Creamy Broccoli Soup

Creamy Broccoli Soup

I am on a soup roll, obviously. My husband likes his vegetables disguised and this did a great job. Broccoli is not his favorite but he loved this. I used an immersion blender but it is smoother if you use a food processor. Just depends on what texture you want. The cheese is optional.

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Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme and parsley
8 cups chopped broccoli (stems and florets)
4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
½ cup whole or fat free milk (optional)
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Heat butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until the butter melts. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add carrot and herbs; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds.

Stir in broccoli. Add broth; bring to a low boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook until very tender, about 15 minutes.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth. Stir in milk or half-and-half (if using), cheese (if using) and salt and pepper.

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

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Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

This is a wonderful, fairly guilt free soup with tons of flavor that gets the creamy taste by using an immersion blender or food processor. I have made this with and without the cheese and either way is great. This makes about 4 servings.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp unbleached or all purpose flour
  • 1 medium head cauliflower – chopped
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 shallot (optional)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup white sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
  • 4 cups fat free chicken broth (vegetarians can use vegetable broth)
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium saucepan, make a roux by melting the butter on low heat.
  2. Add the flour and stir about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken broth, onions and cauliflower and set heat to medium.
  4. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender (about 20 minutes.)
  5. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Add cheese if using. Season with salt and pepper.
Crockpot Cranberry Butter

Crockpot Cranberry Butter

 

thanksgiving177.jpgLet the crockpot do all the work for this great side dish! Just in time for Thanksgiving.
I plan to serve this with buttermilk biscuits tomorrow. Just a little twist on an old favorite. It will be good on sandwiches, too! This is tart and sweet, you can also make with apples.
I found this recipe on the blog “the View from the Great Island”.

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Ingredients

  • 2 12-oz bags of cranberries, rinsed
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup apple cider

Instructions

  1. Put all the ingredients in a crockpot and stir to combine well. Turn on high. Let it cook for about 2 hours or until the cranberries are soft.
  2. Remove the cinnamon stick and puree the mixture in a food processor. Do this in two batches. Be careful as the mixture is hot, I cover the top opening of the machine with a dish cloth. Let the machine run for a full minute to puree the cranberries very finely.
  3. Force the cranberry puree through a mesh sieve or strainer. Push forcefully with the back of a spoon to get as much cranberry puree as you can. Discard the solids.
  4. Pour the puree back into the crockpot. Turn the crockpot to high, and leave the lid ajar. Cook until thickened, approximately another 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  5. Put the cranberry butter into clean jars with tight fitting lids and let cool. Store in the refrigerator and consume within a month.
Soy Chorizo & Fruit Stuffed Acorn Squash

Soy Chorizo & Fruit Stuffed Acorn Squash

This is a great vegetarian meal packed with textures and flavors. Savory, sweet and nutty this is a perfect main meal or side dish. It makes a lot but you can freeze. It would be a great side dish for Thanksgiving for vegetarian guests.

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Ingredients

  • 2 acorn Squash
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup pitted golden raisins
  • 1 small chopped apple
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 package of Soy Chorizo (I love Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 sprigs thyme, stems removed (optional)
  • 1 large (or 2 small) butternut squash
  • 1 cup quinoa cooked as directed
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • tsp butter for each squash half (I used Brummel & Brown yogurt butter)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup for each squash half

Directions

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1/2 cup coconut milk, cinnamon stick, clove, cherries and raisins. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let ingredients soak for about 10 minutes. Set aside, and discard cinnamon stick.

Preheat oven to 350°. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion, salt. Cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 8-10 minutes. Add chorizo and cook until brown. Add the apple and mix well. Keep warm.

Cut squash in half lengthwise. Using a sturdy metal spoon, scrape out and discard seeds. Continue scraping flesh to hollow out center Add a tsp of maple syrup and butter to each squash half. Place squash on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 -40 minutes until soft.

While the squash is baking cook the quinoa according to directions. Add the the fruit and Soy Chorizo mix. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut milk and mix well.

Spoon into the squash halves and serve.

We ate this the next night just headed up without the squash and it was wonderful all on its own.

 

 

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

This is great comfort food and taking advantage of all the wonderful fall squash available.  I used these smaller Honeynut Squash but Butternut works great. I roasted the squash for extra flavor.

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Ingredients

1 lb pasta (I use trottole or ribbed elbow)
6 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk (I used skim)
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cayenne
dash of smoked paprika
Salt, to taste
4-6 cups grated cheese
(I use sharp white and gruyere, how much you use is up to how cheesy you like it)

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
3 cups roasted butternut squash (recipe below)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350˚F and butter a 2 quart baking dish.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta to a al dente.

Meanwhile make roux by melting 4 tbsp of the butter in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan over medium low heat. When butter is melted, add flour and cook, whisking for about 2 minutes or until golden brown.

Slowly whisk in milk and mix until it is all incorporated. Switch to a wooden spoon and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly,until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg. Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir until melted. Add pasta and roasted butternut squash, if using, and fold until well combined.

Add the macaroni and cheese to the buttered baking dish. Melt remaining butter and toss with the parmesan cheese and both breadcrumbs. Season with a pinch of salt. Add breadcrumb mixture to the top of the mac and cheese, sprinkle with paprika and bake for about 45 mins or until golden brown and bubbly.

I also made this without the roux and tossed the pasta with just 3 1/2 cups of cheese and the squash, added about a 1/4 cup of milk to the casserole, and topped with bread crumb mix. It was not as rich and gooey but better for the waistline.

Roasted Butternut Squash
3 cups butternut squash cubes (about 1 inch in size)
2 tbsp olive oil
}Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Add the butternut squash to a parchment lined baking sheet. Add olive oil and salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast for about 25 – 30 minutes or until tender.

Creamy Zucchini and Coconut Milk Soup

Creamy Zucchini and Coconut Milk Soup

This was inspired by some leftover coconut milk, zucchini in the fridge and the “Cooking Canuck” blog. I served it hot as a first course for a dinner party.

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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups (packed) grated zucchini (about 2-3 depending on size)
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (plus more to taste)
  • 2 3/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan set over medium-low heat. Add the onion and  and sweat (cook without browning) until the onion is soft and translucent, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for additional 2 minutes.
  2. Turn the heat to medium, add the grated zucchini and chopped mint leaves, and cook until the zucchini is starting to soften, about 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove soup from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. I used a Vitamix but a blender will do the job.
  5. Process the soup in a blender, in two batches, until the soup is almost smooth, but with a little bit of texture. Return to the saucepan, stir in coconut milk, reheat, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.
  6. This soup can also be served chilled.
Red Curry Tofu and Vegetables

Red Curry Tofu and Vegetables

I love red curry. I like it best with chicken and shrimp but my husband does enjoy a vegetarian meal occasional so i made this with tofu. This was fast and easy on a week night. I am not a purist on south asian food – sometimes I just go with what works. Yummy

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Ingredients

1 block Extra Firm Tofu, drained* and cut into large chunks
3 Tbsp Olive or peanut oil, divided
1 onion sliced thin
2 Zucchini, Julienne slices
1 can light coconut milk
1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
2 Tbsp Red Curry paste
2 Tbsp low sodium Soy Sauce

Directions

In a medium sized bowl combine Coconut milk, fish sauce and Red Curry Paste. Mix well.

In a wok or skillet heat 2 Tbsp olive oil (or peanut oil) and over high heat add the onion, stirring often about 10 minutes, add red pepper and stir quickly for a few minutes, add the zucchini and stir fry for another minute. Remove from heat to a bowl.

Heat the remaining oil and add tofu. Over high heat stir fry for a few minutes so tofu gets golden on each side. Add the soy sauce and continue to stir until golden brown. Add the Vegetable mixture back in and add curry, coconut mixture.

Serve over rice.

  • I drain my tofu, wrap in a paper towel and place a plastic covered brick on top for a few hours to make sure all the moisture is out.