recipes

Creamy Butternut Cauliflower Soup with Chicken and Kale

butternut cauliflower soup

There are two types of people in this world. There are those that when food is scarce, put on their boots and walk to the store in the ice. And then there are those that get creative and make do with what they’ve got in the kitchen. I am the latter of the two; my husband is the former. Case in point: when I woke up Friday morning to winter storm Cleon and a forecast below freezing through Sunday, I knew I’d be settling in for the long haul. My husband, on the other hand, wanted breakfast tacos. While he headed out into the icepocolypse, I went straight to the kitchen to figure out what the heck we were going to eat. It’s funny, sometimes it’s the meals where you’re short on ingredients or have to substitute with what you have on hand, when you discover the most delicious combinations.

cook vegetables

add broth

blend soup

add kale

bowl of soup

Creamy Butternut Cauliflower Soup with Chicken and Kale

Ingredients

2 tbsp. virgin coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 inch piece ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cubed butternut squash
1/2 head cauliflower, cut in florets
6 cups chicken broth
1 lb chicken breast, diced
1/2 bunch kale, torn into small pieces
salt and pepper

Directions

Place a large soup pot over medium heat and and add a little (about 1/2 cup) of the broth. Once heated through, add diced chicken and cook until opaque. When done, transfer chicken and broth to a bowl and set aside.

Return pot to medium heat and add oil. Then add onion and cook 2-3 minutes. Next add garlic and ginger. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, 2-3 minutes. Add squash and cauliflower to the pot and stir to coat with oil and aromatic mixture. Cook 5-7 minutes, then add broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered 15-20 or until vegetables are tender enough to be pierced with a fork.

To blend the soup, you can use either a blender or an immersion blender. If using a blender, be careful handling the hot soup. Make sure the lid is secure – you may want to hold a towel over the lid just in case (you don’t want hot liquid flying in your face!). With an immersion blender you can blend the soup directly in the pot. Blend until silky and smooth.

Add chicken and extra broth back to the pot along with kale. Return the soup to a low boil and allow the kale to wilt into the soup. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

recipes

butternut squash + kale + white beans + quinoa

Things I will miss about winter:

1. My UGG boots
2. Using the excuse “It’s too cold” to do nothing but curl up and watch Bravo
3. Meals like this….

I’m coming to terms with the fact that this will likely be my last bite of butternut squash for awhile, which makes me a little sad. Is it weird to miss vegetables? Wait, don’t answer that… My husband on the other hand does not share my nostalgia for these peculiar-shaped roots. As the “chopper” of the household, he’d be happy if he never came head to head with one of these guys on the chopping block again. They sure are little boogers to get into, but man, it’s so worth it. That buttery flavor and heartiness make them the perfect healthy comfort food. Plus with their dye-your-skin-orange flesh they’re chock full of antioxidants to keep your immune system in tip-top shape, just when you need it the most.

Literally, all I did here is saute sliced red onion in a skillet. Add the squash. Then broth. Then kale. Then beans. Serve over quinoa and voila! You’ve got yourself a dinner that might make you miss b-squash too. It’s crazy healthy, and even crazier that it’s so delicious. I almost can’t believe it myself. Here’s the full recipe….

Butternut Squash with Kale and White Beans over Quinoa

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small butternut squash. peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 bunch kale, torn into small pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into thin crescents
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 can cannellini beans (or 2 cups cooked beans)

For the dressing (whisk all ingredients together to combine):

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Rinse and drain quinoa well. Bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil and add quinoa. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes until all of the water is absorbed.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, about five minutes. Add squash and stir to coat with oil. Cook 7-10 minutes. When the edges of the squash begin to sear and stick to the pan, stir in the vegetable broth. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes. When the squash is soft, add kale and stir to combine. When the greens have reduced, add white beans and stir to combine.

Serve over quinoa; drizzle with lemon dressing.

And enjoy that last taste of winter.

As sad as I am to pack up my UGGs and say goodbye to b-squash, I’m just as excited to move on to spring. To help you get your body ready for the season, I’m offering a Spring Clean Your Body program. Now is the time we can all use a little spring cleaning — inside and out. Sessions can be done individually or with friends. For more information, click here.

recipes

Cozy Curry

Just a few days ago I was sweating in my skinny jeans and today I’m slipping on ice in my UGGs! That’s right, slipping. I suppose that’s karma for ya. I’ve been on the couch with my laptop and mug, watching from the window as cars and people slide across our street. Tires screeching. Arms flapping. I’ve had a few good laughs. So today I got what was due. I had to get out; I’m on day three of being cooped up in our condo and Ross is the only three dimensional person I’ve seen since Monday. We were headed to lunch and down I went. Why did I want to leave the couch again? I’m not sure I’ll be venturing out again anytime soon. Or at least until I have no excuse not to go into the office. That’s what you’re supposed to do on days like this anyway. They’re for curling up with a warm blanket, using the fireplace, drinking tea and hot chocolate, and cooking soul warming soups and stews. We were ill-prepared for the Arctic Blast of 2011. I wish I had gone to the store and stocked up on supplies to make some of my favorites cold-weather favorites like chicken pot pie or tortilla soup. I did happen to have the ingredients to make this curry dish though with butternut squash and chickpeas. If you didn’t believe the icepocalypse was really coming either and you’re ill-prepared too, you could make the same thing with chicken, potatoes or any other veggies that are just taking up space… that is if you have the right seasonings. And if not, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you were missing coriander. You could make this even if all you’ve got in the pantry is curry powder. Curry has become one of my favorite things to make in the winter because it warms you up from the inside out with all that spice and heat. There’s not much I hate more than being cold and this does just the trick. Plus this one has lots of carbs and we all know those are just good for the soul. 🙂

Vegetable Curry

What you need:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp red curry paste
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut in 1″ chunks
1 can garbanzo beans (no salt added)
8 oz. chicken stock
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
baby spinach
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
lemon

What you do:

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic. Saute 30 seconds. Add curry paste, curry powder, tumeric, coriander and cumin. Stir to cover the onions with spice and cook 1-2 minutes. Add squash and stir to coat with seasonings. Cook a few minutes and then add chicken stock and stir. Bring to a boil and simmer. Then add coconut milk. Cover the pot and cook 10-15 minutes, or until the squash can be pierced with a fork. Add garbanzo beans and spinach. Stir in the red pepper flakes. Squeeze lemon over the mixture and stir before serving. Serve over brown rice.

cooking, recipes

Butternut Squash and Spinach Pasta

Driving home from work the other night this was my thought process: Ugh, we have nothing to eat. I guess I’ll pick something up…. But what? Wait, really?…. I just went to the store on Sunday and spent $108, how could we have nothing to eat? We have squash… probably an onion hiding in the pantry… and I bought that ginormous tub of spinach. Surely I can make something. But do I want to? Not really. It’s cold. I do want to go home. OK, fine I’ll go home and cook.
I get home, crack open my laptop and type my two star ingredients into Google. Several recipes popped up. Risotto… no. Pasta… yes, I have that. OK. I can make something here…. I read a few more to get some ideas and did a little mash up of a few different ones to create something of my own. The end result which took only about 30 minutes to get to, was way better (and cheaper) than whatever else I would have picked up on my way home. The hubs was a fan too (even though it was sans meat).
So here it is, TA DA!:
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I think we’ve all been there. Be it at age 8 or at age 58, you open the fridge, stare blankly for a minute, close it and say “there’s nothing to eat.” It’s just too easy to order a pizza or pick up take out despite having a fridge full of fresh ingredients at home. But when the hard part is done, there really is nothing like a home cooked meal that’s delicious, you know what’s in it, and you made yourself. Most of the time, it’s worth it and hopefully appreciated.
I give you the oh-so-simple…

Butternut Squash and Spinach Pasta

What you need:
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 yellow onion
1 butternut squash
bunch of spinach
whole grain pasta (wheat, rice or quinoa)
4 oz chicken broth
pine nuts
cheese – Romano, Parmesan, or whatever you’ve got if you want it (optional)
What you do:
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add chopped onion and saute until translucent (about 5-6 minutes).
In a separate pot bring salted water to a boil.
Go back to the skillet and when the onion is slightly browning, add squash and stir. Add chicken broth and simmer until broth is absorbed and squash is tender (10-15 minutes).
Now go back to your pot for the pasta. Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package instructions.
Check the squash after 10 minutes, if tender, add spinach and stir. Continue cooking until spinach is wilted, about a minute.
When pasta is done, drain, rinse and add to pan. Stir to combine.
Serve and top with pine nuts and cheese (optional).
recipes

Roasted Root Vegetables

Things like potatoes and butternut squash are the perfect solo dinner in a pinch. I keep a stash on the counter and pop one in the mic for a quick dinner at least once a week with a salad or some greens on the side. Prep/cook time is about 5 minutes. Can’t beat it. I went a little nuts at the store a few weeks ago and loaded up the cart with root vegetables. Maybe I had in the back of my mind that they’re nearing the end of their prime, or perhaps my intuition was spot on that it would snow on the first day of spring. And that I’d end up craving something starchy. I’ve been traveling a lot these days though and most nights I’m not even at home to use the mic. So those roots I bought were just taking up counter space. As of Tuesday I had three days to make them disappear before heading back to New York. So I decided to just roast them all. I had them for dinner on Tuesday, in a a salad on Wednesday and then an impromptu dinner of roasted potatoes combined with spinach, black beans and avocado. Not sure what you call that, but it was delicious.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Here’s what you need:

6 Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
1 large sweet potato, cubed
1 butternut squash, cubed
1 yellow onion, cut into crescents
extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Combine root vegetables in a large bowl with the onion. Drizzle olive oil over the mixture and toss to coat vegetables with oil. Mix in a little salt and pepper. You can also sprinkle in some thyme or rosemary to add more flavor (optional).
  3. Spread vegetables out evenly on two baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 400° for 30-45 minutes, or until vegetables are browned.
recipes

Butternut Squash Quinoa

Food & Wine’s recipe calls for couscous, but all I had was quinoa. I’d never cooked quinoa (sounds like key-NO-waa) before so why not try? It cooks like a grain, but it’s really a seed. Raw, it definitely looks like seeds. Bird seed, as Ashley put it. Cooked, it’s quite good though, and pretty funny looking….

quinoa

There are lots of different grains (or seeds) out there, but we usually stick to what we know: wheat. Why not change things up a bit? The quinoa only takes about 15 minutes to prepare…. I’m getting ahead of myself here. Cooking the quinoa is one of the last steps. Let me back up. This dish is really a stew served over quinoa (or couscous). So, we’ll start with the stew… 

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 butternut squash (2 pounds), diced
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups drained and rinsed canned chickpeas
  • 3/4 cup chopped, fresh parsley

Here’s what you do:

In a large soup pot (or dutch oven if you have one), heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic – stir together and cook another minute. Stir in tomatoes, squash, raisins, broth, and 1 tsp of salt. Bring to a simmer. Stir in chickpeas and cook, covered for 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer until squash is tender, about 10-20 minutes more. When it’s just about done, stir in the parsley.

butternut-squash stew

NOW, for the quinoa….

What you need:

  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup quinoa

What you do:

In a medium sauce pan, bring the water and 1/4 tsp of salt to a boil. Stir in the quinoa. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. When all the water is absorbed, fluff the quinoa with a fork.
Serve the stew over the quinoa and top with sliced almonds. 

butternut-squash couscous

Critics (a.k.a. roommates) say: “Tastes like Christmas.” and “That tastes healthy!” (with a positive, delighted exclamation mark). Interesting contradiction, don’t you think? Christmas? Healthy? In the same dish? Is that allowed? Of course it’s also delicious, or I wouldn’t be telling you about it. The critics and I think it is at least. You’ll of course be the judge. Hope you enjoy!

recipes

Healthy Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

I know what you’re thinking … Healthy AND creamy? Liar.

No, really. This soup is rich, smooth and delicious. And it has only 3 grams of fat per serving, plus a solid dose vitamins A and C. How, you ask? There’s no cream. No butter. Just squash, potatoes, stock and seasoning. And it tastes just as decadent. On a cool, rainy day (read: forecast for this week), it’s fall-in-a-bowl perfection.

butternut squash soup

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
  • 6 cups chicken stock

Here’s what you do:

Peel and chop up all the vegetables and place them in a large bowl. Heat oil in a big soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add  the ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon and stir together until fragrant – about 1 minute. Add the diced vegetables and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes, or until the squash and potatoes are tender.

Transfer the soup to a blender (you’ll have to do this in 2-3 batches) and puree. Hold the lid with a towel to keep from splashing and burning yourself. Return soup to pot and stir to even out texture. Continue heating if necessary and adjust seasoning with salt pepper.

Serve and top with chopped walnuts (omega-3s), pecans, raisins, or a dollop of cream if you like.

Sip, slurp, watch the leaves change colors. It’s fall.