At the Harris Teeter that I shop at, there's usually a bargain produce section where you can score repackaged produce for around $1 each.
I often discover some good finds here. Just last week, I paid $4 total for two quarts of strawberries and 6 ounce boxes of raspberries and blackberries.
A couple of weeks ago, the shelf had a container of chopped butternut squash for $1. Always on the lookout for lunch options for myself during the week that don't involve peanut butter and jelly or cereal, I jumped on it. My kids aren't big fans of butternut squash. My husband is fine with a single serving occasionally, but that's about all he needs.
I scoured Google for butternut squash soup recipes and ended up picking one on Chow.com at the top of the search. I didn't want to have to buy anything extra for the recipe and I had just about everything that I needed thanks to our herb garden with fresh sage in it.
I made a couple of my own changes to it. I used low sodium chicken bouillon in place of the stock. I also substituted canned evaporated milk for the half and half, which I've found to be a great alternative for the fresh stuff and a lot easier to have on hand.
This recipe turned out a really delicious soup. The sauteed apples added a wonderful, sweet quality to it. It's delicious.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
adapted from Chow.com
20 ounces peeled, chopped butternut squash (original recipe calls for two medium butternut squashes, halved lengthwise and seeds removed)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced.
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
8 fresh sage leaves
2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 1/2 cups water (I substituted three chicken bouillon cubes and five cups of water for the broth and water in the original recipe)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup heavy cream or, as I used, evaporated milk
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mix 1 tablespoon of melted butter together with the chopped butternut squash. Put it on a baking sheet and bake until tender, about 30 minutes. (The original recipe calls for rubbing the squash halves with butter and roasting for 50 minutes to an hour).
While that's happening, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan and add the apple, onion, sage, salt and pepper. Cook until it's softened, around seven minutes.
Once the apple mixture and squash are done, combine it in your large saucepan and add the broth and water (or bouillon and water combination) and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it boils, lower the temperature and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Then, take it off the heat and add your cream (or canned milk).
I used an immersion blender to puree the soup, but you could also use a blender. Once it's all creamy and blended, you're done.
This is a great recipe to make the night before or to do half way so you just need to complete a few steps to get it ready for the dinner table. You could roast the squash and saute the apples and onions at night and then finish the rest of the recipe just before dinner time the next day.
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