Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ginger & Roasted Chestnut Butternut Squash Soup

Makes 4-6 servings

1 medium size butternut squash
3 tsp. grated ginger (I buy it already grated in a tube or jar)
5 roasted & peeled chestnuts (found ready-to-eat at an Asian food market) can sub. 1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cooked & peeled carrots
1 cup stock, vegetable or chicken (add more water if soup is too thick for your liking)
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper and nutmeg
2 tsp. melted butter or walnut oil
splash of heavy cream, or milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash in half long-ways, scrape out seeds and fibers with a spoon. Find a glass baking dish (I used a pie plate) that can fit the squash halves side-by-side, place cut side up. 

Fill the dish with a 1/4 inch of water. Drape tinfoil loosely over dish and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until fork tender. Remove tinfoil halfway through the cooking process. Be careful not to burn yourself on the steam built up underneath the foil or the hot water in the pan. Let the squash sit until cool enough to touch. Scoop out squash from skin. 

I prefer to steam carrots in a microwave steamer, but you can also boil until tender. Place all cooled off ingredients into your blender and pulse until smooth (adding more water if needed). Heat up portion on the stove top and serve with garnish of ground nutmeg and pepper. Perfect on a cool fall day to warm you up!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Decadent Mini Cheesecake Cups

Makes about 16-18 cupcakes (you may need to double the recipe after you taste these!)

1/2 cup of crushed graham crackers
8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar or equivalent in Stevia (or other sweetener)
1 tsp vanilla
6 oz low/fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt
2 eggs
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp all purpose flour
Cooking Spray
Muffin cups

Preheat oven to 350°.

Line muffin pan with liners. Compact crushed graham crackers with a bit of cooking spray at the bottom of each well.

Beat cream cheese, sweetener and vanilla until smooth with a mixer. Mix in yogurt, eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest and flour just till it's incorporated. Scoop batter into cupcake liners until filled half way.
Bake 22 minutes or until the filling doesn't move when jiggled. Remove from pan and chill in the refrigerator before serving.

These are great for parties. I made these for a birthday party (you could probably tell by the balloons on the muffin papers). Top with sprinkles or fruit for decoration!