Hectic Days = Low and Slow Nights (Part Two)

Our first fall leaves of 2013

Our first fall leaves of 2013

It’s FALL!!! Fall! Fall! Fall! Fall!

I spied my first sight of fall leaves at our park the other day and nearly jumped with joy!!

Oh!  I love it so much!! I have to say it again!

FALLLLLLL!!!!!!

The air is crisper, cleaner. Out come the comfy sweaters; in go the dreaded bathing suits.  The kids are back at school.  Hooray!

And we can’t forget the wonderful foods that return with Fall — apples, pears , brussels sprouts, root veggies, squashes. All so comforting and delicious on chilly autumnal nights.

Most nights in the Fall and Winter, I use my slow-cooker. I throw everything in and let Old Trusty do the work for me.  It’s a savior when the after-school activity schedule gets the best of us.

So I do a lot of soups and stews — and I made one of our family’s favorite Crock Pot meals this week:  Butternut Squash Soup.

Slow-Cooker Butternut Squash Soup

photo 3-29

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash (on the medium-large side)
  • 1 apple (I used red delicious), peeled and chopped
  • 1 box of chicken stock, low-sodium (veggie stock works, too)
  • 1 can cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
  • about a 1/4 cup of diced sweet onion
  • about 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • cumin, to taste
  • nutmeg, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste (I use white pepper)
  • croutons (optional)

Get To Work:

  1. Pierce the squash with a fork several times all over and microwave it for 2 minutes.  Check it to see if the shell is starting to get soft.  If so… you’re good.  If not, nuke it another minute at a time until the shell gets soft enough to peel with a veggie peeler.
  2. While the squash is in the microwave, saute onion and garlic in olive oil on your stove top.photo 1-32
  3. Peel the squash, scoop out the seeds, and cut the squash into 1-inch cubes.
  4. Put the squash, apple, onion, garlic, beans, chicken stock, cumin and nutmeg into the slow cooker.
  5. Cook on low for 4 hours.
  6. Use an immersion blender to mix it all up.
  7. I like to serve with croutons… and a side salad and some bread. (on this particular night, I didn’t have crusty bread. So I served it with some dumplings I had in the freezer.)

There are never complaints at our table when I make this.  Everyone loves it.

And I particularly like that the cannelloni beans become a hidden ingredient in this dish.  They add protein to a veggie dish and make it creamy without the added calories of cream.  It’s my favorite trick to use in soup recipes that call for cream.

photo 2-33

It’s a standard meal in our house especially on busy, chilly, fall nights.

Enjoy this wonderful time of year!!!

Happy eatings!

Sharon

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