Butternut Squash + Sage Soup

I guess our “Indian Summer” is officially over. The last week has been cool and crisp – you can see your breath in the mornings, the wind was howling all last night, and it was the first time in a while where we had to put an extra blanket on our bed… 
Just like that, it’s fall!  

With the cool weather finally upon us, I decided to make soup.  Butternut squash soup to be exact, and it could not have been easier!

I didn’t use a specific recipe, and eyeballed pretty much everything, but it turned out amazing, and I pretty much guarentee that this is going to become one of our fall staples for supper this year.

Here’s how to make it…

Ingredients:
  – One large butternut squash
  – Half of a yellow onion
  – Three large cloves of garlic
  – One low sodium carton of chicken stock
  – Sprig of Sage
  – Olive Oil
  – Butter
  – Half and Half
  – Salt
  – Pepper
  – Cinnamon
  – All Spice
  – Chili Powder

Recipe Instructions:
Use a regular potato peeler to peel the thick skin off the butternut squash.  It’s pretty tough so I don’t recommend a paring knife unless you really know what you’re doing.

Once the skin is off, cut the butternut squash into cubes.  Near the “bulb” of the squash, there is seeds and fiber that you’ll want to scoop out with a spoon.

Once it’s peeled, toss the cubes in a large pot with the chopped up onion and garlic (you can also use shallots, but I didn’t have any on hand).

Coat everything generously with extra virgin olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt, and get things sauteing. As everything starts to cook, add in a bit of butter – I used around 3 tablespoons, or roughly 1/4 of a cube of butter.  At this point I also added in a dash of cinnamon, a dash of all spice, a dash of chili powder, and a large sprig of torn up sage (about 5 large leaves).

Cook things on medium to high heat until everything has softened a bit – just before the butter starts to get brown, add in the chicken stock.  I didn’t measure at all – just poured until the stock covered most of the butternut squash, about 3/4 of the way – I used about half to 3/4 of a 1-quart carton.

Put the lid of the pot on, and let things cook.  You want to make sure the butternut squash is really soft – let it go for 15 – 20 minutes or so.

At this point, turn the heat off, and let it cool for a few minutes.  Spoon the cooked ingredients into the blender (in batches) and blend until smooth.  I ended up adding a bit more chicken stock as each batch blended to get it really super smooth.  An immersion blender would have been amazing at this point, but the regular blender worked just fine.

Once everything was all blended, I added everything back into the big pot, turned the heat back on and tasted the soup.  It will probably be pretty bland still – I went with low sodium chicken stock so I could control the salt, so I added in more salt (I’m guessing around two teaspoons or so), along with two more dashes of cinnamon, two dashes of all spice, two dashes of chili powder, and pepper.

Keep tasting as you season – you might like more salt, or pepper, or less cinnamon, etc.  It’s all personal preference at this point. I also added a splash of half and half (only about 1/4 cup).

The soup was already really creamy without it, so you could absolutely skip this step if you wanted to keep this healthier.  Mix it all together, let the ingredients cook a bit more, and you’re ready to eat!

That’s it!  It sounds like a lot of steps, but it was SO EASY, and it only took me about 30-40 minutes total.  Also, it ended up being super cheap!  I think it cost about $8 total for the squash, stock, and sage.
I’m guessing it made about 2 large servings, so if you’re making this for more, double everything.
I ended up garnishing it with a few more sprigs of sage, but if you don’t like sage, feel free to skip it entirely.  I happen to love it, and I find that it really tempers the sweet flavors of the squash.
Enjoy!!

Pinterest Recipe

Ok, I am totally guilty of this Pinterest phenomenon – pinning to pin!  I mean, there are just so many pretty, yummy, inspiring, funny things on Pinterest – it’s become quite the addiction!  The problem?  I’ve never actually done any of the DIY projects I’ve pinned, or made any of the recipe’s.  That must change immediately!
I decided to start out small with a simple side dish I’d pinned a while back.  Summer is nearly here, and in California it means amazing produce.  A quick trip to the grocery store later, three mid-size summer squash zucchini’s were all mine!  Trust me when I say that this recipe for Squash Chips is easy as pie, and soo delish.
Squash Chips:
Ingredients:
  – Squash – this works with any kind here
  – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  – Salt
  – Pepper
  – Chili Flakes
  – Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese

Instructions:
  – Slice squash into thin rounds
  – Coat in Olive Oil
  – Move rounds to flat baking sheet – no overlapping
  – Sprinkle tops with salt, pepper, and red chili flakes to taste
  – Bake at 375 for 30 minutes until golden brown
  – Top with Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, and place under broiler for an additional 5 minutes until crispy (watch them – don’t want to burn them in the final 5 minutes!)

Healthy Eating: Spicy Shrimp Tostadas

Holy smokes – this recipe is amazing!  I went over to my old apartment last night to have dinner with my best friend – aka, drink wine and watch her make dinner.
She busted out this recipe from Pinterest, and trust me when I say, it is one of the easiest, and most amazing dishes I’ve had in a long time – caution… its SPICY.  Obviously you can adjust the recipe as you wish, but the Jalapeno Avocado Sauce is what makes this dish!

Ingredients
  • Spicy Shrimp Tostadas
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 18-20 large shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot chili powder
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped (or as much as you like… I’m a cilantro lover, so we were a bit liberal here)
  • 1/2 cup red or green cabbage, shredded


  • Jalapeno Avocado Sauce
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro


Instructions
Spicy Shrimp Tostadas
  1. In a small bowl combine shrimp, paprika, cumin, chili powder and a pinch of salt & pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat add 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil and pan fry each tortilla, adding another 1/2 tablespoon of oil with each tostada. You just want to crisp them up on each side.
  3. Set tortillas aside on a plate with paper towels (to soak up excess oil) and saute shrimp in the same skillet with the lime juice until they just turn pink on each side, about 3 minutes total.
  4. To assemble tostadas start with the cilantro and avocado sauce on the bottom (this serves as the clue to hold the rest on the tostada), followed by the cabbage, then shrimp on top


Jalapeno Avocado Sauce
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth (we found an immersion blender worked just as well)
  2. Try not to go at the sauce with tortilla chips before the shrimp have finished cooking – it’s THAT good

 This BEAUTIFUL photo courtesy of Running to the Kitchen

So that’s it – yes you will have to get a few dishes dirty in the process, and no one likes to clean off an immersion blender or food processor, but it will be well  worth the hassle in the end!

I nearly had to roll myself home after four of these bad boys.

I wish we could take 100% of the credit on this recipe, but Gina from Running to the Kitchen is the real mastermind here.

Enjoy!!