No Wheat Wednesday recipe challenge: Squash Puree – and lots of it – and a crockpot recipe

I had a lot of squash. And I knew what to do with it.

I was blessed with getting a lot of squash from our CSA, and even a few more from my aunt, so I decided to begin with roasting about half of it, then pureeing it, and placing it in two-cup portions and then freezing. Whew. It really is quite a simple thing to do, actually.

It is just a multi-step process. I roast the squash when I’ve already got the oven on anyway, usually when I’m cooking dinner. Then, I just let the squash sit in the oven longer, until I’m good and ready to take them out. Maybe around bedtime? I just plop them on the glass-stove-top overnight, and deal with them when I’m good and ready the next day. Letting them sit, I’ve found, actually seems to help the meat separate from the skin. Which is cool.

Next, cut in half. De-seed. (Save some seeds for roasting, if you like.) Then, scoop out and right into the food processor in batches. using a Tbl or two of water as needed.

And that, folks, is definitely me least favorite part of the process.  The actual pureeing and then scooping out the glop and measuring it, then trying to put it in the bags without it getting all over me.

in the bags, ready for the freezer. that was about 1/2 of what I ended up with!

(So, yes, I dislike the part that is actually some WORK. True. Now you know that about me.)

But, now that its all said and done, I LOVE squash! There are lots of fun things one can do with it, and it features in my recipe I’m sharing today, which is wheat free, and dairy free.

This base recipe comes from an Indian cookbook, ‘Complete Book of Indian Cooking‘ by Suneeta Vaswani, but I have adapted it for my kitchen and my spice  cabinet. It is a little more involved, but it is quite delicious, and so I think its well worth it!

Adapted Parsi Chicken Stew with Lentils and Vegetables

1 bag lentils

6 – 12 chicken thighs

2 cups pureed butternut squash, or other winter squash/pumpkin

1 chopped onion

2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 tsp salt, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp. coriander, 1 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 3/4 tsp. cloves, 3/4 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp. turmeric

1 inch gingerroot, peeled and minced

8 cloves minced garlic

3 tbsp. oil

3 cups onions, sliced thinly

6 frozen tomatoes (or 1 can diced tomatoes) (if using frozen, take out the night before, so they are pretty well thawed)

3 tbls cilantro (or 3 frozen cubes that you preserved during the summer)

splash of lemon juice

1. Combine the lentils, squash, onion, carrot and chicken in slowcooker in the morning, say, around 10 am. Turn on low. Add water until it reaches the top of the lentils. It doesn’t need to cover over all the chicken and veggies. Cook until you’re ready to prepare supper, or about 4-5 hours.

2. Put the 3 tbsp. oil in a flat saute pan, and flash-fry the combined spices above over medium high heat. Add garlic and ginger. Reduce heat to medium and add sliced onions. Add tomatoes. Cover and simmer until hot and combined. Break apart tomato into chunks, if using frozen whole tomatoes.

3. Take chicken out of slow-cooker and put aside in dish, covering to keep warm.

4. Scoop cooked lentil and veggie mixture into food processor and puree in batches until chunky or smooth as you like it (you could also use a potato masher, or not mash at all). Add tomato/onion/spice mixture into the lentil/veggie mixture, and keep warm in slowcooker.

5. Add optional cilantro (thawed) and a splash of lemon juice when serving. Serve the chicken covered with the lentil puree, or separately, as you like.

*I wish I would have taken a picture of the final result! Trust me, it was good. Hub’band took some leftovers to work, and even emailed me to thank me for the meal, again. 😉

No Wheat Wednesday: Recipe Challenge!

Now that we’ve explored some stuff about wheat, and I’m mostly avoiding it, I have been expanding my repertoire of recipes, and knowledge of how to best use the grains I’m still using.

Today’s focus: quinoa!

I have been using quinoa for quite some time now, as I had learned it was a healthy grain that had quite a protein punch to it – unlike many other grains. I replace rice with quinoa in many dishes.

I challenge you: share your favorite quinoa recipe!

Here is one of my standby favorites, for a creamy comforting dish.

Creamy Quinoa and Carrots

1. Prepare quinoa  in a flat pan (skillet, or even a soup kettle) according to package instructions (usually, you soak the quinoa first, and rinse once, twice, or more, until the rinse water is clear. Quinoa has a bitterness that keeps it from getting eaten by birdies. If humans don’t want to taste that bitterness, we rinse it). Make the quinoa with homemade chicken stock if you have it!

2.  Meanwhile, in a separate pan, prepare carrots by steaming until crisp-tender. You can also add onions, peppers, or celery.

3. When quinoa is done cooking, add half a brick of your favorite cream cheese to it (or, drain your yogurt, and use yogurt cheese). Mix until melted. Take off heat.

4. Mix the veggies with the quinoa/cheese mixture, top with a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste.

 

It is so simple and delish. This can be used as a side-dish or a meatless main dish. The kids love it as a lunch, too.