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.
Another delicious recipe to take full advantage of the vast amount of zucchini and various fresh mushrooms at the farmer’s market this time of year. Inspired by a Julia Childs’ recipe, this dish can be made vegetarian, or with ham (see “Variation” on the bottom).
Zucchini Timbales with Mushroom Sauce
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini, rung dry in paper towel
3 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons grated yellow onion
2 tablespoons parsley
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup milk (whole, 2% or skim)
a few dashes of Tabasco sauce
5 tablespoons butter
1 pound fresh mushrooms (I like to use a mix – shitake, cremini, oyster, etc.), chopped
8 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup flour
4 cups evaporated milk (whole or skim)
3 tablespoons port
1/2 to 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter four 6- to 8-ounce ramekins.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together all the timbale ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Divide evenly among the ramekins. Place in a roasting pan and put in the oven. Pour boiling water around the cups to come halfway up. Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 and continue baking for an additional 50 to 55 minutes, or until firm in the center and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then run a knife around the side to loosen. Place serving dish over the top, invert and pull off ramekin and spoon mushroom sauce over the top.
While the timbales are baking, make the mushroom sauce: In a large skillet or sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the mushrooms and scallions and cook until soft. Stir in the flour, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in the milk, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened. Stir in port and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm. Note: sauce will thicken a lot as it sits.
Variation: substitute 1/2 cup chopped cooked ham for 1/2 cup of the zucchini.