Roasted Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Soup


I’ve been on a total soup kick lately. I guess it’s the change in season, but really, I love soups year ’round. I hope you all aren’t getting sick of soup recipes because I’m gonna keep it going! I love soup because the possibilities for recipes are endless! I’ve actually never cooked with butternut squash until now (I know, for shame!!). I really didn’t know what I was doing with this soup, but it turned out really good. Since I made this on the fly and didn’t have a pumpkin handy, I used canned pumpkin, but you can roast your own pumpkin along with the squash if you wanted to. This soup is thick and filling, but without all the calories! I froze it in individual containers so I can take some to work every day this week!

Roasted Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Soup

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

– 1 1/2 lbs. butternut squash

– 1 can pumpkin puree

– 4 cups (2 cans) chicken broth

– 1/2 cup chopped onion

– 2 garlic cloves, minced

– 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for roasting)

– 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

– 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

– 1/4 tsp. ground cloves

– 1/2 tsp. cayenne (add more for more heat if you prefer)

– salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel squash and remove seeds. Chop into smaller pieces. Add squash onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If you want, you can also sprinkle some cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves on top (I did, and it was yummy!). Roast squash for approximately 20-25 minutes or until tender.

2. In a food processor or blender (remove the top part of the lid if using a blender), puree the roasted butternut squash with the chicken broth. Add pumpkin and mix until well combined.

2. In a large pot, heat 2 tbs. of extra virgin olive oil. Add onions and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes. Add squash and pumpkin mixture. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer soup for 20 minutes before serving.

Notes:
– I like this soup to be on the thicker side. If you don’t want it to be as thick, add additional broth, water, or even some milk.
– If you would prefer this soup to not have a sweet taste to it, omit cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves.

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate

Last night was a hot cocoa kind of night. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any more Swiss Miss. What I did have though, was a huge bag of chocolate chips. Time to make our own cocoa! I’ve seen recipes in the past for red velvet hot chocolate and I personally love love LOVE red velvet anything so I decided to give it a try! This hot chocolate definitely hit the spot! It was pretty rich so a small cup was all I needed! I didn’t feel the need to add any sugar to this, but you can sweeten it however you please and can use any kind of milk.

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate

Serves 2

Ingredients:

– 2 cups milk

– 1/4 heaping cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

– 1 tsp. red food coloring (add more for deeper red color)

– Optional: sugar to taste, marshmallows, whipped cream

Directions:

1. Heat milk on medium heat in a sauce pan. Whisk in sugar. Add chocolate chips and continue whisking until chocolate is completely melted. Add food coloring. Serve hot cocoa with whipped cream or marshmallows!

Tuscan-Style Rosemary Chicken


As I was cleaning some things in my kitchen last week, I came to the realization that I have a bunch of cookbooks that I have only made maybe one or two recipes out of. Seems like kind of a waste, don’t you think?!! It’s time to pull those suckers out and try some new recipes! One of the things I don’t like about some cookbooks is that they don’t have pictures of the recipes. I really hate that. You know what they say, we eat with our eyes first! Unfortunately for me, a few of the books I have don’t really have any pictures, but that doesn’t mean the recipes aren’t any good! I saw this recipe in one of my Rachael Ray cookbooks and though there wasn’t a picture, it sounded like it would be pretty good so I decided to give it a try last night with a few changes.  I’m glad I did because it was really tasty!

Tuscan-Style Rosemary Chicken

Adapted from Rachael Ray

Serves 4

Ingredients:

– 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half

– salt and pepper to taste

– 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

– 2 garlic cloves, crushed

– 1 tbs. white wine vinegar

– 1 tbs. butter

– 1 shallot, chopped

– 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped

– 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

– 1/2 cup white wine

– 1 cup beef broth

Directions:

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add extra virgin olive oil to pan and the garlic cloves. Heat for 30 seconds. Brown chicken 2-3 minutes on each side and remove from pan.

2. Add vinegar to the pan and allow for it to cook off. Add the butter, shallots, and rosemary to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook for another minute. Whisk in the wine and reduce for 1 minute. Whisk in the beef broth and allow the sauce to come to a boil. Return the chicken to the pan and simmer for 7-8 minutes to allow the chicken to cook thoroughly.

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

If you saw my post yesterday for my Chicken Tortellini Soup, you may have been wondering what that bready goodness was in the background of the picture. Well, they were Cheddar Bay Biscuits! Aside from grilled cheese, what is better than a nice, warm biscuit to eat with your soup?! Today, I bring you another wonderful recipe from my bridal shower recipe book. This recipe comes from my friend, Meghann. It’s been many, many years since I have last been to a Red Lobster, but I think most people would agree when I say the best part of Red Lobster are their biscuits. And though it’s been a while since I last had one, I will always remember how those biscuits taste and these are very similar!!

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Makes 10-12 biscuits

Ingredients:

– 2 cups buttermilk biscuit mix

– 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

– 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

– 2/3 cup milk

– 2 tbs. butter

– 2 tsp. chopped parsley

– 1/2 tsp. garlic salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir together buttermilk biscuit mix, milk, 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder, and 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese. Drop into balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, melt 2 tbs. of butter and mix in parsley and garlic salt. Brush mixture onto each biscuit and bake for an additional 6 minutes or until they are lightly browned.

Chicken Tortellini Soup

Mother Nature must of heard me complaining about the heat last week because the weather we had this weekend was just gorgeous! It was about 70 degrees yesterday and it was actually a little cool outside last night which gave our A/C a much needed break. It was a perfect day to make some soup. Husband and I got a late start yesterday morning and were busy running errands all day getting more Halloween decorations (yes, my decorations are up already) and going to the store so I didn’t want to make anything too complicated for dinner. This chicken tortellini soup is barely a recipe, it is so easy to make and is done in under 30 minutes! You can make your own broth and cook your own chicken, but if you’re pressed for time, any chicken broth will do and you can use a rotisserie chicken from your grocery store!

Chicken Tortellini Soup

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

– 9 cups chicken broth

– 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cut into small pieces

– 1 cup diced carrots

– 1 lb. cheese tortellini (I like Buitoni’s pasta from the refrigerated section)

– salt and pepper to taste

– chopped parsley and parmesan cheese (optional)

– Optional ingredients to add to soup: celery, spinach, diced tomatoes

Directions:

1. In a large pot, heat chicken broth on medium heat. Add carrots and simmer for 10 minutes. Add chicken to the broth. While the carrots are simmering, cook tortellini (leave slightly al dente). Add tortellini and simmer on low heat for additional 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley and parmesan cheese.

P.S. If you are wondering what those delicious biscuits are, they are cheddar bay biscuits! I’ll post the recipe for them tomorrow!

Creamy Pumpkin Pie Popsicles

While the calendar may say it is fall, it’s certainly not feeling like it here in Florida. And despite my attempts to make it feel like fall inside our home by burning apple and pumpkin scented candles, it has been in the 90’s this week and it has been pretty yucky and humid! What’s up with that, yo?!! As I was driving home from work this week, I got this idea to make these amazing creamy pumpkin popsicles. I drove straight to the store to get the ingredients. Back in August, I saw this recipe for oreo popsicles from Kita at Pass the Sushi. I bookmarked her recipe because it sounded so simple and looked so delicious! I used her base of cream cheese and Cool Whip for these pumpkin popsicles and they turned out SO good!! (By the way, Kita, I also made your PB Oreo version, they were amazing!).

The best part about these popsicles is that they are really low in fat and really low in sugar! I used fat-free cream cheese and sugar-free Cool Whip. These pops were the perfect fall treat for these never-ending warm days!

Creamy Pumpkin Pie Popsicles

Ingredients:

– 1 8-ounce package fat-free cream cheese

– 1 container sugar-free Cool Whip, thawed

– 3/4-1 cup canned pumpkin (depends on how much pumpkin flavor you want!)

– 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

– graham cracker crumbs (optional)

Directions:

1. In a bowl, whip the cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Add in the pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice and mix until well-combined. Fold in Cool Whip. Pour mixture into molds and sprinkle some graham cracker crumbs on the bottom. Freeze overnight.

Notes:
– Note that I didn’t indicate a serving size for this recipe. How many popsicles this makes will depend on your popsicle molds. Mine are pretty big so I only got 5 out of this. But, if you use smaller molds or dixie cups, you will get more!
– I did not add sugar or artifical sweeteners to this because I felt they were already sweet enough for my tastes, but you can certainly add some if you would prefer!
– While I really loved the graham cracker crumbs with these, I found that most of the crumbs just fell right off when I removed them from the molds and it made quite a mess. Not sure if I would use them again. If anybody has better suggestions to make them stick better, please let me know! :)