Green Beans and Butternut Squash

Green Beans and Butternut Squash
Serves Variable

This is a wonderful cool weather meal. It is very well-suited to pork dishes, but hearty fish (salmon), lamb or venison would be equally good.

On my podcast, Make Your Someday Today, many guests talk about need to make adaptations to changing conditions. When you make a side dish like that, you have automatic flexibility. You can prepare whichever meat you have in your freezer or is on sale at your local market. And this dish simply looks good!

Fresh green beans
Medium butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil

I didn’t weigh the ingredients, so I don’t know how much to tell you to use. I used about 4 cups of beans and 2 cups of squash and got 4 large portions from it.

  1. Put a large pot of water on the stove, and turn to high
  2. Peel the squash. 
  3. Cut into approximately 1/2 inch (10mm) slices. Then cut them into cubes.
  4. Trim the ends off the beans, and wash under cold water.
  5. Heat a large non-stick pan over med-high heat. Spray with cooking spray.
  6. Place squash in pan. Let them saute a bit until the first side begins to brown, then start to toss every minute or so to evenly brown them.
  7. When the water comes to a boil, place all the beans in. Prepare a colander in the sink.
  8. After one minute, pour the pot of beans into colander. (You just “blanched” those beans.)
  9. Let them drip dry for a minute, then add them to the large skillet. Continue to toss until the beans are heated through. 
  10. When done, the squash will retain its shape, but be easy to piece with a fork, and the beans will be hot, yet still have crispness. (If you want the beans softer, keep them in the water for an additional 2-3 minutes.) 
Nutritional data:
Calories:           96
Fat:               3.8mg
Sat fat:             0.6g
Chol:                0mg
Sodium:         9.4mg
Carbs:             15.8g
Fiber:                4.4g
Protein:             2.7g

This is excellent with grilled pork chops, by the way!

My podcast, Make Your Someday Today is a twice-weekly show, where we talk to successful people in all walks of life and around the world on Monday, and then on Thursday, I take a specific message from the previous guest and give my “Trevitorial”, where I help you apply that message to your life. The entire purpose of the show is to help all of us overcome our challenges and fears and become the person we want to be, the person we deserve to be. I hope you give it a listen! 

Fried Chicken with Sauteed Green Beans and Squash

Buttermilk Breaded Fried Chicken 
6 pieces
I have NEVER deep fried chicken at home before, only when I worked at a fast food restaurant 26 years ago. I don’t know why I have never done it. I will certainly do it again, because that chicken was incredible. The coating was crisp and crunchy, but it did not all fall off with the first bite and the meat was tender and juicy.
6 pieces of chicken (I used skin-on thighs and drumsticks)
1 cup buttermilk (I used low fat version) 
1 egg
1 cup whole wheat flour 
1 tablespoon corn starch (increases the crispiness of the breading)
Seasoning of choice (I used garlic and onion powder, and black pepper)
Oil for frying
  1. Season the chicken and let sit in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
  2. Pour buttermilk into medium bowl and add egg. Whisk together.
  3. Put flour, corn starch and seasoning into a shallow dish.
  4. With your left hand, pick up one piece of chicken and coat with buttermilk mix. Lay it on the flour.
  5. With your right hand, toss the chicken until it is completely coated with flour mix. Remove to a clean plate. (I really don’t care which hand dips into the buttermilk and which does the flour, but if you keep your hands separate, it won’t be a messy.)
  6. Preheat the oil in a deep kettle or stock pot. I used a large cast iron Dutch oven outside on the side burner of my grill. You want the oil to be 375F. If you have one, use a thermometer. How much oil depends on the size of the pan, but you need at least an inch of oil.
  7. When it is hot, carefully place 3-4 pieces into the oil, or as many that will fit leaving room between them.
  8. Turn them when they begin to get golden brown (3-5 minutes). Let the second side cook an equivalent time and remove to a cooling rack to let excess oil drip off.
  9. Serve! It goes well with a full bodied beer.
    The side dish is simply a butternut squash, peeled and cubed, with fresh green bean. I sauteed the squash in a tablespoon oil tossing frequently until just starting to get brown. Then I added the green beans (I didn’t measure or weight. Use at many as you want.) Again, toss frequently, and serve when the beans are hot.
    Nutritional data: per piece of chicken, with the skin on
    Calories:         270
    Fat:              16.5g
    Sat fat:           2.6g
    Chol:       115.6mg
    Sodium:       96mg
    Carbs:           7.7g
    Fiber:            0.5g
    Protein:          22g
    Note: Use that nutritional data with a “grain of salt.” Every piece of chicken can be a different size. If you remove the skin before eating, you will get less fat and cholesterol. If you use a salted spice, you will have more sodium. This recipe is more about how to do it, rather than about the exact end result.

Sauteed Green Beans and Butternut Squash

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Sauteed Green Beans and Butternut Squash
Serves 4

1 pound fresh or frozen whole green beans (4 cups)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes (2 cups)
3 teaspoons olive oil
2 clove garlic, sliced thinly
Salt and/or Pepper

  1. Preheat a 10-11″ non-stick skillet over med-high heat.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon oil. When it is hot, add the squash cubes.
  3. Saute for 4-5 minutes, until the cubes begin to get lightly browned. Remove from the skillet, cover and keep warm.
  4. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to skillet. When hot, add green beans.
  5. Toss frequently, until the beans become hot and are beginning to lightly brown (4-5 minutes if fresh, 7-10 minutes if frozen.)
  6. Return the squash to the skillet. Add garlic. Toss together until thoroughly hot (1-3 minutes.) Season with salt/pepper as desired.
  7. Serve.

Nutritional data:
Calories:      64
Fat:            2.5g
Sat fat:       0.4g
Chol:            0mg
Sodium:     6.3mg
Carbs:      10.6g
Fiber:         2.9g
Protein:      1.8g

Spaghetti Squash Boat

Spaghetti Squash Boat
Serves 4

1 medium spaghetti squash
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 red (or green) bell pepper, sliced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup shredded cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional ingredients: jalapeno peppers, diced cherry tomatoes, diced ham

  1. Pierce the skin of the squash in many places. Place in microwave and cook for 8-10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F
  3. While the squash cooks, pre-heat a non-stick saute pan.
  4. Add oil and saute the onions and peppers until the onions begin to get translucent and soft (4-6 minutes). Turn the heat off.
  5. When the squash is done in the microwave, cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds.
  6. With a fork, pull out the squash. It will come out in long shreds, similar in shape to strands of spaghetti. Pull the squash out of both halves and place in a bowl.
  7. Combine squash meat, onions, peppers and cheese. Place in one of the squash shells.
  8. Place in an 8×8 baking pan (or similar). If the squash will not rest without tipping, use a piece aluminum foil, rolled into a tube, and then shaped into a ring to use as a base. (In fact, just plan to need it.)
  9. Bake 25-35 minutes, or until the top begins to brown.

Nutritional data:
Calories:       90
Fat:              5.9g
Sat fat:         3.2g
Chol:            15mg
Sodium:      115mg
carbs:          6.3g
Fiber:          1.4g
Protein:       3.7g

Note: If you are making this for a large meal and are very busy with other menu items, this could be prepared in advance. Follow the directions above, but stop after step 7. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate1-2 days. When ready to finish, preheat oven to 350, and cover the squash loosely with aluminum foil for 25 minutes. Then remove foil, and let it finish for another 15. (That should get it entirely heated. The foil will prevent excess browning.)

Herb Crusted Chicken Thighs with Steamed Broccoli and Acorn Squash

Herb-Crusted Chicken Thighs, with Steamed Broccoli and Acorn Squash
Serves 4
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (approximately 5 ounces each)
2 large eggs
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Herb blend of your choice (I used Penzy’s Sunny Paris.)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1.  Whisk the eggs in a large bowl.
2.  Mix herbs and panko crumbs together in a shallow dish.
3.  Dunk the chicken in the egg wash, and coat in crumbs.
4.  Preheat non-stick skillet with olive oil over med-high heat.
5.  Place chicken in skillet and cook until done (about 6 minutes per side.)
Nutritional data (chicken only):
Calories:      281
Fat:            16.3g
Sat fat:         3.6g
Chol:           193mg
Sodium:      186mg
Carbs:          9.7g
Fiber:           0.5g
Protein:      28.4g

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash and Cranberry Relish

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash

1 large spaghetti squash
2 Roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
3 scallions, diced
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Pierce squash with fork. Microwave on high for 12-15 minutes, turning over halfway through the cooking. Slice in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds. Using a fork, remove the flesh. This will create strands that look like spaghetti. Place in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients, toss gently, serve immediately.

Make 6-8 servings, 1 cup each

Nutritional data:
Calories:     100
Fat:                 3g
Sat fat:            2g
Chol:            10mg
Sodium:      160mg
Carbs:           16g
Fiber:             2g
Protein:          6g

Cranberry Relish
1 pound fresh cranberries, washed
1 apple, quartered and cored
1 navel orange, peeled
3 packets Stevia (or other sweetener)

Place all ingredients in food processor. Process until evenly chunky. Chill and serve.

Makes 6 half-cup servings.

Nutritional data:
Calories:    44
Fat:            0.1g
Sat fat:          0g
Chol:            0g
Sodium:    1.1mg
Carbs:     11.6g
Fiber:           3g
Protein:     0.4g

(The pork is a 3 pound “half loin” roast. The portion size on the plate is four ounces. I season it with one of my salt-free blends from Penzey’  Today I used 33rd and Galena St.  I preheat my grill, and use indirect heat at approximately 300F for one hour, or until my instant-read thermometer reads 160-165F in the center.)