Friday, October 25, 2013

It's the Perfect Day For...

...soup! What can I say? Between the fact that it's super cheap, relatively easy, and a great way to use up any not-yet-rotten-but-kinda-turning veggies, what's not to love? Not to mention, it's super cozy when things start to get chilly...which they have.

And, you lucky people you, here's a two-fer. Take your pick! They're both tasty and perfect for the cold weather.

Side note: I'm thinking of giving my life some organization (psht! Right!) and rhyme-to-my-reason by posting any food/recipe ideas on Fridays. Get it? Foodie Fridays? I know, it's a push, but that's how I work. And while I've got a pile of recipes to share, I don't expect to do a Foodie Friday every week. They're just relegated to Fridays...y'know, so that the rest of the time isn't taken over by "All Food, All the Time!" ...If ya catch my drift.

Butternut Squash Soup
1/2 - 1 onion, chopped (depends on size and how much oniony goodness your family likes)
1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped (be careful! That sucker's slippery)
1 apple, peeled, cored & chopped (any kind)
1 quart broth, either veggie or chicken, homemade or store bought
Small bunch of fresh sage (maybe 10-15 leaves), chopped
1-2 bay leaves
1/4-1/2 tsp. cinnamon (or to taste)
1/9-1/4 tsp. nutmeg (or to taste)
Salt & pepper to taste
Additional water as needed

Throw everything, except for S&P and additional water, in a pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and allow to simmer for 30 minutes (give or take; if you've got the time, let it go longer). Discard bay leaves and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth (or, in small batches, whir in electric blender), adding water if too thick. Add salt and pepper and test for seasoning. 

I served this with a sprinkling of sharp Parmesan cheese. The baby loved his (below left), and I added some pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries to the "grown up" bowls (right). As with most soups, better the next day! This freezes quite well.

*Vegetarian if using veggie stick, which I did. :-)

Ham and Potato Soup

(I started with this recipe from All Recipes but switched it up a bit; gotta give credit where credit's due)
3 1/2 c. potatoes, peeled & diced
1/3 c. celery, diced
1/3 c. carrots, sliced
1/2 - 1 onion, chopped
3/4 c. ham, diced (I used the fat that's usually trimmed and it MADE this dish! Fat is not always bad, folks, just eat it in moderation...that's my lesson for the day)
3 1/4 c. broth (veggie or chicken; you can also use water and bouillon but homey don't play that)
S&P to taste
3-5 tsp. butter
3-5 tsp. flour
~2 c. milk
Cheddar cheese for garnish (and deliciousness)

Throw the first six ingredients in a pot and bring to boil. Turn heat down and allow to simmer 'til you're good 'n ready. In a separate pot, melt butter and add flour one tsp. at a time, whisking all the while...

Keep whisking! This'll take a few minutes, but is totally worth it. (The floury taste needs to be cooked out.) Add milk and continue stirring until the whole shebang comes together and seems cooked enough, 5-10 minutes (depends on your level of patience...mine took me JUST to about 5 minutes.) Should be pretty thick...

Add the above mixture to the already-in-progress soup and stir together. Cook for a few more minutes (or allow the flavors to come together further and simmer all afternoon; you're the boss here!) and serve hot.

Serve with a sprinkling of cheddar (or some toasted bread or croutons, if you like). This, too, was better the next day, but Dave highly enjoyed it the day-of.

Keep warm this weekend, folks! What's YOUR favorite soup? Or do you prefer chili on these football-watching, Snuggie-wearing nights?

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