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Two Harvest Inspired Meatless Dishes

I love Meatless Mondays, but it can be a challenge finding meals that have no meat and are low in fat and low in starch.  Without meat, it’s hard to be satisfied without fat and starch.

This week I tried two harvest inspired meatless dishes that are quite yummy. Low in fat and low in starch? Well, one is.

Harvest Bounty

The first is the healthier of the two.  It is inspired by a seasonal Trader Joe’s offering – Autumnal Harvest Soup.  This made a really big batch, which of course, was better after sitting overnight.  I froze several bowls for later.  As in when the weather actually cools down and I’ll want soup every day.

I did use chicken broth, but I think if you really wanted vegetarian you could go with vegetable broth just fine.

I am a little on the dangerous side with sharp knives, so I find it much easier to cook the squash in the skin and peel it after it cooks.  As in much easier and less risky for my fingers. 

I plop the whole squash in the slow cooker with about ½ cup of water for a couple of hours or until it’s easily pierced with a fork.  Let it cool a bit and the peeling comes right off and the seeds scoop right out.

Crockpot Cooking Squash

Autumn Harvest Soup (Inspired by Trader Joe’s Seasonal Selection)

  • 1 cup chopped carrots (about 2 large)
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 15-ounce can cooked pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 to 3 cups diced and cooked butternut squash (about 12 ounces)
  • 4 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Shake of your favorite spices – I used oregano, garlic powder, thyme, basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional)
Autumn Harvest Soup

Combine all the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 2-4 hours until the flavors have combined well. Use an immersion blender (or transfer the mixture in batches to a blender – taking care as hot liquids expand while blending) to blend until smooth.

I originally intended to use a bit of half and half after the soup cooked, but when it came out of the blender it was so creamy, I didn’t need it.

I topped with a dollop of sour cream and some pumpkin seeds.  I warmed up one of the biscuits frozen from last week and heaven.

You know how I love to use up leftovers so I modified Skinnytaste’s Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese to use up leftover macaroni, the squash I didn’t need for the soup and some crushed potato chips.  I think you can tell that this is the recipe that might not be so light.  The squash does reduce the dairy and adds some nutrition, so I’m not feeling one bit guilty.

I linked Gina’s skinny recipe, but here’s what I did:

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

  • 1 cup cooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup cooked squash + ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • ½ cup (or so) grated cheddar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a glass baking dish (I used an 8” round dish) with oil or cooking spray.  Blend squash and water in a blender until smooth.  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, sprinkle the flour in and whisk until combined.  Add the cup of milk and combine.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.  Stir often. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar and squash, stirring gently until the cheese melts.  Add the macaroni.  Transfer to the baking dish and top with chips.  Bake 25 minutes.  Broil for 1-2 minutes until the top is brown.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

The greeting card in the pic is from DF Chris. She is actually famous for faithfully sending greeting cards for every holiday. Sending the love right back.

Haunted Neighborhood

On another note, we took a little drive to a nearby neighborhood with much more spirit than ours and we saw some pretty scary stuff.  And pretty creative.  If this clown jack in the box doesn’t scare the heck out of you, I’m not sure what would.

Take a look at a few of the pics and enjoy.

Autumn Entry

In my entryway, I got a little overwhelmed by the décor and I took a bunch down and just ended up with this simple look.  What are your thoughts?  Is it too bare, or just right?  I feel a little cleaner with it this way.

I got a new phone and I need to figure out how to turn on the grid so my photos are not so cockeyed.

What I’m Reading

Well, dang this is another long post and I haven’t even started talking about my book reviews. I promise to shorten things up on Saturday so I can spend a little time telling you how I’ve been spending a little time.

I’m still sending lots of prayers and blessings your way and I thank you for reading my blog. XO