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Dinner Diva: Trick or …?

dinner diva leanne elyPumpkins for everyone! That’s how I feel when I walk into a store and I eyeball a gorgeous array of pumpkins of every persuasion!

I want to open my arms like Maria in The Sound of Music and twirl in the middle of store–yes, pumpkins are my fall spirit animal (gourd?).

Decorating for fall is a ritual of sorts–first the beautiful pumpkins inside and out, then the fall wreath on the front door and of course, a fine assortment of mums.

Fall makes me crave crockpot cooking, soups and stews.

I love turning on the fireplace finally and celebrating a cold brisk walk in the evenings after dinner.

The trick of course is to make sure your cooking is still on point and not leading you down the wrong road setting you up for holiday weight gain (this is when it starts folks!).

One of my favorite recipes that will boost your beta carotene and satisfy your taste buds is my delectable beef stew recipe–have you tried it? Easy, delicious and the whole fam will LOVE it!

Here you go:


Beef & Butternut Squash Stew

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cubed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups beef bone broth or low sodium beef broth (watch for gluten and MSG)
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cubed

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, rosemary and thyme; sauté until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Raise heat to medium-high and add beef; brown on all sides. Add beef broth and whisk up all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add butternut squash and stir to combine well. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1-2 hours or until beef is cooked and fork-tender. (the longer the better!) Enjoy!

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Leanne Ely is a NYT bestselling author and the creator of, the original menu planning website, bringing families back to the dinner table for over 15 years.