Weight Watchers Recipe

Butternut Squash Cashew Soup

I remember when my best friend Rachel and I went to Chicago and on our last day there we went out to a fancy dinner at a fancy restaurant and did the “chef’s choice” meal. It was like 5 courses of whatever the chef decided to make for us. It was the first time I’d ever tried ahi tuna and it was the first time I’d ever had butternut squash. It was a creamy butternut squash soup in an espresso-sized cup and it was so amazing; I wondered, how had I never had butternut squash soup before??

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I wanted to make it for myself. It sure took me long enough to give it a try…Like 10 years! But finally, I tried. I searched for awhile to find the right recipe. I remembered it being pretty sweet and I found a lot of recipes that claimed it was so sweet it could almost be a dessert. That wasn’t quite what I was looking for. I wanted savory, with a hint of sweet.

I found this recipe:

Butternut Squash Soup With Toasted Cashews

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

From: http://whatagirleats.com/butternut-squash-soup-with-toasted-cashews/

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash, about 6 cups cubed.
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ? teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Heavy cream or half and half, thin to desired consistency
  • Kosher salt, and white pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Halve squash and place cut side up in a baking pan with ½" of water. bake uncovered for about 45 minutes.
  3. Squash won't be fully cooked, but slightly tender. Cool.Using a vegetable peeler, peel of outer skin and scrap inside to remove seeds and stringy fibers. Cut into cubes. Should yield about 6 cups. (I think you can actually cheat on this and get pre-cubed squash in the produce section of your market).
  4. In a Dutch oven or large pot heat butter and oil until hot and shimmering. Add shallots and stir, for a minute or two. Add garlic, stir.
  5. Add squash and broth and bring to a boil.
  6. Add thyme and bay leaf, reduced heat and cover.
  7. Simmer on low about 45 minutes until squash is tender. Remove bay leaf and thyme sticks, if there are any.
  8. Puree soup using an immersion blender or upright blender, until smooth.
  9. Return soup to pot, add half and half or cream to thin to desired consistency. Finish with toasted, chopped cashews and a drizzle of cream.

Nutrition Facts

Butternut Squash Soup With Toasted Cashews

Serves

Amount Per Serving
Calories About 169
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0
Saturated Fat 0
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 0
Total Carbohydrate 0
Dietary Fiber 0
Sugars
Protein
Vitamin A Vitamin C
Calcium Iron

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

http://www.110pounds.com/?p=10283

It sounded pretty good to me! I knew I’d add a little bit of extra things here and there that I had seen from other recipes I liked. For example, a few recipes called or a pinch of cayenne pepper and I LOVED that idea.

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Other than that I followed the recipe pretty closely, except for the bay leaf (didn’t have one) and I added cayenne. I put it all in my Dutch Oven and let it simmer down. I used my immersion blender (which I LOVE) to puree it up.

I taste-tested the soup after pureeing it and added a pinch more of the cayenne pepper. Once I felt like it was good, I dished it up. I thought it was a little odd that the recipe called it “Butternut Squash with Toasted Cashews” when the cashews were really just a garnish. I read the recipe a few times to make sure I wasn’t skipping a step. Sure, the cashews were nice and added a nice crunchy texture to the soup, but I don’t know that it added anything else beyond that. I originally thought the cashews would be ground up and mixed in.

The texture was super creamy. It was a little too close to baby food/applesauce in consistency and I could have added more milk to it to make it more soupy.

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I served the soup with a green salad (swiss chard, spinach and kale) with Bleu cheese and a raspberry vinaigrette dressing. I also had one large cheesy kaiser roll that I split in half for Michael and I to share.

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Michael and I both liked the soup a lot. It was pretty easy to make. I would add more spice to it next time I think. I got 4 servings out of this recipe and that made it around 150-165 calories a serving. Super low but it was filling and I didn’t feel like I was deprived of food afterwards or hungry in an hour.

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I had some leftovers that I took to work for lunch on my two rest days (there weren’t enough calories in it to eat on a gym day). It was just as good the next day. A little bit of spice, but not too much. It was creamy and the best part— SUPER filling for less than 200 calories!

I will be experimenting more in the future trying to find the perfect squash soup recipe. Do you have a favorite? Please share!

Zucchini Coming Out of My Ears!!


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Seriously, it’s coming out of our ears. SO MUCH ZUCCHINI. The plant has taken over the raised bed and every day there is more zucchini. I guess the heat wave we had recently made our plant flourish. I needed some creative ways to eat the zucchini. With so much, just having it as a side dish with every dinner gets old quick. By the end of summer I plan on shredding a bunch of zucchini and freezing it like I did two summers ago. It was nice being able to make zucchini bread in the winter.

Zucchini Boats

This was the first recipe I tried. I went off this recipe from Skinny Taste, Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats, but really just used it as cooking instructions. At some point I will try the actual recipe because it sounds delicious. But I had some leftover cooked ground beef and onions and homemade spaghetti sauce that I just mixed together and used for this recipe. It made it a quick and easy meal.

I cut the zucchini and used a spoon to scoop out some of the seeds and innards. Then I boiled the zucchini for about 2 minutes.

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In a bowl I mixed together the spaghetti sauce, beef and onions. I added a little bit of salt and pepper to it and then put the meat in the zucchini “boat.” I topped the meat with shredded Colby Jack cheese (it was all we had). I baked them at about 425 degrees for 30 minutes.

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Michael and I split one large zucchini for dinner and it was plenty of food. It was so filling and I love that it was low in carbs. We both agreed that it definitely needed some spice to it. Next time I’ll add some red pepper flakes or maybe use spicy ground sausage instead of beef.

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Yum! Yum! Love the concept of this recipe and will definitely try it again.

I’ve done a couple other dishes using zucchini, but not really using a recipe. One of my favorites was gnocchi topped with homemade spaghetti sauce and sauteed zucchini. I love the combination and it was really delicious and filling!

Low Sugar Zucchini Bread

I used this recipe for zucchini bread. Even though it was low in sugar, it was still a little high for my liking. I reduced the amount by using 1/2 a cup of Splenda and 1/2 a cup of unsweetened applesauce. By doing that I reduced the calories per serving by over 100 calories. I also used Trader Joe’s Gluten Free flour.

Zucchini Bread
From: http://www.yummly.com/recipe/external/Low-sugar-and-whole-wheat-chocolate-zucchini-bread-309432
Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Stevia In the Raw Granulated Sweetener, Splenda, or other sweetener
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (or use 1/3 cup more sweetener, but I like a small amount of brown sugar in this)
  • 6 T grapeseed oil or canola oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/175C. (I used a toaster oven so it didn’t heat up the house.) Spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, sweetener of your choice, brown sugar, oil, vanilla, and buttermilk. Stir in the grated zucchini.
  3. In a slightly larger bowl, mix together the white whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, unsweetened cocoa powder, and salt.
  4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir just enough to combine. Then fold in chopped walnuts or pecans. Scrape the batter into loaf pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. (I also used the rubber scraper to spread the batter to make the top of the loaf even.)
  5. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Let bread cool in the pan, then slice and serve.

 

The batter was a little on the soupy side and I was a little worried but it turned out great! I baked them in my mini loaf pan (which I absolutely love) for about 35 minutes and pulled them out. I was really surprised at how light and fluffy the loaves were considering they were gluten free. Usually gluten free baking is really dense and just not great…

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This recipe was great! Michael had it for breakfast a few times, it worked great for that because it wasn’t overly sweet. I had skipped the nuts and I think next time I will add some. The bread needed a little bit of texture to it.

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I was impressed with the subtle flavor and the airy texture. I would definitely make this recipe again and it was a great use of zucchini! I might even add a little more zucchini than the recipe calls for. With my alterations and using the mini loaf pan, I estimated about 18 servings…so that makes the calories around 129 per serving.

Do you have a tried and true recipe to use up zucchini? Pass it on to me!