Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

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Butternut squash and I are not friends.

We have tried to make it work, but it just isn’t happening.

Three years ago, I bought a beautiful butternut squash and ended up cutting myself with a knife as I tried to peel it (epic fail).

Two years ago, I bought a beautiful butternut squash and ended up hurting myself with a vegetable peeler as I tried to peel it (again, epic fail).

One year ago, I stared at the beautiful butternut squashes at the farmer’s market and decided that it was safer that I avoided them all together (*sob*).

BUT, this year my mom decided that it was time to get back on the horse and try making butternut squash again. So I let her do the peeling!

I love roasted butternut squash by itself and in many different dishes, but I think my favorite butternut squash recipe is a beautifully simple butternut squash soup. No muss, no fuss, and it’s absolutely delicious.

It starts with butternut squash.

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This is one medium-sized butternut squash that my mom peeled and I chopped into about 1-inch cubes. With the squash all prepped, you can move forward with the soup.

In a large, heavy soup pot set over medium heat, add in some butter.

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And then toss in some chopped onion and cook until the onion becomes soft and translucent.

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Now, it’s time to throw in the squash. Toss it around in the butter and onions to get everything combined.

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To pump up the orange color and add a touch of sweetness, we added in some carrot. This is one soup that is loaded with vitamin A (which is important for healthy skin and eyes!).

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Then all that’s left is to add in some chicken broth and water, bring the soup to a boil, and then simmer it for about 30 minutes until the squash becomes fork tender.

Now comes the slightly dangerous part – the pureeing of the soup. If you have an immersion blender, I am super jealous. You can puree the soup right in the pot and be done with it. If you don’t, grab your blender or your food processor. Working in small batches (either filling only half the blender or filling to only the max liquid line of a food processor), puree the soup until smooth. I transferred the pureed soup to a big bowl so that I could reuse my soup pot – it made it a little easier!

Pour the pureed soup back into the pot and then season with salt, pepper, a touch of nutmeg, and the one surprise ingredient – cayenne pepper! It doesn’t overpower the flavor of the squash, but it adds another dimension to the soup.

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All that’s left is to heat the soup through and then serve it up.

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We garnished out soup with some diced apple and a sprinkle of nutmeg, but if you want to be really bold, add in a sprinkle of cayenne too!

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A perfect soup for a chilly fall day.

(And a hopeful future for a friendship between butternut squash and I!)

Happy Tuesday, kiddos!

oxox,

The Girl Who Is Frenemies with Butternut Squash

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

  • Servings: 4 people
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium-sized butternut squash, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 4 cup of squash)

1 cup carrots, chopped

3 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 cup water

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper – use less if you’re more sensitive to heat

Salt and pepper to taste

 

  1. In a large, heavy-bottom soup pot set over medium heat, melt the butter. When the butter is melted, add in the onion and cook until they become soft and translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add in the butternut squash and the carrots and stir to mix all the vegetables together. Pour the chicken broth and water over the vegetables and bring the mixture to a boil. When the liquid is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until the squash is fork-tender.
  3. To puree the soup, use an immersion blender, conventional blender, or a food processor. If you are using an immersion blender, you can blend directly in the soup pot.

 

If you are using a conventional blender, fill only halfway, slightly crack the lid (to prevent the top from blowing off), and then cover the lid with a towel before blending. If you are using a food processor, only fill to the max liquid line. Working in batches, puree the soup and then pour into another soup pot.

 

  1. Return the soup to medium heat and stir in the nutmeg, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Serve immediately with a fresh chopped apple garnish and an additional sprinkle of nutmeg.

Enjoy!

Recipe lightly adapted from Simply Recipes: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/butternut_squash_apple_soup/.

Nutrition Information (1 serving):

168 calories •Ÿ 24gm carbohydrates Ÿ• 4gm fiber Ÿ• 6gm protein Ÿ• 7gm fat Ÿ• 4gm saturated fat Ÿ• 322mg sodium Ÿ• 84mg cholesterol •Ÿ 2mg iron Ÿ• 93mg calcium

Hunger Action Month: Bean and Pasta Soup

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Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope you are having a great week.

We are now halfway through Hunger Action Month (!), which means that I want to share my absolute favorite recipe that I developed for my local food pantry – Bean and Pasta Soup. This soup was my lunchtime staple during my study abroad in Italy because it was delicious and nutritious (and cheap!). Re-creating it for the food pantry brought me back to those simpler times and the Italians’ food philosophy that everyone should have access to good, healthy food (no matter what their socio-economic status was).

This soup is chock full of beans, pasta, and tomato, which makes it a perfect, hearty meal for a chilly fall day. Plus, it utilizes pantry staples that are cheap, easy to purchase, and available all year round.

And it starts with adding some vegetable oil to a medium-to-large soup pot set over medium heat…

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… when the oil heats up, I tossed in some diced onion and let it cook until it became soft and translucent.

When the onion was all cooked, I added in a can of whole tomatoes (juice and all!) that I broke into pieces with my wooden spoon.

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You can totally cut the tomatoes in the can with a pair of kitchen shears (like my mom) or crush the tomatoes into the pot with your hands (like my grandma) if you want an easier tomato “chopping” method. But the side of a wooden spoon works too (if you’re lazy like me!).

Then I chucked in a couple cans of drained (and rinsed) beans – cannellini and garbanzo (chickpeas).

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My soup in Italy only had garbanzo beans, but I like the texture differences between the soft, creamy cannellini beans and the more hearty, firm garbanzo beans. If you like one bean more than the other, feel free to use just one type (the soup will be just as delicious).

Now for the liquid. I poured in some low sodium chicken broth and water, cranked up the heat, and brought everything to a boil.

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When the liquid was at a boil, I tossed in half a box (what was remaining from the Vegetable Soup with Pasta) of ditalini pasta. Any small pasta shape works here, but I just love these little tubes!

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Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. When the pasta is done cooking, the soup is finished – how easy was that? All that’s left is to serve up…

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And chow down!

I hope you enjoy this food pantry-friendly recipe and share it with your family, friends, and community! If you try this recipe or donate its ingredients to your local food pantry, let me know using the hashtag #GSFfightshunger.

Because together, we can end hunger.

oxox,

C

Bean and Pasta Soup

  • Servings: 6 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 small onion, chopped small

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1-15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed thoroughly

1-15oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly

1-15oz can no-salt added whole tomatoes

2-14oz cans fat-free, low sodium chicken broth

8oz small tube pasta (ditalini)

Additional water

 

Instructions:

  1. In a large soup pot with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add in the chopped onion and cook until the onion becomes soft.
  3. Add in the beans and the canned whole tomatoes (juice and all!). Stir to combine and to break up the tomatoes into smaller chunks.
  4. Add in the chicken broth, plus an additional 2 cans full of water. Bring the broth to a boil. When the water is boiling, add in the pasta. Cook according to the package directions.

Serve immediately or let cool completely and refrigerate for 2-3 days or freeze for 1-2 months.

 

Nutrition Information (1 serving):

Calories: 274 kcal Carbohydrates: 55gm Protein: 14gm Fat: 4gm Dietary Fiber: 10gm Sodium: 829mg

Cost per recipe: $6.42

Cost per serving: $1.07

Recipe from Confessions of A Grad School Foodie – confessionsofagradschoolfoodie.com for Hunger Action Month 2015.

Hunger Action Month Recipe: Vegetable Soup with Pasta

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Happy Tuesday, everyone! How was your Labor Day Weekend? Did you enjoy the last bit of summertime and sunshine? Good, I’m so glad you did!

Today, one week into Hunger Action Month, I would like to share my first food pantry-friendly recipe with all of you! This recipe was developed when the director of my local food pantry asked me to find a way to use up canned vegetables, which the clients get an unlimited supply of (yay!). But after a while, eating sides of different vegetables can get boring.

But do you know what’s not boring? Vegetable soup!

What I love about vegetable soup is that you can change up the vegetables you put in it to fit your personal preferences. Don’t like carrots? Leave them out! Like garbanzo beans better than pinto? Switch it up! Want to use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth? Go for it! Versatility is a good thing.

This easy Vegetable Soup with Pasta starts with a large pot set over a medium heat.

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Add in some vegetable oil and a small chopped onion and cook until the onion begins to soften.

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When the onion is soft, pour in a 32oz carton of low sodium vegetable broth and 1-2 cups of water, depending on how you like your soup consistency. One cup of water creates more of a stew-like consistency, while the two cups of water creates a more traditional soup consistency. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. When the liquid is at a boil, it’s time to add the pasta.

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I chose to use the little tube pasta, or ditalini, but any small pasta shape works here! Carefully dump 8oz of the pasta into the boiling liquid (half a regular box) and cook the pasta according to the package directions.

When the pasta cooking time is half over, it’s time to add in the vegetables. I chose to use carrots (for something bright), green beans (for something green), and pinto beans (for protein).

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To add in some additional color and provide a boost of flavor, I also added in one can of diced Italian tomatoes – diced tomatoes with garlic and oregano.

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An extra vegetable that makes the soup extra delicious. Now you just need to stir everything together and let the pasta finish cooking and the vegetables heat through.

All that’s left is to dish it up…

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And dig in!

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I hope that you enjoy and share this recipe with your family, friends, neighbors, and community. Check out the bottom for the handy dandy printable that can be shared with your local food pantry. If you try this recipe, or donate this recipe’s ingredients to your local food pantry, let me know on Instagram by using the hashtag #GSFfightshunger.

Because together we can end hunger.

oxox,

C

Vegetable Soup with Pasta

  • Servings: 6 people
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 small onion, chopped small

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1-15oz can sliced carrots, drained and rinsed thoroughly

1-15oz can cut green beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly

1-15oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly

1-15oz can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano

1-32oz carton low sodium vegetable broth – Kitchen’s Basics

8oz small tube pasta (like ditalini)

Additional water

 

Instructions:

  1. In a large soup pot with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add in the chopped onion and cook until the onion becomes soft.
  3. Add in the stock and about 1-2 cups of water. Bring the liquid to a boil. When the broth is boiling, add in the pasta. Cook according to the package directions.
  4. When the pasta cook time is half over, add in the carrots, green beans, pinto beans, and tomatoes (juice and all!). Stir to combine and add in a little bit more water if you feel like the mixture is too thick for your liking. Continue to cook until the pasta is finished cooking.

Serve immediately or let cool completely and refrigerate for 2-3 days or freeze for 1-2 months.

 

Nutrition Information (1 serving):

Calories: 247 kcal Carbohydrates: 49gm Protein: 10gm Fat: 1.5gm Dietary Fiber: 8.5gm Sodium: 918mg

 

Cost per recipe: $9.72

Cost per serving: $1.62

Recipe from Confessions of A Grad School Foodie – confessionsofagradschoolfoodie.com for Hunger Action Month 2015.

Split Pea Soup

I have Spring Fever.

All I want is green grass, trees with green buds, and flowers with big green leaves. Green, green, and more green.

Which means that I was absolutely delighted when I came home from rotation tonight and seeing that my mom was in the process of whipping up a big pot of BRIGHT GREEN split pea soup… which she proceeded to inform me was also vegan (yay for Vegetarianism 3.0)!

It all starts with a large stock pot filled with one pound of green split peas, chopped onion, celery, garlic powder, oregano, pepper, bay leaf, and water.

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Just toss in some potatoes cut into thick medallions.

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And simmer the veggies and split peas uncovered for 1½ hours.

After the soup has simmered, add in a whole bunch of carrots.

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Continue to simmer the soup for 2-2½ hours until the soup becomes thick and perfectly green!

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Hello, split pea soup! All that’s left is to stir in 2-3 tablespoons of chopped, fresh dill. Green, fresh, and a great complement to the earthy split peas.

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Spring fever cured… at least for now!

Your spring obsessed friend,

C

Split Pea Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

1-1lb bag of green split peas

1 large onion, chopped

1 pound celery, sliced into half-moons

3 medium-sized russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½–inch rings

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

3 quarts water

1 pound carrots, sliced into thick rings

2-3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

 

Steps:

  1. In a large soup pot, add in split peas, onion, celery, potatoes, garlic powder, dried oregano, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook uncovered for 1½ hours.
  2. Add in carrots, stir to combine, and continue to simmer uncovered for 2-2½ hours until the soup becomes thick and green. Stir in the fresh dill and serve alongside crusty bread.

Enjoy!

 

Carrot-Ginger Soup

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Happy 3rd day of 2015! Can you believe that we are actually in January? Does anyone feel like Thanksgiving was yesterday? Okay, good.

I usually don’t make resolutions, but I use the start of a new year as a time to reset and to start getting back into my regular eating routine (because eating a gingerbread cookie after each meal is starting to become a little excessive).

Soup is a great way to get back into the healthy eating swing, packing vitamins and minerals in a warm, comforting package. I make many different types of soup (Greek Avgolemono, lentil, split pea), but nothing seemed festive enough for a celebratory dinner for the first soup supper of the year. Until I remembered one of my favorite soups from a local supermarket – super orange, sweet/spicy carrot-ginger soup.

Confession: I’m a carrot junkie. Seriously. My mom stopped buying carrots in August because I was eating one pound of carrots every day or so and was starting to turn orange… yes, literally orange (my hands looked like they belonged on an Oompa Loompa). I have since de-oranged and the carrot has returned to our household. Life is good!

Back to our soup making saga, carrot-ginger soup starts like may other soups…

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…with onion and garlic sautéed in a little olive oil.

Then I tossed in some parsnips.

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Which look a little like carrots and add a nice body and sweetness to the soup.

And then come the carrots.

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I used baby carrots but regular carrots work too!

The spicing of the soup is simple…

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Salt, pepper, and some nutmeg. You can’t taste it, but it adds a little somethin’, somethin’.

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Pour in some low-sodium chicken broth.

And grate in the second star ingredient – fresh ginger.

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Fresh is the only way to go here, kids. My mom buys a big chunk of ginger, peels it, cuts it up into 1-2” pieces, and freezes it. Then you always have fresh ginger to make carrot-ginger soup!

Then you bring the soup up to a boil and let it cook for 10-15 minutes until the carrots and parsnips become tender.

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Now comes the slightly dangerous part – the pureeing of the soup. If you have an immersion blender, I am super jealous. You can puree the soup right in the pot and be done with it. If you don’t, grab your blender or your food processor. Working in small batches (either filling only half the blender or filling to only the max liquid line of a food processor), puree the soup until smooth. I transferred the soup to a big bowl so that I could reuse my soup pot – it made it a little easier and I had slightly less clean-up!

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Perfectly pureed!

Now, this is the slight naughty part of this soup.

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I add a small splash of heavy cream for a little richness, but you can leave it out if you want.

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Then dish it up and dig in!

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A perfect start to 2015.

 

Hope you all enjoy this easy (and healthy) soup recipe.

Your soup makin’ friend,

C

 

Carrot-Ginger Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons of olive oil

1 large onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 medium-sized parsnips, peeled and chopped

1 lb carrots, peeled and chopped

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

4½ cups low-sodium chicken stock

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated

1 tablespoon heavy cream, optional

 

Steps:

  1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, add in olive oil, onion, and garlic. Cook until onions become tender and translucent.
  2. Add in parsnips and carrots, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook until the vegetables become slightly tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Pour in chicken stock, add the ginger, raise heat to medium-high and bring soup to a boil. When the soup reaches a boil, partially cover, and cook for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables become tender.
  4. To puree the soup, use an immersion blender, conventional blender, or a food processor. If you are using an immersion blender, you can blend directly in the soup pot.

If you are using a conventional blender, fill only halfway, slightly crack the lid (to prevent the top from blowing off), and then cover the lid with a towel before blending. If you are using a food processor, only fill to the max liquid line. Working in batches, puree the soup and then pour into another soup pot.

  1. Place the pureed soup back onto medium-low heat until warmed though. If you desire, stir in heavy cream. Serve alongside your favorite sliced bread or crackers.