Though the air may not quite have that crisp fall feel here in Florida, that doesn't stop me from getting excited about all things fall represents: change of colors, cooler weather, football season, pumpkin everything and most importantly; squash season!
Butternut squash is easily my favorite squash, mostly because I haven't experimented as much with some of the others. Also because, hello, its delicious! Its so versatile - you can mash it up with butter and make a psedo-mashed potato, you can bake it and throw it atop a salad and best of all you can make butternut squash fries, my favorite!
Though I make this chili year round (its that good!), it tastes even better when enjoying butternut squash in its prime season.
My kids typically turn their noses up to squash, but in this chili, they seem to have no problem eating it at all. They do like theirs with a dollip of sour cream and some shredded cheddar cheese (I mean, who doesn't really?)
When making a meal I always make sure it checks all these boxes:
- Healthy source of protein
- Healthy source of fat
- At least 1-2 veggies
Clearly, this chili marks all the boxes. A bonus is that there are typically leftovers in the fridge for lots of quick, protein-packed lunches throughout the week. It saves me from non-deliberately stuffing my face with macaroni and cheese or whatever other delicious foods my kids decide to leave on their plate. Also it is one of those meals that everyone is excited for, especially my husband. He always wants seconds, which makes this food-loving-wifey very happy.
Don't cut corners and buy conventional ground beef. The fat contained in grass-fed beef has a higher ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids. The conventional, corn-fed/grain-fed cows have higher omega-6 fatty acid ratios (Why? Because they are sickly/ill animals due to their diet:lifestyle). Omega-3 fatty acids (primarily EPA & DHA) are essential fats meaning our bodies need them to function. And since our bodies do not make these fats independently, we need to consume them in our diet. A recent study performed by the Union of Concerned Scientists concluded that grass-fed beef and dairy contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acid that reduces risk of heart disease and higher CLA which has been shown in research to decrease the risk of cancer. You can view the whole study here if you're interested.
Okay, okay, I'll step of my soap box about grassfed beef. Just go ahead and try it already.
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Prep time: 35 minutes
2 lbs organic grass-fed ground beef
2 15 oz cans organic pinto beans (I use these)
2 15 oz cans organic kidney beans (I use these)
2 14.5 oz cans organic diced tomatoes (I use these)
1/2 6 oz can tomato paste
1/2 cup honey
1 medium onion diced
4-5 cloves garlic chopped finely
1/2 butternut squash peeled and chopped into 1/3 inch cubes
1 medium sweet potato
2 carrots sliced thinly
1/4 stick grass-fed butter
1/2 to 2/3 carton of chicken broth
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
First, sauté the onions in olive oil until soft. Add garlic for 1 minute. Add the ground beef and cook for a few minutes until slightly brown (not fully cooked). Then add all the ingredients to the crockpot, leaving the chicken broth for last- fill pot until liquid almost covers the top but not fully. Stir and set to low for 6-8 hours.
Add your favorite toppings and enjoy. My favorites are sour cream and shredded cheese.