Orzo, Butternut Squash & Chicken Soup

Orzo, Butternut Squash & Chicken Soup

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This is a great soup for a cold, wet day. It has become one of my favorites. To save time I used some cooked, shredded chicken. You could make it vegetarian by omitting the chicken and using vegetable broth. This is adapted from Williams-Sonoma, “Soup of the Day”.

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Ingredients

1 medium Butternut Squash, Peeled, seeded and cubed
3 T olive oil
Salt & Pepper
1 package of shredded Chicken (or Rotisserie Chicken, shredded)
1 Onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Orzo
3 T butter
1/4 cup dried sage leaves (or 5 fresh leaves torn into pieces)
4 cups chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 400. Place the squash in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out squash on a non-stick pan and roast until tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes.

Cook orzo about 7 to 10 minutes, drain  and set aside.

In a large stockpot melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft and beginning to caramelize. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the orzo, shredded chicken, squash and sage. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with a salad and crusty bread.

 

Serves 4

 

 

 

Roasted Cauliflower and Onion Soup

Roasted Cauliflower and Onion Soup

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I served this as a main dish with a mixed greens, pear and walnut salad, but it would make a great first course, too. I used an immersion blender but I think I might try a food processor or blender to make the soup a bit smoother. The taste was wonderful and it was very easy to put together on a weeknight.

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
smoked sea salt
1 small onion, sliced thin
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper

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Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 400.

Remove the leaves and thick core from the cauliflower and chop into chunks.

Line a baking sheet with tinfoil, spread cauliflower onto it in a single layer. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for about 15 minutes until tender and just starting to brown.

While the cauliflower is roasting, heat the olive oil in a large saucepanover medium heat and add the onion. Cook until golden brown and caramelized, about 10-15 minutes.

Add the roasted cauliflower and stock to the onions and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the cauliflower is very soft and falling apart, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and, using a hand held immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth, or puree in small batches in a food processor or blender and return it to the pot.

Add the Parmesan and stir until smooth.

Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with pepper.

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Spinach & Goat Cheese Bisque

Spinach & Goat Cheese Bisque

 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I cooked a feast for family and friends and this was a big hit. This is relatively guilt-free as it does not have the usually heavy cream and uses potato to thicken. It is not maybe the most attractive but it IS good. Adapted from an Eating Well recipe Recipe by Anna Thomas, September/October 2011. I apologize for not taking many photos but I got busy and forgot and I wanted to share this! The original recipe left out something and I did not realize until after I made it. Next time I will add more broth to make it not so thick (and a bit smoother). That change is reflected in my recipe below. I made this the day before and so it was easy to just reheat before serving.

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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups Vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons fresh
  • 1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons cream sherry
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, store-bought or homemade
  • Spinach – about 1 1/4 pounds), any tough stems trimmed
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese (2 ounces), plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
  • Soup croutons for garnish (see below)

Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add 2 tablespoons water and thyme and cover. Cook, stirring frequently until the pan cools down, and then occasionally, always covering the pan again, until the onions are greatly reduced and have a deep caramel color, 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the 2 cups broth and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large soup pot or Dutch oven; add potato. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook until very soft, 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. When the onions are caramelized, stir sherry (or Marsala) into them; add them to the pot along with broth. Add the remaining broth. Return to a simmer. Stir in spinach, cayenne and nutmeg; cover and cook, stirring once, until the spinach is tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat, stir in goat cheese, butter and 1 tablespoon lemon juice; allow the butter and cheese to melt. Puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender until perfectly smooth or in a regular blender in batches (return it to the pot). Taste and add more salt and/or lemon juice, if desired. Serve garnished with a large soup crouton and crumbled goat cheese, if desired.

1 Carbohydrate Serving  Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 fat

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • To make soup croutons: Slice one-fourth of a whole-grain baguette into slices 1/2 inch thick. Melt 1 tablespoon butter; lightly brush on both sides of each slice. Place the slices on a baking sheet. Bake at 350°F until the edges are crisp and golden brown, 10 to 20 minutes, keeping an eye on them so they don’t burn.
Peanut, sweet potato, and chicken stew

Peanut, sweet potato, and chicken stew

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This is a wonderful, thick, flavorful stew. I think roasted corn might be good in this. You can make it hot and spicy, or add other veggies. I got the idea for this stew from a similar recipe from West Africa. Senegal and Gambia are known for peanut stews. This could be made vegetarian by replacing the chicken with baked or stir fried tofu, using vegetable broth instead of chicken stock. Kale or spinach might be good also.

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INGREDIENTS:

5-6 boneless chicken thighs
8 cups of chicken stock
1 can of fire roasted, diced tomatoes (or fresh roasted grape tomatoes)
1/4 – 1 tsp ground red pepper (depending on how spicy you want it)
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsps of olive oil
1/2 – 1 tsp. sriracha sauce (or more if you want it spicy)
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 Red Pepper, chopped
1 large Sweet Onion, sliced
1 Cup creamy peanut butter (I use a natural peanut butter called Naturally More)
1/2 Cup roasted unsalted peanuts or pumpkin seeds (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the chicken stock to a slow boil, add salt and pepper and cook the chicken thighs for about 15-20 minutes, until done. Remove from the broth and cool. Cut up the chicken or shred with 2 forks. Set aside in the fridge.

Add the cubed sweet potato to the stock and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.

While the sweet potatoes are cooking, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Cook the onion until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add the red pepper and stir until tender.

Add the tomatoes and the onion mixture to the sweet potato broth. Add in the peanut butter and stir.

Using a Cuisinart or hand held blender blend the stock with the vegetables until smooth.

Add the pepper and hot sauce to taste.

Add in the chicken. At this point you can keep this warm

Garnish with peanuts or pumpkin seeds