Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

It's that time of year here ~ 

Soup Weather!

And this is one of the most flavorful, comforting, and it is one of the  easiest soups to make that I know. 

The bonus? It is packed with goodness, and is fairly low calorie too.
Easy on the budget as well.

Butternut Squash . . . yes, Organic! :)

Just a method, no actual "recipe" needed.

The amount of onion, broth and seasoning will depend upon the size of your squash; and how thick or thin you like your soup.


Butternut Squash
Vegetable or Chicken Stock/Broth
Chopped yellow onion
Olive oil
Butter (Optional)
Salt & Freshly ground Pepper


Light or Heavy Cream, to enrich while blending, if desired.

Garnish Suggestion ~ Crisp croutons, a sprinkle of fresh herbs, a knob of butter, a swirl of plain yogurt, sour cream, or some sliced peppers, toasted nuts, a little crumbled bacon, or crisply fried fresh sage or oregano leaves? Yum!


Split Butternut Squash in half, from stem to blossom end.
Scrape out seeds and fiber (sharp tipped spoon, or melon ball tool works perfectly.)
Place the squash cut side down on parchment lined, shallow baking pan which has been brushed with oil.  (I use olive oil.)  Bake squash in a preheated 375˚ (F) oven until squash flesh is tender when pierced with a knife tip.

Remove from oven and allow to cool a while. When cool enough to handle, use a spoon to scrape squash flesh from squash skin. Set aside.

In a pot (Dutch oven or soup pot) saute chopped yellow onion in a tablespoon or so of butter or olive oil until tender and translucent.
Add cooked squash flesh to the pot and add vegetable or chicken stock.
Stir while it warms, then puree with a stick (immersion blender), or pour into an electric blender or food processor fitted with metal blade and whir until smooth; adding more vegetable or chicken stock until desired consistency is reached. Pour back into pot and warm over medium heat.  

Taste and add salt and pepper (and butter!!) as needed. 
Garnish as desired, and then ~


~ The very last of our summer bounty ~

Red and Green Bell Peppers, both Green/Red Thai Peppers, Jalapenos (hidden), Poblano peppers (known as chile anchos when dried), and Italian Frying Peppers.

Because of the odd weather this spring and summer,  I believe the peppers out-performed the tomatoes this year. Very unusual for my garden!

I ended up with an abundance of peppers,  some to be eaten fresh and the others with be pickled or dried.

This time I garnished the soup with thinly sliced, raw Italian frying peppers, they are long and slender very mild, and similar in flavor to a Bell Pepper ~ they provided a nice contrast & complimented this soup very well.

If you make this one,  I hope you add your favorite garnishes to make it your own.

Similar recipe you may enjoy:

Silky Acorn Squash Soup - Low Calorie


!! Just a reminder,  the fabulous Bertolli GIVE AWAY DRAWING is coming to a close !!

You can get the details and enter the drawing HERE if you haven't had a chance to enter yet.

Happy weekend everyone.

Blessings!  ~ m.


Spicy Tuscan-Style Sausage Ragu (Slow Cooker recipe)

This is one of the very best pasta sauces I have ever tasted, different, but just as good as my own ~  surprisingly one of the easiest I have ever made, and from the slow cooker! Thick and rich,  full of sausage chunks and flavorful tomato pieces.  I could eat it by the spoonful, but it's meant to be served with large chunky pasta.

First the preliminary step is to brown the sausage in a skillet in a little olive oil, next 1 large red onion and two cloves garlic are finely chopped and added to the meat, cooked until onion is translucent, then 1/2 cup of dry red wine poured in to deglaze the pan. At this point the meat mixture is poured into the slow cooker, canned tomatoes are added (chopped whole tomatoes, and tomato puree; 1 -28 ounce can of each.) A sprinkling of salt, and the mixture is placed on low for 5 hours. One cup of heavy cream is stirred in, and the sauce is allowed to cook for another hour.

A there you have one fine, delicious recipe for Spicy Tuscan-Style Sausage Ragu with barely any work involved!  I hope you'll try it ~ it is soo good.


If you would like a printable copy of the recipe, you'll find it HERE.

The recipe adapted from "The Italian Slow Cooker" by best selling cookbook author and expert on Italian cooking, Michelle Scicolone. (Scroll down if you are interested in looking through her book or purchasing it.)

After many years of cookbook collecting, I'm now fairly selective about which cookbooks will have a place in my library. I highly recommend this one ~ it is loaded with delicious Italian recipes such as: Pasta with Meat and Mushroom Ragu, Osso Buco with Red Wine, Chicken with Peppers and Mushrooms.

Healthy and flavorful recipes for soups, stews, beans, grains, pasta sauces, meats, poultry, fish and vegetables are included. Polenta and risotto, dishes that ordinarily need careful timing and lots of stirring, are perfectly cooked using Michele's methods and recipes. Meat loaves emerge moist and flavorful, tough cuts of meat turn fork-tender and juicy. Even desserts are included in the book, such as Cheese Cake, Chocolate Truffle Cake, Espresso Walnut Cake, and Baked Apples with orange, and more, all from the trusty slow cooker!

You can click below to look inside the book before purchasing.

Thanks so much for stopping by today, friends! xo

Visit Foodie Friday!


Wordless Wednesday and Outdoor Wednesday: Around Home. October

And just a short drive away.

Wordless Wednesday

Outdoor Wednesday #146


Rice Soubise ~ Julia Child's Recipe

Soubise (noun);  pron. "soo-beez". 
Not to be confused with the classic Sauce Soubise (a combination of Soubise and Bechamel sauce pureed and served with vegetables or eggs.) 

Soubise is an utterly delicious dish comprised of copious amounts of sliced onions, a small amount of blanched rice, butter, and seasonings; covered, baked in a 300˚(F) oven, and given an occasional stir now and then. After one hour those onions transform into a delightfully fragrant mass, nearly a puree. To finish the dish a small amount of cream and little grated Gruyere or other Swiss-type cheese is stirred in for enrichment.

I learned this version from Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" years and years ago.  The other day the thought of it popped into my mind and I realized I hadn't made it in at least 10 years; it's a perfect dish for a crisp autumn day. I had a lot of yellow onions on hand . . . so why not?!

If you are interested in the Le Creuset covered terrine, it is available in White, Red, Flame (Orange), and Cobalt blue --- 
Scroll down to the bottom of this post to learn more.

It makes a wonderful side dish for meats, chicken, fish, or as part of a vegetarian meal.

You may find it startling that so few ingredients can make such a flavorful and comforting dish ~

Two pounds of onions equal approximately 6 to 7 cups thinly sliced.

What it lacks in beauty, it more than compensates with flavor.  So good and rich, a little goes a long way.  (I could honestly have a small serving of it with a crisp green salad, dressed with vinaigrette and call it a meal.)

Because it doesn't look like much after it has cooked down, I transfer it to a warmed serving dish and bring it to the table so each one can serve themselves.  This time I sprinkled on a little more grated cheese and placed it under the broiler until melted and bubbly, then added a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme.

It might not be beautiful, but it certainly IS delicious!

If you would like a printable copy of the recipe,
click HERE.

~ NOTE ~

The Le Creuset covered Terrine is available here, (with FREE  super saver shipping):

Much cuter in person :)

It is available in Red, White, Flame (orange), and Cobalt.  I absolutely love mine and use it for all kinds of things besides pate ~ it's perfect for side dishes, as well as small casseroles for 2 or 3.

Foodie Friday!


Bertolli, Mario's Cookware & All Clad ~ A Fabulous Give Away !!!

Woo Hoo ~ I believe this may be my favorite give away yet!

The folks at Bertolli recently sent me a wonderful gift box of goodies to help introduce their newest product ~

And the GOOD NEWS is that our WINNER will receive a gift box just like the one I received!!

New Product!!

 Premium Quality Meal Soups for two, you'll find them in the freezer section.

Smart looking, roomy insulated zippered tote bag, perfect for keeping frozen food (or hot food) in good condition on your way home from the store.  I'll use it for picnics and tailgate parties, too.

Bertolli's Tomato Florentine ~ is the first of the soups that I tried. 

Delicious, full flavored, and hearty.  This was definitely a very generous serving for two; it actually provided 3 meal soups at my house.

You probably know I usually cook from scratch, but I would not hesitate to serve these soups to the most finicky eaters, these soups taste every bit as good as homemade. Nice bite-sized white meat chicken, spinach, tomatoes (both of which held their texture), and the tortellini was firm, not flaccid or over cooked, all in a substantial tomato bisque base.  And we noted that this was not overly salty as some prepared soups tend to be.

If your name is drawn here is what you will receive:

1.) Along with the gift cards for 2 packages of Bertolli Soup

2.) *  The winner also will get a Crate & Barrel Mario Batali Porcelain Enamel - Cast Iron 3 quart Soup Pot (made by Dansk, $89. value). 

3.) The winner will also receive an All-Clad Stainless Steel Soup Ladle ($24. value) 

4.) The high quality Bertolli insulated zippered tote.

* I must tell you, being the cookware nut that I am ~ Mario's line of porcelain enamel cast iron cookware is every bit as beautiful and durable as that produced by Le Creuset and Staub (I have shelves and shelves of their pieces), and Mario's cookware definitely holds it's own. 

All-Clad Stainless Steel Soup Ladle

We very much enjoyed the soup, and I can happily recommend it.
The other variety I chose was the Chicken and Rotini Pasta, can't wait to try that one (it will be on the menu later this week.)

For garnish, after heating it and serving it in our bowls,  I plucked some of the last of the basil from the garden then grated a little Romano cheese over ~ and there you have a bowl of soup that very well may rival your own homemade, with none of the work. I love that!

Here is what the soup looks like before it's heated, all of the components have been individually quick frozen so they don't lose their proper texture, and the broth and seasoning are frozen into neat little rectangular shapes so they melt uniformly and quickly.

So easy to prepare! All you do is put the contents  of the pouch in a pot, add one cup water, then bring to a simmer until everything is bubbling and hot. Immediately your kitchen will be filled with an irresistible aroma, and your delicious soup meal is ready to enjoy.

Serve with some delicious bread and/or a crisp salad and you're all set to enjoy a flavorful, healthy and delicious meal.

Click image to visit the Bertolli website

There are four meal soup varieties to choose from:

Chicken and Rotini Pasta
Roasted white meat chicken, pasta, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots and celery in a savory chicken broth

Tomato Florentine 
Cheese-filled tortellini, white meat chicken, spinach and tomatoes in a rich tomato bisque with a hint of basil

Chicken Minestrone 
Roasted white meat chicken, beans, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, tomatoes and pasta in a hearty vegetable broth

Tuscan Beef & Vegetables
Tender beef, mushrooms, yellow squash, zucchini, carrots and celery with bow-tie pasta in a savory broth

Grilled baguette slices, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with herbs.

Did I mention how much I love Mario Batali's line of cook and bakeware? :)

Here's how to enter the drawing: 
(You have up to 4 chances to win!)

1.)  Leave a message here and let me know which of the 4 soups sounds most appealing to you.

2.)  Double your chance of winning by being a follower here on my blog (Google Friend), and mention it in your comment.

3.) Another chance to win ~ 

If you are a follower of mine on facebook, please "Share" my give away/drawing (which you'll find on my facebook wall) with your facebook friends. (Share it on your fb wall.) And let me know that you did in your comment here.

4.) And a BONUS chance ~
Mention & link to this page on your OWN blog, and you'll have yet another chance to win.


Details ~ 

Hurry and enter as it's a quick a 10 day contest.

Entries will be accepted until October 28th @ 9PM (Pacific time)

I'm sorry but the contest is limited to the USA, but Alaska & Hawaii ARE included this time.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Winner will be announced Sunday October 30th.

Thanks for stopping by, and the best of luck to all who enter!!

Full disclosure: This contest is being run independently, and all gifts are provided by Bertolli.

This is my entry for:
Tablescape Thursday
Foodie Friday


We have a Tate's Cookie Winner!

~ Tate's Bake Shop Cookies ~

Our randomly selected winner is: 

Lynn from Happier Than a Pig in Mud !!

Congratulations Lynn ~ if you'll email me your delivery address
I'll get your information off to the folks a Tate's Bake Shop right away.

onceuponaplate (at) g m a i l (dot) c o m

Thanks everyone for participating!

Just a reminder ~ our next drawing will be for the Bertolli gift package.

Please check back soon, details will be announced later this week.


Cherry Tomato Pizzettas!

Pizzettas are small pizzas (I make mine about 5 to 6-inches in diameter, or about 4 ounces of dough for each pizzetta),

They are just the perfect size for a topping of cherry tomatoes, or top them with any of your favorite pizza components.

*Sigh* The last wave of our tomatoes are ready to harvest, they happen to be some of the sweetest; tiny grape, yellow pear, orange cherry.

Cherry, plums, olives with pits ~ that's how things used to be served.

If the sight of tomatoes still on the stem on your pizza doesn't appeal to you ~ of course you can de-stem them.

I like the rustic look, and surprisingly the cooked tomatoes release very easily by just pulling up on the stem.

These really are tiny (shown here in a regular teaspoon) and very, very sweet ~ but you can use any kind of cherry tomato on these pizzettas.

 I pluck some of the tomatoes from the vine/truss and slice in half, others I leave on the truss and place them on the cheese topped pizzettas about half way into baking.

To some of the pizzettas I added small yellow pear tomatoes, cut in half, along with a few "Currant" tomatoes and some sliced red ripe jalapenos for a spicy BITE. Yum!

For the cheeses I chose some fresh mozzarella, and some aged whole milk mozzarella, they make a mild, creamy combination. By all means if you have a favorite pizza cheese, anything that's good and melts well, that will work too.

Some of the tomatoes will burst into warm, sweet juicy goodness while while they are baking ~ and don't worry ~ when you pull on the tomato truss (stem), the baked tomatoes release easily.  Just put the stem to the side and enjoy the pizzetta!

For this version of pizza, I add the herbs after removing the pizzettas from the oven ~ their fragrance is really intensified that way.

Use any herbs you like,  I chose thyme sprigs for the Yellow Pear tomato and Jalapeno pizzettas, and a few fresh basil leaves for the Sweet Currant tomato version.

And just for variety I sprinkled a few capers on a couple of the slices, you could add some wonderfully flavorful chopped olives as well.

The best/most authentic flour for pizza dough?

It's Italian 00 (extra fine, high gluten flour)  If you cannot source it locally (I can't, so I) order it from or Market Hall

But if you want to make these right away, regular all purpose flour will do.

I have a few favorite pizza dough recipes listed on my recipe blog and any of them would work here ~ 

For my printable collection of tested Pizza Dough recipes click:

 HERE (Fast, Thin Crust)
HERE (Tasty and Healthful)
 HERE (100% Whole Wheat & Fast Crust)
HERE (One of Donna Hay's Pizza Dough recipes), it's the one I used for these pizzettas. If you make them, I hope you enjoy! 

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. xo~m
And don't forget ~ only 2 more days to enter the Tate's Bake Shop Cookie Drawing.  See details in the upper right corner of this page.


Pumpkin & Spice Mini-Cakes with Brown Sugar Icing (Reprise by Request)

I'm reposting this one by request.

Hi Everyone, I've received several requests for this recipe/method during the past couple of weeks.  Rather than continuing to copy it for each email ~ I'm reposting.

  I originally posted this before I had a separate recipe blog ~ so I've updated it with a link to the printable recipe.  Hope you enjoy!


Perfect for this time of year, I just adjust my ages- old favorite quick-bread recipe, using canned pumpkin and spices for these, then iced with an old fashioned Brown Sugar Icing.

Pumpkin-Spice Cakelettes

For PRINTABLE copy, see LINK at bottom of POST.

Preheat oven to 325-degrees F

3/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup canned, unflavored pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, or freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Directions:In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, oil and eggs; mix well. Stir in pumpkin and and vanilla. Combine flour cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir into liquid ingredients just until moistened. portion into greased pan, filling cups just a bit more than 1/2 full.

Bake at 325 F for about 15 to 18 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool on baking rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan.
All to cool completely before adding icing.

Before assembling cut any domed tops from little cakes using a serrated knife (Cook's treat!) so they will fit together flat side to flat side.

Brown Sugar Icing:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup brown sugar (a little more if you like thicker icing)
1 tablespoon cream or half & half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Melt butter over medium heat, stir in cream, salt and sugar. Stir well until blended. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Beat with a spoon until the icing cools and thickens a bit. Spoon over bottom halves of 1/2 of the cakelettes (reserving 1/2 for assembly); place tops on each one then spoon icing over tops, and allow to drip down sides. Decorate as desired. Allow icing to firm up a little before covering loosely for storage.

I've served them at Halloween parties, on the Thanksgivings Dessert Buffet table and even as treats for autumn birthdays, with a birthday candle where the stem of the pumpkin would be.

Since I have a few grape vines, I just use tiny grape leaves and a couple of tendrils for pumpkin leaves, but you could use fondant leaves, or pipe icing leaves and tendril, or just leave them plain.

You can also decorate them with maple cream icing, cream cheese icing, even chocolate icing if you would prefer.

This recipe will make about a pan and a half the little cakes (depending upon how full you fill each cup) using the mini-bundt Nordicware pan ~ shown below.

You need 2 half cakes for each pumpkin.

Here is the pan you'll need:

(You can make cupcakes, mini-bundt cakes, and brownies in them, too. 
Soo CUTE!!)

For a PRINTABLE copy of the recipe, it's HERE on my recipe blog.

A Sampling of my food . . .


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