Tag Archives: Fall food

Comfort Classic

Fall. The leaves begin to turn, there is a crispness in the air and almost an immediately my body begins craving “comfort food” {though my hips are never pleased}. With temperatures dipping into the 60s and 70s as of late, my cravings have been in the soup genre. I am a sucker for tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich; though I have never perfected my soup… until now.

Follow along, I promise you won’t regret it!

Here’s what you need:

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3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 – 14 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
1 – 14 oz. can of whole tomatoes
2 cups of stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 tsp of sea salt {to taste}
1 tsp of sugar {could go lighter on the sugar}
1 tbsp. garlic powder {to taste}
1/2 tsp of fresh ground black pepper {I ended up adding more to taste}
1/2 cup of heavy cream {I think you could sub with half and half}
6 tablespoons of fresh basil, julienned
Parmesan cheese shavings

This is how you do it:

In a saucepan, saute garlic in olive oil on medium heat for 1 minute – keep a close eye as you don’t want to burn the garlic. Next, add the crushed tomatoes then the whole tomatoes one at a time, squeezing them into the pan; gently breaking them up. After tomatoes have been added, be sure to stir in the juice/sauce from the whole tomatoes, as well. Add chicken stock, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook the soup on medium at a simmer for at least 10 minutes. At this point, I used an immersion blender to puree—if you wanted smooth and don’t have the immersion blender, you could purchase all crushed tomatoes–if you like chunky, no need for alteration or blender. To finish, reduce the heat to low and stir in heavy cream and basil.

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Serve topped with Parmesan cheese and a toasty grilled cheese sandwich!

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Cheers!

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Gooey Deliciousness

My first time… cooking with Butternut Squash

On Friday, a friend from work was so kind to give me a Butternut Squash. I was so excited to make something with it, although to be quite honest, I wasn’t even sure where to start. Did I need to peel this? Does it taste like pumpkin? What could I possibly make with this thing?

First things first, I thought I better figure out the right way to prep the squash and find a recipe. So I took the the internet, found a recipe and then headed to YouTube to find out how to get going.

I began by slicing off both the top and the bottom of the squash…

Next it was time for the peelin’

I had to peel a few times around as the skin was thicker than I had expected. After making my way down the bright orange flesh, it was time to scoop!

Then it was time to cut open this little beauty

Once halved I then diced the squash– this large squash yielded about 10 cups total. Which is perfect because that is exactly how much I needed in order to make Butternut Squash Pasta Bake!! I lined a cookie sheet with foil and then lightly coated the foil in cooking spray

I then combined salt, pepper and fresh rosemary for seasoning…

and lightly sprinkled the squash until evenly coated.

With the oven pre-heated to 450 degrees I put the cookie sheet in the oven and set the timer to 45 minutes. In the meantime, it was time to tend to the shallots.

After the shallots were sliced I set them aside and heated a pan to begin cooking bacon

While the bacon sizzled away, I grated about 2 cups of provolone cheese and set it aside

Back on the bacon front, after cooking about 12 slices I discarded all but 3 teaspoons of bacon drippings– I then added the shallots to the leftover drippings. I let the shallots sautee for about 7 minutes

I also started boiling mini penne pasta

And worked at chopping the bacon

And once the pasta was done it was set aside

The timer went off soon there after, so I knew it was time to add the squash and bacon to the same skillet as the shallots

I pulled this from the burner and covered– to be used very shortly. Meanwhile, in a medium stock pot I whisked together whole wheat flour and skim milk.

Once it reached a rolling boil, I began folding the provolone into the mix

and stirred until cheese was melted and “drippy”

And then gently tossed the penne into the mix

After fully coated, I scooped the pasta mixture into a greased, 9×13 inch pan

In a spur of the moment thought I sprinkled some garlic powder over all of the noodles

I then added the squash, bacon and shallot mixture to the top of the pasta

Once covered I then topped the mixture with Asiago and Parmesan cheese

It was then time for the cookin’. With the oven set to 450 degrees I baked the pasta for about 15 minutes… and tried to resist the temptation to peek. My socks were BLOWN off!!!

 This this creamy dish is divine! The squash and cheese mesh so beautifully– this is now most certainly one of my favorite fall meals! Dig in!

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