Thanksgiving Table: Squash Soup (Stovetop and Instant Pot)

Need to keep everyone out of the kitchen while you finish up dinner prep?  Set up a buffet table with a raw vegetable tray and dip, a bowl of nuts (in their shells) along with a couple of nutcrackers and this soup in a slowcooker to keep it warm and that should keep your guests occupied while you cook.

Winter Squash Soup

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3-1/4 pounds butternut or acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into large pieces
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, quartered
  • 1 celery stalk, quartered
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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This recipe is my starting point. This batch has 1/3 cup of peanut butter mixed in after the eggs were added, before the flour goes in. I used chopped hazel nuts instead of almonds. Mine spend less than 15 minutes in the 375 oven – I set a 7 minute timer, turn the trays, and then start another 7 minute timer.

Mmm… Ham & Beans with Cornbread

These are navy beans that were soaked overnight and then simmered for a few hours.

The meat chunks are sawed up cured hocks. I generally start some onions then add them and cover with broth for a good simmer before adding the soaked beans, discarding the water.

Eventually the meat has to be stripped from the bones. Not hard once the chunks cool down. Shred the meat into bite sized pieces and add back to the beans.

Beans go better with cornbread. I like to heat bacon fat or butter in the pan before scraping in the batter. It gives a nice crust on the bottom. Finish in a 400 oven until the top browns, usually 15 minutes or so.


That pepper plant survived a hard frost, we wheeled it into the garage, and is still producing peppers enough to make a decent looking slaw.

This fellow is one of 3 or 4 8-pointer+ deer we see regularly when the camera chips are viewed. We are running a week at a time, swapping the chips on Sunday mornings and reviewing the video and photos after lunch.

The juncos have arrived for the winter. I hope they are not bringing snow with them.

Here’s one of those steaks that I split off from the rib roast, with sprouts and little red potatoes.

When the sun warmed that stick bug he woke and wandered off. He’s definitely short a leg.

Some sort of a sparrow looking bird has its flaps set for a landing at the stump feeder. We can’t ID it yet, not really looking hard.

This is a nice start for any number a things but I went with more of the smoked pork, again. I thought it would make a nice picture.


Mrs J wanted ham and eggs for dinner. We haven’t done one of these for a while. I sweated the ham, peppers, and onions in a little oil.

Because I like broccoli in these I steamed some florets and added those.

I went with six eggs. While my toaster oven was preheating I let the eggs cook on the stovetop until the edges set. It spent some time in the little oven at 350, not sure how long. Give the pan a shake and watch for the eggs in the middle to firm up.

I sprinkled a little cheese on top before digging portions out. The cast iron pan was not quite non-stick, but close.

Dinner Menu: Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken w/Mexican Rice

It’s been unseasonably warm here after our early snow in September, so grilling is on the menu.

On the board:

  1. Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken
  2. Mexican Rice Medley
  3. Green Beans
  4. Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe here)

Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup sliced pickled jalapenos and juice

 Place ingredients in a zip-lock bag and marinate 1 hour or overnight.  Broil or grill for 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, until breasts are cooked to 165 degrees. Continue reading