Tart & Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

It’s finally cool enough in California, at least once the sun goes down, to justify getting the stock pot out to make a hearty soup that can serve as dinner with a big salad & crusty bread that can then live on as a couple of workday lunches too!  Great for the wallet AND the waistline!  This soup is so rich, and has such depth of flavor, that it seems like a cheat meal, which is a plus during the non-stop holiday feast season.

Tart & Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1  –  2 to 2+1/2 lb Butternut Squash (Peeled/Seeded/Chopped into about 1″ Cubes)
  • 1  –  Large Granny Smith Apple (Cut into about 1″ Pieces – seeds/core/stem removed)
  • 3  –  Large Ribs Celery Chopped
  • 3  –  Carrots (Peeled/Chopped into about 1″ Pieces)
  • 1  –  Medium Yellow Onion (Peeled/Chopped into about 1″ Pieces)
  • 4  –  TBLS Butter
  • 1  –  32 oz Container Organic Chicken Stock
  • 1+1/2 Cups Water
  • Freshly Grated Sea Salt (To Taste)
  • Freshly Cracked Pepper (To Taste)
  • Freshly Ground Nutmeg (1/4 tsp)
  • Cinnamon (1/2 to 1 tsp)
  • Cayenne Pepper (Pinch to 1/8th tsp)
  • Chopped Parsley (if desired)

Melt the butter in a medium stockpot and add the onions, carrot and celery.  Sauté over low heat about 10 minutes.  When onions just start to brown, add the squash, apple, salt, pepper, chicken stock and water.  Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring just to a boil.  When bubbles appear at the edges of the pan, reduce heat to low.  Cover pan tightly and simmer soup for 45 minutes until squash is completely softened.

Remove soup from heat and either process soup until smooth using your blender (I use my Vitamix) and returning to the pan after processed or an immersion blender as shown in the video.

Once soup is smooth, add the Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Cayenne.  Adjust spices to taste.

I came across a video that uses the same technique I use to make my soup, with slightly different measurements, and it’s much prettier, so I’ll give the standard #ShoutOut and #HighFive to Simply Recipes for producing a great (and quick) video that I can also use to demonstrate how to assemble my soup!

I’ve already been remiss at keeping up with my blog, so not having to produce a video is a definite bonus! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Chicken Teriyaki Bowls

sunday-dinner-01I had nothing planned for Sunday family dinner after spending the afternoon enjoying the unexpected 88° day outside.  I swore not to order pizza 2 Sundays in a row, so I quick thawed a few individually wrapped chicken breasts that I bought at Costco and checked the cupboards for what I could do with them.

My first thought was that I had snipped some fresh basil from the garden and knew that I had some pine nuts and olive oil, I could do a quick pesto and throw the chicken over some pappardelle pasta.  That got vetoed because we had enjoyed a block of cream cheese covered with some jarred Trader Joe’s pesto Saturday afternoon with some pita crackers.  Damn!

I opened the refrigerator and saw the fresh pineapple that I had ripening to slice and soak in Malibu Rum and inspiration hit.  I’d make some homemade teriyaki and we’d have chicken bowls for dinner.  Whew!  Crisis averted.

Quick Teriyaki Sauce

  • 4 TBLS Honeyteri
  • 1/2 Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 + 1/2 Cups Water
  • 8 TBLS Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1+1/2 tsp minced garlic (preferably roasted)
  • 4 TBLS Corn Starch dissolved in 1/2 Cup Cold Water
  • 3 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 3 tsp Sesame Seeds

In 1 +1/2 Quart Saucepan whisk together honey, soy sauce, water, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and crushed red peppers over medium heat. Dissolve cornstarch in water and whisk into sauce cooking about 2 more minutes until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the sesame seeds.  Makes about 4 cups.  Store any unused sauce in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.

Bowl Prep:

  • Prepare 6-8 Servings of White or Brown Rice
  • Thinly slice a green bell pepper, 2 ribs of celery, 2 carrots (julienne or matchstick sized), and 1/4 of a medium onion (if desired)
  • Quickly stir-fry the vegetables in a splash of olive oil until onion is translucent and other vegetables have softened
  • Cut 3-4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts into 1 x 1 inch strips (give or take), salt and pepper, and stir fry in a well oiled pan over medium-high heat until chicken is cooked through.
  • Thinly slice the green portions only of a green onion

Assemble Bowls:chixteri

  • Scoop some rice into the bottom of the bowl
  • Add a layer of the vegetable mixture
  • Top with a generous portion of the chicken
  • Generously spoon teriyaki sauce over the top of the chicken until well coated
  • Sprinkle with sliced green onion

This is a really easy make ahead meal.  Prepare everything and store separately in covered containers in the refrigerator.  It is easily and quickly reheated for a weeknight meal!

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