Black Bean and Squash Chile

Have a Halloween party coming up? Use pumpkin in this recipe for a festive holiday meal. Whoever invented the "slow cooker" is my new best pal. Who knew that it was so easy to cook beautiful, homemade meals with very little preparation? I recently discovered the crockpot that had been hiding at the back of our kitchen cupboard. Could it really be so simple as tossing a whole mess of ingredients in the crockpot, turn it on, come back a few hours later to a beautiful dinner? Pretty much.

On days when you don't have a lot of time to cook, let a slow cooker do the work for you. When you ladle yourself a bowl of hot, yummy goodness, you might wonder why it has taken you so long to clear the cobwebs off this handy kitchen tool. Bon appétit!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons coconut oil 1 medium onion, chopped 1 medium sweet yellow pepper, chopped 1 garlic clove, minced 2-3 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained 1-2 cups cooked winter squash, cubed (pumpkin is orange and delicious, but kabocha or butternut would be yummy too!) 3 stewed, or really ripe, tomatoes, chopped 1-2 cups veggie or chicken broth 2 teaspoons chili powder (Chimayo chile from New Mexico is best in my opinion) 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon salt *Optional: cubed avocado, thinly sliced green onions, chopped cilantro *Optional: 1 cup ground or cubed turkey, ground buffalo, or chorizo *Optional 2 drops doTERRA oregano essential oil

Method:

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.

Add onion and pepper, and cook and stir until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.

Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker; stir in the remaining ingredients, except for the essential oil.

Cook, covered, on low 4-5 hours.

If desired, add 1-2 drops doTERRA oregano essential oil to the whole batch before serving.

Garnish with avocado, cilantro, and/or green onions.

Benefits:

Black Beans: These magical legumes are touted for their abundant protein and fiber content, but are also packed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients such as folate, tryptophan, and manganese. Great for gut, heart, and overall health. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Bell Peppers: NOTE! Bell peppers, a member of the nightshade family, are not for everyone. They are on the "dirty dozen" list of pesticide laden produce (when not organic), and have been known to cause inflammation in some people. HOWEVER, they have lots of health benefits too: Sweet bell peppers are high in vitamins C and A, and contain other antioxidants. Don't cook over high heat or they loose some of their nutritional wallop. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Cilantro: Cilantro is a powerful cleansing agent which helps remove heavy metals and other toxins from the body. It's also beneficial for the digestive tract due to its production of digestive enzymes, acids, and juices. Its essential oils stimulate peristalsis, relieve gas, and aid with digestion. Cilantro also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, and helps to increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind), and reduces LDL cholesterol (the bad kind. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Oregano Essential Oil: Oregano is a powerful antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-parasitic oil. It battles common intestinal, skin and lung infections, while fending off colds and flu. It is also a general nerve tonic. Be BEWARE! A dab will do ya. See here to learn more about doTERRA essential oils.

Pumpkin: This tasty winter squash is packed vitamins A and C, magnesium and potassium, as well as dietary fiber. It’s also contains high amounts of carotenoids, the little nutrients which help to neutralize free-radicals within the body, and is low in calories. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

*NOTE: Not all essential oils are created equal. I only use doTERRA because their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which is suitable for internal, external, and aromatherapeutic consumption.

*NOTE: All doTERRA Essential Oils are extremely potent. I’d recommend 1 drop per dish. Otherwise, just know that you will have a VERY strong-tasting snack!

Click here to learn more about doTERRA Essential Oils.

Add some chorizo, turkey, or buffalo for an added boost of protein and flavor.