Crockpot Pumpkin Chili

Its that time of year where everything and anything is pumpkin and I am totally ok with that. I love everything about the seasonal winter squash, especially cooking pumpkin seeds but since I live in a condo with no outdoor space of my own I can’t carve and place out pumpkins for any sort of decoration since they will rot quickly indoors. So when my craving for pumpkin seeds hit I don’t let that precious squash go to waste. Making homemade pumpkin puree is so easy and it beats any canned version you will find at the store. I freeze my fresh puree in 2 cup servings for quick and easy access whenever my craving to cook a pumpkin recipe hits…like this extremely easy, sweet and spicy, Crockpot Pumpkin Chili.

 

While this isn’t quite set it and forget it recipe, the sacrifice of having to sauté up the ground beef with the onion and jalapeño in a separate skillet first is worth it because this dish is oh so flavorful.

 

Pumpkin Chili

 

I was worried this recipe was going to be too spicy with the jalapeño and chili powder but dare I say I may opt for more heat next time I make it? If you like your chili with an extra kick I would make sure to keep your jalapeño seeds and sauté them along with the beef and onions and even opt for more chili powder or even a dash of cayenne or hot sauce into the crock pot.

 

Crockpot Pumpkin Chili
Author: Emily Goodman
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 lb ground beef; 90% lean
  • 1 14.5 can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree (or 1 15oz can of canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 15oz can of red kidney beans
  • 1 15oz can of cannellini beans
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the diced onion, jalapeño and ground beef. Cook breaking up the beef with a spoon until meat is no longer pink. Drain any excess fat.
  2. Transfer the beef mixture to a crock pot and mix in all remaining ingredients.
  3. Cover and set crock pot to low and cook for 3 hours.
  4. Top with any desired toppings! I like to serve mine over brown rice and top with scallions, cheddar cheese and a dollop of green yogurt.
Notes
If you would like to make this recipe a bit spicier keep the jalapeño seeds and sauté them with the onions and beef mixture or add a bit more chili powder or cayenne or hot sauce to the crock pot mixture prior to cooking.

 

Pumpkin Dressing

My craving for everything pumpkin has not died down since October. How adorable is this little pumpkin I found at the grocery store? I couldn’t resist buying it! Once I brought it home I started to scan Pinterest looking for unique pumpkin recipes and I came across a recipe for pumpkin dressing which I thought would pair nicely with a winter squash and beet salad. This little guy made about 3 cups of pumpkin puree so I froze the extra and cooked seeds so that nothing went to waste.

 

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I am funny when it comes to salads. I don’t really enjoy eating them during the warm summer months but come fall gimmie all the roasted veggies, squash varieties, and toasted nuts and I am ALL about them. They are just so hearty and filling and the colors of the ingredients are just gorgeous.

 

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This was also my first attempt at roasting beets and it was actually pretty easy. Using a peeler I took off the skin and then cut them into small pieces and roasted them in a 400F oven with olive oil and Himalayan pink salt for 15-20 minutes until they were fork tender. Next time I plan to try roasting them with the skin on since I heard that is easier for skin removal compared to the peeler method.

 

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Have you ever roasted beets? What have you found is the best and easiest way to do it?

 

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Pumpkin Dressing
Author: Emily Goodman
Ingredients
  • [b]For the Pumpkin Dressing:[/b]
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup pure pumpkin puree (fresh or canned but if you go for canned make sure it is pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or Nutri-Bullet and pulse to combine. Add more olive oil if needed to get the consistent you like.
  2. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Notes
This dressing can be used on salads or as a condiment on sandwiches.[br][br]21 Day Fix container equivalents: measure out 1 orange container of dressing to use with your meal[br][br]Recipe adapted from [url href=”http://www.theseasonedmom.com/healthy-thanksgiving-side-dish-fall-harvest-salad-with-pumpkin-goddess-dressing/” target=”_blank”]The Seasoned Mom[/url]

 

My salad was a spinach and arugula mixture topped with roasted acorn squash (that I seasoned with olive oil, pure maple syrup, pink Himalayan salt, and fresh pepper), roasted beets, toasted pecans, and gorgonzola cheese. Sweet potatoes or butternut squash would also make a good substitute for this salad as well.

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This makes a lot of dressing so store the extra in glass jar and keep in the fridge.

 

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Did you know there are a lot of health benefits from not only the pumpkin but the seeds as well? As well as a variety of ways to prepare it such as baking, boiling, roasting, and even microwaving! Learn more about all the amazing health benefits and ways to prepare pumpkin over at Positive Health Wellness.

What is your favorite way to prepare pumpkin?

Pumpkin Granola

If you don’t make your own granola you are really missing out. Not only is it super tasty and you can add any random ingredients you have in your pantry but it’s WAY cheaper than what you buy at the grocery store. To keep with the fall theme I have had going in my kitchen this past week I opted for Pumpkin Granola with cinnamon, brown sugar, and assorted nuts.

 

I don’t know about you but I am on a major winter squash kick lately! Between pumpkin, butternut squash, and acorn squash it seems like every day I am roasting something new and saving the yummy seeds to bake later as a snack.

 

 

 

What I love most about this recipe is you can tailor it to your liking. Don’t like walnuts but love pistachios? Go for it! Want more spice? Throw in some nutmeg!

 

No matter what combo you decide to use get ready to have your kitchen smell AMAZING as the granola bakes away in the oven.

 

Cinnamon Pumpkin Granola
Author: Emily Goodman
Ingredients
  • 3 cups whole grain rolled oats
  • 1 cup chopped nuts – I used a mix of pecans, walnuts, and almonds
  • ½ cup coconut flakes
  • ½ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ cup agave nectar (or honey)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling – you can use the canned or homemade)
Instructions
Preheat oven to 325 F[br][br]
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine oats, nuts, coconut, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. In another bowl whisk together agave nectar, brown sugar, oil, vanilla, and pumpkin.
  4. Pour the wet mixture mixture over the oats mixture and stir to coat completely.
  5. Spread the mixture evenly onto the baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, stir, and place back in the oven.
  7. Continue to bake in 10-15 minutes intervals, stirring well between each, until the granola is golden and no longer wet (approx 40-60 minutes depending on your oven)
  8. Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container.
Notes
Recipe adapted from [url href=”http://www.lecremedelacrumb.com/2014/11/cinnamon-pumpkin-granola.html” target=”_blank”]Creme de la Crumb[/url][br][br]Granola will last approx. 2 weeks if stored properly

 

 

 

 

 

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Stuffed acorn squash is one of my favorite fall dishes to cook. I find acorn squash a lot easier to cut than butternut squash or spaghetti squash and the filling could be anything and everything you already have in your kitchen.

 

I opted to go full on fall with this and I love the earthy flavors of the mushrooms and wild rice paired with the pop from the dried cranberries. This dish warms you from the inside out and is visually stunning to serve to guests. I love how each person gets their own individual serving.

 

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The recipe below serves two but if you need to serve 4 just double all of the ingredient amounts. And don’t forget to save the seeds! I will be sharing a super easy recipe on how to cook those as well 🙂

 

Stuffed Acorn Squash
Author: Emily Goodman
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 acorn squash
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup wild rice, cooked
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 up mushrooms,
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
Instructions
Preheat your oven to 400 F.
  1. Cut the acorn squash in half and remove the seeds.Using a sharp knife score the inside of the squash in a criss-cross pattern. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the squash cut side down in a baking dish with 1/4 inch of water in the bottom.
  3. Bake for 50 minutes.[br][br]
While the squash is cooking
  1. Cook the wild rice according to package directions.
  2. When there is 15 minutes left of cooking time on the squash heat the coconut oil a saute pan over a medium-high heat.
  3. Cook the onions and mushrooms until the onions are translucent, approx. 5 minutes.
  4. Add the spinach, 1 cup of cooked rice, and the dried cranberries
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Remove the squash from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.
  7. Flip the squash over and fill each with the mushroom, spinach and rice mixture.
  8. Serve immediately.
Serving size: 1/2 a squash

 

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Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

 

Could this brussel sprout salad BE any more fall?

 

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Fall is my favorite season to cook during because I love all the seasonal ingredients, flavors, and colors! One seasonal ingredient that love, yet disliked growing up, is brussel sprouts. As a child it is basically embedded in our brains that brussel sprouts are gross so I never even thought to try them. It wasn’t until my mid-20s when someone cooked them for me, and cooked them well, that I was hooked!

 

They key with brussel sprouts is to not overcook them which I find happens a lot if I try to steam them. If overcooked, the sprouts will release an organic compound containing sulfur which will emit a nasty order. And who wants to eat something that smells bad? I don’t blame people who say they dislike brussel sprouts if their only experience with them is trying them overcooked.

 

#thanksbutnothanks

 

My go-to brussel sprout recipe is caramelizing them in a pan over high heat with lemon. I also enjoy roasting them with balsamic and honey. These ways of cooking the sprouts help you to avoid over-cooking them and releasing that horrible sulfurous odour.  Or make this salad and go the super easy route of not having to cook them at all!

 

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What’s all the hype about?

Brussel sprouts are considered a cruciferous vegetable – right up there with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale. They are high in vitamin C and K, fiber, folate, and antioxidants and there has been a lot of research and articles written about the sprouts cancer fighting potential.

 

So if you haven’t given brussel sprouts a chance or have had a bad experience with stinky overcooked sprouts I urge you to give them another shot!

 

 

Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
Author: Emily Goodman
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • [b]For the Salad[/b]
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 12oz brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese crumbles
  • 1 pear, chopped into small cubes
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 jumbo shallots, thinly sliced into rings
  • Salt[br][br]
  • [b]For the Maple Vinaigrette[/b]
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat a pan over a medium-low heat and toast the chopped pecans until golden brown and fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Holding the bottom core of the sprout, thinly slice into ribbons and place in a large serving bowl. Discard the cores.
  3. Add the dried cranberries, toasted pecans, gorgonzola cheese, and pears.
  4. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the shallots then fry until light golden brown, approx 1-2 minutes.
  5. Scoop the shallot onto a paper towel-lined plate to drain and sprinkle with salt then repeat with remaining shallots.
  6. Add fried shallots to the rest of the salad. Toss to combine.[br][br]
Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
  1. Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pure maple syrup, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper together in a jar and shake to combine.
  2. Pour the dressing over salad then toss to coat and serve immediately.
Serving size: 1.5 cups
Notes
Make sure to use pure maple syrup and not pancake syrup.[br][br]If you want to make this ahead of time I suggest keeping the fried shallots stored separately and heating them in a toaster over prior to dressing and serving the salad.[br][br]21 Day Fix container equivalents for a 1.5 cup serving: 1 green, 0.25 purple, 1 blue, 1 spoon[br][br]Recipe adapted from [url href=”http://iowagirleats.com/2015/10/23/fall-shredded-brussels-sprouts-salad/” target=”_blank”]Iowa Girl Eats[/url]

 

Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells

There is no ingredient that screams “FALL” to me more than butternut squash. It is one of my favorite ingredients of the season and I use it to make soup, stews, salads, lasagna and now butternut squash stuffed shells.

Butternut squash is such a great ingredient because it is a great source of fiber, vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. It is also an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin E. The riper the squash the more orange the flesh will be.

 

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If you are looking for a fall twist on your classic stuffed shells recipe than look no further!

I love this recipe because it makes enough to serve 8-10 people or you can freeze the leftovers to have at another time if you are serving less people. I freeze mine about 6 shells per freezer bag so I don’t have to defrost them all at once. You can also assemble the dish ahead of time and bake later which is always a plus! This is one of those dishes that I find the leftovers to just get more delicious as all of the flavors meld together.

If you wanted to add meat to this dish sausage would make a great addition because it pairs so well with the squash. I would saute it right along with the shallot and before adding the blended butternut squash.

 

Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells
Author: Emily Goodman
Serves: 30 shells
Ingredients
  • [b]FOR THE SAUCE [/b]
  • 1 lb butternut squash, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small shallots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, [i]optional[/i][br][br][b]FOR THE FILLING[/b]
  • 1lb box of jumbo pasta shells
  • 10oz package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
  • 15oz fat free ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • Salt and reshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese [i](plus more for topping)[/i]
  • 2 tablespoons of parsley, chopped or dried
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add butternut squash and cook until soft, approx. 15 minutes.
  2. Remove squash with a slotted spoon into a blender, reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water and set aside.
  3. Blend squash until smooth adding 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid to thin out as needed.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large deep non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, approx. 4 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and saute for another minute.
  6. Add pureed butternut squash. Season with with salt and fresh cracked pepper and add a little more of the reserved water to thin out to your liking.
  7. Stir in 2 1/2 tablespoons of the parmesan cheese and nutmeg (optonal) and keep warm over a low heat.[br][br] Preheat oven to 350°F.[br][br]
  8. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the shells for 3 minutes shorter than the package directions. They will finish cooking in the oven.[br][br][i]While the pasta cooks…[/i][br][br]
  9. Squeeze the defrosted spinach in a clean kitchen towel to drain out any excess water.
  10. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
  11. Drain the shells and run them under cold water to stop them from cooking any further.
  12. Ladle 1/2 cup butternut sauce sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish.
  13. Fill each shell with the ricotta mixture and place in the baking dish. Top with the remaining butternut squash sauce.
  14. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the top.
  15. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts and everything is hot and bubbly.
  16. Top with parsley and serve.
Serving size: 8-10 people
Notes
I used pre-peeled, cubed butternut squash from the produce section for a little shortcut

 

What is your favorite way to enjoy butternut squash? Leave your answer in the comments!

 

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Turkey Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Mash

I love me some shepherd’s pie and there is definitely a time and a place where I go all out with it and make really decadent whipped mashed potatoes using lots of butter and cream cheese to top it with.

However, if I want to eat shepherd’s pie more regularly I opt for this 21 Day Fix-approved version that doesn’t skimp on any flavor! By swapping out the ground beef for ground turkey and using sweet potatoes as my topping this dish becomes guilt free and leaves my tummy feeling full and happy ?

I love this recipe because I can make it as one large casserole dish to serve to a group or make each component separately and then measure out each in my 21 Day Fix containers to and bake off an individual portion if I am just cooking for myself.

That is what I did this week when I made this and I plan to use the leftover ground turkey for some turkey lettuce wraps for lunch!

 

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Turkey Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Mash
Author: Emily Goodman
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • FOR THE MASHED SWEET POTATOES
  • 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • FOR THE TURKEY AND VEGETABLES
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. FOR THE MASHED SWEET POTATOES:
  3. Cover the peeled and chopped sweet potatoes with cold water.
  4. Place over the stove on a medium high heat and bring to a boil.
  5. Cook until soft and can easily be mashed with a fork.
  6. Drain the potatoes and put back in the warm pot.
  7. Add the greek yogurt, almond milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Using a potato masher or a large fork whip until smooth. Set aside.
  8. FOR THE TURKEY AND VEGETABLES
  9. Heat one large skillet over a medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  10. Add the diced onion and sauté until they start to become translucent, approx. 3 – 4 minutes.
  11. Add the ground turkey, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Using a wooden spoon break up the turkey as it starts to brown so that it cooks evenly.
  12. Meanwhile, heat another pan over a medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
  13. Add the diced carrots and peas. Season with salt and pepper.
  14. Sauté until cooked through, approx. 5 – 6 minutes.
  15. TO ASSEMBLE
  16. Lay the ground turkey and onion mixture on the bottom of a casserole dish.
  17. Top with sautéed carrots and peas.
  18. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top
  19. Cover the top with the mashed sweet potatoes and a little bit more paprika.
  20. Bake uncovered for 20 – 25 minutes until warmed through and sweet potatoes have browned slightly on top.
Notes
If you are using fresh peas you can add them to the carrots about halfway through cooking. For frozen peas you can add in all together.[br][br]I use pink Himalayan salt rather than regular table salt.[br][br]You can bake the shepherd’s pie all together in one large casserole dish or portion out into 4 small dishes for individual servings.[br][br]21 Day Container Equivalents per serving: 1.5 red, 1 green, 1 blue, 1 yellow, 1 spoon