Butternut Squash and Kale with Whole Grains

I was pretty excited about making this dish! It’s warm (I’ve been craving warm food lately) and healthy so you don’t feel guilty about eating it, like say an Alfredo pasta. Plus, this is packed with tons of good for you veggies, so not only is it low cal but it’s actually healthy.

Originally, I intended to use barley risotto. However, upon my arrival at my regular grocery store, no barley risotto to be found. Considering the resolutioners were crowding up my store, I knew they’d be crawling all over the even healthier stores and I wasn’t in the mood to fight the crowds. So I settled on this quick cook, whole grain mix. It actually turned out working well because it gave the dish a little more variety in texture.

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You’ll need:

1/2 a butternut squash
3/4 a large white onion
2 cups of fresh kale
Several cloves of fresh garlic
1 cup of whole grains
2 cups of chicken broth (can sub vegetable broth and make this vegan!)
Fresh Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

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Finely chop the onion and garlic. The garlic is for taste and I love garlic so I added a lot. You can reduce this if you prefer. I used about 5 cloves.

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Wash and pat dry your kale. Remember to remove the ribs. If you need a reminder on how to do this click here. Scroll down and there’s a demo. Then slice the kale into smaller strips.

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Now for the butternut squash. Warning: this is not the easiest vegetable to work with. First, slice it in half down the middle.

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I had to take a break, arm strength was waning.

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Success!

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Use a spoon to scope out the flesh. You only need half of the butternut squash for this recipe but I went ahead and sliced and diced the whole thing so I can use the other half later.

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Now peel all the skin off. Since the shape of this squash is irregular this is a little challenging. Not too bad though.

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Now slice it up.

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Then dice it up into bite size pieces.

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Measure out a cup of grains and lets get to cooking!

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Drizzle the bottom of a large pot with olive oil. Add your onions and garlic. Cook on medium high heat until translucent.

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Should smell really good right about now!

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Stir in the butternut squash.

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Now add the kale. Let the kale wilt just a bit. Stir this around for 1-2 minutes.

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Then add two cups of chicken broth.

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Cover and bring to a boil.

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After it boils, add in one cup of grains.

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After adding grains, bring it back to a boil.

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Then transfer it to a small casserole dish.

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Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. The liquid will be absorbed while it’s cooking.

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And 30 minutes later… Dinner is ready!

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Add fresh grated Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. Serve in a bowl.

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I like lots of Parmesan!

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Yum yum! Time to eat!

Ginger Butternut Squash Soup

I have tried to make butternut squash soup before and utterly failed. So with winter coming fast, I wanted to give this soup one more go at it. This time I had success! The ginger and lemon really give the squash and sweet potatoes a lift and great fragrance.

Here goes!

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You’ll need:

One medium sized butternut squash
One clove of garlic
One large thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
2 cans of chicken broth (vegetarians and vegans can sub vegetable broth)
2 sweet potatoes
1 lemon
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh Parmigiano, parsley and black pepper to top if you want

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Cut the butternut squash in half. Takes a little elbow grease when it’s raw.

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Place the butternut squash and sliced sweet potatoes flesh side down on a baking sheet covered in foil and drizzled with olive oil. Slice the top off of a fresh clove of garlic and put it all in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30min.

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Meanwhile, peel and grate your fresh ginger. Set aside.

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Once the butternut squash and sweet potatoes are soft enough, scoop out the flesh from the skins and place into a food processor or blender. Discard the seeds and stringy part of the butternut squash.

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The garlic will look like this when it’s ready.

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Place some ginger and garlic into the blender with the sweet potatoes and butternut squash. Also, add chicken broth to help everything mix up evenly. It may take a few batches to get everything mixed up properly. Sprinkle a little kosher salt in each batch.

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Once blended, place into a large pot. Squeeze fresh lemon juice in and stir. I used the whole lemon, use to your taste. Let simmer for 10-15min. This will help the flavors blend and heat the soup back up. I added a half can of water at this step because the soup was pretty thick, this is optimal depending on how you like it.

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Serve hot. I topped my soup with Parmigiano, parsley and some black pepper. This will keep for up to a week in the fridge. Enjoy!