Butternut Squash Soup with Cider Cream and Pumpernickel Croutons

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

 From the very first time I tried this recipe from my friend Heather, I was in love.  I loved the autumn inspired flavors with the squash and the apple and I loved the extra crunch and bite that the pumpernickel croutons added.   Too bad a couple of my kids aren't such big fans of it, because I like it enough that I keep making it anyway.  I highly recommend finding the pre-cut butternut squash (pictured below), because peeling and cutting a whole squash was a pain in the patootie!  

 I also recommend pureeing only part of the soup and mashing the rest with a potato masher.  I really liked the extra texture it gave having it only partially pureed.  STAY TUNED later this week for a great recipe using the leftovers of this soup as a pasta sauce.  Double yum! 
Click here for printable recipe.

The ingredients:

5 Tbs. butter
2-1/2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only)
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1-1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried sage
5 cups chicken broth
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup whipping cream
chopped fresh chives

1/2 cup apple cider
2/3 cup sour cream

1 pkg. (16-oz) pumpernickel bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1-1/2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. maple syrup
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
3 Tbs. chives

FOR BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP:  Melt butter in heavy, large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add squash, leeks, carrot, and celery; saute until slightly softened, about 15 minutes.

  Mix in chopped apples, thyme, and sage.  Add broth and 1 cup cider and bring to boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low.  Cover and simmer until apples are tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Cool slightly.  Working in batches, puree soup in blender.  

(NOTE:  I pureed 2/3 of the soup and mashed the remaining 1/3 with the potato masher.  It gave the soup a little more texture.) 

Return soup to pan. 

Bring soup to simmer.  Mix in whipping cream.  Ladle soup into bowls.

Drizzle with cider cream. 
Top with chives and pumpernickel croutons. 

Makes 6 servings.  Enjoy!

FOR CIDER CREAM:  In a small, heavy saucepan, boil 1/2 cup cider until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes.
Cool.  Place sour cream in small bowl.  Whisk in reduced cider. 
Cover and refrigerate until ready for use. 

FOR PUMPERNICKEL CROUTONS:  Preheat oven to 375°.  Preheat baking sheets in oven.  Toss bread in large bowl with olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper.  Spread croutons in a single layer on baking sheet.  Sprinkle with chives.

Stir croutons lightly once every 2 minutes or so, until croutons are crispy on the outside, but still slightly chewy on the inside; about 5-8 minutes.  Enjoy!


Menu 11/29 - 12/5

Sunday, November 28, 2010

 We had a wonderfully quiet Thanksgiving this year and totally enjoyed a day of great food, a lot of laughter, and some rollicking rounds of Apples to Apples.  Then, as per our usual tradition, we spent Black Friday sleeping late, eating leftovers, doing a little online shopping, and trekking up and down the ladder to the attic retrieving our Christmas decorations.  As we carefully placed our Nativities and decked our tree with Grandma's hand-crocheted snowflakes, my 5-year-old, sensing the excitement, asked if Christmas was the next day.  After a split second of wishing that the holiday craziness was almost over, rather than just beginning, I started to get excited too.  While shopping is not my favorite pastime (don't ask me what planet I come from), I do love seeing the magic of the holidays invoke a generosity on my kids that I wish I could replicate through the year.  For instance,  I just had to smile when my young daughter relishing in the 4 quarters the tooth fairy had just left her on Thanksgiving night, declared that she was going to buy Christmas presents for the whole family with her money.  I'm already looking forward to the stick of gum with anticipation....  :)

And with that rambling reflection on the upcoming holidays, I present my menu for the week!  Enjoy!

Monday--Aunt Marilyn's Mexican Corn Chowder

Quick and Easy Breadsticks

Tuesday--Navajo Tacos
Coconut Cupcakes with Pioneer Woman Coconut Frosting--to share with friends (new)

--Makeover Chicken Crescents (my #1 requested meal--a kid favorite! ) 
Cookies for a Cookie Exchange:  

Ultimate Filled Peanut Butter Cookies

Crazy Craisin Cookies

Thursday--Buttermilk Pecan Waffles
"Secret" Buttermilk Syrup (tastes like a light caramel)

Sweet Potato-Coconut Soup (still perfecting)
Friday--White Chicken Pizza with Caramelized Onions

Saturday--Out to eat!

Sunday--Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze (new)

Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles (one of my hubby's favorites)

Go check Organizing Junkie for lots more Menu Plans!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

From my family to yours....

Have a Safe, Happy, and Delicious Thanksgiving! 



Gingerbread Pancakes

Monday, November 22, 2010

   As much as I love a good hearty breakfast, I rarely have time to cook it myself.  Breakfast is almost exclusively a kid-cooked meal in our house.  My kids actually even fight over whose turn it is to fix breakfast and occasionally I even have to forbid them from making something when there have been a few too many syrup soaked meals in a week.    This particular recipe was one my 5-year-old picked out of our church cookbook and whipped together herself (with a little matronly help with reading the recipe and the measuring).  She had heard the word, "Gingerbread" and got so excited there was no need to look further.  These were as simple to make as any other pancake, but the spices and molasses gave it a rich gingerbready flavor that we loved.  I thought it was perfect with a pat of butter and good old fashioned maple syrup, although my teenage daughter really wants to try them with the Cinnamon-Brown Butter-Pecan Topping next time we make them.  Thanks to my friend Cindy for  another great recipe!  

By the way, I'm taking the rest of this week off from blogging and will be back sometime next week! 
Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!!!! 

Click here for printable recipe.

The ingredients:
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
1-1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup molasses
3 Tbs. oil

Directions:  Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a small bowl; set aside.  Beat together egg and milk in a large bowl.  Stir in molasses and then oil.  Add flour mixture and stir just until combined.

Lightly grease a griddle or skillet.  Pour 1/4 cup batter onto griddle and cook until puffed and bubbly, turn and cook until golden.  Enjoy! 

With a name like "Gingerbread Pancakes", we, of course,  had to try and make a pancake shaped like a gingerbread man. 


Thanksgiving Week Menu

Sunday, November 21, 2010

 This autumn has been stressful here at our house, so I'm looking forward to a few days to "chill" at home this week...something we don't do very often.   I guess being in the mode for low stress, I'm not feeling the need to be very adventurous in the kitchen this week.  Mostly we'll be having some long-time family favorites with a good dose of some good old fashioned comfort food!  :)  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!   

--Sweet and Sour Chicken and Rice

Turkey Cupcakes (for a fun family night treat)

Tuesday--Vegetarian Potato Pasta (still perfecting)

Wednesday--leftovers  from Sunday

Thursday--Turkey (of course)  :)

Oatmeal Dinner Rolls (my favorite)

Spinach Salad with Gorgonzola and Walnuts (new) 

Garlic-Parmesan Roasted Potatoes  (made by my 10-year-old)

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce  (this picture does not do this yummy dessert justice!)

Apple Pie (with THE best pie crust)

Friday--Daddy's turn to cook (a post-Thanksgiving tradition)--Turkey and Gravy over Toast

Saturday--Chicken Pot Pie (made with leftover turkey)

Sunday-- Turkey Tacos (made with leftover turkey)

Go check Organizing Junkie for lots more Menu Plans!


Pulled Chicken and Slaw Sliders

Thursday, November 18, 2010

This super easy new sandwich recipe is one I found in an insert to one of those annoying free newspapers that clutter up my driveway.  Usually they go straight into the recycling bin, but that particular day I decided to look and see if there were any good coupons in there.   And lo and behold, I discovered this little sandwich treasure!      They were quite simple to make and got the thumb's up from everyone in the family -- from the 5-year-old picky eater all the way to Daddy.  :)  I wasn't sure that my kids would go for the coleslaw topping, but the dill pickle flavor ended up making it quite a hit!
Click here for printable recipe.  

The ingredients:

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs. dill pickle juice (from a jar of pickles)
2 Tbs. cider vinegar
2 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste
1 (16-oz) package shredded coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage)
1/2 cup green onion

1 cup favorite BBQ sauce
3 Tbs. cider vinegar (we left this out completely)
3 cups roughly shredded rotisserie chicken

1 pkg. (12) mini-hamburger buns (I used 8 regular-sized hamburger buns)

DIRECTIONS:  To prepare slaw, in a large bowl whisk all ingredients together, except coleslaw mix and green onion.  Add coleslaw and green onions and toss to coat.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To prepare chicken, combine BBQ sauce, vinegar, and chicken in a glass bowl.  Microwave about 3-minutes or until thoroughly blended.

To serve, place chicken mixture on bun bottoms. 

Spoon slaw on top of chicken. 

Place remaining bun halves on top.

Makes 12 sliders or 8 standard size sandwiches.  Enjoy!


About This Blog

My name is Lara and while I'm definitely not a gourmet cook, I do love preparing tasty, healthy meals for my family. Finding new recipes to try and sharing the ones we've already fallen in love with is a passion I've had since college and the reason why I've started this blog! With five kids, I'm usually in a hurry, so you'll find most of these recipes kid friendly and simple to make.

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