Chasing God's glory down unexpected paths

2016 November

Butternut Squash & Turkey Chili: Thanksgiving leftovers with a twist

Posted by | food stories, Recipes | No Comments


Admittedly, my favorite part of Thanksgiving cooking is not day-of cooking. It’s actually the leftover challenge. I love thinking up unique and creative ways to use our leftovers. One year we made sweet potato muffins. Another year we turned the leftover turkey and carcass into an awesome lime-infused Tortilla Soup. I love green turkey enchiladas or leftover croissant bread pudding to name a few. One year I even had a cooking contest for my girls where they had to create something with the leftovers. A fun way to get kids thinking creatively in the kitchen!

Last week I hosted a Friendsgiving Feast with the mamas and kids who are a part of my Wednesday Go Mama Workout group. Rather than serving up the traditional turkey, stuffing, gravy and green beans I decided to make this butternut squash and turkey chili, which combines some of the best Thanksgiving flavors into a hearty fall chili. My friend Stephanie made us a fabulous salad with candied pecans, strawberries and a homemade vinaigrette. Yazmin brought a classic pumpkin pie and whipped cream. Our meal was complete!

We had a precious time together around the table sharing stories and processing the elections results. I am grateful this year for a safe place to share my heart, my fears and even my prayer requests. The time is especially sweet after we have completed a hard workout and we have a delicious meal to share.

This chili would be great with cornbread or I served it with blue corn tortilla chips for color. You could even dump all the ingredients in a crockpot in the morning and cook it on low all day if you are off to work or plan to be gone shopping those Black Friday sales.

What unique dishes do you like to make with your Thanksgiving leftovers? Leave a comment and tell us how you like the chili!


Butternut Squash & Turkey Chili


1 tablespoon olive oil

pound turkey breast tenderloin, cut into 1-inch pieces

28-ounce can diced tomatoes

15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 18-ounce can tomato sauce

1 onion, chopped

cup peeled, seeded and cubed butternut squash 

1/2 cup chicken broth

cup frozen organic corn (I love the Trader Joe’s frozen sweet corn.)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

tablespoon chili powder

clove garlic, minced

cups shredded fresh spinach

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded


  1. In a large pot saute turkey in one tablespoon olive oil.
  2. Add chopped onions and butternut squash to the pot and cook approximately 5 minutes until softened.
  3. Add undrained tomatoes, beans, tomato sauce, chicken broth, corn, cranberries, jalapeno pepper, chili powder, and garlic. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes
  4. Cover and cook on low for 25 minutes. If desired, stir in additional broth to reach desired consistency.
  5. Stir in spinach just before serving.
  6. Sprinkle each serving with cheese for garnish.

Makes 8 servings.


Move over, pumpkin! A more sophisticated squash has arrived

Posted by | community, cooking, food stories, Recipes, soup, Uncategorized | No Comments



I am a pumpin lover. Let’s just be clear about that. I live in Central California so our weather is not always the greatest indicator that Fall has arrived. Sometimes it’s way into November before we get to pull out the cozy sweaters and don our boots. When I see pumpkin products at my fave grocery stores and coffee shops, I know it’s time.

That said, I have noticed some pumpkin backlash this year. The marketing of pumpkin products has pushed people so over the edge they can’t deal. Never fear: a much more sophisticated squash is here.

Butternut squash has long been one of my personal favorites. I love its subtle flavor in soup, chili, ravioli, lasagna, tacos or even as the more classic, roasted veggie side.

As with most squashes, the hardest part of dealing with butternut squash is actually breaking into the thing. You might want to skip your arm workout for the day if you intend to prep a raw butternut squash. I like to choose the ones with a longer neck and shorter bottom. This means less seeds to dig out and more melon-colored flesh to cube for your recipe.

Not up for veggie chopping therapy? There’s a simple short-cut. Go buy pre-cut butternut squash from places like Trader Joe’s or Costco. (It’s so worth it!)

Today I’m sharing two of my favorite recipes using butternut squash. One is considered a chowder, the second is our classic Thanksgiving first course. Tradition! (she sings loudly in her best “Fiddler on the Roof” impression…) Both of these recipes feed a crowd. It’s the perfect excuse to invite people to your table for some face-to-face time.

I don’t know about you but I’m longing for in-person connection these days. Everything feels so tense and nasty online. It’s difficult to wade through the newsfeed to really hear each other’s stories. I’m pushing myself to make space for community, for processing around the table, for asking the hard questions, for pressing in to engage with family and neighbors. Won’t you join me? Please share about your gathering over butternut squash in the comments!


The proof is in the pot


Fall Squash & Corn Chowder (serves 10-12)



10 slices bacon, chopped (We prefer turkey bacon but you can choose!)

4 tablespoons organic butter

2 medium onions, chopped (1 yellow & 1 red.)

2 chopped bell peppers (red, yellow or green)

1/4 cup flour (I use gluten-free flour or whole wheat pastry flour.)

8 cups chicken broth

4 cups 1/2-inch cubed, peeled, seeded butternut squash (You can use a whole squash measuring about 1 3/4 pounds or get the pre-cut packages of squash in the refrigerator section of Trader Joe’s or Costco)

4 medium russet potatoes or sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 1/2 tablespoons oregano

2 16-oz. bags frozen corn or 4 cups fresh corn kernels

1 cup whipping cream or plain yogurt

2 chicken breasts (Save time and buy a rotiserrie chicken & shred)

1 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper



  1. Add butter to a large pot and melt.
  1. Chop bacon and saute in butter until crispy.
  1. Add chopped chicken to pot and saute with bacon until golden brown.
  1. Add chopped onions and 1 bell peppers. Saute until onions and peppers are soft.
  1. Add flour; stir 3 minutes until flour starts to bubble.
  1. Mix in broth, squash, potatoes and oregano; bring to a boil.
  1. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered until veggies are tender (approximately 15 minutes).
  1. Add corn, cream/plain yogurt, remaining bell peppers and simmer additional 10 minutes.
  1. Add green onions, 1/2 cup cilantro; Simmer 5 minutes.
  1. Add salt & pepper.
  1. Ladle chowder into bowls and garnish with cilantro.

Prepping butternut squash aka the best arm workout ever

Thanksgiving Butternut Squash Soup



1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons butter

2 medium butternut squash, peeled & cubed

2 tart granny smith apples, grated

1 cup celery, chopped

3/4 cup white wine (sherry or chardonnay)

Organic chicken broth (48 ounces)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon parsley, for garnish

1/4 cup heavy cream



  1. Melt butter in large pot. Add butternut squash. Saute in pot for 15-20 minutes until soft.
  1. Meanwhile, prepare other vegetables and apples. Add to pot and allow to sweat until soft.
  1. Add wine, broth and spices to pot. Bring to boil and cook 5 min. Lower heat and cook for additional 45 min.
  1. Puree soup using immersion blender.


*For fancy garnish, drip small amount of heavy cream on top of each bowl of soup. Use toothpick to drag cream around in curly designs. Top with fresh parsley.


Serve with cornbread muffins, crescent rolls or other hearty bread.

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