Heavenly Slow Cooker Meals for Winter: Coconut Butternut Squash and Spinach

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My car has been in the shop for more than 3 weeks. It wouldn’t start, and although the temperature outside at the time was below zero, I was told that wouldn’t matter, even for a 10-year-old car prone to a mild degree of grumpiness.

Luckily, the car place gave me a loaner, and it happens to be a 2015 Volkswagen Jetta. This thing is SLICK.

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Therefore, it makes me feel pretty slick to be driving it. It might as well be a Maserati. I’m turning up the radio, leaning back, giving other drivers a little nod to acknowledge that I realize I am winning at driving.

The latest news is that my car still isn’t fixed, which I’ve already decided means I’m just going to keep the loaner car forever.

In the end, nothing really matters as long as I have a way to get to the grocery store. I like Thai food a lot and this dish tastes like Thai food. Plus it’s super easy and makes a ton.

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What You Need:

  • 1 lb Butternut Squash, peeled and seeded and diced into cubes (about 2 1/2 to 3 cups)
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 4 small cloves garlic, quartered
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (seeded if desired to reduce spiciness)
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced into cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp oriental seasoning (if you don’t have this, just use a pinch of garlic powder, a pinch of onion powder, a pinch of ground ginger, and a pinch of black pepper.)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 4 cups spinach, raw

What You Do:

In the crock pot, add the squash through the oriental seasoning and mix well.

Cook on high for 5 hours.

Once it is ready to serve, add coconut milk and spinach and mix well, continuing to cook and stir until spinach is soft and reduced.

Add some red pepper flakes to the top of each dish if desired. Enjoy!

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Thanksgiving Day 5: Creamy Butternut Squash, Potato and Pear Soup

Nothing beats two foods that “pear” together well (har har), and Butternut Squash and Pears are no exception.

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This is a delectable soup perfect for a cold day, and since there will be lots of those coming up, my suggestion is to stock up on Butternut Squash and pears now. Not kidding!

This dish is quick to prepare for your Thanksgiving feast, and makes enough for leftovers (depending on how large/hungry your family is) 🙂

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What You Need:

  • 1 large Butternut Squash, skinned, halved and seeded (about 3 cups mashed)
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • One large or two small white potatoes, diced
  • 1 onion, roughly sliced
  • 4 Bartlett (or other) pears skinned, pitted and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • A few pear slices for garnish

What You Do:

Preheat oven to 400F

Place the squash facedown on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until the squash is soft enough to get a fork through.

While the squash is cooking, boil water in a large pot and boil the potatoes until soft and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Then drain and set aside.

Once the squash is done, pile it into a food processor along with the potato, onion, pears and spices, and give it a good whirl. It should still be fairly thick at this point.

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Scrape the whole mixture into a large 4 or 5 quart pasta pot and turn the heat up to medium.

Gradually add the vegetable broth, stirring constantly, until it is the consistency of, well, a creamy butternut squash and pear soup. (You might find you need more or less broth depending on how you like your soup, but 2 1/2 cups was perfect for mine).

Bring to a low boil and then reduce the heat. Pour into soup bowls and garnish with a few pear slices, and you’re good to go!

Also, I enjoyed this soup with a hearty slice of no-rise whole wheat stout bread. Highly recommend!

Pro Tip: You can cut your cooking time down if you cut the raw squash into chunks and boil them with the potato. Once they’re soft, drain, and blend with the remaining ingredients.

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