Tag Archives: healthy

Honey Baked Chicken Tenders

19 Apr

When it comes to meat, there are very few options that Sophie is interested in eating.  Given a choice, she would eat primarily salami, pepperoni, sausage, summer sausage, and chicken nuggets.  All delicious in moderation, but not the healthiest choices on the block.  So when I suggested that we could make our own chicken nuggets, she said that I was sort of missing the point.  And while I was probably missing her point, my point was this – there has to be an option that would be both healthier AND something we’d all like to eat.

And of course, there is.

These chicken tenders were super easy to make, definitely healthier, and decidedly tastier than their processed-out-of-a-bag counterparts.  Without much prep and a little time in the oven, the chicken tenders were done in no time.  Made a bit crispy from an egg/flour coating and a little sweet with the addition of honey, they were delicious.  And everyone ate them – WITHOUT COMPLAINT.

Honey Baked Chicken Tenders
Serving size: 3 oz.
Serves: 4

Olive oil cooking spray
12 oz. chicken breast, cut into 16 pieces
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. garlic salt
10 turns freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
2 T. soy milk
1 T. honey

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Spray baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray.

In a bowl, combine flour, salt, garlic salt, and pepper.  Stir to combine.

In another bowl, mix together a lightly beaten egg, soy milk, and honey.   Add chicken and stir until all of the chicken is coated in the egg mixture.

Remove each piece of chicken and dredge it in the flour mixture.  Place on baking sheet so that none of the pieces touch.  Spray all of the chicken with olive oil cooking spray.

Bake in oven for 15 minutes, turning chicken every five minutes and spraying again with olive oil cooking spray.  When chicken is lightly browned and a bit crispy, remove from oven and serve.

Estimated calories:  234 cal/serving

Print it: Honey Baked Chicken Tenders

Roasted Lamb with Sweet Potatoes

16 Apr

Considering that we’re just coming out of winter (today’s puny snowflakes notwithstanding), I really didn’t make very many traditional comfort foods this winter.  Sophie’s lack of interest in red meat has put a damper on the slow-roasted recipes I often make in the wintertime.  But yesterday, when it was sort of gloomy and gusty, it felt like the kind of day that called for something slow-roasted and aromatic in the oven.  Digging through the freezer, I uncovered a lamb shoulder roast, and set it out to thaw.  Channeling my inner Lynne Rossetto-Kasper, I whipped up a marinade using ingredients I had on hand and let the roast sit for a few hours in the refrigerator, flipping it every now and then while daydreaming about how awesome it was going to taste later.

And I was right.  This low effort meal was as delicious and flavorful as I had expected.  After letting the roast marinate for a few hours, I stuck it in the oven, left it alone, added sweet potatoes, left it alone again, and then served it up.  Everything was perfectly done and delicious.  To me.  However, if you were my kids, the review would have been slightly different.

Sophie’s Report: The lamb was fine.  For someone else to eat.
Martin’s Report: The lamb was really good, the potatoes were tasty, but he could have used a tweezers to remove every piece of rosemary from the plate.  Rosemary is INEDIBLE.

Unless you’re having them over for dinner, I’d highly recommend it.

Roasted Lamb with Sweet Potatoes
Serving size: Lamb + Sweet Potatoes
Serves: 4

1/2 c. lamb stock (beef or vegetable stock if lamb stock not available)
2 T. olive oil
2 T. onion, minced
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. cider vinegar
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 t. dried rosemary
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t. kosher salt
10 turns freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 lbs shoulder of lamb roast
1-1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

In a large ziptop bag mix together stock through salt and pepper.  Close the top, shake well to mix thoroughly.  Add lamb and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325°F.  In a casserole dish, add the lamb and marinade.  Cover, and cook for 1 hour.  Add sweet potatoes, stir to mix in with the marinade, cover again and cook for an additional 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes.

Slice lamb across the grain and divide between plates.  Remove sweet potatoes from liquid and divide between plates.  Drizzle lamb and potatoes with cooked the juices from the pan.  Serve.

Estimated calories:  729 cal/serving

Print it: Roasted Lamb with Sweet Potatoes


Broiled Grapefruit with Pecans and Honey

27 Mar

As far as I’m concerned, the primary purpose for grapefruit is to make juice so a person can have a Greyhound once in awhile.  Other than that, I liken its consumption with penance, especially when combined with cottage cheese.  Until this week, that is, when my mom dropped off a few and they took over the fruit bowl.  Not wanting to waste them, I decided to give them a try and in the process have discovered one of my new favorite things.

Broiled Grapefruit.  

Much like people, the bitter side of grapefruit needs to be tempered a bit with some sweetness.  Before broiling, I added a bit of sugar and a dash of cinnamon to the open side of the grapefruit which when heated, created a slightly glazed and sweet surface.  After just a few minutes under the broiler, the grapefruit was warmed, sweeter, and ready for more toppings.  I added some raw pecan halves and drizzled the whole thing with honey.  The result was a really nice combination of textures and tastes.  For around 100 calories and with only a few minutes of prep, this would be great for a light weekday breakfast, or perfect to make on the weekend for a group of guests as a hearty, healthy side.

Broiled Grapefruit with Pecans and Honey
Serving size: 1/2 grapefruit
Serves: 2

1 grapefruit, halved
1/2  t. sugar
Dash cinnamon
12 raw pecan halves
2 t. honey

Cut the grapefruit in half and remove any visible seeds.  Run a knife along the sections to loosen the grapefruit from the membranes, and between the grapefruit and the peel.  Sprinkle the flesh side of the grapefruit with 1/4 t. sugar and a dash of cinnamon.   Place both halves, flesh side up in a pan.

Place the grapefruit under the broiler.  I like to start on low for 2-3 minutes then turn it up to high until the edges just start to turn brown, leaving the oven door open a crack so I can keep a watchful eye on the grapefruit.  When it starts to brown, remove the grapefruit, add a few pecan halves to the top and drizzle with honey.

Serve in bowls for easier scooping.

Estimated calories:  105 cal/serving

Print it: Broiled Grapefruit with Pecans and Honey

Creamy Chicken Soup

8 Mar

Earlier this week I spotted a recipe for Creamy Roast Chicken and Rice Soup at Fuss Free Cooking that sounded really good.  I LOVE creamy soups, but rarely make them because they can be a bit heavy and sometimes lose a little in the non-dairy translation.  This recipe, however, was ALREADY non-dairy and did not require any substitutes.  The trick here is genius – instead of adding cream or non-dairy cream, cook rice until it is mushy and then puree it to make a creamy base.  I loved the idea, but have to admit, that I doubted that it would work OR taste good.  I WAS WRONG.

I modified the recipe from the original to make a stock, added the meat that was used in the process, threw in some vegetables, and finished the soup in the crockpot.  As far as crockpot recipes go, this is a speedy one, which makes it perfect for those days when you have a little time but not the entire day for your meal to cook on the countertop.  This soup is very tasty, and as an added bonus, SUPER low in calories.  This recipe makes approximately 9 c. of soup, and each serving is only 157 calories.  Compare that to a regular cream of chicken soup which comes in around 240 cal for the same amount, and what you have is not only a tasty meal but a calorie saving jackpot.

This recipe was popular at our house, and I’d highly recommend it.

Creamy Chicken Soup
Serving size: 1 c.
Serves: 9

1 T. olive oil
3 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
1/2 c. carrots
1 stalk celery, leaves included, coarsely chopped
1/2 onion, quartered
7 c. water
1 c. uncooked jasmati rice
1-1/2 c. carrots, chopped
1 c. frozen corn
Salt and pepper
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook on each side for 3-4 minutes, or until browned. Add carrots, celery, and onion and stir, then cook for 2-3 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 hour. Remove chicken and set aside to cool slightly. Strain stock and discard solids. When chicken has cooled, remove meat and chop into bite sized bits, discard skin and bones.

Add stock and uncooked rice to a crockpot. Cook on low for one hour. When rice is cooked, puree with a hand blender. Add reserved chicken, carrots, and corn. Cook for at least one hour on low, adding water if it gets too thick.

Estimated calories: 157 cal/serving

Print it: Creamy Chicken Soup

Seven Layer Salad

16 Feb

A few weeks ago my friend Erin mentioned that she’d made a Seven Layer Salad, and much like a song you can’t get out of your head, this salad has sat in my mind just begging to be made.  In the 80’s, it seemed like you couldn’t go to a special occasion or a potluck without having a Seven Layer Salad on the table.  It has been YEARS since I had one and couldn’t exactly remember what each of the seven layers were.  After asking a few people, it turns out that there are lots of variations on this salad, each one OFFICIALLY THE BEST.  I’ll take every single person’s word for it.

The basic premise is this – pick six of your favorite ingredients, layer them in a tall-sided glass bowl so that they look beautiful, and top it off with a dressing made of sour cream and mayo.  In deciding what to put in this version, I chose ingredients that I knew would be well received by my family.  Of course, if you are not rigid like me, you could definitely add more than seven layers.  And considering some of the delicious ingredients people have used in their OFFICIALLY THE BEST salads, I would not blame you for making a nine or ten layer salad.  When you’re creating your own layered salad, consider the following ingredients:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Mixed greens
  • Green onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Bacon
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Cucumbers
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Peas
  • Cheese (non-dairy, cheddar, feta, really any cheese because you cannot go wrong with a cheese layer)

For this version, I have also made it non-dairy by substituting non-dairy cheese and non-dairy sour cream (feel free to use dairy versions if you prefer).  The thing about non-dairy products is that sometimes they just don’t taste that great, and since the non-dairy sour cream is such an important part of the dressing, I decided to add in some flavor by using part of packet of Lipton Vegetable Dip Mix.  This dip mix does not contain any dairy, and really adds a lot of good flavor to the dressing.  Add as much or as little as you’d like, I found that about 1/4 of the packet seemed right to me.  The rest of it went into some more sour cream and we ate it with veggies this week.  I would also recommend making the dressing ahead of time so that it has more time to soak up the flavors of the dip mix.  The non-dairy sour cream really needs it, but if you’re using regular sour cream, you may not need that extra time.

This is a big, and hearty salad, but the calories are not super high per serving.  We ate loads of it at dinner, and we’ve been having the leftovers all week.  I was surprised at how well it holds up the next day.  I was also surprised at how good it was for breakfast.

See all that condensation on the inside of the bowl?  That happened because I made it ahead of time and it started to fog up a bit when I set it on the counter to serve it.  After just a few minutes at room temperature, the condensation was all gone.  Of course, so was about half of the salad.

Seven Layer Salad
Serving size: 1 scoop
Serves: 12

SALAD
10 oz. bag romaine
6 eggs, -, cooled, peeled, and sliced
4 strips bacon, cooked, cooled and crumbled
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1-1/2 c. shredded non-dairy cheese
1 lb. frozen peas, thawed and drained
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

DRESSING
1/2 c. non-dairy sour cream
1/2 c. reduced-fat mayo with olive oil
1/4 packet Lipton Vegetable Dip Mix
1 T. sugar

 

In a small bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients.  Refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight to let the flavors come together.

In large bowl (a flat-sided trifle bowl works great, but any deep bowl will do), layer the salad ingredients.  Press the layers to the outside of the bowl first, then spread evenly any remaining ingredients.  Sprinkle salt and pepper every layer or two.  After all of the salad ingredients have been added, drop spoonfuls of the dressing around the top. Gently spread to the edges, trying not to disturb the cheese layer.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Estimated calories:  230 cal/serving

Print it: Non-Dairy Seven Layer Salad

Spring Rolls

9 Jan

I am not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions.  For me, they are usually a long list of things I think I ought to do instead of the things that actually get done.  The notable exception to this is the year I resolved to pair up socks before putting them away.  Totally manageable, and not so hard to achieve and repeat.  So this year, instead of making a resolution that is hard to set into regular action, I’ve decided to give myself a challenge.  Introducing, the 2012 10 Food Challenge.  My goal is to make my way through the following two lists.

Six Items I’ve Never Made Before:
1. Beef Wellington
2. Spring Rolls
3. Non-Dairy Banana Cream Pie
4. Sunday Gravy
5. Spatchcocked Chicken
6. Croquembouche

Four Items, A Search for the Ultimate Recipe:
1. Hamburger Buns
2. Pizza Crust
3. Pizza Sauce
4. Italian Sausage, for Pizza

I’m worried about some of these more than others.  To start, I decided to tackle Spring Rolls – manageable ingredient list, not a ton of prep, and something my family will eat.

Turns out, Spring Rolls are not that hard at all.  Most of the ingredients can be prepared in advance and kept in the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble.  To me, this is a big deal.  Most nights the time between when I start cooking and when we eat is pretty short, so if I can have most of the work done ahead of time it makes dinner much less stressful.  One other thing I really liked about this recipe is that since each one is assembled separately, it makes customizing the spring rolls to the palate of the eater super easy.  For example, Sophie hates shrimp and cilantro and carrots and cucumbers, so I made hers without those items.  Martin hates rice wrappers, so he ate chicken and cucumbers while his Party Pizza was baking in the oven.  Please note: Party Pizzas are not in the ingredient list for this recipe, but it never hurts to have one on hand.

The thing that kept me from making Spring Rolls for so long is the rice wrapper.  How would I know when it was soft enough?  Could I assemble them without tearing the wrapper?  Would they hold together?  Like many things in life, I worried about this far too much.  Rice wrappers come in a package that looks a bit like a frisbee, and a quick soak in hot water is all it takes to turn the disk into a pliable wrapper.  For me, this transformation took about 15 seconds (longer as the water cooled).  I placed the soft wrapper on a flat surface, lined the ingredients in the middle, and folded over the top and bottom (see above).  Then, folded one long end completely over the ingredients in the middle and tucked and rolled until I reached the end.  I had a one roll learning curve to assembly confidence.

There are lots of variations on Spring Rolls, and this one is most like the Vietnamese variety.  However, I added more vegetables, and adjusted the sauce to be more like the one served at a nearby Thai restaurant.  So while not totally traditional, we thought they were delicious.  I think it is a very flexible recipe – feel free to add other vegetables, use beef or pork, or omit meat for a vegetarian roll.  As long as the ingredients are cut into strips and are cooked, it should work just fine.

Spring Rolls
Serving size: 1
Serves: 8

SAUCE
1/4 c. water
2 T. lime juice
2 T. sugar
1 T. fish sauce
1 t. sesame oil
1/2 t. sriracha
1/4 t. chili flakes
1 clove garlic, minced

SPRING ROLLS
4 oz. chicken breast
1 oz. bean vermicelli
8 medium-sized shrimp, cooked, peeled, and deveined, halved lengthwise
2 c. lettuce, shredded
1/2 cucumber, julienned
1/2 c. carrots, julienned
1/4 c. cilantro, coarsely chopped
8 rice wrappers

Place all of the sauce ingredients in the food processor and pulse until the garlic is finely chopped and everything is incorporated.  Set aside at room temperature until ready to use.

Cook chicken breast in a pot of boiling water for 5-7 minutes until fully cooked.  Remove and shred or cut into thin strips, set aside.  In still boiling water, add bean vermicelli and cook for 3 minutes.  Remove and drain, rinse with cool water and set aside.

Prep all other ingredients and set up like an assembly line.

Add very hot tap water to a large bowl.  Take one rice wrapper and place in the hot water and move it around so that it is fully coated.  The rice wrapper will begin to soften.  Remove the rice wrapper once it is just soft enough (a bit stretchy, flexible, but just before it starts to tear).  When the water is hot, this takes about 15 seconds, and a bit longer as the water cools.  Place the wrapper on a flat surface and add little bits of ingredients to the center.  Fold down the top and bottom sides, then fold over one remaining side to completely cover the ingredients.  Tucking as you go, roll as tightly as you can without tearing the wrapper.

Repeat with remaining rolls.  Serve with a side of sauce.

Estimated calories:  106 cal/serving

Print it: Spring Rolls

Notes:
– Feeling nervous about the assembly part?  I was.  Until I watched this, then I felt ready to give it a go.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uw-7pYq7wSc

Pump Up the Jam Muffins

13 Dec

I have a pretty extensive collection of cookbooks from Minnesota churches and nursing homes.  These are the cookbooks I turn to whenever I need a recipe for the simple comfort foods I remember from my childhood.  On the whole, these cookbooks contain a whole lot of the following:
– Hot dishes
– Bars
– Pickles
– Bread (as in zucchini or banana)
– Salads that contain no greens but are likely to have either cool whip or mayo

Most of the recipes can be made out of pantry staples with a focus on easy prep, used in a time when low-calorie and reduced-fat were not part of the vernacular.  A bonus to these cookbooks is that they are usually loaded with bits of advice for the homemaker, like this gem:

In flipping through the Luther Memorial Memorable Meals cookbook (pub. 1982), I found a recipe for Strawberry Jam Bread submitted by Cindy Mack.  I decided to give it a try.  As usual, I made a few changes – less fat, less sugar, turned the bread into muffins, and added diced apples to boost moisture and give it some texture.  I’m not sure if Cindy would approve of the changes, but I like to think that she would be glad I used her idea to feed my family.

Also recommended – play Pump Up the Jam by Technotronic while eating these muffins.  It really sped up breakfast.  Hard to say if this was due to the influence of the peppy beat, or in an attempt to get out of the kitchen quickly to avoid watching me move and groove.

Pump Up the Jam Muffins
Serving size: 1 muffin
Serves: 12

1 apple, peeled and diced
2 T. non-dairy margarine
1/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cream of tartar
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 c. non-dairy sour cream
1/4 c. strawberry jam

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Place liners in muffin pan and coat with cooking spray.

Place apple bits into a microwave safe container and microwave on high for 2 minutes.  Set aside until cool, or rinse with cold water and drain.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together margarine and sugar.  Add egg and vanilla, mix until combined.  Add flour, salt, cream of tartar, and baking soda, and mix until well combined.  Add reserved apple bits, non-dairy sour cream, and jam.  Mix until blended.  Spoon into paper liners, dividing evenly.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until slightly golden or a toothpick comes out clean.  Place on rack to cool.

Estimated calories:  125 cal/serving

Print it: Pump Up the Jam Muffins

Notes:
– Feel free to substitute dairy ingredients for the non-dairy counterparts used here – butter or margarine and regular sour cream would be fine in this recipe
– Any sort of jam or jelly would work in this recipe, use whatever you have or like
– These muffins are a bit on the pale side.  I don’t really care, but the original recipe countered this part by adding red food coloring.  I skipped it, but experiment with it if you’d like.

Thai Turkey Salad

28 Nov

We had a terrific Thanksgiving and the brined turkey turned out great.  But, there were only six of us and we were left with quite a bit of turkey.  I love Thanksgiving leftovers as long as the stuffing holds out, but after that, anything that is left has to take on a new form.  On Thursday and Friday I ate primarily carbs, so when I woke up on Saturday, my body was crying out for FRESH, GREEN, and RAW.

The contents and flavors of this salad are based on Thai spring rolls.  I LOVE spring rolls, but never make them because they feel too tedious for me.  This salad takes some of the main ingredients (minus the noodles and spring roll wrapper) and stacks it up in a bowl, and the dipping sauce becomes a light dressing.  It is the perfect compromise for those times I really want the taste of a spring roll, but am too lazy to make them or drive the 20 miles it takes to get to the nearest restaurant that serves them.

Thai Turkey Salad
Serves: 4

SALAD
4 c. lettuce
8 oz. turkey breast, diced
9 oz. bean sprouts
1 c. carrots, julienned
1/2 c. cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 green onions, tops only, chopped
1/4 c. peanuts, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

DRESSING
2 T. rice wine vinegar
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. water
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. sesame oil
1/4 – 1/2 t. crushed red pepper

 

Divide all of the salad ingredients between four bowls, layering lettuce, bean sprouts, carrots, turkey, cilantro, green onions, and peanuts.

Place all of the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake until the sugar is dissolved.  This can be made ahead of time.

Drizzle the dressing over each of the salads, season with salt and pepper,  and serve.

 

Estimated Calories:  170 cal/serving

Print it: Thai Turkey Salad

Notes:
– This salad would be a great way to use any leftover meats, feel free to substitute cooked chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp in place of the turkey.  For a non-meat option, try garbanzo beans.
– I left the turkey cold for this salad, but you could serve the meat part of the salad warm if you prefer.
– The dressing was really good and would taste great on some steamed vegetables to make a nice light side.
– Do you add salt and pepper to your salads?  Up until about a year ago, I didn’t and was SHOCKED at how much better they were with a little salt and pepper.  It makes sense, since I add a little salt and pepper to most vegetables, but hadn’t considered it for salad.  See if you agree.
– If you are serving this for a larger crowd or as a side, it would look really pretty on a platter instead of in individual bowls.

Italian Meatball Soup

23 Nov

Next week, when you’re so sick of turkey and turkey related goods, this is the meal to make.  It is easy, delicious, and light, all of which will be totally welcome.

Making this soup is super easy and most of the cooking is done in the crock pot.  Dice up a few things, open a can, toss in the rest and let it cook for 6-8 hours if you can wait that long.  It is hard, because this recipe will make your house smell like heaven (if heaven smells like Italy, which some might argue would be just).

Before you get started, there is one thing about this recipe that is very different from those that I usually make.  Most of the time, I am fully in favor of substituting ingredients based on what is on hand.  This recipe is the exception – there is one ingredient that you CANNOT DO WITHOUT.  Penzey’s Sandwich Sprinkle.

Never heard of it?  Neither had I, until this summer when I was at a Penzey’s store with my cousins Julia and Jenine.  They told me about how much they loved the Sandwich Sprinkle.   “It makes any sandwich awesome,” they said.  “You can put it on anything and the kids will eat it,” they told me.  They are trustworthy gals, so I picked one up.  To be very honest, I expected to like it fine but thought it was unlikely to be THAT remarkable.   And seriously, not only were they right, but I do not think that they did it justice.  I put it on sandwiches, use it to make croutons, mix it with cream cheese for my bagel, add it to soup, you could even SHAKE IT ON YOUR TONGUE AND BE HAPPY.  It is that delicious, and you should order one today.  Get a good-sized one, you won’t be sorry.

Italian Meatball Soup

Serves: 8
Serving size: 1 c.

1 lb. cooked meatballs, halved or quartered
4 c. beef broth
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 c. carrots, diced
1 c. potato, peeled and cubed
2 T. onion, diced
1 t. Penzey’s Sandwich Sprinkle
1/2 t. Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset (Italian Herb Blend)

Add all ingredients to a crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Estimated Calories:  170 cal/serving

Print it: Italian Meatball Soup

Notes:
– If you’d like, you can add some shredded parmesan to the soup, like I did in the picture.  I thought it was good, but liked it just fine without it so I skipped it every other time I had the soup.  If you add parmesan, 1 T. of shredded parmesan adds 21 cal/serving
– I used Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset herb blend, but if you don’t have that, you could try another Italian herb blend.  It is pretty good though, so if you’re ordering some Sandwich Sprinkle anyway you might want to give it a try.
– For the meatball recipe, I used a modified version of the kind made at Buca (this recipe, but without the romano cheese and panko instead of the Italian breadcrumbs).  However, you could use any recipe you like, frozen meatballs, seasoned or plain.  Just make sure they are cooked before you throw them into the pot.

Rustic Squash Soup with Mustard Goat Cheese Crostini

8 Nov

A few years ago I went through a Squash Soup phase that was so prolific that it has taken me that long to want to eat it again.  Although it has taken awhile, I’m glad that my hunger for it is back because it is one of my favorite fall foods.  Squash soup is such a great way make the transition from summer produce into fall foods – it is healthy, hearty but low in calories, and full of vegetable goodness.  While I love a good soup, I also love feeling like I’m eating a lot at lunch.  Sometimes if I ONLY have soup with nothing else, I find myself snacking practically before I’m done doing the dishes.

Today I balanced the healthy soup with a side of crunchy baguette topped with the creamy goodness of goat cheese.  Not wanting to blow a bunch of calories with too much bread OR cheese, I mixed the goat cheese with mustard to give it a boost of flavor, and spread it on the bread.  After a light toasting, the result was a perfect complement to the slightly chunky soup.

Rustic Squash Soup with Mustard Goat Cheese Crostini
Serves: 4
Serving Size: 1 c. soup, quarter baguette

SOUP
1 T. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 c. chicken stock
3 c. butternut squash, roasted and slightly mashed
2 T. fat-free sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

CROSTINI
1 small baguette (approx. 7-8 oz.)
2 oz. goat cheese
2 T. dijon mustard
2 T. water
1 t. chives, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic, cook until transluscent.  Add chicken stock and squash.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook on low for 10 minutes.  Using a hand blender, puree slightly so that it thickens but is not yet smooth.  Add sour cream and stir until well combined.

While the soup is cooking, cut the baguette lengthwise and into quarters, for a total of eight pieces.  In a small bowl, mix together the goat cheese, mustard, water and chives until smooth.  Spread about a teaspoon of the goat cheese mixture onto each baguette.  Place in oven and heat for 5 minutes.

Serve soup with two crostini.

Estimated Calories:  285 cal/serving

Print it: Rustic Squash Soup with Mustard Goat Cheese Crostini

Notes:
– Since Sophie swears she hates squash, I decided not to bother making this recipe non-dairy.  In this recipe I used fat-free sour cream, but I’ve also used dairy-free sour cream with great results (adds about 15 calories per serving).
– You can use any kind of squash you like, I just happen to like the flavor and texture of butternut.  A single butternut squash contains about 3 c. worth of squash, but a little more or less won’t make much of a difference.
– If you choose to just make the soup and omit the crostini, one cup of soup is only 110 calories per serving.
– When I made this soup, I had already roasted the squash.  If you haven’t, and you don’t know just what to do, see Related Recipe below.  Super easy.

Related Recipe: Roasting a Butternut Squash
– Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
– Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out all of the seeds and guts.
– Place the squash open side down on a baking sheet and bake until tender, usually around 45-60 minutes.  You’ll know it is done when you can poke it with a fork or knife.
– Remove from oven and flip open side up to cool for about 30 minutes.
– Scoop out all of the insides and either smash with a fork or puree until it reaches desired consistency.
– Squash can be used immediately or placed in baggies and frozen.