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Archive for the ‘Soups’ Category

Today is one of those miserable weather days. Mother nature can’t decide whether to snow, sleet or rain. Gloomy skies dictate a cheerful touch to this week’s post. The color of this butternut squash soup is sure to cure to winter doldrums.

This soup is really easy to make. I discovered it a few years ago in the New York Times food section so I can’t take credit for its development. But if you are looking for lighter fare, this soup is sure to make it to your go-to recipe collection. I’ve made minor adaptations to make it even more calorie-friendly.

This year, I’ve started my new year’s weight loss resolution. I joined hubby and now attend Weight Watchers. He’s lost mucho poundage and I am playing catch up. This soup is my first discovery in low point recipes. The recipe contains no butter or cream although you would swear that it does. According to my calculations, each cup has only four points per serving! You can substitute a rich chicken stock, but this may add more points (fat) to the recipe.

Butternut Squash Soup

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion chopped
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger, grated with a microplane
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 pound southern yams, peeled and diced
8 oz. russet potato, peeled and diced
6 cups boiling water
6 chicken-flavored bullion cubes

Set your tea kettle to boil. Add 6 cups boiling water to 6 bullion cubes. Stir until dissolved. Set aside.

In a heavy soup pot, heat the oil, add the onions and saute until tender. Add the grated ginger and stir briefly. Add the chopped veggies and chicken bullion mixture. Bring mixture to simmer and cook until veggies are tender (about an hour).

Working in small batches, puree the veggies and liquid in the blender, or use an immersion blender right in your soup pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy! Serves 6.

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Shrimp Gazpacho

I had lunch with a former colleague today. We needed to do some serious catching up. It has always been difficult to make the stars and moon align properly so we can find a mutually available time to gossip about the old job and fill each other in on what’s happening with the kids.

As luck would have it, Cathy was available on a gorgeous day and we had lunch outside at my place.

The menu had to be easy and do ahead because I didn’t want to be spending time in the kitchen when we could be outside yakking about all our former co-workers. Cathy was bringing a salad and dessert, I would scrounge up the rest. I had some tomatoes and shrimp, along with a lot of veggies. Gazpacho seemed like the perfect starter course for a long al fresco lunch.

Shrimp Gazpacho

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
juice of a half a lime
1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar

Mix above ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Blanche 3 medium tomatoes. Plunge in ice water. Peel and seed. Place in bowl of food processor along with:

1 red bell pepper, seeded
1 green bell pepper, seeded
1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded
1/2 Vidalia onion

Pulse just until veggies are chopped (about 8 pulses). Turn out into large bowl. Add 2 cloves minced garlic. Stir inĀ 1 teaspoon salt and let mixture sit for one hour.

Finely dice one Japaleno chile. Add to veggie mixture. Add 2 cups tomato juice (I use Sacramento brand). Stir.

To finish the Gazpacho, add the lime-vinegar mixture to the veggie mix. Add:

1/2 pound medium cooked shrimp, coarsely chopped
1 small bunch cilantro, minced
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (may add more depending on your preference)

This dish is best served the next day. Garnish with a dab of yogurt or creme freche and top with snipped cilantro or chives.

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