Chipotle Butternut Squash Chile

One of my greatest loves during the fall and winter months is soup. Not broth. but chunky, hearty, filling soup. It’s easy, comforting and warms you up down to your toes. Soup leaves the kitchen smelling homey. It is easy to double or triple a batch for company. Easy to store, reheat and freeze…and you can cook it so many ways. If you search our posts, we have no shortages of soup here. While I can’t complain about the winter being warmer this year, it has left me less in the mood for soup.

Last week, though, I found myself craving a bowl. I ransacked my fridge to see what I had. Last year I made a delicious butternut squash black bean and quinoa chili, but have since lost the recipe. In my search, I stumbled upon this Chipotle Butternut Squash Chili with Avocado from Cookie & Kate. I already knew that butternut squash and black beans were an excellent combination, and I felt that you can’t really go wrong with chipotle and avocado, especially since I had recently learned to pick a perfectly ripe avocado. So I gave it a go…

Look at this deliciousness —- just screaming eat me

The results were far better than I hoped. We ate it back to back meals, and leftovers. My hubby was quite disappointed when it was all gone. The recipe calls for about an hour of cooking time and a half hour of prep, but I cut this way down, by throwing everything in the pressure cooker for 20 minutes. To adapt it for the pressure cooker, I started by sauteing onions, bell peppers and squash in a pan with olive oil. (Costco sells pre-cut squash!). Once soft, add garlic, chili powder, chipotle, cumin and cinnamon and just enjoy the fragrance. Add the bay leaf, black beans, tomatoes, and broth, put the lid on and cook for 20 minutes. At this point I simmered my chili for about 10 minutes until it was reduced, in the future I will put less liquid… though truth be told, I think pureeing it in a blender for a hearty creamy soup would also be absolutely scrumptious

There are notes on the original recipe, that you may be able to cook this in the slow cooker also.

You can top the chili with corn tortilla strips/chips, avocado, cheese, sour cream, red pepper flakes, cilantro, hot sauce or whatever else you think would be good. I topped mine with cheese, sour cream and avocado. Find the recipe here; and let us know what you think!

Chipotle Butternut Squash Chile

One of my greatest loves during the fall and winter months is soup. Not broth. but chunky, hearty, filling soup. It’s easy, comforting and warms you up down to your toes. Soup leaves the kitchen smelling homey. It is easy to double or triple a batch for company. Easy to store, reheat and freeze…and you can cook it so many ways. If you search our posts, we have no shortages of soup here. While I can’t complain about the winter being warmer this year, it has left me less in the mood for soup.

Last week, though, I found myself craving a bowl. I ransacked my fridge to see what I had. Last year I made a delicious butternut squash black bean and quinoa chili, but have since lost the recipe. In my search, I stumbled upon this Chipotle Butternut Squash Chili with Avocado from Cookie & Kate. I already knew that butternut squash and black beans were an excellent combination, and I felt that you can’t really go wrong with chipotle and avocado, especially since I had recently learned to pick a perfectly ripe avocado. So I gave it a go…

The results were far better than I hoped. We ate it back to back meals, and leftovers. My hubby was quite disappointed when it was all gone. The recipe calls for about an hour of cooking time and a half hour of prep, but I cut this way down, by throwing everything in the pressure cooker for 20 minutes. To adapt it for the pressure cooker, I started by sauteing onions, bell peppers and squash in a pan with olive oil. (Costco sells pre-cut squash!). Once soft, add garlic, chili powder, chipotle, cumin and cinnamon and just enjoy the fragrance. Add the bay leaf, black beans, tomatoes, and broth, put the lid on and cook for 20 minutes. At this point I simmered my chili for about 10 minutes until it was reduced, in the future I will put less liquid… though truth be told, I think pureeing it in a blender for a hearty creamy soup would also be absolutely scrumptious

There are notes on the original recipe, that you may be able to cook this in the slow cooker also.

You can top the chili with corn tortilla strips/chips, avocado, cheese, sour cream, red pepper flakes, cilantro, hot sauce or whatever else you think would be good. I topped mine with cheese, sour cream and avocado. Find the recipe here; and let us know what you think!

Mother’s Monday: The Instant Pot

As part of our new year, new blog theme we’ve got going on here at MMC, we’ve decided to introduce Mother’s Monday, a post to feature our favorite items & products: those things that don’t really fit anywhere else. While this should be a semi-regular occurrence, it will not be a weekly post.
What better way to start this series then for a favorite among all of us: The Instant Pot. This beauty has earned Amazon’s coveted orange “#1 Best Seller” tag, and is an item we can’t live without. While the list price can range well above $200, you can usually find it on Amazon for less than $150. Currently it’s listed for $118 (see here); and available for less than $100 through Amazon’s open box warehouse (see here). I promise I am not an Instant Pot salesman – I am just in love with this product!
We’ve featured a number of recipes that use a pressure cooker on the MMC blog. Many recipes can be converted to pressure cooker recipes to save time. We make soup, broth, roast, chicken, pork – you name it, we do it! Towards the start of this blog, Kayte wrote a piece on why everyone should own a pressure cooker. You can read the full article here, but in short, Kayte explained how she was able to take frozen meat and turn it into a delicious (and edible) pot-roast in under an hour. That’s the same line Kayte used to sell me on buying one too! And it’s completely true. She then went on to talk about all the things you can do with your pressure cooker.
But what’s more, is how many different things this bad boy can do. Space is always limited in the kitchen, so a multi-use gadget is a much better investment in my mind. This is way more than a pressure cooker. The newest (basic) Instant Pot offers 7 features: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, saute/browning pot, yogurt maker, steamer and warmer. It has 14 built in programs, but is easily manually programmable. It holds a massive amount of food (6 whole quarts!). However, it has now come to my attention that there is now a bluetooth enabled pot.
I’m one of those people that either burns the rice, or cooks it to mush. My Instant Pot gives me perfect rice EVERY time. Of course, a rice cooker can do the same thing, but then I’d have to own both devices. It can be an electric skillet, allowing you to saute or brown food. I’ll be the first to admit, that while this feature is intended for use prior to slow-cooking or pressure cooking (subtext: you don’t have to do as many dishes), it was excellent when we moved and I couldn’t locate my pans!

#TBT – Using Your Pressure Cooker

Welcome back to another Thowback Thursday!  Here is one of our most popular posts from the past. The pressure cooker has become one of Kayte’s most-used kitchen appliances, and several of our regular readers have invested in (and love!) one.  I recommend it highly for anyone who is cooking for a family and needs to be able to put a good meal together without spending a lot of prep time.

Click here to read the original post.

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

If you were to talk to my husband, he would probably tell you that I am not a pork person. I’d probably agree, but in all honesty, we eat pork on a pretty regular basis. We LOVE crock pot pulled pork in this house, and this dish tops them all: baked sweet potato stuffed with BBQ pork.

A baked sweet potato stuffed with pork covered in bbq sauce,
caramelized red onions, and melted colby jack cheese

This was really easy to make. It was inspired by Jim N Nicks pig in the potato patch. According to their menu it’s a potato “loaded with smoked bacon, butter, sour cream, cheddar, bbq sauce, and a choice of pork or chicken”. It’s one hell-of-a-way to eat a potato. We’ve made our own versions before, but this was the first time we made it with a sweet potato. Not only is a sweet potato a much healthier choice, it adds an incredible level of flavor.
A few weeks ago our local Kroger had a bone-in pork shoulder on sale. Pulled pork is actually quite a versatile meat and is pretty regularly on sale. We purchased two 8+lb roast for only $12 each. That is less than $2 per pound. I froze one, and popped the other roast into the slow cooker (recipe here).  I shredded the roast with my kitchen aid and split it into gallon size bags. For reference, a roast this size made 3 gallon bags of 3.5 cups and one container approximately 3 cups. (See more pulled pork recipes)

On the day I made dinner, I threw my potatoes in the pressure cooker and caramelized some onions. Once cooked, I cut the potatoes opened and topped in the following order: BBQ sauce, pork, sauce, caramelized onions, sauce, cheese. I baked them in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. We served the loaded potatoes with some sour cream.

#TBT Chicken Bouillon

This blog post is a Throwback Thursday on Chicken Bouillon. I gave it that title too, but I’m temped to change it to reason #546 Kayte has completely changed my life. Ok – If we are being honest, its really how Mary has changed my life, but Kayte is the one who insisted I try it. If you saw the post on Chicken Bouillon, and thought “Hey, that’s neat, I’d like to give it a try” and you still haven’t – you need to. Like today. Like now. If you missed that gem, click on the link at bottom of this post.
Photo from when I made Chicken Broth

I tried it for the first time this week. I’m not really sure why I waited so long. I had tried years ago to make my own chicken broth, but found it lacking. I tried again a few months ago, at Kayte’s insistence and it was gold. We buy a lot of Costco rotisserie chickens, and it’s a great way to use up what would otherwise be garbage. Definitely more bang for your buck.  As an avid soup lover, and a orzo addict, it’s really helped my grocery bill. Chicken broth may be cheap, but it adds up. Frozen Chicken broth also takes up way too much room in my freezer. That’s where the boullion comes in handy. It is a reduced version of the delicious chicken broth! It takes up only 1/4 of the space!

My poor pot was filled to the brim!

I’ll be honest, I was purely motivated by necessity – I was in desperate need of freezer space, and I had FOUR chicken carcasses and a sandwich bag of veggies for just this purpose. I made two batches of broth, slow cooking for nearly 24 hours. Then cooled, skimmed fat/grease, and then heated and reduced. I poured mine into an 8×8 dish and cooled in fridge overnight, then cut into squares. Look at these beauties.

It’s like chicken broth jello!

Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

Pork Tenderloin, Veggie loaded macaroni & cheese, Salad

My baby just hit the 12 week mark. I have been planning since the first week he was home to write a fabulous post about bringing home baby, and how glad I was that I had stocked up food, and had a full freezer and pantry, and even had a vague meal plan. Well, between holidays and sickness and general lack of sleep – I never made it to that post. It seems a little late to be writing that post now, so all I will say is that we probably wouldn’t have eaten if it hadn’t been for all the meals in my freezer. We were able to either dump things in the crockpot, pressure cooker, or place in the oven, and pull it out hot and ready.

The only way I can cook

While my freezer was stuffed to the brim, it wasn’t all premade meals. I had also taken the opportunity before baby to stock up on meat. I figured that sale shopping post baby wasn’t something I would really be able to manage – one of the meats I was thrilled to get my hands on was a huge package of pork tenderloin. Honestly, I can’t remember the cost now – but it was a steal. I froze 3 of them raw, and we had one when I purchased them. We pulled out one of them and made this “slow cooker” Balsamic Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin from slender kitchen just the other night. It is delicious and healthy! Only 5 WW points if you’re counting.

Dry rub & Balsamic Marinade

The tenderloin is rubbed down in brown sugar, cumin, garlic powder and (optional) chile powder. It’s cooked in a balsamic vinegar marinade. It’s written to be a slowcooker recipe, but I didn’t pull out my frozen pork till the afternoon. I threw it in a pot of cool water for about 45 minutes, then put in my pressure cooker for 25 minutes. It was tender, moist, and delicious. Check it out!

yummmmyyyyyyy