Butternut Squash Chicken Chili

Nothing says fall like a bowl of chili, especially one with seasonal squash. Fresh pumpkin or acorn squash would also work well in this recipe. In less than 30 minutes, you can serve a warm bowl of comfort food to your family. Leftovers taste just as good, if not better. If you do not eat all the leftovers, this meal freezes well in a tightly sealed container or zip-top bag.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground chicken
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into bite-size pieces
2 (15.5 ounce) cans low-sodium Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons Sriracha hot chili sauce, plus more for serving
1 lime, sliced into 6 wedges
cilantro, chopped
cotija cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
  2. Add the ground chicken, chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt. Break up chicken with a spatula and cook until it begins to brown, about five minutes.
  3. Add the butternut squash, beans, chicken broth and Sriracha hot chili sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Ladle chili into six bowls and squeeze a lime wedge over each serving. Top with cilantro, cojita cheese and additional Sriracha hot chili sauce if desired.

Servings: 6

Open-Faced Turkey Burgers

There is something about eating a burger with a knife and a fork that makes it seem more classy than something you would order at a burger dive. And who can resist the freshly made bread these turkey burgers sit on. This recipe will elevate your next backyard cookout.

The secret to creating open-faced burgers is topping them with delicious ingredients. And you don’t have to worry about cramming all those ingredients under another slice of bread. Get creative and try piling on your favorite seasonal vegetables, like grilled zucchini and asparagus.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 pound ground turkey
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 slices fresh bread, preferably homemade or from a local bakery
4 slices smoked gouda cheese
2 cups arugula, tightly packed

Directions:
1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Once butter has melted, add onion slices and sprinkle with sugar. Stirring occasionally, let the onions cook about 20 to 25 minutes, until caramelized and golden brown.
2. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise and balsamic vinegar and set aside.
3. Form turkey into patties and season with salt and pepper. Prepare grill to medium-high heat. Grill burgers until turkey is cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. During the last three minutes of cooking, top each burger with a slice of cheese and allow to melt while burgers continue cooking.
4. Grill bread slices for about a minute per side, until light brown grill marks appear. Spread each slice with balsamic mayonnaise. Top with turkey burgers and equal amounts of caramelized onion and arugula.

Servings: 4 ~ Serving size: 1 burger

Pulled Pork Potato Skins

One of my favorite BBQ restaurants in Memphis serves a dish called the Idaho Pig, which is a giant baked potato stuffed with pulled pork and a lot of cheese and barbecue sauce. It is one of my favorite indulgences and the inspiration for this lighter version that is just as satisfying. These potato skins are a crowd pleaser and perfect appetizer or meal for the big game.

I love barbecue sauce, but most bottled sauces are high in sodium. This recipe uses only two servings of sauce for the entire recipe, keeping the sodium down while still delivering a sweet and tangy punch that will make you feel like you are hanging out in your favorite BBQ joint.

Ingredients:
8 small potatoes
2 cups pulled pork (from Slow Cooker Drunken Pork)
¼ cup barbecue sauce
½ cup yellow cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
16 hot and sweet jalapeño pepper slices
Optional: light sour cream for serving

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Pierce potatoes a few times with a fork and bake for 30 minutes.
2. Remove potatoes, leaving oven on. Let potatoes cool enough to touch and cut each in half. Scoop out a small amount of potato, leaving a divot like space in the potato halves.
3. In a small bowl, toss pulled pork with barbecue sauce and stir to evenly coat. Add equal amount of pork to potato halves and top with two types of cheddar cheese and 1 jalapeño pepper slice.
4. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until cheese has melted. Serve immediately with light sour cream if desired.

Note: You can reserve the potato that you scoop out and add to mashed potatoes or potato soup for another meal.

Servings: 4 to 8 ~ Serving size: 4 for a meal and 2 for an appetizer

Grilled Hawaiian Bites

Grilling intensifies the delicious flavor of pineapple, adding an extra burst of caramelized sweetness. The deli ham and grilled bell pepper complement the sweet fruit, turning this appetizer into a sweet and salty snack on a stick. This is a great appetizer to bring to a potluck or make for game day. Especially if you’re a Green Bay Packer fan and want to add a little green and gold to your plate. It may be freezing at the football stadium, but after one bite of this dish you will feel like you are in tropical Hawaii.

Ingredients:
1 medium pineapple
4 medium or 3 large bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ pound deli maple or honey ham, thinly sliced
Toothpicks

Directions:
1. Trim and core pineapple, and slice into four large sections. Remove stem and seeds from the bell peppers and cut each into two halves. On a large platter, brush both sides of pineapple and bell pepper with olive oil.
2. Heat a gas grill (or prepare a charcoal grill) to medium heat. Place pineapple and pepper on the grill and cook for four to five minutes per side, until produce is tender with lightly browned grill marks. Remove from grill and set aside until cool enough to touch.
3. Meanwhile, lay ham flat on a cutting board and cut into 1 inch strips. Starting at one end, roll each piece into a tight roll. Cut pineapple and pepper into 1 inch pieces.
4. Thread a toothpick with bell a pepper segment, piece of rolled ham and a chunk of pineapple. Repeat with remaining ingredients and serve immediately.

Note: Turn leftovers into a Hawaiian salad by removing the toothpick and tossing with your favorite leafy greens and salad dressing.