Butternut Squash Soup

One of my favorite soups to make during the fall season is butternut squash soup.  It is very healthful as Rachel Ray would say.  It is simple and to make and easy on the waistline.  In fact, I usually use this as my afternoon snack instead of reaching for a carb.

Ingredients

Two butternut squash (peeled and cut into cubes), one diced onion, two quarts of chicken stock, olive oil, nutmeg, black pepper, and salt

Directions

1. Coat the bottom of a soup pot with olive oil.  Sauté onion with a touch of salt until tender.

2. Add the butternut squash to the pot.  Add chicken stock to cover the squash.  Bring to a boil and simmer until the squash is tender.

3.  Once the squash is tender, use an immersion blender to puree the contents of the pot.  If you do not have an immersion blender, you can place small batches of the soup in a regular blender.  Be careful not to fill it too full because you don’t want a squash explosion.

4.  Once the soup is pureed, add fresh ground nutmeg and black pepper to your liking.

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Octoberfest Beer-Braised Chicken Thighs

Today I made dinner for the first time in months.  I must say that in the summer I am super busy and either pick something up for dinner or stop by my parents on the way home for a quick bite to eat.  Now that the fall has arrived, I am able to be back in the kitchen once again. I tried one of Rachel Ray’s recipes as I was inspired by the Octoberfest beer I had in the fridge.  I made a few of my own alterations to the recipe to make it my own.

Ingredients

8 pieces boneless, skinless chicken thighs seasoned with salt and pepper, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 package of your favorite kielbasa, 1 chopped onion, 1 bulb fennel thinly sliced, 1 chopped red pepper, 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 tbsp thyme, 1 tbsp flour, 1 bottle Sam Adams Octoberfest beer, 1 14oz can diced tomatoes, 1 cup chicken stock, 2 tbsp hot sauce

Directions

1. Heat a dutch oven with one tbsp olive oil.  Then brown the chicken thighs in two batches.  Remove chicken thighs to a plate and then brown the kielbasa.

2.  Add the onion, fennel, pepper, garlic, and thyme and cook until the vegetables are softened (about 10 minutes).

3. Add the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.  Then pour in the beer and let the foam subside.  Stir in the tomatoes, chicken stock, and hot sauce.  Let the sauce thicken and return the chicken to the dutch oven.  Simmer covered for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.  Let the flavors meld and your meal is ready.

It’s an easy recipe and satisfyingly delicious!  I’ll give you the recipe for the apple cheddar buttermilk biscuits that I served along with it in my next post.  Happy Hump Day everyone!