recipes and tips for better living

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pass The Stuffin' & Sip On This: Butternut Squash Soup

Thanksgiving is the day that all Americans eat themselves silly, unbutton their pants at the table, push the chair back so they can slouch and relax, and then elect for another glass of wine, a spiced cider, and some pie. WOW. You ready for this again??? Okay, so you might be thinking...."hey, i don't do that"...and maybe that's not you, but let's face it, for many of us it is. It's a day of celebration with friends and family accompanied with a feast for our eyes and our how do you not go overboard? And...what do you bring if you're going to a potluck??? One of the best ways to prevent yourself from eating too much is to start with a warming soup. This helps fill you up so you'll stack less on your plate. This soup also makes a great Thanksgiving lunch if dinner is not served til late. Secure the top on your pot and place on your passenger seat floor if you're headed elsewhere. It's warming and satisfying but isn't heavy, so you'll still have plenty of energy to play touch football, walk with the dog and kids, and to complete cooking your thanksgiving feast if you are indeed hosting. It's quick to make, requires only a few ingredients, and will have smiles and 'yums' sounding around the room. So here we go....Butternut Squash Soup:

What you'll need: (a blender, a non stick pan, a pot, a knife, a cutting board, a peeler and apple corer is helpful)

1 butternut squash (5 cups cubed, available pre-cut in the produce refrigerator section)
1 32 ounce box of veggie stock
1 shallot or 1/2 of a med. yellow onion, chopped
1 medium clove of garlic, chopped
2 granny smith apples (green apples) peeled/cored/chopped
Cinnamon and Garam Masala (about 1/4 tsp of each, but add more spice to your taste)
Optional: 1 cup of Plain Silk Light Soy Milk

Get Soupin':

Chop the onion, garlic, and apple. Place a few tbsps of veggie broth in the pan, enough to coat the bottom, put the heat on medium, and add in the onion, garlic, and apple. Let them cook stirring occasionally for about 10 min until all is soft and cooked through. You'll need to add a bit of veggie broth occasionally as the liquid will continually evaporate. In the pot add 3 to 3 1/2 cups veggie broth, or 2 cups veggie broth plus 1 to 1 1/2 cups filtered water. Heat on high. Add the 5 cups of cubed butternut squash and cook about 10 minutes, until butternut squash is tender and will break/cut easily. Transfer the entire contents of both the pan and pot into your blender (work in batches if you need to). Seal the lid on the blender and cover with a towel and hold the lid as you start on a low setting. Increase speed until all soup is pureed. Taste. Add more spice if you'd like and blend back in. Return your pureed soup to the pot. You can have as is, or add a cup of soy milk, stirring in until combined. If you're soup is too thick, you can thin down with additional veggie broth or water. On the other hand, if you prefer a very thick bisque, start with less liquid when cooking the squash. Fill the pot only with enough liquid to cover the squash, and then add more later if you need.

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