Saturday, October 3, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup with Cheese Toast

I have to admit that I am not a big squash eater. But this soup just warms up a cold evening (like most soups do.) That's one reason why I love the colder weather so much, besides the fact that I just hate to be HOT. Autumn and winter is soup season for us, and I really like soup.

This is only one recipe I have for squash soup, and it's creamy and tasty. You won't be disappointed.

Dinner Tonight is

Spinach Salad
Butternut Squash Soup
Cheese Toast

Creamy Rice Pudding

Spinach Salad
Dressing ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon jucie
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (cut to 1/2 tspn for those watching sugar)
  • 1/4 tspn pepper
  • 1/8 tspn salt (omit for low sodium diets)

Combine in large bowl and stir with whisk. Add 6 cups of fresh baby spinach, cherry tomatoes cut in half and toss to coat.

Butternut Squash Soup
(makes 4 1-cup servings)

  • 1 tablspn butter/margarine
  • 3 1/2 cups cubed and peeled butternut squash
  • 3/4 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 2 1/2 cups low sodium, fat free chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup fat free half and half

To prepare soup, melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add squash, carrot, and onion; saute for 12 minutes. Add broth, and bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat to low; simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in half and half.

Place squash mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of lid to allow steam to escape, and secure lid on blender. Blend until smooth. (Careful. Start out slow to avoid splatters of hot mixture)

Cheese Toast

  • 4 1oz slices french bread
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced swiss cheese

Preheat broiler. Arrange bread on baking sheet. Broil for 1 minute or until lightly toasted. Turn bread over and top evenly with swiss cheese. Broil for 1 minute.

Makes 4 servings

Preheat broiler

Low Fat Creamy Rice Pudding
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1 12 ounce can evaporated fat-free milk
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
Heat rice, milk, vanilla and sugar in a small saucepan on medium heat, gradually bringing to a simmer, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently until rice is tender and the pudding is thick and creamy. Serve warm or chilled. Stir in extra milk before serving if desired.

Serves 6

Spice Rubbed Pork Chops, Brown Rice, Steamed Broccoli with Parmesan

This is relatively healthy. It's not something I make with the kids around, but it's pretty easy to fix and yummy to eat.

Throw in a salad, if you like, and a fruit parfait for dessert (using nonfat yogurt and fresh fruit).

Spice Rubbed Pork Chops
(2 servings)

  • 2 (3oz) boneless pork chops
  • 1/8 tspn garlic salt
  • 1/4 tspn ground coriander
  • 1/4 tspn ground cumin
  • 1/4 tspn brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tspns. olive oil

Spray skillet with nonstick spray. Heat skillet over medium heat.

Sprinkle pork with garlic salt. Combine other spices in a shallow bowl with the brown sugar. Sprinkle over one side of the pork.

Add oil to pan. Add pork to pan, spice side down. Cook 2 minutes; turn pork over. Cook 4 minutes, or until done.

Brown Rice

Cook according to package directions.

Steamed Broccoli with Parmesan
(2 servings)

Use fresh broccoli, if possible. Chop one bunch if broccoli, and steam until tender, yet firm. (Boil if you do not have a steamer)

Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Maple Glazed Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli-Cheese Casserole

Family dinner bliss! Did you know that families who sit down and eat dinner together all at one table tend to be closer? This has always been something that has been important to me as a mother: to have everyone at the table for dinner. It's not always feasible, but whenever possible I strive for it.

As I've mentioned, I have a picky eater. I really try to have at least one thing on the table that everyone likes, and this is not always easy! Since I plan most meals ahead of time, tho, it's become easier to do it. The kids are not here every single night, as they spend time at their father's as well, and those are the nights that we usually experiment with things the kids would turn their noses up at!

But who doesn't like meatloaf? I mean, other than vegetarians. And cows. There are a variety of recipes for meatloaf, but tonight's is one that happens to be a favorite for my kiddos. Even my autistic one eats it up and asks for more when I make this! It's one of the few beef dishes he'll eat.

Now, it's a bit high in sodium due to the beef bouillon the recipe calls for. This is easily omitted, however, without much sacrifice on flavor if sodium content is something you watch (like we do). The fat content can be manipulated depending on the leanness of the beef you use. We try to use Laura's Lean Ground Beef that is a 96/4 (only 4% fat).

So, Dinner Tonight is:

Garden Salad
Maple Glazed Meatloaf
Mashed Potatoes
Broccoli-Cheese Casserole
Fresh Fruit and Yogurt

Maple Glazed Meatloaf
(6 servings)


  • 1 tspn beef bouillon granules
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In large bowl, dissolove beef bouillon in hot water. Add the remaining meatloaf ingredients' mix well. Form into individual meatballs

Bake in oven for 30 minutes; open oven and pour half the glaze over top of meatloaf. Place back in oven to bake for another 30 minutes, or until beef is thoroughly cooked. Remove from oven and top with remaining glaze. Let stand 5-10 minutes.

Mashed Potatoes

  • 5-lbs yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/3 stick of margarine
  • salt/pepper to taste

Boil mashed potatoes in large pot until tender. Drain. Add potatoes back to pot and put back on burner for about 30 seconds. Take off burner and add margarine and whipping cream. Beat on high speed with mixer until mashed and fluffy. Add more whipping cream while mixing, a little at a time, if needed.

Broccoli and Cheese Casserole

1 package of frozen chopped broccoli
1stick margarine
1 lb of Velveeta, cut up
1 1/2 stacks of Ritz crackers, crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cook broccoli until tender; drain.

In saucepan, melt one stick of butter, then mix with crushed cracker crumbs.

Grease casserole dish and sprinkle half of the cracker mix over the bottom. Add broccoli.

Add cut up Velveeta to broccoli. Add remaining cracker crumb mix.

Bake 15-20 minutes.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Creamy White Italian Bean Soup

The weather is getting cooler, and that means it's time for soups! I love making homemade soups, and D loves it too. It's wonderful to experiment as well as soothing to come home to a nice bowl of hot soup on a cool evening.

`course, as I have mentioned before, we have some picky eaters at home. Sometimes, the soups have to wait until they are somewhere else or else they may get a substitute soup from a can that they do like. There are few soups they like. All of the children love tomato soup, especially if I make grilled cheese to go along with it. They also love chicken noodle soup. When I make potato soup, only one of them eats it. Same with the broccoli and cheese soup (oh it's delicious). And none of them will eat the various bean soups I make, which are all good.

So, our first soup of the Autumn Season is one of our favorite soups: Creamy White Bean Soup with Spinach with cornbread. (REAL cornbread, not from a box)

Creamy White Italian Bean Soup
(makes 6 cups at 295 calories and 5 grams of fat per serving)

  • 1 tblspn vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium celery stalk, diced
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 2 cans cannellini beans, drained (you can use navy beans; I use dry ones for lower sodium)
  • 1 can chicken broth (I use the low sodium broth)
  • 1/4 tspn pepper
  • 1/8 tspn dry thyme
  • 2 cups water
  • 10-12 oz fresh spinach (I use baby spinach)
  • 1 tblspn lemon juice

  1. In a 3 qt saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and celery. Cook 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring.
  2. Add beans, broth, pepper, thyme and water. Heat to boiling over high heat.
  3. Reduce to low heat, simmer 15 minutes uncovered.
  4. With a spoon, remove 2 cups of the bean mixture from soup. Blend in a blender, with the middle part of the lid off to allow steam to escape. Add back to the saucepan.
  5. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted. Add lemon juice.
  6. Remove from heat, Serve topped with Parmesan.

Southern Cornbread
(not so healthy, but good)

  • 2 cups of self rising corn meal
  • 1 3/4 cup of buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup of oil

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a 9 inch ovenproof skillet or 9 inch square pan; place in oven to heat.
  2. In large bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well.
  3. Remove heated pan from oven, and pour batter into the pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes.