Cozy Soup For Snowy Days!
I woke up this morning to a winter wonderland that was hovering at a balmy 12 degrees. There was no eye-rolling or complaining on my part; I’m like a little kid with the snow. When the weatherman says snow is coming, I’m wishing for a blizzard wicked enough to leave us house-bound for a week! That hasn’t happened yet, but a girl can dream! Snow is beautiful, especially here in Colorado, where it leaves the white-dusted pine trees and frigid mountains looking like a postcard.
On my list of favorite things, right under snow, is soup. Starting in the fall, I develop an insatiable appetite for the stuff and could easily eat it for every meal. An added benefit of soup, apart from being simple and satisfying, is that its cheap (also on the favorites list)! It’s the most forgiving of recipes and you can toss in all manner of bits from the fridge. Leftover vegetables and meat from the week can get used up in nutritious and creative ways. We’ve done really well eating up our leftovers this week, so today I made a yummy butternut squash soup with a Thai twist. I’ve tried several recipes, but liked them all for different reasons. I’ve borrowed and concocted them into my version. Delicious! I’ll post the recipe below so you can enjoy it!
This soup is great as a light meal with a salad for lunch or for dinner along with roasted chicken. I eat it often in the fall because squash is so cheap that time of year! I think I got 2 pounds for $1 when I bought these! That means I spent a whole dollar on the main ingredient for this soup. This is a frugal food for sure! Great for the body and the wallet!
First, peel your squash. This one was about a pound and a half. I washed and peeled it with a potato peeler. That seems to be the least dangerous way for an uncoordinated individual like myself to get it done. Plus you waste a lot less.
Next, cut the squash in half (This is my favorite part because the inside is such a bright orange color). At this point, I scoop out the seeds and set them aside because they are way too tasty to throw away. While my soup is cooking, I’ll roast them – more on that later. Cut the squash into quarters and then cubes of roughly the same size.
I love how easy the next steps are: combine the diced onion, garlic, ginger, spices, lime leaves and broth into a large pot and simmer covered until tender. I peel my ginger with the potato peeler, give it a rough dice and throw it in. Don’t even worry about grating it because its going in the blender anyway. This will take about 30 minutes.
When the squash is tender, blend ingredients until you have your desired consistency. I like mine really smooth, but do as you like. Return to the pot and add the curry paste and coconut milk. You can use low-fat coconut milk if you like, but it won’t be quite as rich. Simmer for a few minutes longer to allow the flavors to combine nicely.
You can serve immediately or store for later. This soup tastes just as good the next day, so enjoy those leftovers. Quick tip: I put several individual portions in the freezer to eat later on. I like to do this with all my soups because it gives you some variety for quick lunches at another time and saves you from eating it leftover too many days in a row. I have a nice little stockpile of soups and stews waiting in my freezer for quick options or for when I’m just too lazy to cook! SO much cheaper than buying prepared soups and healthier too!
Now for the seeds…did you think I’d forgotten? I love roasting pumpkin seeds from our carved pumpkins at Halloween. They are full of great nutrients and make convenient, healthy snacks. I actually think butternut squash seeds are even tastier!
After scooping the seeds out, I soak them in salt water. This gives them a little more flavor, but mostly, it makes separating the seeds from the squashy material easier. Once they’re clean, I spread them out on a paper towel to absorb some of the water. After a few minutes, I put them on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and broil them for about 20 minutes. The timing here is a little tricky, so you should watch your seeds to make sure they don’t burn. I use an electric toaster oven for most of my small baking jobs because its cheaper to run it than my big gas oven.
After they cool, you can enjoy however you like. I sprinkle them on pasta, salads, soups (of course!) or just snack on them by the handful!
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