This post brought to you by The Frozen Food Foundation.
This chili features frozen winter squash - which is especially great when you have eaten through all the fresh squash you grew in your garden for the year. Because freezing is nature's pause button, it keeps the produce just as tasty and nutritious as it was when it was picked. Being frozen also helps it keep for a long time and reduces food waste - I know I'm not the only one who has had to throw out fresh produce because I got distracted and didn't eat it on time! Frozen foods conveniently avoid that problem and help make meal and snack times a snap.
Here is the funny part of this chili: I'm not normally a squash fan. But the way the Italian sausage and great northern beans play together with the fall spice make this a delectable, spiced (but not spicy!) soup. It's great way to get extra veggies into your or your kids' diets (did you know 90% of Americans don't eat enough vegetables?!). Of course, you all know that eating fruits and vegetables is important to help your body get essential nutrients and help fight chronic illness. Given the current rate of chronic illness, getting a good variety of colorful produce is more important than ever!
- 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 box frozen winter squash (12.0z)
- 1 quart of chicken stock
- 1 can of great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 large cans (28 oz) diced tomatoes, drained*
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage without casings
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp thyme
- In a large pot, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion. Saute 1-2 minutes.
- Add sausage to pot. Brown and crumble sausage until cooked through.
- Add defrosted squash and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer.
- Add beans, tomatoes and spices. Cook on low for 1 hour or transfer to a crock pot and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
- Top with shredded cheese, sour cream and diced onions if desired. Serve with crusty bread.
The University of California, Davis, in partnership with the Frozen Food Foundation, conducted a study that revealed that frozen fruits and vegetables are most often (or generally) nutritionally equal to – and in some cases better than – their fresh counterparts. For the study each fruit and vegetable was analyzed under the following conditions: frozen (analyzed within 24 hours of harvest and after 10 and 90 days of storage in a freezer) and fresh-stored (analyzed within 24 hours of harvest and after three and 10 days of storage in a refrigerator). Read the study to find out more.
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