I am a great cook. Mostly it was because I started to cook when I was little, our mother hated cooking, I liked it and when I was about 10, I took over the majority of the cooking.
My first job was working in a local hotel, in their banquet rooms and I was fascinated with what the chefs made, how they cooked and how they made it. In my 18 years working in the hospitality industry I learned a lot! And one of things I LOVE to make is heathy, nutritional, low calorie food.
Its pretty easy to make soup that tastes great if you add cream, fat and salt, but for over 40 years, I have striven to make heart healthy, low calorie soup that tastes fabulous! And the majority of the time, I succeed.
Doing this takes time. I make my own chicken and beef stock and I take the time to de-fat it before I freeze it.
My family loves my soups, so, for Christmas, I decided to create a "Soup of the Month Club" with my sister and her husband as the enrollees! The first soup I made was just before Christmas and it was my Ukrainian Beet Borscht. This came from my husband's Grandmother's recipe. And it tastes fabulous. Loaded with veggies and a rich tasting broth, I don't add any cream, but let you choose to. Personally, I like mine with a little heavy cream (the same stuff you whip) rather than sour cream. I believe it came in at 135 calories per cup.
It was a bonus, because I made it for Christmas dinner for my son and I.
January was a great beef, barley and vegetable soup, for February, I gave my sister Chicken Gumbo Soup and this week, for March, Roasted Acorn Squash Soup.
I thought I would share the recipes with you each month.
Roasted Acorn Squash Soup
- 3 acorn squash, halved and seeded
- water, as needed
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped
- 1 apple chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium tomato diced
- 1 small red pepper, diced
- 3 clove garlic, minced
- 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 ½ cups white wine (I used a Chardonnay)
- 1/4 cup half-and-half
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch salt and ground black pepper to taste
Alternatively, ½ teaspoon ginger can be added when you add the squash too the soup
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
- Put squash into a baking dish with the cut side down. Pour enough water into the baking dish to cover the bottom.
- Bake in preheated oven until the squash is easily pricked with a fork (about 45 minutes).
- Remove from oven and allow to cool. Scoop flesh into a bowl and set aside.
- Heat oil in a pot over medium-high heat. (Turn heat down when you add the veggies you do not want to over brown the onion or garlic.) Cook the onion, apple, carrot, pepper and garlic until soft, (5 to 10 minutes). You can add more oil, or wine if the veggies start to scorch.
- Pour chicken stock into the pot; simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the squash and tomato and mash ingredients against the side of the pot. Add the white wine.
- Bring the mixture to a low simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Check frequently and if the liquid gets too low, add more stock or white wine.
At this point you can freeze the soup, or if you like a smooth soup:
· Pour mixture into a blender no more than half full. Cover and hold lid down; pulse a few times before leaving on to blend. Puree in batches until smooth and return to pot or if you have an immersion blender, use that.
· Stir half-and-half, nutmeg, and cinnamon through the blended soup; season with salt and pepper. Thin the soup with water if desired.
If you make the soup - let me know, I'd like to know if you enjoyed it!!!