Dinner Tonight: Squash and Turkey Chili

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turkey-chiliI woke up Saturday to fall-like weather and it instantly put me in the mood for cozy comfort foods like soup, chili and stews. The great thing about these types of foods is that they can be made in big batches and frozen for future quick and healthy meals. I know I am not alone when trying to balance work, kids’ homework and extracurricular activities; carving out a little time on the weekend to make a couple of big meals will save you some time and money when you are trying to figure out what to make after you have just spent 3 hours at an ice rink or a soccer pitch!

Batch cooking is basically preparing large quantities of foods at once, to be doled out over the days to come. And it saves you from worrying about what’s for dinner tonight. One of my favorite things to make is chili. This chili recipe is especially good because it is versatile and leftovers become even more delicious. Butternut squash forms the base of this hearty chili and is an excellent source of vitamins. Beans and veggies pack each bowlful with fiber, vitamins and minerals. Vegan? Swap out the turkey for a couple blocks of crumbled tempeh.

Squash and Turkey Chili

• 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped
• 1 1/2 lbs ground organic turkey
• 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
• 1 large yellow onion, diced
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 2 bell peppers, chopped (whatever color you prefer)
• 2 medium zucchini, chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes, including juice
• 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
• 1 Jalapeno pepper, chopped finely (remove the seeds to bring down the heat)
• 2 tsp paprika
• 2 tsp dried oregano
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp black pepper
• 1 1/2 cups cooked or canned black beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 1/2 cups cooked or canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
• 2 cups frozen corn kernels

Place butternut squash cubes in a pot of boiling water and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add turkey and sauté until cooked, breaking up the meat with a fork until crumbly. In a separate pan, heat oil over medium heat, then add the onion and salt and sauté until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in bell peppers, zucchini, and garlic; heat 5 minutes. Stir this mixture into the large pan with the cooked turkey. Remove turkey and vegetables from the heat.

In a blender container, place cooked butternut squash, 1 can diced tomatoes and juice, broth, jalepeno, paprika, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, and black pepper and blend until smooth. Add puréed squash mixture to the large saucepan containing the turkey, along with remaining can of tomatoes, black beans and pinto beans. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the corn and heat through. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Photo from here, with thanks.

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