Roasted Butternut Squash Ginger Soup With Gingersnap Pecan Crumble

Serves 6.

Note: Gingersnaps, crushed and baked with butter and chopped pecans until golden and crunchy, make a surprising and delicious garnish to this slightly sweet and savory squash soup. From Meredith Deeds.

• 12 gingersnap cookies, crushed (about 1/2 c.)

• 1/3 c. chopped pecans

• 2 tbsp. melted unsalted butter

• 2 (1 1/2 lb. each) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-in. cubes (about 6 c.)

• 1 medium onion, cut into 6 wedges

• 2 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 tsp. salt, divided

• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided

• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger

• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

• 1 tsp. ground ginger

• 4 c. homemade or low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

• 3/4 c. heavy whipping cream

• 1 tbsp. light brown sugar

• 2 tsp. lemon juice

• Sour cream, optional

• Chopped Italian parsley, optional

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. To make the garnish, combine the gingersnaps, pecans and melted butter in a small bowl. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring halfway through, until lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.

Place the squash and onion on a large rimmed baking sheet. Add the oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and toss to coat. Roast the vegetables for 25 to 35 minutes, stirring halfway through, until browned.

Melt butter in a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy saucepan over low heat. Add the grated ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, for another 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant, but not browned. Add ground ginger and cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds.

Add the roasted vegetables, broth and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

Using a blender, an immersion blender or food processor, purée the soup in batches and return to the Dutch oven. (To prevent the hot soup from splattering when using a blender, fill only halfway, loosen the plastic insert in the top and cover with a dish towel.)

Add cream, brown sugar and the lemon juice to the soup and heat over low until hot. Taste for seasonings and readjust if necessary. Ladle hot soup into serving bowls and garnish with gingersnap crumble. Add a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of parsley, if desired.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 385 Fat 28 g Sodium 570 mg

Carbohydrates 32 g Saturated fat 12 g Added sugars 4 g

Protein 7 g Cholesterol 50 mg Dietary fiber 5 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 starch, 1 carb, ½ lean protein, 5 fat.

 

Tuscan Chicken and White Bean Soup

Serves 8.

Note: Infused with fresh herbs and swimming with shredded chicken and kale, this easily made soup is thickened by pureeing some of the white beans, while leaving most whole, which gives it loads of texture and creaminess. From Meredith Deeds.

• 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

• 1 medium onion, chopped

• 2 medium carrots, chopped

• 2 ribs celery, chopped

• 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

• 1/4 tsp. dried red pepper flakes

• 6 c. homemade or low-sodium chicken broth

• 1 1/4 lb. boneless, skinless thighs (about 5)

• 2 (15-oz.) cans white beans (cannellini or Great Northern), drained and rinsed

• 2 sprigs fresh rosemary

• 2 sprigs fresh sage

• 2 sprigs fresh thyme

• 3 c. chopped kale

• Shredded Parmesan cheese, for serving

 

Directions

Heat olive oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and dried red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken broth, chicken thighs, beans, herbs and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat. Remove and discard herb sprigs.

Transfer chicken thighs to a cutting board. Shred chicken into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

Using a blender or food processor, purée 2 cups of the soup and return to the Dutch oven. (To prevent the hot soup from splattering when using a blender, fill only halfway, loosen the plastic insert in the top and cover with a dish towel.)

Bring soup to a boil over medium heat. Add kale and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes or until kale is tender. Add chicken and continue to simmer until hot, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Ladle into serving bowls. Drizzle each with extra-virgin olive oil and garnish with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 300 Fat 10 g Sodium 480 mg

Carbohydrates 25 g Saturated fat 3 g Added sugars 0 g

Protein 29 g Cholesterol 75 mg Dietary fiber 6 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 ½ starch, 3 medium-fat protein, ½ fat.

 

Slow Cooker Beef and Vegetable Soup With Crispy Spaetzle

Serves 6.

Note: Deeply flavorful soup will fill your house with the enticing smell of home cooking as it simmers away in the slow cooker. Frozen spaetzle, sautéed until brown and crispy, makes a deliciously different garnish to the family-friendly soup. From Meredith Deeds.

• 2 lb. beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 4-in. pieces

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 2 tbsp. vegetable oil

• 2 medium onions, finely chopped

• 2 tbsp. tomato paste

• 1 tsp. dried thyme

• 4 c. beef broth, divided

• 1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes

• 1 (14 oz.) can crushed tomatoes

• 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

• 2 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped

• 2 bay leaves

• 2 tbsp. soy sauce

• 2 tbsp. butter

• 1 (12-oz.) pkg. frozen spaetzle, thawed

• 2 tbsp. finely chopped Italian parsley

Directions

Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides. Transfer to a 5-quart slow cooker. Add onions to the skillet and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in 1/2 cup broth, scraping up any browned bits; transfer to slow cooker.

Stir in both diced and crushed tomatoes and their juice, remaining 3 1/2 cups broth, carrots, parsnips, soy sauce and bay leaves into slow cooker. Cover and cook until meat is tender, 9 to 10 hours on low or 6 to 7 hours on high.

Discard bay leaves. Transfer beef to cutting board, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-size pieces using 2 forks; discard fat and gristle. Stir beef into soup and let sit until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook spaetzle, stirring, for 6 to 8 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from heat.

Re-season soup with salt and pepper, if necessary. Divide among serving bowls. Top each with some of the spaetzle and a sprinkling of parsley.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 380 Fat 20 g Sodium 1,470 mg Carbohydrates 26 g Saturated fat 8 g Added sugars 0 g Protein 24 g Cholesterol 90 mg Dietary fiber 6 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 ½ starch, 2 medium-fat protein, ½ fat.

Slow Cooker or Electric Pressure Cooker Roasted Chicken Stock

Makes about 3 quarts stock.

Note: Whether you have all day or you need your stock fast, these two easy methods will deliver deep chicken flavor to any soup, stew or sauce you add it to. This stock also can be done in a stock pot, in which case add the roasted chicken, vegetables and remaining ingredients to the large pot, adding enough additional water to cover ingredients. Simmer on low heat for 3 hours, adding more water if necessary. From Meredith Deeds.

• 3 lbs. bone-in chicken pieces (leg quarters, backs and/or wings)

• 1 medium onion, chopped

• 1 medium carrot, chopped

• 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

•1 medium stalk celery, chopped

• 1 tbsp. soy sauce

• 3/4 tsp. salt

• 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns

• 1/4 c. Italian parsley leaves

• 2 bay leaves

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the chicken, onion and carrots on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and toss to coat. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes, until the chicken is browned.

Slow cooker method: Transfer roasted chicken and vegetables to a 6-quart slow cooker. Pour 1/2 cup water onto the baking sheet and scrape up any browned bits. Transfer the liquid to the slow cooker with celery, soy sauce, salt, peppercorns, parsley and bay leaves. Add about 11 1/2 cups water, cover and cook on high heat setting for 8 to 10 hours.

Strain the stock, discarding solids, and cool before using or storing.

Electric pressure cooker method: Transfer roasted chicken and vegetables to a 6-quart electric pressure cooker. Pour 1/2 cup water onto the baking sheet and scrape up any browned bits. Transfer the liquid to the pressure cooker with celery, soy sauce, salt, peppercorns, parsley and bay leaves. Add 11 1/2 cups water. According to manufacturer’s instructions, cook on High Pressure for 1 hour and release pressure using Quick Release method.

Strain the stock, discarding solids, and cool before using or storing.