied bellies. Doesn’t get better or easier than that. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must be going. It’s my turn to enjoy a one pot meal.

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If the stew is Moroccan, you better come a knockin

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I really hate wasting food. I get so sad when I look in our crisper drawer and find slimy lettuce or open up our fruit bin and find mold growing on a strawberry or a peach. The other day during a commercial break in between my telenovelas, I saw an ad stating that Americans throw away nearly 33 million tons of food each year due to spoilage. That’s just crazy! It pains me to think of how many of those pounds were once perfectly beautiful carrots just waiting for some hungry little super chef to feast on and now they’re just sitting in some landfill, rotting away.

Alas, food waste is a very rare occurrence in my house. I try to find a use for everything, whether it’s on its last leg or just beginning to reach its point of expiration. Got a brown banana? I’ll make a banana bread. Come upon a few pieces of nearly stale bread? I’ll whip up a plate of French Toast. Have half of a butternut squash leftover from the macaroni and cheese dish I posted about the other day? I’ll chop em up, throw them into a stew and call it dinner. Need a stew recipe so you can do the same thing? I’ll give ya one.

Moroccan Butternut Squash Stew with Chickpeas and Lentils

2 tsp olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 large carrots, chopped

1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced

4 cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1″ cubes

1 cup lentils

4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained

2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

salt and pepper, to taste

14.5 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup raisins

2 tbsp tomato paste

freshly grated Parmesan, optional

Directions:

1) Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add onions, garlic, carrots and fresh ginger and cook 5 minutes until onions are softened.

2) Add butternut squash, lentils, vegetable broth, tomatoes and spices. Bring to a boil, cover and allow to simmer 25-30 minutes.

3) Remove lid, add chickpeas, raisins and tomato paste and allow to simmer 10 minutes.

4) Serve over a bed of cooked rice, couscous, quinoa, millet or whatever your favorite grain just so happens to be. Top with grated Parmesan, if you so desire and enjoy!

Another possible food waste crisis averted. TeenyLittleSuperChef saves the day again. Now if you’ll excuse me, mi mama says she’s craving a tuna salad sandwich and I need to figure out just how I’m going to open up this can.

Buenos noches, mi amigos!