My daughter’s birthday is on new Year’s Eve, and she turned ELEVEN this year! We are having a big party for her next weekend, but for “her night” she wanted to have a friend sleepover and have a special dinner. One of Elena’s favorite foods is garbanzo beans/chickpeas, so I starting planning with this in mind. I wanted to include lots of veggies (per the new MyPlate recommendations which you can read more about here), so I chose some that are appropriate to the season: potatoes and butternut squash. I am happy to say that Elena and her friend LOVED (repeat: LOVED) it! I am also happy to say that it was so easy to make –thanks to my rice cooker and slow cooker:
Here is what I did:
-I cooked the butternut squash in my slow cooker overnight on low. This avoids all the messy and difficult peeling and chopping preparation that often comes with winter squash. I just chopped it in half, put it in enough water so that it would not steam off completely overnight (a couple of inches), and left it. In the morning, it was all nice and soft and easy to scoop out:
-While the butternut squash was cooling on the side, I used my (washed) slow cooker and started what would be my one-pot dish back in the same slow cooker. I added olive oil to the bottom, and threw in some chopped potatoes so they could brown a bit while we had breakfast. If your kids would be OK with onions and garlic in a dish, now would be the right time to throw those it to the pot.
-I then added a can of diced tomatoes (the Muir Glen fire roasted), a can of well-rinsed chickpeas, and the butternut squash that I easily scooped out of the skins.
-to give it a yummy aroma and taste that really appealed to the girls, I added 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. If you happened to have saffron on hand, this would be I really good addition.
-I left the slow cooker on low for the day, and right before dinner I put some brown rice in my rice cooker to cook up while we were having some pre-dinner celebration. Cooking the rice in a rice cooker is so easy—you just add rinsed rice (I used 1.5 cups) and twice the amount (3 cups) water. Then turn on the rice cooker, and it “pops” to off when the rice is done:
-To mix all the flavors together, I added the rice to the slow cooker and switched it to “warm” so that we could eat whenever the girls said they were hungry. This is how the dish turned out (yum!):
Here is a complete list for shopping for this recipe:
Butternut squash (1)
2 large potatoes
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes (fire roasted flavor if you like)
pumpkin pie spice
Brown rice- 1.5 cups
Optional: onions, garlic, and additional spices like saffron
Optional: chicken or an animal protein source that your kids like.
Enjoy, and Happy 2012!