French Onion Soup

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 lbs yellow onions, halved and sliced
  • 2 lbs red onions, halved and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • baguette, 8 diagonal slices (1/2-inch)
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese

Instructions

  1. Scatter butter on the bottom of a 6-7 quart slow cooker.
  2. Add oil, thyme, garlic and bay, then onions.
  3. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Cover and cook on high for 8 hours.
  5. When 15 minutes remain, prepare cheese toasts and broth.
  6. Position rack in upper third of oven. Prepare a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking oil. Lightly oil bread slices and top with cheese.
  7. Add beef broth and dry sherry to a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  8. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf from the slow cooker and pour in the broth. Continue cooking on high for 10 minutes.
  9. Broil cheese toasts on high for 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted.

Thanks to the original recipe found in EatingWell Soups (pp. 182).

COOKING TIPS

To reduce tearing while cutting the onions, refrigerate whole onions for 30 minutes before slicing.

For a more cheesy soup. Ladle soup into oven safe bowls, top with preferred amount of cheese, and broil until cheese has slightly browned.

Sausage Stuffed Shells in Roasted Butternut Squash

Makes 3-4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 pound sausage
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound jumbo shells, cooked al dente
  • 15 ounces ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, shredded
  • Additional parmesan, shredded
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Arrange onion and butternut squash in an even layer on a lined baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Roast for 40 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook sausage over medium heat. When sausage is mostly browned, add spinach and garlic. Cook until spinach is wilted and remove from heat. 
  5. Place roasted butternut squash and onion in a food processor or large bowl. Puree with processor or immersion blender.
  6. Stir in milk and vegetable broth.
  7. Pour butternut squash sauce into base of a 9×13 baking dish.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, stir together ricotta, parmesan, and egg. Add sausage and spinach into ricotta and stir until evenly distributed.
  9. Fill cooked pasta shells with 3-4 tablespoons of filling.
  10. Arrange shells in butternut squash sauce in the 9×13 baking dish.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes covered with aluminum foil followed by 15 minutes uncovered.
  12. Option to serve with additional parmesan.

Thanks to the original recipe found here.

Bacon and Butternut Squash Pasta

Ingredients

  • 3 cups peeled butternut squash, cubed into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 6 strips of turkey or regular bacon
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 8oz pasta, any type
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups reduced-fat milk
  • 3/4 cup provolone, shredded
  • 1/3 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

Instructions

Squash, Bacon, & Onions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Prepare two oven safe cooking trays with foil. 
  3. Spray one pan with cooking spray and spread cubed butternut squash evenly over pan. Top with garlic powder, rosemary, salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Meanwhile, place bacon onto the second prepared pan and set a second timer for 10 minutes. 
  6. After 10 minutes check the bacon. Continue cooking bacon in 5 minute increments until bacon is brown and crisp, but not burnt. 
  7. Allow bacon to cool on paper towels and then crumble.
  8. While bacon cools, spray a medium sized pan with cooking spray (or coat pan with bacon grease) and cook onions on medium low until translucent.
Pasta & Sauce
  1. When squash is browned and done baking, increase oven temperature to 450F.
  2. Cook pasta according to directions until al dente, drain.  
  3. Meanwhile combine flour and a pinch of salt in a dutch oven, over medium high heat. 
  4. Slowly add milk while constantly whisking. Continue stirring until sauce comes to a low boil, cooking an additional minute until slightly thickened. 
  5. Remove sauce from heat and stir in provolone cheese until melted. 
  6. Add cooked squash, bacon, and onions to pasta and sauce mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan and bake for 10 minutes. 

Thanks to Cooking Light Comfort Food  for the original recipe! (p. 212)

Fall Chicken Dinner

Makes 5 Servings

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, sage, and rosemary, minced
  • 5 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large sweet potato, chopped into 3/4″ cubes (skin on)
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 medium fuji apples, cored and sliced into 3/4″ pieces
  • 2 shallot bulbs, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 4 slices hickory smoked bacon, chopped 1″ pieces
  • Garnish with 2 Tbsp parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 
  2. Pour 2 Tbsp olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic and herbs into a gallon size resealable bag. 
  3. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper then seal bag and massage mixture over chicken while working to evenly distribute herbs. Set aside and let rest while chopping veggies.
  4. Place sweet potato, brussels sprouts, apples and shallot on a rimmed extra large baking sheet. 
  5. Drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil then toss to evenly coat, season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread into an even layer.
  6. Set chicken thighs over veggie/apple layer.
  7. Sprinkle bacon on top. 
  8. Roast in preheated oven until chicken and veggies are golden brown, about 30 – 35 minutes (chicken should reach 165 degree F). Option: Broil during last few minutes for a more golden brown crispy skin.
  9. Garnish with parsley if desired and serve warm.

Thanks to the original recipe found here.

The Story Behind the Recipe

I became enlightened about one pan meals with this recipe. I had tried several one pan meals before, but none had compared to this one. This is literally fall on a plate.

Not only was it simple to cut everything up, but it’s all on one pan (which makes for easy clean up) and quick! Exactly what you need when the kids are heading back to school and new activities are starting to take up any time you may have had to prep for dinner.

The start of every fall, I kick things off with this meal. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Lasagne Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 lb hot sausage, ground
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 32 oz container chicken broth
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 6 whole-wheat lasagna noodles, broken into small pieces
  • 6 teaspoons dried basil
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the sausage, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Stir occasionally, until the sausage is crumbled and browned, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. 
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. 
  4. Add the noodles and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring to break up the noodles for 10-12 minutes. Check to make sure noodles are cooked.
  5. Remove from the heat. Stir in mozzarella, basil, and Parmesan.

Serve With

Italian Salad and/or Garlic Bread

Thanks to the original recipe found here.

The Story Behind the Recipe

There are a lot of things I could say about this recipe, but mainly I would like to share that it is a hit with everyone. When I was watching my calories and still craving Italian food, this was one of my favorite dishes. I still make this recipe at least twice a month in the cooler months because it is quick and warms the soul.

During a period of time when my husband and I were transitioning out of the military, we stayed with my family. I made this meal for them and it became a family favorite. My father requested it often and my younger sister asked me to teach her how to make it.

Feel free to add your own spin to the recipe or make it as is and hopefully it will become a family staple.

Tuscan Sausage Soup

Makes 5 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 + 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced 
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 parmesan rind (1-by-3 inches; optional)
  • 30oz canned white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6oz kale, ribs removed and chopped
  • 1 pound ground hot Italian sausage, rolled into bite-size meatballs
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • optional: top with additional parmesan and ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 4-5 quart pot over medium heat. 
  2. Add the onion, carrot, celery, rosemary, and a generous couple pinches of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften (about 6 minutes). 
  3. Add the tomato paste and garlic. Cook until fragrant (less than 1 minute). 
  4. Immediately add the broth, and parmesan rind. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer until the vegetables are tender (about 15 minutes).
  5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. 
  6. Add the sausage meatballs, cook for 5 minutes then flip and cook an additional 5 minutes. Drain any excess oil or fat.
  7. Add kale, meatballs and beans. Cook for 4 more minutes. 
  8. Stir cider vinegar into soup.
  9. Ladle into bowls and garnish with grated parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.

Thanks to the original recipe found here.

Basil Thai Beef

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha

Beef, Vegetables, & Rice

  • 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice, cooked
  • 1 pound flank steak, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Cook rice according to directions listed on package.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together all sauce ingredients. Set aside.
  3. Toss beef with 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 1 teaspoon oil. 
  4. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over moderately high heat. 
  5. Add beef and cook 1-2 minutes, until browned on both sides. Meat should not be cooked through. Transfer beef to a plate, but leave oil in the skillet. 
  6. Reduce heat to medium and add bell pepper, onions and garlic. Saute about 2-3 minutes. 
  7. Add carrots and sesame seeds. Pour sauce into skillet. Let sauce simmer until thickened, about 1 minute. 
  8. Return beef to skillet along with basil leaves. Toss until basil wilts. 
  9. Serve immediately over cooked rice.

Thanks to the original recipe found here!