Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup

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Fall is finally here! I’ve been waiting! Summer is great and all…but life is so much easier when you don’t have to apply sunblock to your children every single day and then bathe them every single day and clean up sand in shoes, sand in diapers, sand well, everywhere. Fall is beautiful in Minnesota. The trees are turning, the air is crisp, everything smells like apples and cinnamon and pumpkins, and the FOOD…it just gets better and better. Honestly I don’t really know why our slow cookers are kept in storage until the fall and winter…it’s one of my favorite ways to cook and you can literally cook ANYTHING in them, making your life so much easier. Especially if you have little ones running around who LOVE to turn off the oven, reach for the stove flames, etc. My 17 month old snapped off every single one of my stove knob covers. So much for baby proofing…

So I did a little experiment creating one of those fantastic, super quick videos that are plastered all over my Facebook feed. I figured hey, I have an iPhone, I’ll just place it in my cabinet above my counters and voila! Just one thing missing…the recipe 🙂 So here it is! Also, the entire video is below.

Ingredients

  • 2 large butternut squash (you can do this with any type of squash you like as well)
  • 2 large Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and sliced (You can also drop in a cup of unsweetened applesauce at the end and get the same effect)
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into large chunks
  • 36-48 ounces of chicken broth (use 48 if you like a thinner consistency of your soup)
  • 3/4 cup Lite Coconut Milk (in the can, not the beverage. Hubby came home with unsweetened vanilla coconut milk thinking it was for my coffee 🙂
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parmesan Cheese and Chives for garnish

Directions

  • Wash the butternut squash (NO NEED TO PEEL!) and cut in half (or quarters depending on how large your slow cooker is) and remove the seeds
  • Place the squash, sliced apple and onions in the slow cooker and cover with chicken broth.
  • Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8.
  • Now go do something fun, because dinner is basically made.
  • Butternut squash is done once you can pierce it easily with a fork
  • Remove the squash from the slow cooker, and let it cool for awhile or you will absolutely burn your fingers like I almost did.
  • Scoop out the squash from the peel and place it back in the slow cooker with the apples, onion and broth.
  • Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth.
  • Add in the coconut milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Blend again.
  • Garnish with lots of Parmesan, chives and a drizzle of coconut milk. It’s so good that way.
  • Tip for those with littles: Reusable pouches and sippy cups work great with this soup!
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French Onion Soup Gratinee

On a trip to Paris a few years ago, I had the most amazing french onion soup at Le Grand Colbert. I was in heaven. The perfect ambiance and the incredible soup topped with bubbling Gruyere cheese. Amazing. Ever since then, I was hooked. I’ve tried making it a few times. I’ve tried everything from Julia Childs’ recipe, to mix and match concoctions trying to find the perfect balance of ingredients and flavors. I finally settled on the recipe below and my husband gave me the mother of all compliments saying it we no longer need to go to out dinner to find great French onion soup! The key to fabulous french onion soup is perfectly caramelized onions, not too much salt and perfectly hardened french baguette slices for the gratinee…and a really good Gruyere cheese. But, you can use regular Swiss if you’re not keen on spending 20 dollars on cheese. Oh, and good news! I got a new camera for my birthday yesterday! So, no more iPhone photos 🙂

Ingredients

  • 4 thinly sliced onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 Tablespoons of butter
  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 Cup of white wine
  • 6-7 cups of Beef Broth or a mixture of Beef and Chicken Broth if you prefer a lighter soup
  • Fresh Thyme springs (3-4)
  • 4 Bay Leaves
  • Salt and Pepper
  • French baguette sliced into 3/4 inch rounds
  • Gruyere cheese or Swiss, shredded. I won’t tell you how much to shred…because personally, I’d tell you to shred the whole block:) But you can put as much or as little as you want.
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded

Directions

  1. In a large dutch oven, melt the butter and add the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, fresh thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Cook on medium/low heat for 45 minutes or until onions are golden brown and caramelized. Do not stir often, or the onions won’t caramelize. Caramelizing the onions before hand gives your soup incredible flavor. It’s a slow process, but worth every minute.
  2. Once the onions are caramelized, add in the white wine. simmer until the wine is absorbed into the onions.
  3. Remove the bay leaves and Thyme sprigs.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees for the baguette
  5. Add the broth, and simmer on low for 30-45 minutes to incorporate the flavors.
  6. Cut the baguette into 3/4 inch round slices and arrange on a cookie sheet. bake until toasted, but not too brown.
  7. Preheat the broiler.
  8. Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls. Float 3-4 slices of baguette in each bowl and top with as much Gruyere and Parmesan cheese as you want.
  9. Place bowls on a cookie sheet and put under the broiler for 4-5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.
  10. Add salt and pepper as desired.

Enjoy!

french onion soup gratinee