I told you I was going healthy for the Superbowl. We brought this – Chicken, Chard, Bean and Butternut Squash Soup. We also brought some berries and greek yogurt with honey – plus vegan chocolate avocado cupcakes. We did splurge though because my sister in law made some awesome queso with sausage that was great with chips and they also had some Buffalo Wild Wings. It was a small gathering, but there was plenty of food and even though our favorite team disappointed, we had a good time (well most of us).
I bought my butternut squash last fall at the farmer’s market. We put them into baskets and stored them on shelves in the unheated basement. The food doesn’t freeze down there, but it does get rather nippy downstairs. Last year I tried storing them in a warmer spot, but some of my squash went bad. This year, they are in perfect condition and not even drying out. I’m thrilled that we put up a nice shelving unit to use for winter storage.
Anyway, I also have been trying to work with beans more, but dry beans not canned beans, and so that was the start of this soup. I roasted most of the vegetables in a glass pan in the oven until almost cooked. I also baked the chicken breast rather than fry it up. I wanted the broth to be clear when I served it and not muddied, which is why I did it this way. And to give it a nice bright taste, I grated lemon peel and squeezed lemon juice into it. This soup is one of my best tasting, I recommend it for family dinner, or a gathering of friends, or just the two of you.Diana
I like spaghetti squash, it’s one of my favorite vegetables, but I’m not a fan of covering up it’s flavor and texture with spaghetti sauce. To me, it’s not a replacement for spaghetti, it just mimics the texture but it’s so great tasting and yet low carb. When Filippo Berio sent me samples of Olive Oil, I ran to my cold food storage area (aka the unheated basement), and brought up the spaghetti squash. Squash is a great long storing vegetable, so for us right now this dish is very seasonal and from the local farm market.
My son assisted me in cooking this day. I was covering for someone on vacation all week, so I appreciated his help. Funny note: in my directions I told my son to cut the squash in half – which he did – staight across instead of lengthwise. He scooped it out to look like a bowl. Along with the squash, he roasted turip, carrots fennel and onion, all found in our marketbag. When I came home and checked on everything, we recut the squash lengthwise si it cooked more evenly.
After we removed the vegetables from the oven and let cool just enough to handle, we scraped the squash fibers out to look like spahetti, then sliced the other veggies snd tossed. For a little lightness we added fresh parsley and cut up some pea shoots and tossed along with the juice of a lemon.
PS – don’t forget to enter the giveaway… Filippo Berio GiveawayDiana
It’s just the two of us now, and some nights it’s difficult to want to cook. All summer I could call my kids and tell them to start dinner. Now they’re both gone, we are tired , the pets need to be fed, and we don’t want to think about preparing a meal. I think sometimes it’s more difficult to cook for two; it’s easier to think about just skipping it and going for the ice cream. On the night my husband wasn’t home, I made myself an egg sandwich, but the next night I was determined to provide us with something delicious and nutritious and I wasn’t popping it into the microwave, Butternut Squash with a Maple Bourbon Glaze. I had butternut squash and I was going to use it, even if it was too big for two people, yay, we had leftovers too. I think maple and bourbon are very friendly flavors, and on the butternut with a little melted butter they were perfect.
- Butternut squash
- 2 tbs wild turkey bourbon
- 1 tbs maple syrup
- 1 tbs melted butter
Slice the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Whisk together the butter, the bourbon and the maple syrup. Brush the cut halves with the glaze and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in oven (we actually used the toaster oven) on 400 until you can poke it with a fork and it gives nicely, brushing every so often with the glaze.Diana
I still have butternut squash in my basement, but as the basement warms up, the squash will be in peril. I’m glad they lasted as long as they did, since this is the first year we tried basement storage. Last year we kept the winter squash upstairs, and they didn’t last as long. I’m going to make Butternut Squash Under a Swiss Cheese Crust for our family Easter gathering. I made it for dinner one night and my husband was really impressed, so impressed he wants me to make it again. I used curry in the dish to keep it from being too sweet, but also added nutmeg and cinnamon because I love the taste with butternut squash and I also added nutmeg to the cheese sauce. The swiss cheese was hand delivered from Wisconsin. A friend of my husband’s brought us back cheese from a recent trip. Isn’t it cool to have a friend like that? My favorite prep method for butternut squash is to slice it down the middle, scooping the seeds and pulp out, but leaving the meat behind. Then it is brushed with olive oil, and placed cut side down in a glass pan. It goes into the oven at about 350 and bakes until a knife slides in easily. Ingredients:
- 1 butternut squashed prepped(see above)
- 1/2 cup half & half
- 1 tsp curry
- 1 tsp nutmeg -grated
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbs butter
- 2 tbs flour
- 1 cup half & half
- 1 cup swiss cheese shredded
- 1 tsp nutmeg – grated
Bake butternut squash until soft. Cool and then scoop butternut squash out of the shell into a bowl. Use a mixer to combine the squash milk, nutmeg, cinnamon and curry. Place in a buttered casserole dish. In a small saucepan melt butter and whisk in flour. Slowly whisk in cold milk until smooth. Take off heat and whisk in the cheese. Spread cheese sauce over top of the squash (add more cheese if you need a thicker consistency). Bake in oven at 350 until cheese starts to brown and crusty.Diana
This soup is easy, semi fast and very seasonal. I made this on vacation with a microwave, a bowl, and one pot on an electric burner. The kitchen was a small not even efficiency size kitchen. One microwave, a dorm fridge, a two burner cooktop and a small sink with a tiny counter made up the kitchen. I have trouble with how small my small kitchen is and I could live with this little efficiency for the one week we were staying in Duck, North Carolina – but I think one week is the limit.
While the recipe made four bowls of soup, my husband and I both ate two bowls each for dinner. It was a vegetarian dish for us, you can add sausage to it, or chicken and it would go well. Also, you could serve it as a soup course along with a sandwich. While spelt berries were cooking in broth, the microwave was used to partially cook the pumpkin – after slicing in into pieces and cleaning out the seeds and pulp. Only one soup/stew pot was used along with one glass bowl for microwaving the pumpkin. You can easily use your oven to bake the pumpkin, or peel and cook in broth to soften it. I used a quart of chicken broth that cost me nothing because I used leftover bones to make the broth last winter. The chard melts down quite a bit, so you throw the leaves in at the end, but the stems can be thrown in with the onion in the beginning for extra veggie goodness. I used canned beans – but if you want to really make it a project you can soak the beans twice, rinse it and then simmer it on the stove for hours until they are soft.
This makes up a great hearty soup with chewy spelt, white beans, seasonal pumpkin and chard. Yummmmmmm!
- 1 cup spelt berries
- 1 quart Broth (vegetarian or chicken)
- 1 can white beans
- 1 small pumpkin
- ¼ cup diced onion
- big handful of chard
- ⅛ tsp allspice
- In the bottom of a soup pot, heat oil and saute diced onion.
- Add 2 cups of broth and cook spelt berries until they are the right chewiness.
- While the berries are cooking, slice the pumpkin open, scoop out the seeds, place in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until the pumpkin will come away from the skin.
- Remove skin and dice.
- Add to soup pot. Large dice the swiss chard leaves and throw into the soup pot.
- Rinse beans and add to the soup pot along with salt, pepper and allspice.
- Heat and serve in bowls.
Eggs are a lovely protein, don’t you think? We often turn to eggs when we want something quick and delicious for breakfast or dinner. I made this frittata the other day using eggs, farm market veggies and a vegetarian burger(okay, it’s a Luna Burger – anything tastes good with a Luna Burger in it) crumbled up, plus some cheese. My husband took a bite and told me it wasn’t right, because his eggs don’t taste this good, and aren’t this filling when he makes them. The end of summer is bittersweet because the fresh locally grown veggie supply starts to wane, but at the same time they have their best flavor. Get’em while their fresh.
- 5 eggs
- 1 small onion
- 1 small green pepper
- 2 baby eggplant
- ¼ cup crookneck squash
- vegetarian or grain sausage patty
- 4 small cherry tomatoes
- shredded cheddar
- 4 oz goat cheese
- Scramble eggs with 1 tbs water, and set aside.
- Dice and saute in warm pan with olive oil - onions and green pepper.
- I used baby eggplant but didn't peel, just sliced little circles.
- The squash was peeled and sliced to about the same size.
- When the onion is almost translucent and soft, add the squash and eggplant to the onion and pepper.
- When the eggplant starts to soften, place the veggies in a bowl and set aside temporarily.
- Add a little oil to the pan and warm the vegetarian burger. Remove, break into a little smaller than bite size pieces and set aside.
- Swish lightly with oil, pour the eggs into the pan, let start to cook.
- Add in the sauteed veggies, and the tomatoes.
- Dollop the goat cheese into the eggs and place the pieces of vegetarian sausage in under the egg.
- Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
- Place pan in oven under a low broil until egg is firm and cheese is melted.
- Serve slices on plate and grate a little more cheese over top.
Are you a seasonal cook – trying to use the fresh ingredients in the season in which they are their best? Summer is such a great fresh vegetable season and the farm markets are full of great local vegetables that ripened on the vine or stalk and were picked at the right stage for freshness. I try to stay local and seasonal when there are fresh ingredients being grown nearby to take advantage of, and it’s so easy to come up with great dishes. I made this roasted lasagna in a smaller portion for my husband an son, and then made a bigger version to bring to my mother in law’s for a family gathering. It’s deceitful, you think there’s meat and pasta, but there isn’t. The eggplant replaces the pasta, holding up really well and the crumbled goat cheese mixed with herbs almost give you the texture of crumbled meat and the creaminess of ricotta (which you could use instead) at the same time. Filling in with roasted tomatoes, onions and red peppers in between the layers bumps up the flavor.
Everything in this dish came from either the farm market, or the Market Bag that we get once a week. Even the sauce is local, because it’s my homemade sauce from last years farm market vegetables. I have a couple of jars left over from last year that we didn’t use up ( I hate emptying jars that I just put up, it feels as though my efforts to stock up were in vain when they disappear to early). I will warn you that the dish isn’t pretty when you cut into it because eggplant turns a brown color when heated. Eggplant can take the place of meat almost like a mushroom is able to or tofu can. It is very mild in taste and can take on the flavor of whatever you cook it in (or with).
When I was cooking in the square glass pan, I slice the eggplant across the width, but when I used a long ceramic pan, I sliced the eggplant down the length. Both times I scraped the skin off, because eggplant skin can be tough compared to the meat of the vegetable and I used a mandolin in order to get slices of uniform length and width. I brushed the eggplant slices with olive oil and placed on a cookie sheet to roast. I also sliced cherry tomatoes and other small tomatoes in half , de-seeded red peppers and threw slices of onion on other cookie sheets, brushed with oil and roasted them. Fresh herbs and garlic scapes were mixed together with fresh chevre and sprinkled on top, the cheese layer also had fresh mozzarella. You can use any sauce you like, but use lightly because veggies add a lot of liquid. If after you get the layers assembled you notice too much liquid around the edges, hold the layers in the pan and tip to let some out. That happened to me when I didn’t roast the veggies long enough, but didn’t harm the lasagna at all. Roasting the vegetables and then draining them before putting them in the lasagna pan will help.
So, no meat, no pasta, no frying – but pretty darn tasty. I received compliments and an empty pan as thanks for a good grub.
- 1 large eggplant or two smaller - peeled
- 2 large red peppers
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 medium onion
- 16 oz chevre
- 1 tbs minced parsley
- 1 tbs minced basil
- 1 tbs minced garlic scapes
- 8 - 12 oz fresh mozzarella
- Spaghetti sauce
- Grated Parmesan
- Using a mandolin - slice wide strips down the length of the eggplant. Layer on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil, flip over and brush the other side.
- Core the red peppers and slice open so that it lays flat. Brush both sides with olive oil and lay flat on another baking sheet.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and lay on baking sheet. Slice the onion and throw it on to the same pan with the tomatoes to roast.
- Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and roast in a 250 oven until they seem tender and golden.
- Combine the herbs and cheese together evenly.
- Peel the skin off the pepper and slice the pepper into strips. Drain the tomatoes.
- Eggplant slices
- Tomatoes, Peppers, Onions in an even layer together
- Sprinkle the Herbed Chevre and a layer of Mozzarella.
- Grated Parmesan
- Repeat. (if you have enough ingredients repeat twice)
- The last layer should be:
- Roasted Veggies
- Herbed Chevre and Mozzarella
- Grate Parmesan over the top.
- Bake @375 for 20 -30 min pulling it out of the oven when it's hot and bubbling with a nice melted cheese crust on top.
Squash in general is long storing, and can make it through to the beginning of the next summer, though when they get iffy, just throw them into the composter. If you have any left in your kitchen or storage cellar, use it soon because it’s probably going to be quickly on it’s way out. Check the skin to make sure it isn’t moldy, bruised or broken before using. Spaghetti squash should be halved, the seeds scooped out and then drizzled with a little olive oil. You can use the microwave, the toaster oven or the oven to cook the spaghetti squash. I use a glass pan, which works out perfectly.
Spaghetti squash is really tasty, but I’ve figured out lately that cold spaghetti squash makes a nice base for a salad. After cooking, scrape the squash out of the skin, throw in a few more fresh chopped up veggies, a little vinaigrette and put in the fridge to cool down. Any squash leftover can be frozen in serving size portions for another day. I’ve even used my spaghetti squash as an ingredient in a green salad.
In this salad, I used my Sea Bean Salad (or Salicornia) plus some fresh sugar snap peas. Sugar snaps have a really sweet pod, so you can eat them whole, or in this case slice them in half or thirds and toss with the salad. I used lime and olive oil as a dressing along with a little smashed garlic, salt and pepper. In the photo it looks like mostly squash, but the beans and peas kept dropping to the bottom of the bowl. On the plate however, they were better situated and very tasty.
- 1 smashed/chopped garlic
- Juice of one lime plus zest
- 2 tbs olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 smashed/chopped garlic
- Juice of one lime plus zest
- 2 tbs olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 spaghetti squash seeded
- 1 lb of sea beans rinsed
- 1 cup sugar snap peas
- Cook the spaghetti squash - in the microwave until it scrapes easily or roast in the oven, but don't over cook.
- Drop the sea beans in to a small pot of boiling water and simmer for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Rinse and clip the rough ends off the sugar snap peas and slice into half or thirds.
- Scrape the "spaghetti" into a serving bowl.
- Rinse the sea beans and add to the serving bowl along with the sugar snap peas.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad in the serving bowl and toss.
Yeah, Yeah, I know, the name is too darn long, but what should I leave out? Look at the photo, the whole thing is pretty and leaving anyone of those things out would make a not so interesting meal – visually and tastefully (flavorfully?). I still have spaghetti squash in my cold basement, but I fear it won’t last long since it’s been so warm and we need to work it in to our recipes since winter is quickly coming to an end. Chard has been regularly showing up in our Weekly Market Bag along with mushrooms less frequently. I thought this meal, stacked and then drizzled with a maple basalmic vinaigrette would be really delicious, and it was. The maple sweetness took the bite off the vinaigrette and the vinegar cut the sweetness a little.
I had plenty of spaghetti squash leftover, as well as chicken and chard (that I hadn’t covered in vinaigrette). My second meal of the week I added pasta and pesto and my third meal of the week I took the pasta dish and placed a cheese sauce over top and baked it – plus added a few more veggies like tomatoes and peppers. No photos of those, but I have to say it was a applewood cheese sauce and it was terrific. When there are only three of you, leftovers can go a long way.
I roasted the spaghetti squash with a little olive oil, sauteed the chard with onions and a little garlic – chop the stems and throw them in also, it’s all good. I sauteed the mushrooms and (leftover) roasted chicken in a little butter to soften and then topped the whole thing with a Maple Basalmic Vinaigrette. The sauce was soooooo good.
- Spaghetti Squash
- Olive Oil
- small handful of Swiss Chard
- ½ onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 tbs butter
- Crimini Mushrooms
- Roasted chicken
- ½ cup Basalmic vinegar
- Maple Syrup
- Split spaghetti squash, and scoop out, drizzle half with olive oil and roast in oven until squash comes off easily with a fork in spaghetti like strands.
- Chop chard, onions, galic and chard stems and saute in two tbs of olive oil until onions are translucent.
- In a separate pan, melt butter, then saute mushrooms and chicken until mushrooms soften.
- For vinaigrette:
- Melt 2 tbs butter in small pot or pan, add vinegar and stir, then slowly drizzle in maple syrup just until the vinegar bite is mellowed.
- Stack the chard mixture, the spaghetti squash and the mushrooms and Chicken on plate and drizzle with vinaigrette.
Oh No Bad Spots!
I buy a good amount of fresh winter squash and small pumpkins in the fall and put it on shelves in the basement. The basement is unheated and offers a great winter storage most years. This year however, the temperatures keep rising and so my cold storage hasn’t been great. Every year though, we lose some of the squash because it gets soft or develops bad spots. If you see a small bad spot developing, then you need to do something with the squash right now!
Getting Ready For The Holidays.
The holiday season is another time you might want to make a puree from your winter squash. You can use this puree in your pies, cakes, cookies, etc just as you would your canned puree that you get from the store. If you have time after work, you can do the puree in the evening, and put it into containers in the fridge to use a couple of days later, shortening your cooking time when you are feeling overwhelmed with preparations.
The squash I used for this post had little spots I had to remove. I also had some butternut squash that we grew in our garden, but it had areas where it grew too fast and started to split. Those need to be processed, and not kept in cold storage because they won’t last. It’s also Thanksgiving week, so the right time to use up this winter squash.
Prep the Squash
- You will need a sharp knife. Remove the stem, then slice the squash down from the top through to the bottom. Most squash won’t need more than one slice through the center, top to bottom. Larger squash will need more pieces.
- Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. If you like pumpkin seeds, put them aside for toasting later.
- Because the squash was being pureed plain, I placed a silicon sheet on the cookie sheet without any oil or butter. If you don’t have a non-stick cookie sheet, or a silicon sheet, you may need to lightly oil the cookie sheet to keep the squash from carmelizing on the pan and sticking.
- Place in the oven @ 400 degrees. Test the squash every so often to see if it’s soft. When all of the pieces are soft, pull the cookie sheet out of the oven and let cool.
Puree the Pulp.
- Peel the skin off the back of the squash. I found that rather than use a spoon, I used my fingers sliding it along between the skin and the squash pulp. I placed all of the pulp into a bowl.
- Using a food processor, or blender, puree the pulp in batches putting the processed puree into a separate bowl. As you are pouring the puree from the processor into the bowl, run your fingers through the pulp to make sure you don’t have any bigger unprocessed bits.
- After all of the pumpkin is pureed, separate into 1 cup, 2 cup, 1/2 cup portions in plastic bowls. You can put in the fridge to be used within 5 days, or freeze to use at a later time.
- You can also try freezing in batches in a cup cake pan and then when you have frozen cupcake portions, you can freeze in a freezer bag that you suction the air out of.
You can use the puree in all different ways, cakes, pies, breads, soups and if you are clever crow pizza – in pizza. Yum!
For pumpkin seeds – Clean the seeds and dry them on a tea towel. Toss with oil and salt and toast in oven turning over seeds part way. My husband loves this part of the processing.