Friday, November 25, 2011

Giving Thanks

The weather was a perfect Autumn day, sun shining and a slight chill in the air. There was magick was in the air at our house too as I prepared the dishes for the evening Thanksgiving feast. Butternut Squash soup was a new addition this year based on a recipe from a co-worker with my own little tweaks of course. The sautéing of brussel sprouts with bacon and onion filled the kitchen as did the aroma of the cherry wood smoked turkey heating in the oven.
Through-out the day I kept reflecting on Thanksgivings past and present and thinking how excited I was to have my family all gathered together in one place. Our family is small but when we get together we can sure fill the entire house with love and laughter and that is just what we did. Taking time to be grateful for our loved ones, our homes and even the food on the table that takes much longer to prepare than it does to eat!

Easy Butternut Squash Soup

2 Tbl Butter
1 Onion, chopped fine
2 - 20 oz bags butternut squash (frozen)
5 cups chicken broth
½ tsp dried Thyme
Pinch nutmeg
1 cup fat free half and half
Salt & pepper

1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the squash, broth, thyme, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the squash is tender, approx 10 minutes.
2. Puree the soup in batches if using a blender or food processor (let it cool first before doing this)
or use a hand blender right in the pot (I used my hand blender for this and worked great!)
3. Return the pureed soup to the pot. Stir in the cream. Bring to a brief simmer, then remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving. Sprinkle individual servings with more nutmeg or cracked pepper on top. Top with a few croutons if desired.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Chill in the air…

There is a chill in the air and it’s time to open up my collection of soup recipes once again. I love soup. Soup is one of those comforting meals that warms you from the inside out. It brings back fond childhood memories of chilly Autumn days, playing outside, kicking around the piles of dried crunchy brown and orange leaves or riding bicycles with the wind hitting your face. On those days my mom would make creamy tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. On the table there would still be evidence of Halloween candy collected the week before and we’d start to decorate the windows for Thanksgiving with Pilgrims, turkeys and Indian corn cardboard cut-outs. 

One of my favorite soups in recent years is Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice soup, a taste of Autumn in a bowl. Here is the recipe, I hope you enjoy it.

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

• 1 large onion, chopped
• 1 large carrot, shredded
• 1 celery rib, chopped
• 1 cup sliced button mushrooms
• 1/4 cup butter
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 8 cups chicken broth
• 3 cups cooked wild rice (quick cooking wild rice works great)
• 1 1/2 cups cubed or shredded leftover cooked chicken or turkey
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 1 cup evaporated milk
• 1/4 cup minced chives 

In a large saucepan, sauté the onion, carrot, celery and mushrooms in butter until tender.
Stir in flour until well blended and cook for a minute to take out the flour taste.
Gradually add in the chicken broth. Stir in the rice, chicken, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until thickened.
Stir in milk and heat through.
Serve with a side of crusty sour-dough bread.
Serves 6-8 hearty appetites