Butternut Squash Soup and Concept Cooking


I realized today that my beloved butternut squash soup recipe was not on the blog. I think it’s because after I learned how to make it, I never needed the recipe again. It’s so easy! And so forgiving, you can just add amounts of a few basic ingredients until you get it to your liking. I like to call it “concept cooking” rather than using a recipe. The 3 main parts are the vegetable, stock or broth, and milk of choice. Add seasonings (and apples for sweetness) and you have soup. Use this “concept” to experiment with all kinds of veggie soups like sweet potato, acorn squash, carrot, etc. But here’s a recipe if you would rather have it. This comes from my friend who used to blog at HomeCookedHealthy, but she no longer blogs, and was willing to share her recipe us.

1 med/large butternut squash  You can cook it whole in the oven or peel it and cut it up first to cook it. For me, it’s waaay easier to slit it and throw it in the oven whole, 375 for less than an hour, then scoop out the squash and throw away the skin and seeds. You can also cut it in half and bake in a shallow pan with skin side up, with a little water until soft. You can always bake it ahead of time and store it until ready to make soup. I often bake several squash and sweet potatoes at one time to prep them for cooking later. Another option is to cut it up and cook it on the stove top,  in the stock that’s in the recipe. The cooking time is less than baking it, but you have to spend a lot of time cutting the skin off and cutting the raw squash into pieces, and that is not easy. You will have to try it and figure out what works for you

2T organic or grassed butter (I always use more)

1 small/med onion, chopped

5 cups (app) chicken stock/broth (home made broth is so easy!) Or use less stock and add milk/cream along with stock. Play with this part to get it right for you. Remember “concept” not recipe! If the soup is too thick, add more stock.

1/2t nutmeg

1/4t stevia (or use apples to sweeten)

1/4t sea salt (I used more for mine)

1/4t pepper

1c milk Optional, but gives it the creaminess you may want. I have only used dairy, so I’m not sure how substitutes will work. I use organic or raw whole milk.

Optional: parm or roman cheese grated on top. Organic or grass fed, raw (unpasteurized) is best. Oh my yum! And a sprinkle of nutmeg on top looks pretty for guests!

In a large soup pot, saute onions in butter until soft. I add garlic and sage (sometimes) and s&p in mine. Add the cooked squash (or raw squash that’s been cubed). Add chopped apple if using. After squash (and apple) is soft, you can use a hand blender or put squash and onions (and apple) in a blender to puree, then return to pot. Stir in remaining ingredients and seasonings and continue heating until warm throughout. You may not need the stevia if you have apples in there.  You can also do this in a crock pot on low, after sautéing onions and pureeing all veggies. Eat or freeze in freezer safe jars. Enjoy!

Use pesticide free or organic ingredients as much as possible and reference my “good, better, best” list if you need help knowing what to use.

Encouraging Health,

Organic Eater

Easiest Chicken Tortilla Soup Ever (link + my suggestions)

OrganicEater.com 2012

I found a recipe that is SO easy and delicious, I HAD to share it with you. Bonus: it’s Mexican. Trifecta (again) in my life!! Vegan friends, or friends who are out of chicken, you can make it by using white beans or garbanzo, and vegetable stock. Maximized Living Advanced Plan or Paleo friends, this may have too many beans for you, depending on your starch tolerance.

Hop on over to The Humbled Homemaker’s recipe for Easiest Chicken Tortilla Soup Ever then come right back here to get my extra tips for making this ORGANIC and/or making it with a little extra nutrition I added (and a substitution).

“ONE-POT STOP” here: Pour some organic free-range chicken stock into your pot. Homemade stock/broth is your “best” here, but do what you can. I used a box tonight and felt not one bit of guilt. I also ADDED a spoonful of crushed garlic to the stock, because I try to add garlic to ANYthing I can, for extra nutrition. If you don’t have stock, you could just use water, but I would definitely add garlic for more flavor in that case. Of course I used organic free range chicken breasts. Two were plenty for this recipe. I cut them into very small pieces, cause who wants a big ol’ chunk o’ chicken to have to gnaw on, when this is “soup”?!  I cut up my chicken before I boiled it to save time (didn’t want to have to wait for boiled chicken breasts to cool before cutting/shredding).

Then I dumped in a jar of this:

pineapple salsa

which is NOT organic, but IS delicious and I think it was the “secret sauce” in how it turned out so fabulously!! Pineapple has fructose, so some will need to add a no-sugar salsa instead. I only had one jar, so…… I improvised and threw in half a jar of Trader Joes Marinara sauce (hey, it’s tomatoes, that’s all I cared about. And now my soup is Italian Tortilla soup, but that’s OK). I may not change that when I make this next time, cause it was soooo good! Again, home-made salsa would have been healthiEST, but I was in a hurry tonight and that is life.

Next, I threw in a box of drained organic black beans. Boxed are healthier than canned because they’re BPA free, but soaked/cooked at home are best, if you’re eating them at all. I saw her note at the bottom, about garbanzo beans, so I threw those in too! You could also add organic frozen corn here (regular corn is highly GMO, so buy organic or know your source). I try to cut grains every chance I get, so I did not add corn this time. If company was coming and I was trying to ‘stretch” this meal, I would have added it:)

Then I added the rest of my box of chicken stock and some s&p and let it cook about 5 minutes. THAT’S IT!!!! Chicken, stock/water (& garlic), salsa (marinara), beans. It could not be easier. I think this would work great in a crock pot too, so let me know if you try it that way. Another way to make this quickly is to have your chicken and beans and salsa ready the night before, then all you have to do is throw them in the pot with the stock. Done. You’re welcome.

If you have time, you could add homemade grain free tortillas from Mark’s Daily Apple, or Cheddar Biscuits from HomeCookedHealthy, which is my new favorite grainfree bread to keep in stock around here.  Quickfix: organic blue corn chips (small amount!). The soup is good enough all by itself, though.

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Encouraging Health,

Organic Eater