Last weekend I hosted a gift swap for my girlfriends and made this delicious, hearty chili to enjoy while we swapped gifts. (We also enjoyed artichoke dip, buffalo chicken dip, PB chocolate chip cookies, fruit salsa, a hummus dip, a rotisserie chicken, stir-fried rice, macaroni and cheese, cheese/crackers, aaaand an ice cream trifle. It's fine. I'll diet in 2012.) One of my friends is a "mostly vegetarian", as I like to call her (hi Al!), and another friend doesn't eat cheese. I just call her weird (hi Doodle!). Finding an entree to satisfy both--as well as the rest of my party-- was a challenge! But I like challenges, and this recipe is super easy and full of flavor. I found this online and can't remember where, but I just have to give the inventor prrops for this one. Perfect for winter. Enjoy :)
2 lbs peeled & chopped butternut squash (BJ's has a 2-lb containter all ready to go, if you're looking to save time!)
2-3 onions, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, diced (remove ribs & seeds for milder flavor)
4 15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 bell peppers (I used one red and one orange for a sweeter flavor)
2 14.5 oz cans fire-roasted tomatoes (The "fire-roasted" is key! use Hunt's brand)
3 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1/4 c. EVOO
Cook onions & garlic in EVOO in a skillet until transparent. Add bell peppers and continue cooking until tender. Meanwhile, add all other ingredients (besides squash) to a slow cooker. Add onions and peppers when ready. Stir to combine. Finally, add butternut squash on top of other ingredients. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours.
*This chili is a bit spicy so if you want to omit the jalapenos or use less chili powder, feel free. I added a dollop of sour cream to my bowl before eating, which helped to balance out the spiciness.
Special thanks to my loves Jamie, Allison, Jenn, Lou, OJ, Jam, Bin, and Court for coming by and bringing all of the other deliciousness we devoured. Love you all!