Saturday, October 13, 2012

Squash and Corn Soup

I am growing to absolutely love butternut squash.  (still hate all the other kinds, but hey, baby steps)  My hubby really doesn't like it, but he'll eat this soup, and both my kids love it too.  Sometimes I make a double batch and then freeze the leftovers in muffin cups so I can pop them out into a gallon ziploc.  We call them soup pucks.  Two or three is perfect for a small cup of soup for lunch, a couple more for a big bowl.  It's nice to have on hand.  Yay Pinterest for that idea.

I got this recipe from a Taste of Home soup book I bought on impulse at the checkout.  It's been well worth it.  I tweaked it just a bit- it originally called for half and half but I just use milk.  And since I always use turkey bacon, I never have the drippings that it said I should cook the onion and celery with, so I use butter there.

12 strips bacon, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
2 tbsp flour (I use sorghum)
1 can chicken broth (14 1/2 oz)
6 cups mashed cooked butternut squash (I never measure- just buy a good sized one and use the whole thing)
1 15 oz can creamed corn
2 cups milk
fresh parsley, salt, pepper to taste

Cook bacon and save drippings, or else microwave your bacon and melt some butter like me

Saute onion and celery til tender.  Stir in flour til blended.  Stir in broth.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or til slightly thickened.

Reduce heat to medium.  Stir in squash, corn, milk, spices, and bacon.  Cook and stir til heated through.  Top with sour cream if you want.

It's super easy and really tasty.  The most labor intensive part is the squash and that's not bad at all.  If you don't know how to cook a butternut squash, here's what you do:

Slice it longways and scoop out the seeds from each side.  Lay both pieces face down on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 for about 45 minutes.  Cool it and then scoop out the flesh.  I usually zap it in the food processor for a bit just so it's very smooth, but you don't have to.  Just makes the soup a tiny bit chunkier if you leave it as is.

Friday, October 5, 2012

BLT Pasta Salad

I'm out of bread.  It's a very sad day.  There's this closeout grocery store about 45 minutes from me that had my gluten free bread on sale THREE FOR A DOLLAR.  At the regular store it's five bucks a loaf.  15 loaves for the price of one.  I bought 50.  And we ate sandwiches like they were going out of style for quite awhile.  Now that I'm out of bread, I can't bring myself to pay $5 again and I haven't made back over there to see if they have more.

But I wanted BLT.

So I made pasta, and darned if it isn't even better than I was hoping.

Ingredients for dressing:
8-12 ounces sour cream
big spoonful mayo- maybe 1/2 cup?
ranch dressing mix:  I like both of these and interchange them when I can't find one or the other.  You could of course use your own, but these are gluten free and delicious.

Other ingredients:
1 pound cooked pasta
12 slices bacon, chopped
a bunch of chopped tomatoes (I never measure those but I usually use between 1/2 box and whole box of grape tomatoes, or else 2-3 big tomatoes.  If you use big ones, take out some of the seeds so it doesn't get too soupy and juicy.)
minced onion, however much you like
fresh basil (I do about 12 leaves and then wish I had put more.  But I think if there's a cooking question, the answer is always basil.  Except for when it's garlic.)
a head of romaine lettuce, chopped

My mom taught me to always tear lettuce and never chop it with a knife because the edges turn brown.  And while this is true, it's also true that I'm a fast-eating BLT pasta piggy and the lettuce doesn't have time to turn.  Chop chop, baby!  Much faster.

I make the dressing first in a big bowl and then start adding the other things one at a time, putting the lettuce and pasta last.  That way the tomatoes and onion and bacon all get a couple extra minutes in the sauce to start mixing flavors.

 Deliciousness in a bowl.  I swear this dish is near perfect.  My dad who dislikes pasta salad but was very hungry got a small bowl and then came back for a bigger second serving.

I served it to my daycare babies and she sucked all the dressing off each piece and set it on her tray.  She's asking for more sauce here, not more actual food.  But then I scooped all that food back into her bowl and she ate it and THEN got seconds.

I will say that if you use gluten free pasta, it doesn't do well second day.  The pasta tends to get a little chewy and weird, and somehow it sucks up all the sauce while still leaving it dry.  I have to add milk if I'm eating it leftover.  But there aren't usually any leftovers!  And that might just be a gf problem.  I don't remember what regular pasta does.  It's been awhile...