Cozy Winter Soup

For me, winter weather = soup weather!

I roasted some acorn squash the other night for dinner and wasn’t sure how to use the leftovers. So I decided to just make a soup!

I didn’t follow a recipe but wanted to share because it turned out pretty good. First I sautéed some shallots, onions, carrots and half of an apple. I used gala but I saw on some other recipes that Granny Smith apples were popular for squash soups.

I cooked all of that in some butter until the onions and shallots were lightly browned. Then I added a can of chicken broth (I did half a can at first and then ended up adding the rest). I brought it to a boil for a few minutes.

I added the leftover squash (I had acorn but any kind could work except maybe spaghetti squash). Continued to boil a minute or two and then reduced it.

For the seasoning I added stuff (no measuring) until I felt like the taste was right. Here is what I added:

Salt and Pepper

Nutmeg

Cinnamon

Paprika

Sage and Thyme

Garlic Powder

I let it simmer for a good 20 minutes and used my immersion blender to blend it up until creamy. Then I let it simmer for some more time, basically until it was lightly bubbling and I liked the texture. I only use my immersion blender half a dozen times a year but I absolutely LOVE it. It is so easy to use, easy to clean up and makes soups so good creamy!

When the soup was done I topped it with a spoonful of sour cream and toasted walnuts. It turned out REALLY good! I liked it a lot.

The only thing I would change: Use minced garlic instead of powder garlic.

You can top it with a bunch of different stuff. Crumbled Goat cheese would be fantastic (I just didn’t have any). Toast some sage leaves and add it to the top. I saw one recipe that had pepitas on top. You can also add some coconut milk or heavy cream to the soup, or add curry to make the flavor a little different. I really liked how versatile this soup is. You can make it sweet, savory or spicy!

From start to finish it took about 45 minutes. Super easy. I would definitely make this again with leftover squash and try different flavors! I love a coconut curry squash soup…

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:

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!