I was looking for a meal that Paula and I could prepare ahead of time since she was working during the day this week and Theodore was back to running for track. I found this recipe, Butternut Squash Chili, in the January/February 2015 issue. Since we still have our cold weather with us, this seemed like a good meal to have.

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add 1 finely chopped red bell pepper and 1 finely chopped medium yellow onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft. This will take about 5 minutes.Stir in 2 cloves of minced garlic and cook until fragrant, another minute. Pour in 1/2 cup of dry red wine and let bubble for another minute, stirring and scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

Add 3 (or more) cups of butternut squash (cut into 1/2 inch pieces), 2 cans of cannelini beans, 1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes and their juice, 1/2 cup of salsa, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon of chili powder, 1 tablespoon of ground cumin, 2 teaspoons of ground cocoa, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cayenne, if you want to add a little heat. Bring the chili to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender and the chili begins to thicken, about 1 hour. (Note: If the soup looks too thick while cooking, add up to 1 cup more water.) You can serve the chili with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and some avocado cubes on top.

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