Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup

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Fall is finally here! I’ve been waiting! Summer is great and all…but life is so much easier when you don’t have to apply sunblock to your children every single day and then bathe them every single day and clean up sand in shoes, sand in diapers, sand well, everywhere. Fall is beautiful in Minnesota. The trees are turning, the air is crisp, everything smells like apples and cinnamon and pumpkins, and the FOOD…it just gets better and better. Honestly I don’t really know why our slow cookers are kept in storage until the fall and winter…it’s one of my favorite ways to cook and you can literally cook ANYTHING in them, making your life so much easier. Especially if you have little ones running around who LOVE to turn off the oven, reach for the stove flames, etc. My 17 month old snapped off every single one of my stove knob covers. So much for baby proofing…

So I did a little experiment creating one of those fantastic, super quick videos that are plastered all over my Facebook feed. I figured hey, I have an iPhone, I’ll just place it in my cabinet above my counters and voila! Just one thing missing…the recipe 🙂 So here it is! Also, the entire video is below.

Ingredients

  • 2 large butternut squash (you can do this with any type of squash you like as well)
  • 2 large Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and sliced (You can also drop in a cup of unsweetened applesauce at the end and get the same effect)
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into large chunks
  • 36-48 ounces of chicken broth (use 48 if you like a thinner consistency of your soup)
  • 3/4 cup Lite Coconut Milk (in the can, not the beverage. Hubby came home with unsweetened vanilla coconut milk thinking it was for my coffee 🙂
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parmesan Cheese and Chives for garnish

Directions

  • Wash the butternut squash (NO NEED TO PEEL!) and cut in half (or quarters depending on how large your slow cooker is) and remove the seeds
  • Place the squash, sliced apple and onions in the slow cooker and cover with chicken broth.
  • Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8.
  • Now go do something fun, because dinner is basically made.
  • Butternut squash is done once you can pierce it easily with a fork
  • Remove the squash from the slow cooker, and let it cool for awhile or you will absolutely burn your fingers like I almost did.
  • Scoop out the squash from the peel and place it back in the slow cooker with the apples, onion and broth.
  • Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth.
  • Add in the coconut milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Blend again.
  • Garnish with lots of Parmesan, chives and a drizzle of coconut milk. It’s so good that way.
  • Tip for those with littles: Reusable pouches and sippy cups work great with this soup!
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Beaba Babycook: Fall Butternut Squash, Yukon Gold Potato and Apple Stew

Fall has arrived! I was so thrilled to find that winter squashes have started appearing at our grocery store.. Marielle has started “chewing” her food a little more, and seems more interested in things with a bit more texture. This recipe is great because you can puree one or more of the ingredients leaving the others a bit chunkier, and cater to your little ones preferences.

Ingredients

  • 1 small organic butternut squash, washed, peeled and cubed ( I always wash things before peeling because then you’re not transferring any dirt or bacteria from the store when you cut into them)
  • 6 small organic yukon gold potatoes, washed, peeled and cubed
  • 2 large organic Honeycrisp apples, washed, peeled and cubed (I used Honeycrisp because I wanted to eat the leftovers :

Directions

  • Using your Beaba, steam the butternut squash and the potatoes until tender. You can steam these two veggies together because they both use level 3 water. However, I find that separating them allows me to better measure how much of each ingredient I put into the final dish. Reserve the cooking liquid from either the squash or the potatoes.
  • Instead of pureeing the squash and potatoes in the Beaba, I mashed them by hand using a fork so that I could give them a chunkier texture. I added the reserved cooking liquid to make a consistency that was easy to blend.
  • Steam the apples using water level 2 and blend into a smooth puree.
  • In a large bowl, mix the squash, potato and apple together. You can use any ratio you like, mine was heavier on the squash, then potato, and lighter on the apple as to not make it too sweet. The butternut squash is sweet enough on its own.

This medley can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Butternut Squash, Yukon Gold Potato and Apple Medley

Butternut Squash Risotto

Two of my most favorite things are risotto and butternut squash…so obviously putting the two together creates a comforting yet gourmet meal, in just 45 minutes. I know that making a risotto seems intimidating, but it’s actually very easy if you understand the technique and don’t mind hanging out in the kitchen for 25-30 minutes. I find that making risotto is almost relaxing…the constant stirring and wonderful aromas that fill the kitchen are cooking therapy to me, helping me unwind from a long day. The biggest secret for cooking a risotto correctly is heating your cooking liquid before adding it to the rice. It prevents interruption to the cooking process…so bring your broth to a boil and keep it on low heat in a saucepan next to your risotto pan. This dish is also really pretty…Sorry for the bad iPhone photo!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of peeled and finely diced butternut squash
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 small onion chopped, about 1/2 cup
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 cups of Arborio rice (best type of rice for risotto)
  • 1 cup of dry white wine
  • 6-8 cups of chicken broth, kept warm on the stove
  • 1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Chopped crispy bacon – Optional

Directions

  1. Pierce holes in your butternut squash with a knife in several places and place butternut squash on a microwave safe plate. Microwave for 5-6 minutes on high. This will help you peel your squash and make cutting it a lot easier. Dice.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring your broth to a boil and keep warm on low heat.
  3. Melt butter in a heavy bottomed dutch oven or braiser on medium heat. (I use my Le Creuset braiser for essentially everything) Add the butternut squash, garlic and onion and saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the rice to the pan, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine. Cook, stirring constantly until the all the liquid is absorbed into the rice. Add 2 ladles of broth to the rice, and stir until absorbed. Continue adding the broth in small amount, stirring until absorbed before adding more.
  5. Continue adding broth and stirring until the rice is tender, about 15-20 minutes. The rice should still have a little bite to it, it should not be completely soft. Test the rice throughout the process to prevent overcooking.
  6. When the rice is tender, add salt and pepper, and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and combine until melted.
  7. Serve risotto in shallow bowls and top with additional Parmesan and bacon, if desired.

The Wonders of Winter Squash

I LOVE winter squash…Butternut, Acorn…I love them all. Not only are they rich in vitamins, but they are oh so good prepared in so many ways. One of my most favorite ways to prepare Acorn squash is to cut it in half, add a dab of butter and maple syrup and roast until tender…the aroma is phenomenal and it tastes so fabulous, it could almost be dessert.  Acorn squash are also incredibly tasty stuffed with various fillings. I made these Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash last night and my husband loved the filling so much he ate the rest of the filling right out of pan. I highly recommend using all wild rice. I’m not a fan of the wild rice blends…this dish is much more savory when you use just wild rice. But, if you are in a time crunch, you can use a blend. Just don’t use the seasoning packet that tends to accompany those. Wild rice can take over an hour to prepare, so you need to plan ahead! Serves 2.

Roasted Acorn Squash

  • 1 Whole Acorn squash
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of butter
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Using a bread knife, cut your acorn squash in half length wise. Remove the seeds.
  3. Fill the bottom of a square baking dish with about a 1/2 inch of cold water. Place the squash skin side down into the dish. The water in the dish prevents the squash from drying out while roasting.
  4. Place  1/2 to 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter in each half of squash and place in the oven. As the squash roasts, continue to brush the melted butter over the edges of the squash so they don’t dry out.
  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until tender.
  6. You can leave the squash in the dish covered in foil if your rice isn’t quite ready, to keep them warm.


Wild Rice, Cranberry & Pecan filling

  • 1/2 Cup Wild Rice
  • 4 Cups of water
  • 1 Shallot, minced
  • 2 Cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 Teaspoon dried rubbed sage (this really makes the dish…do not forget it or substitute it for anything…)
  • 1/2 Cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 Cup chopped pecans
  1. In a large saucepan, combine 4 cups of cold water and 1/2 cup of wild rice. Bring to a rolling boil for 35 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice stand in the water (covered) for an additional 35-45 minutes depending on how soft you like your rice. I let mine sit about 45 minutes. Drain the excess water from the wild rice and place it into a bowl.
  2. In the saucepan, melt the butter and add the shallots and garlic. Saute until soft. Add the sage, cranberries and pecans and stir until combined. Add in the rice and stir until heated through.
  3. Fill each half of the acorn squash with the rice mixture and serve immediately.