Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup


Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: ~2 quarts
 
When the weather cools, a bowl of hot soup is a lunch or dinner favorite. Fall and winter bring delicious squashes and hearty root vegetables in abundance. You can make a particularly tasty soup by roasting your vegetables and pureeing them with some broth to achieve the consistency you like. The quantities of the vegetables can be adjusted and even the choice of vegetables can vary. In the base recipe here, I have used butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and a yellow onion, but you can change up the taste a bit by adding garlic, carrots, other squashes, or even something more exotic such as a small beet. If you use vegetable broth and leave out the sour cream garnish, this recipe will meet the guidelines for being vegan.
Ingredients
  • 6 cups butternut squash cut into ~1 inch dice
  • 4 cups orange yams or sweet potatoes cut into ~1 inch dice
  • 1 large onion cut into ~1 inch dice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans of vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (a microplane works well for this)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Diced red pepper for garnish (optional)
  • Celery leaves or parsley leaves for garnish (optional)
  • Light sour cream thinned with a bit of milk or water for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a 1/4 sheet pan or a large baking pan with aluminum foil. Place the vegetables in a large bowl and stir to mix. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with ~1 teaspoon of salt, and mix to coat all of the vegetables evenly. Pour into the lined baking pan and distribute the vegetables into an even layer. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and are beginning to brown at the edges. Remove from the oven. At this point you can use a standard blender to puree batches of the vegetable mixture with the broth and spices or you can use an immersion blender. In either case, you transfer the mixture to a sauce pan (3 quarts or larger) so that you can heat it to serving temperature. If you would like a thinner consistency, add additional broth or water. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour into serving bowls and garnish with a sprig of parsley or celery leaves, diced red pepper or some sour cream. An especially attractive way to use the sour cream is to use a small spoon to distribute dots of thinned cream in a circle. Use a toothpick to drag a line connecting through the middle of all the dots to make a pretty pattern.

Strata Lorraine


Strata Lorraine
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree, Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 10 main dish servings
 
Strata is a fancy name for a casserole of bread, milk, eggs, cheese, and ingredients that flavor the custardy result, allowing you to make it in a different version every time. This is an excellent breakfast buffet item during the holidays because it can be assembled the night before, refrigerated and put in the oven about an hour before you intend to serve it. It is reminiscent of quiche, but without the high-calorie, time-intensive crust. It can easily be made in a quantity suitable for a large group. In this case, the well-known Quiche Lorraine was the inspiration for the dish. Reduced-fat Jarlsberg Swiss cheese, sautéed onions, and bacon are the basis for preparing this flavorful casserole. Some recipes call for layering the ingredients, which is why it got the name “strata”, but layering is not necessary. Once again, this is a base recipe that you can alter to your taste and the occasion. You can switch out the type of cheese you use, the type of bread you use, the meat you choose (or no meat), the vegetables you add, the seasoning, etc. You can make the dish richer by using full-fat cheese or half and half to replace the milk. I especially enjoy a vegetarian version made with sautéed mushrooms and blanched broccoli. A Mexican-inspired version that reminds me of chiles rellenos can be made with green chiles and a mixture of Jack and Cheddar cheeses, served topped with a spicy tomato sauce.
Ingredients
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound loaf of bread (Butter-top wheat works well)
  • 1 pound Jarlesberg reduced-fat cheese
  • 1 cup bacon bits
  • 9 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 3 quart casserole dish, such as a Pyrex 9x13 pan. Cut the onion into 1/4 inch dice. Sauté in the butter over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes until the onion caramelizes and becomes golden and sweet. While the onion is cooking, dice the cheese into small pieces (or grate it if it is a single piece) and place in a large bowl. Cut the bread into 1/2 inch dice and add to the bowl. Add the bacon bits and black pepper. Add the sautéed onions. Mix to distribute the ingredients. Pour into the baking dish.
  2. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Mix in the salt and the milk. Pour the liquid gently over the bread mixture and press the bread lightly into the dish to distribute the moisture evenly. At this point, you can cover the dish with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until the next day. Remove from the refrigerator and bake in a 350 degree F. oven until puffed and golden, about 50 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes.

 

Pantry Chicken Tortilla Soup

 

 

 

 

 



Pantry Chicken Tortilla Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup, Chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 6 servings
 
This is a very easy recipe for a hot meal in a bowl that turns out looking like it took a lot more effort than it did. It is a good recipe to share with children because it is so simple, but keep in mind that the tomatoes with jalapeños give it a little zing that some small children might object to. The soup ingredients might very well be sitting in your pantry right now. Whether this becomes a last-minute meal or a campout treat cooked on a propane stove, you can feed a hungry group quickly. The can sizes are not critical and you can make this recipe your own by adding more or less of any of the ingredients. If you have leftover shredded, roasted chicken in the house, that can replace the canned chicken. The tortilla strips give the soup a pleasant crunch, and if you are pressed for time you can use tortilla chips out of a bag. You might want to crush them a bit if they are large. I like to start the tortilla strips baking while I prepare the soup. You can make this meal fancier with condiments. In my house, we especially like to use diced avocado and shredded cheese.
Ingredients
Soup
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 12.5 ounce can chunk chicken, drained
  • 1 15 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes with jalapeños
  • 1 15 ounce can whole kernel corn, rinsed and drained
Condiments
  • 6 small corn tortillas or packaged tortilla strips or chips
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • Mexican toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • Shredded Jack or Cheddar cheese
  • Diced onion (green onion, white or red onion)
  • Sprigs of cilantro
Instructions
  1. To prepare the soup, open the cans of chicken broth, diced tomatoes, chicken, black beans, and corn. Drain the chicken. Rinse the black beans and the corn and drain off the water. Pour everything into a medium-sized saucepan. Warm on medium heat until all the ingredients are heated through. Serve in soup bowls with the condiments you choose.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To prepare crispy tortilla strips, brush both sides of each tortilla with vegetable oil. Stack the tortillas and starting at one edge, cut through all the tortillas making 1/4 inch slices across the whole tortilla. Cut the middle strips that are very long in half. Spread the slices on a cookie sheet or shallow pan lined with aluminum foil or a non-stick silicone liner such as Silpat, making sure that the slices are not stuck to each other. Bake until the strips are golden brown.
  3. Serve the soup in bowls with whichever condiments appeal to you.