Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Day 7 - Butternut Squash and Beef Skillet Meal

Pinterest Day 7
The Pinterest recipe I looked at today was Super Easy Butternut Squash with Ground Beef and Onions by Tom Denham.

Mine was more like Easier Butternut Squash with Ground Beef and chiles.

Beef and Butternut Squash
The Reasons:
Very hungry, needed food soon, had butternut squash, a green and red chile, and precooked beef, and there you go.

The Ingredients:
What I can use:
Butternut squash (see Slow Cooker recipe below)
Ground Beef

What I can't use:
sweet yellow onion
Coconut oil or ghee
Chipotle chili powder
Ground black pepper
Garlic powder

The Challenges:
1. Flavor.  A lot of my herbs didn't survive the last few weeks, and I was out of some of the ones I wanted to use.

2. The squash is getting on, which usually means it has lost a lot of its sweetness - this absolutely happened here.

Older and a bit drier

What I did:
1. I microwaved one butternut squash rather than cook it in a crock pot - I was hungry, no time for long cooking!  It's easy; just cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds to roast and eat lester, and put the squash cut side down in a glass pan with maybe 1/2 inch of water in it. Nuke for 5 minutes, check to see if it's soft when the rind is touched and then nuke for another 5 minutes, and keep going until it's all soft. 

2. Defrosted 1/2 pound ground, unseasoned meat in the microwave.

3. I has a small handful of wild purslane (verdolagas, around here) that I chopped up, a green chile and a smaller red chile, salt, and a pinch of fresh savory. I really didn't have a lot more this time, but I sliced these up and put them in an iron skillet on medium heat and cooked a couple minutes.

Chiles, herbs, and verdolagas

4. Then I added the meat and the squash, and mashed the squash about a bit. 

4. It ended up very savory; the squash had no sweetness to it at all. I added a teensy bit of honey to make up for it (less than a tsp), and that made a much better dish.

Why did I make these choices:
Honestly? I was just throwing stuff together and hoping it worked. Which it did, so yea, me. I was hoping to use some tarragon or thyme with the squash, but both of them seem to have died while I was away, so that was pretty depressing to realize. I'm hoping I can plant them in a new location and they'll do better.

The result:
Once the honey was added, pretty good. Very pretty color combination with the orange, green, and red of the squash and chiles.  Purslane wasn't really noticeable. Squash texture was nice, but seriously, mine was not a good squash. No taste to it at all. 

How would I change this:
1. The herb combination would be the main thing. I like the chiles, I'd just see if I could get some herbs to sweeten it up, or a fresher squash. Maybe possibly see if I could add in some baked sweet potato along with it, just a little, to sweeten it a bit.

2. Onion seed might be nice, too, but I didn't want to use that up until I knew if the base recipe was worth making.

Would I make it again:
Definitely. Not a fantastic dish, but it served its purpose, and I had one serving left over, too. 

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