Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup is a savory and sweet soup ideal for the Fall and Winter months and is welcomed as a starter at many a Thanksgiving Dinner.  This healthy recipe is so easy you may be tempted to make it all of the time.

Here is some nutritional information about Butternut Squash found on Medical News Today. “According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one cup of cooked cubed butternut squash (approximately 205 grams) contains 82 calories, 0 grams of fat, 22 grams of carbohydrate (including 4 grams of sugar and 6.6 grams of dietary fiber) as well as 1.8 grams of protein.  One cup of butternut squash provides a whopping 437% percent of your vitamin A needs for the day, as well as 52% of vitamin C and 10% or more of vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium and manganese. Butternut squash is an excellent source of potassium, bringing in 582 milligrams per 1 cup (cubed) – more than a banana!”



48 oz. Butternut Squash – peeled, cleaned and cut up into about 2″pieces. (I buy already prepped)

1-2 TBSP olive oil

1 medium yellow onion (peeled and rough chopped)

2-3 cloves of garlic (peeled and rough chopped)

32 fl oz. chicken stock (or vegetable stock if preferred)

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Dutch oven or large pot

Handheld immersion blender or countertop blender


Add olive oil to pot and over medium/low heat saute onion and garlic until translucent (about 8 minutes) being careful not to burn.


Once translucent add cut up butternut squash and mix with onions/garlic.


Add the chicken stock, turn heat to high and quickly bring to a boil.


Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for one hour with pot partially covered.  After one hour, test squash with a fork.  Should be very tender. Turn off heat.


If using countertop blender, add cooked squash in batches and blend until completely smooth.  Return to pot.  If using immersion blender, place blade down in pot and blend squash until completely smooth.


Add cinnamon, salt and pepper and stir to incorporate.  Taste.  If needed add more to desired taste.  Additionally, if you prefer a thinner soup, add more stock or water until desired consistency being careful not to add too much liquid.


Serve and enjoy!!  Have a HAPPY and HEALTHY THANKSGIVING!!

Thanks for stopping by…Cynthia

Rainy Day Chicken Stew

If I am not checking out stores on a rainy day I enjoy cooking – especially a dish like my Rainy Day Chicken Stew.  Taking the time to cut up the vegetables, saute the onions and garlic, brown the chicken and then slowly cook everything together to get great flavor is a labor I love and is a family favorite!


YOU WILL NEED: (serves 6-8)

2-3 lbs of skinless, boneless chicken thighs (cut into 1″ pieces)

1 box of (32 fl oz.) organic chicken stock (or home-made stock)

1 Cup of Chardonnay (or white wine of your choice)

Olive oil

1 box (26 oz.) San Marzano Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes

1 medium yellow onion (peeled and diced)

3 cloves of garlic (peeled and diced)

1 russet potato (peeled and cut into 1″ pieces)

1 sweet potato (peeled and cut into 1″ pieces)

1 turnip (peeled and cut into 1″ pieces)

2 yellow bell peppers (cleaned, seeded and cut into 1 ” pieces)

3 carrots (peeled and cut into 1″ pieces)

Fresh sage and thyme sprigs (tie-together with cooking twine)

salt and pepper

Dutch oven or large pot


Add about 2 TBSP of olive oil to bottom of pot.  Over medium heat slowly saute garlic and onion until translucent. Remove onions and garlic and set aside.  Add chicken pieces to pot, season with salt and pepper and saute until lightly browned (about 8 minutes).  Remove chicken and set aside.  Add wine and deglaze the pot getting up any brown bits.



After deglazing add cooked chicken, onions and garlic back into the pot. Add in the crushed tomatoes and stir.  Add all of the vegetables and pour in all of the chicken stock.  Turn the heat to high and bring quickly to a boil.


Once boiled, stir , lower heat, add sage and thyme, and simmer for 1- 1 1/2 hours, with pot partially covered.


The completed Rainy Day Chicken Stew should have reduced slightly, thickened a bit and root vegetables should be tender.


Season to taste and Rainy Day Chicken Stew is ready to serve!

IMG_2655Serve and enjoy with a warmed, crispy baguette (to dunk in the delicious stew sauce) and a glass of your favorite wine or beer (in front of the fireplace even better).  If you like it spicy add your favorite hot sauce to taste.  Bon Appetit!

Do you prefer to shop or cook on rainy days?

Thanks for stopping by…Cynthia



Skillet Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

Normally, I am captured by fashion, beauty and accessory photos but I recently came across this photo of Skillet Style Chocolate Chip Cookies while looking through a blog I enjoy.  With Fall “sweater weather” I am thinking of cozy gatherings, fireside foods and cold-weather treats – this chocolate chip cookie seems to fit that bill!!

Anthroplogie recipe

Ashley’s most delicious looking Salted Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie is from Anthropologie’s Blog which always has great visuals, fun ideas and inspiration.  You can visit the blog by clicking here. I have not made this recipe but it really looks too good not to share — and definitely do share if you make it!

Ashley’s Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies, Skillet Style

½ cup (1 stick) butter
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces chopped chocolate or chips (Use the best quality chocolate your budget will allow. With a serrated knife, cut chocolate into roughly ½ inch chunks)
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt

12″ cast iron skillet

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cream the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light, 5 minutes. Scrape down the side of the bowl a couple times in this process. Continue mixing while adding the egg. Add the vanilla. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Combine the flour, baking soda and kosher salt in another bowl. Whisk to combine. With the machine on low, slowly add the flour mixture. Mix until just combined, taking care not to over mix. With a spatula, fold in the chocolate.
Dump the dough into a 12″ cast iron skillet and pat down to flatten into an even layer. Then sprinkle the flake salt on top. Bake for 12 minutes. Edges will be golden while the center is still soft and gooey.
For regular cookies, scoop onto a lined cookie sheet then sprinkle each cookie with a bit of the flake salt. Bake in a preheated 360°F oven for 10-12 minutes, depending on size. Makes 18-24 cookies.

And, don’t forget spoons and scoops of ice cream dropped on the just baked cookie!!

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy…Cynthia




Pasta for Dinner

With kids heading back to school next week and the return of hectic schedules I look to easy meals to feed my crew.  Pasta for dinner is a family weeknight meal that makes eating together easier to achieve!  As often as possible we try to eat dinner, sitting around our table, together.  As a mom of 4 growing kids  (teens and pre-teens), I am cooking more than ever – more often and larger amounts – and am busier than ever.   So, recipes need to deliver…appeal to everyone, be easy and quick to make, be nutritious, and of course, be delicious!

I’ve cut back on the amount of pasta I eat, however, I do LOVE it! (Almost as much as shoes!)  So, when I make it it has to be worth it!  I tend to wing it when I cook, so the recipe that follows is my version of:

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sweet Italian Sausage: (Makes 6 servings)

1 lb Orecchiette pasta

1 lb Sweet Italian Sausage (remove from casing)

2 bunches broccoli rabe (washed and cut into 1″ pieces)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4-5 garlic cloves, chopped

fresh Italian parsley, chopped


1.Bring large pot of water to a boil and salt generously.  Once boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente.  When you drain be sure to reserve some of the salted cooking water to add to pasta at end.

2. Put about 1″ of water at bottom of a large saute pan and place cleaned and chopped broccoli rabe. Cover and cook/steam on medium heat until very tender.

3. In another large saute pan, place sausage removed from casing.  Break it up into small pieces and cook until fat renders and is fully cooked.  Once cooked, remove sausage and set aside.  If there is a lot of fat from sausage pore excess out but do not completely clean pan.

4. In same skillet as sausage was cooked add about 3 TBSP of olive oil to remaining fat and slowly saute the garlic until soft (do not burn).  Once softened, add the cooked sausage back to pan.

5. Once broccoli rabe is tender, drain to remove most of the water. (I use a colander) Once drained put broccoli rabe into pan with sausage and mix together.

6. Add cooked pasta to sausage and broccoli rabe mixture.  Mix together adding a small amount of the reserved cooking water. (I use about 3 large ladles or to desired consistency).  Give a good stir to deglaze bottom of pan.  I add a bit more olive oil as well and I taste.  If needed, I will add some kosher salt.  Add the fresh parsley and mix together.

Suggest serving with fresh Pecorino-Romana cheese (prefer Locatelli brand) and crushed red pepper flakes on side (for those that like some spice and cheese),  a garden salad and sliced, fresh french baquette.

Fresh parsley ready to join the party!


Sweet Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe awaiting the pasta.


Sliced fresh bread as centerpiece.


The finished product plated with garden salad a few slices of bread.

The whole family enjoys Orrechiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sweet Italian Sausage….Bon Appetite!!

What is your favorite pasta dish?  Thanks for stopping by….Cynthia