Fall is here, meaning that it’s hot soup season! Robert and I love enjoying a warm bowl of soup alongside a delicious sandwich for a casual Sunday supper. I particularly love this Zucchini Soup because it is actually healthy (low in fat and carbs), a snap to put together – and, best of all, scrumptious! We recently enjoyed it together with a Turkey, Chutney and Cheese Panini. Both recipes are below – enjoy!
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
2 pounds zucchini, sliced
3 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup evaporated skim milk (can also use evaporated whole milk)
4 slices bacon, cooked crisp
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. When hot, add chopped onion and cook, stirring, until onion is limp. Add zucchini, broth, basil, nutmeg, pepper and garlic powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for around 15 to 20 minutes or until zucchini is very tender when pierced with a fork. Cool slightly. Puree with an immersion blender, or put half of mixture into a blender and puree until smooth; put puree in same sauce pan and repeat with second half. Stir in the milk and heat over medium heat until hot. Crumble one slice bacon into each serving; serve immediately.
Note: this soup is better served hot than at room temperature or cold.
Make ahead: Soup can be made up to 2 days ahead, cooled, covered and refrigerated. Reheat over medium-low heat.
Turkey, Chutney and Cheese Panini
1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
4 8-inch flour tortillas
1/4 cup mango chutney
12 ounces sliced deli turkey
8 tablespoons shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Preheat panini maker, or spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray.
Spread 2 tablespoons cream cheese on each tortilla. Spread 1 tablespoon mango chutney over the cream cheese on half of each tortilla. Place turkey on top of the chutney. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons Cheddar cheese over turkey. Fold tortilla in half over the cheese is melted and tortillas are lightly toasted. Cut in half and serve immediately.
I love spaghetti squash and I’m always experimenting with new ways to fix it. There are several different ways to cook the squash (before you combine it with the rest of the ingredients) and after a bit of experimentation, I decided that microwaving is the best approach. The method described below was developed by Jaden of SteamyKitchen.com – you can see her original instructions here along with another delicious spaghetti squash recipe. While she actually prefers baking the squash, following her microwaving method keeps the prep time on my dish under 15 minutes. Combined with a baking time of around 30 minutes, you can have a delicious (and healthy!) dinner on the table in under an hour!
Spaghetti Squash Marinara with Turkey and Zucchini
1 large spaghetti squash
1 pound ground turkey
2 cups chopped zucchini
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
4 tablespoons whipped cream cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
2 1/2 to 3 cups marinara sauce (roasted tomato is delicious in this recipe)
1 cup shredded cheese (can use any kind – I use a mixture of cheddar and Monterey Jack, but can also use Mozzarella)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2 1/2 to 3 quart baking dish with olive oil.
Stab the spaghetti squash in several places with a sharp knife. Microwave for around 12 minutes, rotating halfway through. Squash should be tender when poked with a knife. Let squash cool enough to handle, then remove from microwave and cut in half lengthwise. Note that, depending on how long the squash sat in the oven it may still be very hot to handle, especially on the inside. Scrape out the seeds (I like to use a grapefruit spoon) and then using a fork scrape out the strands of spaghetti squash.
While the spaghetti squash is cooking (and cooling), prepare the other ingredients: Spray a large nonstick skillet or sauté pan with olive oil and place over medium heat. Add the ground turkey and cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink. Remove cooked turkey from the pan and drain. Wipe out the skillet, spray again with olive oil and place over medium heat. Add the zucchini and garlic and cook until the zucchini is soft. Reduce heat to low, stir in the cooked turkey and cream cheese. Cook, stirring until the cheese melts. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese.
Spread 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with half of the spaghetti squash. Spread 1/2 of the turkey mixture over the squash. Pour half of the sauce that is left (around 1 cup) over the top, then sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the cheese. Repeat layers – rest of the squash, the rest of the turkey mixture, then rest of the sauce and cheese. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly hot.
Make ahead: Dish can be prepared but not baked earlier in the day, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before baking.
As promised in my last post, below is our family recipe for a Kentucky Hot Brown – an open-faced sandwich that combines ham, turkey, tomato and bacon that is topped with a bubbling hot cheese sauce. I shared this recipe in my column on www.gabbygourmet.com in May of 2010 as part of a Derby Day menu – but it is good to eat all year round!
The Kentucky Hot Brown has its roots at the Camberley Brown Hotel in Louisville (where we stayed and also tasted this delicious dish!). It was developed several years after the hotel opened when the supper dance business was declining. To boost business, staff decided to introduce something new. Chef Fred Schmidt had an idea for an open-faced turkey sandwich that featured a Mornay sauce. At that time, turkey was typically eaten only around Thanksgiving and Christmas, so turkey on a sandwich was something new. To add a little pizzazz, pimiento and bacon were added.
Kentucky Hot Brown
This delicious recipe is known simply as a Hot Brown (never a Hot Brown “Sandwich” according to Kentuckians). Considered by many to be a Derby Day staple, this version uses a cheese sauce and tomatoes in place of the pimientos. While delicious on Derby Day, the dish also makes a perfect Sunday-evening meal served alongside a nice green salad.
Photo of Hot Brown sandwich courtesy of Kurtz Restaurant, Bardstown, Kentucky, USA
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (can substitute Gruyere cheese)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 slices toasted bread (we like multigrain)
8 slices cooked turkey or chicken breast
4 slices baked ham, preferably Kentucky
8 slices tomato
8 slices cooked bacon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a large baking sheet with sides.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking, for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk, raise the heat to medium, and continue cooking, stirring, until thickened. Stir in the cheese and continue cooking, stirring, until the cheese melts. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn heat down to low.
Place toast slices on a prepared baking sheet. Put 2 slices of turkey and 1 of ham on each piece of toast. Pour cheese sauce over the top. Place 2 slices of tomato and 2 slices of bacon on top of each. Place in oven and cook until sauce bubbles, around 8 to 10 minutes.
Note: These sandwiches can be prepared in a large casserole or in individual gratin dishes.
Secrets from “A Well-Seasoned Kitchen” – Making a basic white sauce
A basic white sauce is one of the most versatile recipes in cooking. A white sauce can be transformed in a number of ways with various cheeses, wines and spices to enhance a dish. Here’s a basic recipe with tips for getting a smooth and delicious sauce. The recipe takes about 15 minutes from beginning to end and yields a white sauce with medium consistency.
- In a small, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat.
- Blend 2 tablespoons of flour into the melted butter.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
- Cook over low heat, stirring for 3 minutes. It is important to cook it for the full 3 minutes in order to get rid of the floury or pasty taste.
- Slowly, whisk in 1 cup of milk (you can also use light stock, cream or a combination of the two in place of the milk).
- Continue cooking slowly, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened.
Note that the butter and flour may be doubled with the result being a thicker sauce, as is in the Kentucky Hot Brown recipe, or halved for a thinner sauce.