Living on a budget, Coop and I are trying to cut back on the amount that we go out. While this has its definite downsides, we have been doing our best to make our nights in a little more fun and creative. Sitting down with pizza, Netflix and beer is always heavenly after a long week at work, but a girl can go stir crazy. Our efforts have included learning to play chess (not terribly exciting, but more captivating than I would have thought), planting edible starts in tin cans and yogurt containers on our windowsill, and trying new things in the kitchen!
Just last week we set out to try a new recipe with pitifully stocked cupboards, and wound up putting our know-how to the test by making up a tasty soup recipe with an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink mentality. With newly purchased pre-cut butternut squash in the fridge (cheating, I know, but it is impossible to find a whole squash in this city!), we stopped by our neighborhood mini-store to pick up some bacon before heading home to the kitchen. Thankfully Cooper insisted that we buy more squash (after I begrudgingly agreed), because when we got home our pre-cut squash from TJ’s was all rotten! One of the many reasons why pre-cut produce is a last choice!
So, armed with half a butternut squash and some thick-slab bacon, I think we came up with something really delicious!
Savory Butternut Squash and Potato Soup
1/2 butternut squash, cubed
5 small potatoes
1 medium yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
3-4 cups stock (we used chicken)
2 Tbs. butter
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 bay leaves
1 Tbs. brown sugar
bacon (enough for garnish)
1/4 cup + parmesan
salt & pepper
Cut up the squash and potatoes, coat with olive oil, salt and pepper, and place on a cookie sheet to roast at 425 until soft (about 20 minutes).
While they are roasting, cut up the onion and garlic and put in soup pot with butter and 2 Tbs olive oil, and sauté until onions are translucent.
When the roasties are done put them in the pot with coriander, ginger and bay leaves, and add the broth. Bring to a low boil, and cook about ten minutes.
Meanwhile, cook up the bacon! Make it crispy so it will crumble into bits.
Remove the bay leaves from the soup, and puree the remaining mixture. Return to the pot, and add brown sugar, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir in the parmesan, and cook all together on low until flavors and cheese are incorporated.
Serve with fresh crispy bacon bits on top (the more the better!).
*note: we drizzled a little cream over the top, more for appearance than anything. This added a nice color variation, but didn’t really change the flavor and isn’t necessary.
We served this with toasted baby spinach, onion and garlic ciabatta from When Pigs Fly (Brookline, MA), and collard greens sauteed in some of the leftover bacon grease. YUM!
The next morning we woke up hungry again, and since we both had the morning free (a rare, and valued opportunity), we decided to put that leftover bacon to good use. Cooper found a recipe for Shirred Eggs in Muffin Tins, which we both thought looked like an idea worth trying.
This recipe is easy to follow, and even easier to alter. For ours, we wrapped the muffin tins in bacon, and filled them with frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed), sautéed onions and mushrooms, diced sundried tomatoes, and topped each with an egg, salt and pepper. Enjoy!