Butternut Squash Bisque

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: Butternut Squash Bisque! You’ll know this squash by its half-dumbbell cylindrical shape. Its tan skin can be tough to peel, so exert caution in preparation. This is nothing like peeling potatoes. I worked in small sections. Once the hard rind has been removed, cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. From there, cutting into chunks is a breeze. As with anything, the first time can seem challenging, but once you’ve experienced the taste of the sweet buttery orange flesh, you’ll find yourself wanting more.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH BISQUE

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut in 1″ chunks

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

4-6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/2 teaspoon thyme

14 ounces chicken broth

2 tablespoons dry roasted sunflower seeds

Fresh thyme

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. In a large bowl, combine butternut squash, onion, and green pepper. Add olive oil and garlic. Season with kosher salt, seasoned salt, and cracked black pepper. Gently toss to coat evenly. Transfer to the baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer. Bake 15 minutes, turn over and bake 15 minutes longer until tender. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels. Set aside. Working in batches, transfer cooked vegetables to a food processor. Pulse to puréed consistency. Transfer to a heavy bottomed 4-quart pan. Add thyme and chicken broth. Blend well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately. Garnish with bacon crumbles, sunflower seeds, and fresh thyme.

Acorn Squash with Wild Rice

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: Acorn Squash with Wild Rice! When you talk about love at first bite, or rather, first sight, acorn squash sets the bar in the gourd family. With its rich jewel tones of Autumn, it looks as majestic on a dinner plate as it tastes. The sweet mellow flavor needs little or no seasoning. The biggest challenge I found was cutting the acorn squash in half. It is not for the weak-hearted. The rind to so hard, it is necessary to use a serrated knife and forcefully cut lengthwise in small slits until you have circled the entire squash. At that point you can connect the cuts to slice the squash until it splits. Go slow and take your time, lest you suffer from impatience with a minor injury. With that being said, go forth and partake in this gorgeous vegetable off-the-vine.

ACORN SQUASH WITH WILD RICE

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

2 acorn squash, halved and seeded

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons onion, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup wild rice

1/2 cup brown rice

1 3/4 cups water

1/8 teaspoon sage

1/4 teaspoon thyme

2 teaspoons parsley flakes

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2-4 strips smoked bacon, crispy and crumbled

2 green onions, snipped

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spread pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toast for 5 minutes until brown. Remove from oven to cool. Carefully cut each squash in half crosswise. Scoop out seeds. Brush flesh sides of squash with olive oil. Season with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Place flesh side down on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick oil. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Flesh will be soft when pierced with a fork. Meanwhile, sauté onions in olive oil a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir until tender. Add wild rice and brown rice. Cook one minute. Do not burn. Add water, sage, thyme, parsley flakes, and dried cranberries. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 40-45 minutes until tender. Add pecans and crumbled bacon. Toss gently. Fill each squash cavity with wild rice mixture. Garnish with green onion snips and serve immediately.

Yellow Squash Bolognese

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Eat More: Yellow Squash Bolognese! I’m at it again. The Spiralizer has become my new best friend. This time the star attraction is yellow squash noodles in place of pasta. But first, prepare the Bolognese sauce. It not only takes a bit longer, but it will turn your kitchen into an aromatic sensation. The rich Italian Bolognese sauce is a time-honored tradition that can take up to four hours to duplicate. This version, however, requires less than an hour from start to finish. I knew you would appreciate that fact.

YELLOW SQUASH BOLOGNESE

Ingredients for Bolognese Sauce:

1/4 cup olive oil

1 Vidalia onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 carrot, diced

4 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1 pound ground Sweet Italian sausage

1 teaspoon fennel seed

1/8 teaspoon marjoram

1/8 teaspoon oregano

1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

8 basil leaves, chopped

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions:

In an iron skillet over medium heat, combine olive oil, Vidalia onion, and minced garlic. Add celery, carrot, and mushrooms. Sauté 5 minutes. Increase heat and add ground Italian sausage, fennel, marjoram, and oregano. Cook until meat is no longer pink and appears crumbled, approximately 10 minutes. Lower heat and add tomatoes, parsley, basil, sea salt, and pepper. Cook until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 30 minutes.

Ingredients for Noodles:

1-2 yellow squash

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions:

Spiralize the yellow squash into noodles. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil. Add yellow squash noodles; toss gently. Sauté no longer than two minutes. The noodles will turn soft, but not translucent. Serve with Bolognese sauce garnished with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter N

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Color of Food: Normandy Vegetable Soup! Take a stroll down a country lane where small-scale growers of local gardens nourish a family farm with adventurous dishes. Simple vegetable consumption combined with milk, butter, and cheese appeals to the taste buds. Perhaps it’s a throwback to our childhood where nothing went to waste. Or maybe it’s the fact that classic veggies are always a good idea. Normandy Vegetable Soup. Put a twist on your next meal-in-a-bowl.

NORMANDY VEGETABLE SOUP

Ingredients:

1 sweet onion, chopped

1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups light cream

2 cups chicken broth

16-ounce bag Normandy vegetables, thawed*

4-6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Instructions:

In a skillet over medium-high heat, add chopped sweet onion, herbs de Provence, and olive oil. Sauté 5 minutes or until soft. Set aside. In a 2-quart pan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Do not scorch. Add flour, sea salt, and pepper. Stir for 2-3 minutes to make a roux. Slowly add light cream, stirring often to remove lumps. Bring to a slow boil. Carefully add chicken broth, onions, Normandy vegetables. Bring mixture back to a boil. Reduce to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes until vegetables are tender. Stir in sharp cheddar cheese until cheese is melted. Ladle into bowls. Serve hot.

*Normandy vegetables are broccoli and cauliflower florets, sliced carrots, zucchini, and yellow squash. Some varieties include a few red pepper bits, green beans, and lima beans.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter Y

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Daily Special: You Are What You Eat! I’ve been hearing this phrase my entire life, and it wasn’t until recently I actually began paying attention to it again. Oh sure, I knew moderation was key, exercise important, and water essential. I tried to maintain a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, grains, dairy, meats, and even fats because it made a difference in how well I felt. Plus it reflected in my energy level as well. So, as I was collecting all this produce, it seemed like a no-brainer to share the snapshot with everyone. Bon Appétit.

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

Ingredients:

Tomatoes

Green Beans

Assorted Peppers

Corn on the Cob

Zucchini

Onion

Garlic

Squash

Instructions:

Wash the vegetables. Eat them raw, cooked, puréed, chopped, minced, buttered, grilled, roasted, par-boiled, or baked.

“Make food simple

and let things taste

of what they are.”

~ Curnonsky (Maurice Edmond Sailland)

French Writer (1872-1956)

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter Y

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Chow Down: Yumolicious GF Harvest Muffins! Have you discovered the silky taste of almond butter lately? I recently came across a gourmet item that enhanced the almond butter with cinnamon and chia seeds. Because it works with this muffin recipe, I went ahead and used it. Obviously, if chia seeds are not your thing, no worries. The butternut squash is the star attraction, in my opinion. It has a natural sweet flavor that surpasses the pumpkin patch variety that is more common. Since I recently made a batch of glazed pears, they were added to the “harvest”, but you can certainly substitute with a delicious apple instead. If I haven’t piqued your interest by now, let me further add the fact that these yumolicious muffins are gluten-free. See? It works. You learn something new everyday. 
YUMOLICIOUS GF HARVEST MUFFINS 
Ingredients:

3/4 cup butternut squash purée 

1 cup almond butter

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 pear, finely chopped 

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened 

1 tablespoon almond flour

2-3 tablespoons old fashioned oats

2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325°. Use muffin cup liners for 12 muffins. Line the muffin tin; set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine butternut squash purée, almond butter, maple syrup, beaten egg, cinnamon, and baking soda. Mix well. Fold in the chopped pears. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. For the topping, mix brown sugar, softened butter, almond flour, and old fashioned oats. Mixture will be crumbly. Sprinkle each muffin with streusel topping. Top with sunflower seeds. Bake 30-35 minutes or until muffins pull away from paper liner. Watch carefully. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter B

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: Butternut Squash Bisque! You’ll know this squash by its half-dumbbell cylindrical shape. Its tan skin can be tough to peel, so exert caution in preparation. This is nothing like peeling potatoes. I worked in small sections. Once the hard rind has been removed, cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. From there, cutting into chunks is a breeze. As with anything, the first time can seem challenging, but once you’ve experienced the taste of the sweet buttery orange flesh, you’ll find yourself wanting more. 
BUTTERNUT SQUASH BISQUE 
Ingredients:

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut in 1″ chunks

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped 

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper 

4-6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/2 teaspoon thyme 

14 ounces chicken broth 

2 tablespoons dry roasted sunflower seeds

Fresh thyme 
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. In a large bowl, combine butternut squash, onion, and green pepper. Add olive oil and garlic. Season with kosher salt, seasoned salt, and cracked black pepper. Gently toss to coat evenly. Transfer to the baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer. Bake 15 minutes, turn over and bake 15 minutes longer until tender. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels. Set aside. Working in batches, transfer cooked vegetables to a food processor. Pulse to puréed consistency. Transfer to a heavy bottomed 4-quart pan. Add thyme and chicken broth. Blend well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately. Garnish with bacon crumbles, sunflower seeds, and fresh thyme. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter A

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: Acorn Squash with Wild Rice! When you talk about love at first bite, or rather, first sight, acorn squash sets the bar in the gourd family. With its rich jewel tones of Autumn, it looks as majestic on a dinner plate as it tastes. The sweet mellow flavor needs little or no seasoning. The biggest challenge I found was cutting the acorn squash in half. It is not for the weak-hearted. The rind to so hard, it is necessary to use a serrated knife and forcefully cut lengthwise in small slits until you have circled the entire squash. At that point you can connect the cuts to slice the squash until it splits. Go slow and take your time, lest you suffer from impatience with a minor injury. With that being said, go forth and partake in this gorgeous vegetable off-the-vine.
ACORN SQUASH WITH WILD RICE
Ingredients:

1/2 cup pecans, chopped 

2 acorn squash, halved and seeded

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons onion, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup wild rice

1/2 cup brown rice

1 3/4 cups water

1/8 teaspoon sage

1/4 teaspoon thyme

2 teaspoons parsley flakes

1/2 cup dried cranberries 

2-4 strips smoked bacon, crispy and crumbled 

2 green onions, snipped
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spread pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toast for 5 minutes until brown. Remove from oven to cool. Carefully cut each squash in half crosswise. Scoop out seeds. Brush flesh sides of squash with olive oil. Season with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Place flesh side down on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick oil. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Flesh will be soft when pierced with a fork. Meanwhile, sauté onions in olive oil a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir until tender. Add wild rice and brown rice. Cook one minute. Do not burn. Add water, sage, thyme, parsley flakes, and dried cranberries. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 40-45 minutes until tender. Add pecans and crumbled bacon. Toss gently. Fill each squash cavity with wild rice mixture. Garnish with green onion snips and serve immediately. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter Y

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Eat More: Yellow Squash Bolognese! I’m at it again. The Spiralizer has become my new best friend. This time the star attraction is yellow squash noodles in place of pasta. But first, prepare the Bolognese sauce. It not only takes a bit longer, but it will turn your kitchen into an aromatic sensation. The rich Italian Bolognese sauce is a time-honored tradition that can take up to four hours to duplicate. This version, however, requires less than an hour from start to finish. I knew you would appreciate that fact. 
YELLOW SQUASH BOLOGNESE 
Ingredients for Bolognese Sauce:

1/4 cup olive oil

1 Vidalia onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 carrot, diced

4 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1 pound sweet Italian sausage, ground

1 teaspoon fennel seed

1/8 teaspoon marjoram

1/8 teaspoon oregano

1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

8 basil leaves, chopped

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Instructions:

In an iron skillet over medium heat, combine olive oil, Vidalia onion, and minced garlic. Add celery, carrot, and mushrooms. Sauté 5 minutes. Increase heat and add ground Italian sausage, fennel, marjoram, and oregano. Cook until meat is no longer pink and appears crumbled, approximately 10 minutes. Lower heat and add tomatoes, parsley, basil, sea salt, and pepper. Cook until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 30 minutes. 
Ingredients for Noodles:

1-2 yellow squash

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Instructions:

Spiralize the yellow squash into noodles. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil. Add yellow squash noodles; toss gently. Sauté no longer than two minutes. The noodles will turn soft, but not translucent. Serve with Bolognese sauce garnished with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.