Squash Bread

In our family cookbook, my sister added Squash Bread.  It’s one of those recipes that screams fall.  However, for lots of people, squash bread does not sound very appetizing.  For this reason, I’ve always brought it to folks and called it pumpkin bread.  People are not afraid of pumpkin bread in the same way that squash bread sounds dangerous.  Folks are used to eating pumpkin-flavored things at this time of year.  They aren’t used to eating sweet food that has squash in it.  However, this is something we grew up eating.  And, usually, I cannot tell the difference between the two.  But, that’s just my experience with it.  If you’re feeling brave, take a moment to make some squash bread and see if it fits in your realm of possible tasty delights.  If not, no worries.  At least you tried it 🙂
Squash Bread
3 c sugar
1 c oil
1 tsp cinnamon
⅔ c water
3 ⅓ c flour
2 tsp soda
4 eggs
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
2 c cooked squash
Mix all ingredients together in mixer.  Divide in 3 greased bread pans or 2 large brad pans. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or more.  These freeze well.  I like to freeze them in individual bags so I can take one out and share it with friends who come by.

Chili — Is it a Soup? Roasted Vegetable Chili

I don’t know where this recipe came from.  I apologize to wherever in the world of the internet I found it.  I haven’t ever been able to find it again, though, so I’m hopeful it has been lost in someone’s lost site and now I can share it again with the world.  This is my favorite chili recipe.  It’s a lot of work as there are several steps, but it is the one I eat most often.
Most recently, I made this for the fundraiser a couple weeks ago.  We ate it, but there was a lot of discussion about whether or not chili is a soup.  Do you consider chili as a soup?  I think it fits in the category, but some folks argued it didn’t.  Let me know your thoughts!

Crockpot Roasted Vegetable Chili

Roasted Vegetables:
1-2 red bell pepper
1 medium onion
1 mild green chili
1-2 carrots
1 zucchini
1 T. tomato paste
1 T. olive oil
1 t. cumin seeds or ground cumin
1 t. oregano
1 t. salt
pepper to taste
1 head of garlic

Coarsely chop all vegetables. Coat with the olive oil, tomato paste, and spices. Spread the mixture in a 13″x9″ pan. In the corner of the pan, place a whole head of garlic with the top 1/3 cut off, drizzled with olive oil. Roast in a 450 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until lightly browned.

Meat mixture:
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced finely
1 mild green chile, diced finely, or 1 4-oz can diced green chiles, drained
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
just a splash of hot sauce, like Tabasco
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 c. TVP (texturized vegetable protein) reconstituted in 1 c. boiling water or broth for 5 minutes (optional – it has a texture similar to ground beef, so it helps stretch the beef in the chili)  –I have sometimes used 2 lb ground beef if I don’t have any extra TVP
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
another splash of hot sauce, like Tabasco
1 t. cumin
1 t. oregano
salt and pepper to taste
about 1 c. broth (vegetable or beef)

In a 12″ skillet, NOT non-stick, saute the vegetables in the olive oil-hot sauce mixture until translucent. Add beef, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and spices, and cook until brown, breaking into small bits. Once it is all browned, add the reconstituted TVP and mix well. Pour into a heated crockpot. Deglaze the bottom of the pan with the 1 c. broth and reduce by half, then pour the broth into the crockpot.

Crockpot Chili ingredients:
Meat mixture
Roasted vegetables, EXCEPT GARLIC, processed in the food processor until it’s about the consistency of salsa. (This is tasty as a salsa, too)
Roasted garlic, squeezed out of the papers and mashed in a small bowl

4 15-oz cans beans, drained and rinsed (black, kidney, and pinto beans all work well in this)
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 6-oz can tomato paste (less the 1 T. used in the veggies)
1 T. chili powder
1 1/2 t. cumin
1 1/2 t. coriander
1 1/2 t. oregano
1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 c. corn (fresh, frozen, or canned)

Mix all the ingredients except corn together in the heated bowl of the crockpot. Stir well to combine, then cook on low for 8 hours or high for four hours. Add the corn in the last 30 minutes.

Harvest Chicken Soup

For the fundraiser, I made a variety of soups.  Did you know this week was Chicken Soup week?  I like celebrating random food holidays in a lot of different ways.
Anyhoo, one of the soups I made is from a favorite restaurant of mine in St. Paul, Cafe Latte.  I found it when I used to live a mile from it, but I also had some experiences when I had a garden share a few years ago when I didn’t know how to use all of my vegetables.  One of the vegetables I received and found particularly challenging was rutabaga.  Who cooks with rutabaga?  I assumed it was just one of those vegetables people grew to take up space.  But, in this soup it is quite all right.  I wouldn’t change it for anything, I don’t think…
Harvest Chicken Soup
1 lb chicken breast
2 c cooked butternut squash
⅓ c barley
1 c yellow onion, diced
1 c carrots, peeled and sliced
1 c rutabaga, peeled and cut in 1 in cubes
½ c frozen corn kernels
½ tsp minced garlic
12 c chicken stock
¼ c watercress, chopped
In a large stockpot, add 12 c chicken stock and cook chicken, barley, onions, carrots, rutabaga, corn, and garlic.  Cook until barley is tender (35-40 min).  Remove chicken and cut into julienne strips.  Add chicken strips, squash, and watercress and simmer 5-10 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.