FALL RECIPES- Acorn Squash and Chicken Chili

So, fall is here in Southern California…even though it doesn’t particularly feel like it. Today the forecast says it will get down to a chilly 70 degrees, only to get back up to 91 degrees on Saturday. I am dusting off my UGGS as we speak…haha!

Anyhow, even though it hasn’t cooled down a ton here, the fall vegetables are out in full force at the grocery stores, so I picked up a few of my favorites last week. I always buy spaghetti squash, but one of my other favorites during the fall is acorn squash. This little green and orange nugget of joy has a sweet flavor when baked. One cup has only 56 calories and 25% of your daily Vitamin C!

One of my favorite acorn squash recipes is to just cut one in half, bake it in the oven for about 25-30 minutes and drizzle it with coconut oil, a little cinnamon and brown sugar. But today I decided I wanted to do something a little more filling and put together a delicious chili that will last for a few days in my refrigerator…which is a good thing, because I have a busy week. Any time I can make a healthy and hearty meal that I can put in tupperware and carry with me to work for lunch is a good meal.

This chili was a little different. It called for a cup of pilsner, which is a light beer. It also called for unsweetened cocoa powder, which has become a staple in my chilies, because it adds a rich but subtle dash of flavor.





1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 acorn squash seeded, cooked, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes with their juices
1 cup pilsner/light beer
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Navitas Naturals)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 15 1/2 ounce can black beans, drained
Juice of 2 limes (about 3 tablespoons)
Cilantro, for serving

Feel free to add sour cream, greek yogurt or sliced avocados as well!


Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper, garlic, five-spice powder and chili powder and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the squash pieces, chicken pieces, tomatoes, beer, cocoa powder and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Stir in the black beans and lime juice and cook for 5 minutes. Let the stew cool slightly, then ladle into bowls and top each serving with some cilantro.


Healthy and Warm For Winter…Chipotle Butternut Turkey Chili

After taking a brief sabbatical from cooking anything remotely creative, I am back with a vengeance. Armed with a new registered dietitian license and a few hungry clients to appease, I found myself daydreaming about cold weather recipes, since, although it is Los Angeles, the nights have gotten a little brisk, and stew/chili season is definitely here.

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I wanted to create something that was not only warm for the impending cold weather season, but I also wanted it to have at least one seasonal vegetable, and of course, be healthy and taste delicious. Here is what I came up with. This dish has butternut squash, one of my personal favorites. This oddly shaped veggie is low in fat, high in fiber, vitamin A (good for your skin!!) and vitamin B6, which helps keep your immune and nervous system functioning. Another awesome fact about butternut squash is that it has anti-inflammatory effects due to its high antioxidant content. One cup cooked only has about 82 calories!

This dish does use canned tomatoes for the chili. I use Trader Joe’s brand, which I have never had a problem with. If you are against anything canned, you can totally puree your own tomatoes and use everything from scratch.

Anyhow, check out this recipe…it’s really delicious and makes enough to feed yourself for a few meals or some hungry friends you might want to invite over for dinner.


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  • 2 cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  •  3/4 tsp Chili Powder
  •  1 tsp Cumin
  •  1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  •  1 tsp, ground Oregano
  •  1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  •  3 clove Garlic
  •  1.25 cup, chopped Onions
  •  3 large Scallions
  •  1 lb Butternut Winter Squash
  • 1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  •  99% Fat Free Extra Lean Ground Turkey Breast ( I use Empire Kosher Organic)
  •  3/4 cup Trader Joe’s 17 Dried Bean Medley (other grocery stores also sell this medley)
  •  1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  •  3/4 cup Trader Joe’s Organic Tomato Sauce


In a skillet, cook the turkey meat until it is no longer pink. While it is cooking, place everything except the garlic, onions, scallions and red pepper into the crock pot. Once the turkey is cooked, place that into the crock pot. Sauté the garlic, onions, scallions and red pepper until the onions are soft and add that to the crock pot. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours. Feel free to sprinkle with parmesan cheese or as I did, avocado slices!!