Slow Cooker Sunday: Butternut Squash Soup

Slow Cooker Sunday is back! Granted I will put the disclaimer in that I may not be posting every Sunday though. Thankfully I am covered for the next few Sunday’s as I have two recipes in my blog queue that I never posted. It’s a good thing recipes don’t expire! LOL! So, in honor of my first Slow Cooker Sunday post in a quite a few months and since its Fall I bring you a Butternut Squash Soup that’s super easy, super quick and super delicious!

Truthfully this soup couldn’t get any easier… I placed all the ingredients – butternut squash, chicken broth, coconut milk, chopped onion, brown sugar, soy sauce and crushed red pepper – in my slow cooker…

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And set it cook on low for 4 hours. Granted the before cooking and after cooking are pretty much the same, but, trust me this was 4 hours later.

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I then transferred the soup to a pot and used an immersion blender to blend all the ingredients together until it was smooth. And then finally I stirred in lime juice, which really took the flavor of the soup up another notch. Citrus really does have a way of bringing out and bringing together different flavors. And that was it!

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Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cups chicken broth

1 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 tablespoon lime juice

Directions:

In a 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker, combine all ingredients except for the lime juice.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 to 21/2 hours.

Use an immersion blender, food processor or blender to blend soup until smooth. Stir in lime juice and enjoy.

Slightly adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

Slow Cooker Sunday: Moroccan Spiced Butternut Squash and Beef Stew

For this week’s Slow Cooker Sunday meal I’m bringing you a dish with flavors from North Africa, specifically Morocco. Spices are used extensively in Moroccan food… Hence bringing together a multitude of wonderful flavors. So, it’s no surprise that this week’s Moroccan Spiced Butternut Squash and Beef Stew is full of flavor.

To begin I placed 2lbs. of cubed beef chuck in the bottom of my slow cooker.

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After mixing together ground ginger, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, salt and pepper in a small bowl, I sprinkled it over the beef and tossed it to coat the meat.

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Next I added in a small diced onion and a can of peeled whole tomatoes (with the liquid) and crushed the tomatoes with my hands.

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And finally I put butternut squash chunks on top of everything and sprinkled salt over it and added water. If you cannot find fresh butternut squash use frozen instead.

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I cooked it on low for 7 hours and the aroma was amazing when I uncovered it.

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I served it over white rice and while it was delicious the first day it was even more so the following day as the flavors continued to develop.

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Slow Cooker Moroccan Spiced Butternut Squash and Beef Stew

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes

1 small onion, diced

1 28oz. can peeled whole tomatoes (with liquid)

1 butternut squash (about 2lbs.) peeled and cut unto 1 1/2 cubes

 

Directions:

Place the beef in the slow cooker.

In a small bowl mix together the ginger, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, 1 tablespoon salt, and black pepper. Sprinkle over the beef and toss to coat well.

Add the onion and tomatoes with their liquid and crush the tomatoes with your hand.

Place the butternut squash chunks on top and sprinkle with remaining teaspoon of salt and 1 1/2 cups water.

Cover and cook on low for about 7 hours, until the beef is tender. Serve over rice.

 

From Food Network Magazine, October 2015. Reynolds Slow-Cooker Favorites

Zucchini Spice Bread

Another mini road trip meant it was time to bake another dessert that wouldn’t require refrigeration. This time I went with a Zucchini Spice Bread. If you are not a fan of zucchinis, or vegetables for that matter, no worries the addition of some warm spices masks the fact that a vegetable is the main ingredient in this delicious loaf cake. Luckily for me, I love all vegetables – even those bitter Brussels sprouts. Trust me; they can be delicious when made the right way.

I began by grating a medium-sized zucchini. While the recipe called for the zucchini to be coarsely grated I opted to finely grate it which I think added to the moisture of the bread.

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Next I whisked together the dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and ground cloves.

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In another bowl I used a hand mixer to mix together canola oil, light brown and granulated sugar, two eggs, vanilla extract…

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And finally the zucchini.

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I then added in the flour mixture and mixed it until it was just combined.

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After pouring it into my prepared loaf pan – I sprayed it with baking spray – I baked it in a preheated 350 F oven for about 50 minutes.

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The cake smelled delicious right out of the oven and I couldn’t wait for it to cool so I could try a piece.

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After letting it cool for a half hour in the pan and then transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely I was finally able to slice into the loaf and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. It was incredibly moist and the spices were a perfect touch. Next time I make it though I will probably add in some walnuts for a little texture and added flavor.

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Zucchini Spice Bread

Ingredients

1/2 cup canola oil

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

A pinch of ground cloves

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)

Directions 

1. Heat oven to 350 F. Grease a loaf pan (I used a 9 1/4 x 5 1/4 inch pan.) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, light brown and granulated sugars, eggs and vanilla; mix in the zucchini. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined (do not over mix.)

3. Spread the batter in the prepared pan bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.