Not Weird Butternut Squash Soup

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So I was just visiting my dear friend Chai and her family. Since I’m back on the whole 30 bit she was a little nervous about what in the world I would eat while there so she just bought out all the veggies at the store and we had a bit of fun in the kitchen 🙂

For dinner she thought we could make a butternut squash soup so I said, what if we add ground beef to it. She in no uncertain terms told me I was crazy, but it didn’t matter to me… I was sure this was going to be good… and so it was. So here you go… Enjoy this super delicious, super filling NOT WEIRD Butternut Squash Soup with Ground beef and Jerusalem Artichokes… come on, basic was definitely not going to cut it if I wanted to impress my friend… but fancy doesn’t have to mean complicated either 🙂 and this soup is really easy to make!

Ingredients :

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 onion- diced
  • Butternut Squash
  • Soup stock
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Optional: Maple Syrup to add sweetness

“Optional” Garnish that makes this soup awesome…

Directions:

  1. Lightly caramelize the diced onion with a bit of salt in olive oil in a deep pan or soup pot.
  2. Prepare the butternut squash… Now there are 2 ways to do this…
    1. You can either cut the squash in half, take out the seeds brush with a little oil and bake it face down on a lined pan at 350F until its soft – approximately 45min-1hour. This could also be done in a double wrapped pan if your oven is not kosher.
    2. You can *peel and cut your squash* and add it to the sauteed onions and let it cook in the broth.
  3. Add the squash to the onions along with enough soup stock to cover the squash. Bring to a simmer and let cook until the butternut squash is thoroughly cooked through or for 30 minutes if you pre-cooked the squash in the oven.
  4. With an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth and give it a taste. Add any cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper etc needed to bring out the flavor. **Just remember it is supposed to be a sweeter soup** – you can even add a dash of maple syrup!
  5. If you like your soup thicker you can cook it down a bit longer, if you like it thinner you can add a bit of water. This is a VERY flexible soup!

    Optional, but not really optional:

  6. Just before you are ready to serve, take the Jerusalem artichokes and process them in a food processor until it is in very small pieces. Put a little olive oil in the pan and add the processed Jerusalem Artichokes. Cook over a medium flame and when you start to see the oil sizzle a bit put the ground beef on top.
  7. Brown the meat with the artichokes and use to garnish the soup.

If you’ve got picky eaters, start with the meat on the side, but if your friends or kids are anything like mine, they’ll end up adding the meat to the soup and won’t look back! The mix of sweet and savory is just too good!

*Peeling and cutting squash is NOT my favorite thing to do, if you are going to do it, I’d suggest wearing gloves as the squash can often dry out the skin on your hands… Alternatively, you can see if one of your local stores caries a peeled and cut squash with a good hechsher, if you have a Harris Teeter nearby you may be in luck 🙂

Double Wrapped Vegetable Lasagna

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Growing up my father made the VERY BEST vegetable lasagna. It was such a staple in our house that I was genuinely shocked, and already 20 years old, when I found out that traditional lasagna was actually made with meat. My dad still makes the best lasagna and that’s what’s on the menu for Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. Since everyone will be enjoying lasagna, I don’t want to miss out so I’m going to be enjoying my own single serving lasagna too. But since I’ve already got a TON to do, I’m going super easy with this lasagna… I’ll assemble it before I leave and then throw it in an oven double wrapped in foil once I get to the cabin.

Ingredients:

  • Oven ready lasagna noodles (mine were spinach flavor hence the green in the picture)
  • Your favorite tomato sauce
  • Zucchini- sliced thinly
  • Big handful of spinach
  • Sweet Potato thinly sliced
  • Feta cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Shredded cheese- I used munster, mozzarella would have been good too

Directions:

  • Soak the lasagna noodles according to the package directions (mine said to soak in warm water for 1 minute)
  • Put a spoonful or two of tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan and place one layer of noodles on top – I used a small disposable aluminum pan
  • Chop or rip the spinach and mix with the feta cheese and sour cream ( I mixed it in a ziplock bag… I told you I love this trick!) You could also add some tofu into this mix if you are looking for more protein. Spread the creamy spinach & feta mixture on top of the first layer of lasagna noodles.
  • Add a little sauce on top and add the next layer of lasagna noodles. Put a spoonful or two of sauce and sour cream then add a layer of zucchini with more sauce.
  • Add the last layer of lasagna noodles and some more sauce and shredded cheese. Wrap with foil, and then wrap with a second layer of foil. Then bake in a 350*F pre-heated oven for 45minutes if you like your veg & noodles ‘al dente’ or for 1 hour for softer lasagna.

Alternative… you could thinly slice sweet potatoes for another layer!- Be sure to bake for between 1 and 1 1/2 hours if you do use sweet potatoes to give them a chance to really cook.

I’m not gonna lie, my dad’s lasagna is still better, but at least I have a good enough substitute :)…

*EDIT*

After making it for my pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday night meal, I edited the recipe to include sour cream in the mix… I had some extra after the sour cream cake so I decided it couldn’t hurt. Let me tell you, not only did it not hurt, but it totally took this lasagna from ‘okay enough’ to WOW WOW WOW!!! I’ve still got some sour cream left so you can bet I am going to prepare a few more of these to store in the freezer for another make shift meal 🙂

The Most Amazing Spaghetti Squash I’ve Ever Had

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This was the side dish I made for my mother’s birthday dinner… the main dish recipe is found here. With the end of summer, comes great local fresh squash, and I am all about the local farms around here. Something about the peaceful, rolling hills, super fresh produce… well anyway, I digress… So I came home from the farm with a beautiful spaghetti squash… I planned to make a pesto to go with it, but I kept forgetting to buy basil. I decided to play around a bit and came up with this. It was so good, that I went back to the farm and bought another spaghetti squash!

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 2 TBSP almond butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic – minced/chopped small
  • 1 large onion- chopped
  • Salt
  • Nutritional Yeast (Optional, but will make it taste a bit cheesy!)

Directions:

Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Bake, face down on foil or parchment at 400*F for about 45 minutes (or an hour to an hour and 15 minutes in a pan double wrapped in foil). The squash is ready, when you push down on the outside skin and it sinks a bit.

Let the squash cool, then with a fork, scrape the shell of the squash and set all the “spaghetti” aside. In a fry pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, almond butter, garlic, onion and a good pinch of salt and cook until the onions are translucent. Mix the “spaghetti” and a pinch of nutritional yeast into the onion mixture in the fry pan and cook for about 5 – 10 minutes.

Enjoy! This one makes great leftovers too! You can keep it in the refrigerator for about a week and re-heat in the frypan 🙂

 

Salmon with “Honey” Mustard Glaze

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This salmon is easy, can be made whole 30 approved, and can be baked either open or double wrapped. It tastes best fresh, but I’ve been known to make a few days worth in advance…

Ingredients:

  • Fresh salmon (you can use frozen if it’s all you have, but regarding fish, I’m a snob so it’s gotta be fresh!)
  • Your favorite mustard
  • Honey (or date sugar /fresh dates blended into a paste if you are into the whole no processed sugar thing/whole 30)

Directions:

Rinse your salmon and using a knife against the grain, scratch the scales off the skin of the fish and rinse again. Mix equal parts mustard and honey/date sugar/date paste in a ziplock bag and add your salmon. Let the fish marinade for at least an hour, or over night in the fridge. Bake on parchment paper at 400*F for 10-15 minutes (if double wrapping in foil, add an additional 10 minutes and make sure your oven is fully pre-heated)

Enjoy!

Oven Baked Rice

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Cooking in a non-kosher kitchen has it’s challenges. While it is ideal to kasher ovens or stovetops, sometimes that isn’t possible due to timing or family tensions. That’s where this handy trick comes in. If all you have available to you is a non-kosher oven, you may be able to double wrap your food in foil and then bake it- ask your local Orthodox Rabbi for more information. 🙂

This rice recipe is really easy and the rice comes out really nice and fluffy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of a rice of your choice (I used brown rice)
  • Oil
  • Water
  • Salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350. Oil an aluminum pan and add rice and water according to the proportions listed on the rice package. Wrap the bottom of the aluminum pan with a layer of aluminum foil and wrap the top with two layers making sure to completely seal the pan. Put in the oven and bake for about an hour- mine was done in an hour and 10 minutes. If you want to check on the rice lift the pan and tilt it to feel if there is still water loose in the pan. If you do open the foil and the rice is not done yet, be careful to fully double wrap it before returning it to the oven. Once the rice is done open it and fluff it with a fork and enjoy!