Beef and Butternut Squash Stew

Crockpot Beef and Butternut Squash Stew

This recipe is not one that I had planned out making. It kind of just happened. I bought some sirloin to make this delicious sounding recipe I found over the weekend and then I lost the recipe… Typical. Beef is not something I normally cook, mainly because I just can’t get it right, it’s either too rare or too burnt well done. It usually just seems like too much of a hassle and waste of money when all is said and done. When I do cook with beef it is generally a stew or a stroganoff type of deal that can’t be messed up by the doneness of the meat. I can totally screw it up in other ways, but it won’t be the beef’s fault. Since I lost my original recipe, I turned to the internets. I am currently obsessed with Google’s recipe search that lets you filter by ingredients. It’s genius. I mainly filter by everything I hate first (celery is always the first to go) and hope that the end results turn up something good. That’s where the inspiration for this little gem of a recipe came from.

It also seemed rather autumnal (I’m  still using it every chance I get!). I think my effort to force fall into existence is slowly working. It was below 70/21 yesterday for the first time in as long as I can remember (I will just ignore the fact that it’s going to be way above 80/27 this weekend…). If I cook it, fall will come!

This is just a random aside, but important in cutting down the amount of time preparation might take. I never understood why so many vegetables are sold pre-cut until making this. Do yourself a huge favor if you are going to make this; buy a pre-cut butternut squash. Prepping this took nearly an hour (53 minutes to be exact)! I had never cut up a butternut squash before, so that was half the battle. If you have been reading my blog with anything vaguely resembling regularity, you might also remember that knives and I do not have the best working relationship and I seem to be losing fingers or limbs on a fairly regular basis. So the butternut squash also had to be approached with great caution. Even though I still look down on most pre-cut vegetables, the pre-cut butternut squash has forever earned a place in my heart.

Beef and Butternut Squash Stew

  • 1½ pounds lean stewing beef, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 ounces baby carrots left whole
  • 2 (14.5) ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • ½ Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  1. Brown beef in a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray. Put to one side. Peel and half butternut squash, then cut into 1-1½ inch pieces. Place vegetables and browned beef in a 4 or 5 quart crockpot. Add crushed tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, garlic, thyme and oregano. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Slow Cooker Tri-Tip Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa

Shredded Tri-Tip Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa

So this might be one of the most sacrilegious things I have ever done in the kitchen. I apologize in advance to all tri-tip purists. Tri-tip goes on the barbecue, it’s just a fact. That’s how it’s done. Well, when I decided to cook my tri tip, it was raining out and as much as I love my barbecue, there was no way I was going to stand out in the rain trying to cook this thing. Luckily, I’m an oddly early riser, so I had enough time to improvise and experiment. I figured if people make brisket and corned beef in the crockpot, I could stick a tri tip in there. So I did just that and crossed my fingers.
Tri-tip is a big deal around these parts. I grew up with it so I never knew it wasn’t a thing in other parts of America. It’s from the bottom of a sirloin cut and looks like kind of like a triangle. It’s normally just rubbed with garlic, salt and pepper, then cooked slow and low over the barbecue. You serve it with garlic bread, green salad, sometimes salsa and beans. It’s pretty simple and super delicious. I guess I can thank the rain for forcing me to break the rules on this one and I’m pretty glad I did.

Shredded Tri-Tip Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa

Now on to the salsa! This fresh tomato salsa can be found at pretty much any taco shop around here. It’s so simple, yet full of flavor and it goes with just about any Mexican meal. One, note about the jalapeños… Make sure to wash your hands with soap and hot water for like 20 minutes (just kidding, not really…) after touching them and definitely do not touch your eyes and face for a couple hours. Trust me, it’s all fun and games until someone gets jalapeño in the eye. The salsa recipe will make a lot. You will definitely have leftovers, which is great because you can use it on just about anything. Serve it with chips, tortillas, tacos, quesadillas, burritos, tostadas, nachos, eggs, pinto or black beans, eat it with a spoon out of the bowl, go wild.

Shredded Tri-Tip Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa

Shredded Tri-Tip Tacos
  • 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 pound. tri-tip roast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (omit if tri-tip is already seasoned)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or chipotle pepper powder
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (4 oz.) mild green chilies
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • corn tortillas
  • optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, diced fresh tomatoes, dollop sour cream, lettuce, salsa, lime wedges

Fresh Tomato Salsa

  • 3 large sized fresh tomatoes, stems removed, finely diced
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1-2 jalapeño chili peppers (stems, ribs, seeds removed), finely diced
  • Juice of two limes
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Chop the tomatoes. Prepare the chilies (be careful while handling these hot peppers!).  Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water after handling and avoid touching your eyes for several hours. If you like hot salsa, save few of the seeds to add in for heat.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for at least an hour for the flavors to combine. This salsa gets better with time, so let it marinate a bit.

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onion & Chipotle Turkey Chili

This is a recipe I made up the other day. It was part out of ingredients I needed to use up and part out of just what I was in the mood for. I had an opened can of chipotles to use up. I also had to use up some ground turkey. And I was just in the mood for caramelized onions. I decided to try to combine them and see where it took me.

The good thing about made up recipes, is that you sometimes end up with something great. The bad thing is that I don’t really have exact measurements. But that’s really not a problem. You know your tastes. I know mine. Just use whatever you think is going to make you happy; regardless, it’s going be delicious.

This recipe is probably a little more labor intensive than most other slow cooker recipes, but I really think it’s worth it. I diced up two onions very finely and caramelized them. When they were nice and brown and caramelized, I threw half in the crockpot and left half in the pan. Then I added in the garlic and ground turkey to brown. The turkey and the caramelized onions got all nice and friendly in the pan and I think this really added to the flavor of the chili. While the chili was cooking away, I caramelized a third onion because I’m a bit crazy. When the third onion was almost done caramelizing, I added in some of the adobo sauce from the can of chipotles. Oh my. I could have  eaten the entire pan of onions by themselves, right then and there. They were amazing and definitely made a great topping to the chili.

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onion & Chipotle Turkey Chili

  • 3 large onions, 2 finely diced, 1 finely sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained and rinsed (or a 1 can measure of frozen corn)
  • 2-14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes with jalapenos
  • 2-14.5 ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with garlic
  • 1-14 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1-3 chipotles in adobo sauce, diced
  • Taco seasoning
  • Chipotle Chili Powder
  • Garlic & Herb Powder
  • Shredded cheese (for serving)
  • Sour cream (for serving)
  • Chopped green onions (for serving)
  1. Heat olive oil in large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is heated, add two diced onions and caramelize. When onions are caramelized, put half of the onions in the crockpot, then add in garlic and turkey. Cook until turkey is no longer pink.
  2. While the onions and turkey are cooking, add the cans of tomatoes, beans, corn, chipotles and tomato sauce. When the turkey is browned add that to the crockpot. Take taco seasoning, chipotle powder and garlic powder and sprinkle up and down the length of the crockpot. Add in turkey.
  3. Cover crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  4. While chili is in crockpot, add third sliced onion to pan and caramelize. When onions are nearly done, add a couple spoonfuls of the adobo sauce from chipotles and finish caramelizing.
  5. Serve and enjoy.