Squash-Carrot Soup

Since moving down South a couple years ago, I really feel the lack of autumn around here. Instead of flaming maples and oaks with bright orange and red leaves, all we have here is palm trees. The few normal-looking trees we have are going to be green pretty much all year round, unless we get a frost, in which case the leaves with be a dead brown.

So to get into the autumn spirit, I decided I need to make an “autumn” meal. I made my first pumpkin pie the day before using pre-made pie crust, canned pumpkin pie filling, some allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon. It came out fairly ugly (but I was rushing, we were going to go out that night and had to leave by 6:00, my pie was done at 5:55. Eek!)

I decided to make a whole roast chicken and some squash soup. I went to the grocery store to pick out the ingredients I needed and what do you know, the store did not sell frozen pumpkin pieces or any other squash but “yellow.” So I decided to make do with what they had. They had frozen “yellow” (summer?) squash slices, and frozen crinkle-cut carrots. I purchased those instead. I wanted an orange-y soup and by God I was going to have it! It was awesome by the way 🙂

Serves 2-3

Here are the ingredients you will need:

1 whole onion

2 cloves garlic

1 small bag (I wish I had checked to see the amounts!) sliced frozen yellow squash

1 small bag crinkle-cut frozen carrots

1/2 box chicken broth

Hot sauce (if desired) – I used half a packet of Panda Express' Chili Sauce

Pinch of salt

Pinch of black pepper

Dash of oregano

1 bay leaf

A few tablespoons of olive oil

1. In a large pot, add chopped whole onion, minced garlic, and oil. Saute until onions turn translucent.

2. Add chicken broth, bring to a boil. Add squash and carrots. Bring back to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes covered. Add herbs and hot sauce and stir.

3. When all vegetables are soft, remove pan from heat and remove bay leaf (they are not edible, they are only for flavor!). Let cool for 10-15 minutes.

4. Using a stick blender, blend until there are no more lumps. If you do not have a stick blender, use a regular blender or a food processor but be careful as soup is still hot.

5. Serve immediately into bowls, and if desired, add a dollop of sour cream, let melt slightly and swirl with a spoon.

I will write about how to roast a whole chicken another time but you could serve with ham, turkey, or even beef or lamb if you wanted. If you want a larger batch, just use bigger portions of ingredients! I definitely wish I had made a bigger amount, it was really good. It had a sweet flavor with a mildly spicy flavor as an aftertaste. My husband, of course, scraped the bowl and wanted more. I know you will, too!

Delicious Fruit Smoothie

It’s been awhile since I last wrote, hasn’t it? The reason why is I finally was able to find a job! I love it and so I haven’t had time for much else…except cooking a couple times a week! (The rest of the time all I make are those amazing Stouffer’s Easy Express frozen meals, what a lifesaver those are! If you are a busy mom/wife/person you will definitely want to try those out, it’s these meals in a bag in the frozen food section, around $3-4 a bag and serves around 2-3 people. You can add to them too, for instance, to their Grilled Chicken Skillet I add more frozen broccoli and cauliflower and a jar of artichoke hearts. And chili sauce. I like the creamy/spicy combination.

Pre-packaged meals aside, my husband had been begging me to make him a smoothie. I didn’t know much about smoothies, but since I have one of those 3-cup food processors I decided to give it a whirl…literally…LOL.

I used these ingredients (and the frozen food section is your friend, if you don’t know my cooking by now!): one fresh banana, a handful of frozen fruit (mango, pineapple, blueberry, strawberry) a few spoonfuls of orange sherbert and maybe 3 tablespoons of orange juice (I happened to have the kind with pulp but it doesn’t matter.)

I stuck it in my little food processor (you could use it in a blender but you may need to blend it longer so it has a smoother consistency) and when it seemed like it looked like a smoothie, I poured it into a short glass and presented it to my husband after dinner. He enjoyed it so much I ended up making it probably 4 or 5 more times until I ran out of sherbert. He still asks for it so I know I’ll have to make it again!