Friendsgiving is Around the Corner!

If you have ever met me, you know I love food! (and wine, and chocolate, and the list is endless.) I also love to experiment with different recipes and ingredients that I find. I am never happier than when I am trying out new things or cooking for friends. I will find any excuse to create a theme meal!

Now that is is November, my favorite holiday is right around the corner! FRIENDSGIVING!

I cannot wait to have all of my friends gathered in my kitchen to cook, drink, and eat (in no particular order). I am very blessed with friends who not only enjoy good food, but are also amazing cooks themselves! It makes the hardest part of planning trying to figure out how to fit 13+ people into a New York City apartment for a meal!

I have already started trying out different recipes for this years holiday. My most recent was healthy Butternut Squash Soup with Parmesan Crisps. I was looking for something that will compliment the meal without being to heavy. Most of my favorite holiday foods have so much butter, salt, and other delicious ingredients that I can barely walk away from the table afterwards. I love the idea of keeping all the holiday flavors I crave and still being able to eat pie at the end of the night!

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This soup was the answer, incredibly easy and tasted so rich, decadent, and creamy, but it is so healthy! On my honor, there is no cream, not even BUTTER! The only cheat ingredient was a tiny bit of maple syrup to bring out the natural sweetness, but you could omit this if you wanted because the butternut squash is so sweet on its own. The parmesan crisps are also optional, I like a little texture with my soup and I found that these salty little morsels gave the perfect balance to a sweet and savory dish.

I found this recipe on CookieandKate.com and decided to play around with some of the flavors and ended up with one of the most delicious bowls of soup I have ever eaten. The roasting method is really what gives this soup such amazing flavor. When I first tried it, the skin literally fell right off of the squash! It was so easy i couldn’t believe it. I love butternut squash but I tend to avoid it because it can be so difficult to separate the tasty insides from the bitter rind. Now that I have discovered this foolproof method of separating the two, this soup is definitely going to become a staple in my house this winter. Especially because after the squash is cooked, this dish can come together in under 10 minutes and stores wonderfully in the fridge! That makes it perfect for quick on the go meals, as well as the perfect side dish for my Friendsgiving menu!

Here is my version of:

Healthy Butternut Squash Soup!

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Butternut Squash, halved and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • 1/4 of a White Onion, finely chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped (or if you’re lazy like me buy it pre-chopped in a jar! For this method use 1 healthy spoonful)
  • 1 tablespoon of Maple Syrup
  • 3 cups of Vegetable Broth
  • Nutmeg, to taste
  • Freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Rimmed Baking Sheet
  • Parchment Paper
  • Food Processor

***I use a Cuisinart Food Processor – I find it gives the best texture and is the safest way to add hot ingredients slowly. You can use any type of blender, except I do not recommend a bullet because the suction from flipping over hot liquids creates a pressure change that can make the soup explode.

Directions for Soup

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (Do not skip the parchment paper or the sugars in the squash will burn to the pan and give your soup an acrid taste.)
  2. Drizzle olive oil on the inside of the squash, just enough to coat it. (Be careful not to add too much excess oil or it will most definitely burn.) Rub it in with your hands to make sure it it coated evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the squash facedown on the baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes. The squash should come out cooked completely through and soft. When it is cool enough to handle remove the skin by either peeling it off or scooping out the flesh into a bowl. Get rid of the skin.
  4. In a small pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the chopped onion. Cook on low until tender and translucent, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, no longer than 2 minutes.
  5. Transfer onion and garlic to the food processor along with half of the butternut squash, the maple syrup, and 2 cups of vegetable broth. Cover, and pulse slowly to incorporate ingredients. Add a dash of nutmeg and several grinds of pepper.
  6. Add the remaining squash and continue to pulse, add the remaining broth slowly until you reach the consistency that you like.
  7. Taste and flavor with salt and pepper.

Directions for Parmesan Crisps

  1. Remove the parchment paper from the baking sheet.
  2. Pour a small amount of parmesan cheese on the the baking sheets in mounds, flatten with your fingers to create disks the size of half dollars.
  3. Place under the broiler and let the cheese melt until it is golden and bubbly. Watch closely so that the cheese doesn’t burn.
  4. Remove from the oven and let cool until the cheese hardens. You should be able to remove the cheese disk in one crispy piece. If it is not coming off easily, let it cool a few more minutes before trying again.
  5. Garnish your soup and enjoy!

 

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