Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash with Pecans and Maple Syrup

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A side dish of sweet potatoes provides your family with a host of nutritional benefits such as vitamins, carbohydrates and fiber. If a plain sweet potato doesn’t excite your palate, consider combining your sweet potatoes with other vegetables, nuts and dried fruit. However you choose to serve these flavor-rich vegetables, you’re guaranteed a heart-healthy addition to any meal.

Did you know though that, despite its name, the sweet potato really doesn’t belong to the same family as the potato, not even close. Potatoes are tubers and sweet potatoes are roots!  In some places, the darker colored sweet potatoes have been mistakenly called yams. (Yams are often whitish to purplish color, depending on the variety. They have a distinct earthy taste, hardy texture and are hardly sweet.)

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There are many varieties of sweet potatoes with flesh ranging from white, yellow, orange and purple. Even the shapes and sizes range from being short and blocky to long and thin.  But all of them provide excellent nutritional benefits!  Sweet potatoes, especially the deeper-colored ones, are extremely rich in carotenes (precursor of vitamin A). They are also an excellent source of vitamins C, B2, B6, E and biotin (B7).  In the minerals department, they provide good amounts of manganese, folate (folic acid), copper and iron. It also has pantothenic acid and is rich in dietary fiber.

When buying sweet potatoes, go for the darker variety if available. The darker it is the higher the carotene content.  Choose sweet potatoes that are firm and not wrinkled. Avoid those that has a green discoloration that indicates the presence of a toxic substance called solanine.  Store sweet potatoes in the open, in a cool, dark and well-ventilated place, not wrapped up in plastic bags, and not in the refrigerator. They can keep up to ten days.

We love sweet potatoes!  I have cooked so many dishes with sweet potatoes including waffles, baked fries, pancakes, soups you name it:)  My daughter actually came up with the idea for this particular dish.  Besides sweet potatoes we also added butternut squash, dried fruit, Vidalia onions and of course her favorite Maple Syrup!  While this recipe does seem to be on the sweet side, since you are also going to be adding garlic, sat and pepper…these ingredients will give necessary spices and balance to this dish.

Sources:

1.  Sweet Potato Nutritional Benefits.  http://www.livestrong.com/article/238175-sweet-potato-nutrition-benefits/#ixzz2YqG530NI.  Retrieved July 12, 2013
2.  Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes.  http://juicing-for-health.com/basic-nutrition/healing-vegetables/health-benefits-of-sweet-potato.html.  Retrieved July 12, 2013
3.  Sweet Potatoes Photo.  http://mytempleofnature.blogspot.com/2010/10/swooning-for-sweet-potatoes.html.  Retrieved July 12, 2013.

 

Ingredients:

1 Large Sweet Potatoes
1/2 of Large Butternut Squash
1/2 of Large Vidalia Onion
1-2 Cloves of Garlic
Salt & Pepper to Taste
1 Teaspoon of Dried Parsley
1/2 Cup of Diced Pecans
1/2 Cup of White Grape Raisins
2 Table Spoons of Dried Cranberries
1/4 of a cup of Maple Syrup
1/2 Stick of Butter (can be replaced with vegetable oil)
 
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How to make Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Maple Syrup:

1.  Peel your sweet potato and butternut squash.  Dice up both vegetables in cube shape forms.

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2.  Use your nut grinder to finely chop your pecans.  You can also use walnuts. almonds or any other nuts of your choice.

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3.  Dice up 1/2 of Vidalia Onion and finely chop 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic.

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4.   Slightly cook your onions on a pan so they would brown a bit.

5.  Prepare your baking dish, line it up with foil and add your vegetables along with chopped garlic and your spices including salt and pepper.

6.  Then add your cooked onions and 1/2 stick of cut up butter (or 2-3 table spoons of vegetable oil to the dish).

7.  Mix everything well, cover the baking dish with foil and put it to bake in the oven for about 25-35 minutes at 350F.

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8.  When your dish is ready, add your pecan nuts, followed by dried cranberries, white grape raisins and mix in 1/4 cup of Maple Syrup.

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9.  Finally sprinkle with some dried (or fresh) parsley and more salt/pepper to taste.

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Your dish is now ready!  You can serve this dish by itself or as a side dish with a piece of turkey or a duck.  Enjoy!

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Love,

Natalie

Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash with pecans and Maple Syrup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash, Onions with pecans, Raisins, Dried cranberries and Maple Syrup.
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 Large Sweet Potatoes
  • ½ of Large Butternut Squash
  • ½ of Large Vidalia Onion
  • 1-2 Cloves of Garlic
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • 1 Teaspoon of Dried Parsley
  • ½ Cup of Diced Pecans
  • ½ Cup of White Grape Raisins
  • 2 Table Spoons of Dried Cranberries
  • ¼ of a cup of Maple Syrup
  • ½ Stick of Butter (can be replaced with vegetable oil)
Instructions
  1. Peel your sweet potato and butternut squash. Dice up both vegetables in cube shape form.
  2. Use your nut grinder to finely chop your pecans. You can also use walnuts. almonds or any other nuts of your choice.
  3. Dice up ½ of Vidalia Onion and finely chop 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic.
  4. Slightly cook your onions on a pan so they would brown a bit.
  5. Prepare your baking dish, line it up with foil and add your vegetables along with chopped garlic and your spices including salt and pepper.
  6. Then add your cooked onions and ½ stick of cut up butter (or 2-3 table spoons of vegetable oil to the dish).
  7. Mix everything well, cover the baking dish with foil and put it to bake in the oven for about 25-35 minutes at 350F.
  8. When your dish is ready, add your pecan nuts, followed by dried cranberries, white grape raisins and mix in ¼ cup of Maple Syrup.
  9. Finally sprinkle with some dried (or fresh) parsley and more salt/pepper to taste
  10. Your dish is now ready! You can serve this dish by itself or as a side dish with a piece of turkey or a duck. Enjoy!

 

Butternut Squash Soup

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It’s finally summer in New York!  Enough of our rainy days, it’s all about beach, sunshine, picnics, camping trips and good weather.  This butternut squash reminds me just of that.  Look at it’s vibrant colors, looks like sun fell out of the sky right in your cup:)  This soup is my daughter’s favorite,  and one of my favorites too…simply because there are so many ways you can make it and to be honest with you it’s different every time.  No worries though, it’s very easy to cook!  This soup is packed with variety of vegetables, the reason we call it Butternut Squash because it is the main and the most abundant ingredient in it.  It is also what gives this dish such an amazing color.

Butternut squash is a versatile ingredient, with a sweet, nutty flavor that makes it a tasty base for soups, a flavorful addition to pasta dishes or simply a delicious side dish when cubed and boiled or roasted.  Besides looking great it is also, a healthy vegetable.  Butternut squash is low in fat and cholesterol and is packed with nutrients. It provides an excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium and manganese and is a good source of Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, calcium, thiamine magnesium and folate, according to NutritionData.com.  Nutrients in butternut squash strengthen the immune system and help prevent heart disease. Its high fiber content contributes to digestive health and can help prevent colon cancer.

Compared with other produce, butternut squash has a long shelf life. It can stay fresh up to three months when stored at 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, though it spoils much more quickly when stored in a refrigerator or after it’s been peeled and cut.

Sources:

1.  What are the benefits of butternut squash?  http://www.ehow.com/facts_5759321_benefits-butternut-squash_.html#ixzz2X8acWq9L.  Retrieved on June 24, 2013.
2.  Butternut Squash Nutritional Benefits.  http://www.livestrong.com/article/230976-butternut-squash-nutritional-benefits/#ixzz2X8a88uvh.  Retrieved on June 24, 2013
 
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Ingredients:
1 Medium Butternut Squash
2 Stalks of Celery
2 Cups of chopped carrots (or baby carrots)
2 Medium Potatoes
1 Table Spoon of Dried Parsley
10 Cups of Chicken Stock
1/3 Cup of Half and Half if you want it more creamy (optional)
 
How to make Butternut Squash Soup:
 
1.  Make your chicken broth, for a complete recipe of it click here.  You can also use store bought chicken stock, but I always prefer in making it fresh.
 
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 2.  While your chicken stock is cooking, wash your vegetables.  Then chop up your celery and carrots.  I used small baby carrots this time so I just left them as is.
 
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 3. Peel your squash, I just carefully cut the sides all around.  You will need a sharp knife for this as it is a little difficult to cut.  
 
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 4.  Dice butternut squash in cubes.  An alternate way to prepare squash for the soup is by cutting it in half and baking it in the oven along with your carrots for about 30 minutes.  This way you can just scoop out the pulp and there will be no need to saute it later.  
 
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5.  Peel  and dice your potatoes.  If you are roasting your squash you can add your potatoes to be baked as well, since you will puree the soup anyway later.
 
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 6.  Now add all your vegetable to the pan, start with you potatoes since they tend to cook longer.  Then add carrots after about 5 minutes, followed by butternut squash and celery.   
 
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 7.  Saute your vegetable on medium high heat until tender and ready, which should take you about 20-25 minutes.  I also add a little bit of chicken stock to the pan while sauteing to enhance it’s flavors and make it cook faster.  Add your dried parsley 5 minutes before they are cooked.  The reason for sauteing vegetables and not simply boiling them in the soup is to help preserve as much vitamins as possible, but you can simply add it to your soup and boil it as well, up to you.
 
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 8.  When you chicken stock is ready, I like to take out chicken and chop it up in pieces…but you don’t have to.  I used boneless chicken thighs in making my broth, but make sure to take out your meat especially if might have bones in it before adding your veggies.
 
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9.  Now that your soup and your vegetables are ready, let’s combine the two together.  Add your heavy cream or half and half if you want your soup more creamy (but it’s optional).  I also like to add my cut up chicken to the soup and and puree it all together, because my daughter won’t eat meat in the soup if she’ll see it:) so I hide it when pureeing it altogether.  You may choose to add your chicken after pureeing your soup later, or leave it out altogether…all up to you.
 
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 10.  Once you combined everything, make sure to have a pot deep enough… so when you will be pureeing your soup it wouldn’t splash.  I used to puree my soups using my Magic Bullet Blender, but to be honest it was such a mess and a very time consuming process.  If you will do it though, make sure to fill it only half way through since the liquid is hot and it may spill out.  Here is a photo of memories from the past:)
 
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11.  Now I do things differently.  I simply use my Cuisineart immersion blender for these kind of jobs and blend everything right in the pot.  It is honestly one of the best investments I’ve made when it comes to making pureed soups.  Here is the link for it in our shop if you would like for info.  So to finish your soup, take out few cups of liquid out of your pot.  You will be adding it in later as you will be blending the soup in order to achieve the consistency that you prefer and blend your soup well.  It’s worth taking your time with it, making sure there is no lumps, so it’s smooth and rich.
 
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12.  Your soup is now ready!  There are numerous ways you can serve it.   I usually like to add some grated white sharp cheddar cheese on the top, store bought fried onions..in order for it to have some crunch…and top it with some sprouts to enhance color and flavor.   You can also serve it with croutons, add a dab of sour cream, or top it with ham and any other herbs of your choice.
 
 
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 I hope you will enjoy this recipe and try making it in your own kitchen.  Let me know what you think:)
 
Love,
 
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Butternut Squash Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Butternut Squash Soup, served with fried onions, melted sharp cheddar cheese and alpha sprouts.
Author:
Recipe type: Soup, Lunch
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 Medium Butternut Squash
  • 2 Stalks of Celery
  • 2 Cups of chopped carrots (or baby carrots)
  • 2 Medium Potatoes
  • 1 Table Spoon of Dried Parsley
  • 10 Cups of Chicken Stock
  • ⅓ Cup of Half and Half if you want it more creamy (optional)
Instructions
  1. Make your chicken broth or you can also use store bought chicken stock, but I always prefer in making it fresh.
  2. While your chicken stock is cooking, wash your vegetables. Then chop up your celery and carrots. If you use small baby carrots just leave them as is.
  3. Peel your squash, I just carefully cut the sides all around. You will need a sharp knife for this as it is a little difficult to cut.
  4. Dice butternut squash in cubes. Another alternate way to prepare it for the soup by cutting it in half and baking it in the oven along with your carrots for about 30 minutes. This way you can just scoop out the pulp and there will be no need to saute it later...your choice.
  5. Peel and dice your potatoes. If you are roasting your squash you can add your potatoes to be baked as well, since you will puree the soup anyway later.
  6. Now add all your vegetables to the pan, start with your potatoes since they tend to cook longer. Then add carrots after about 5 minutes, followed by butternut squash and celery.
  7. Saute your vegetables on medium high heat until tender and ready, which should take you about 20-25 minutes. I also add a little bit of chicken stock to the pan while sauteing to enhance it’s flavors and make it cook faster. Add your dried parsley 5 minutes before they are cooked.
  8. Now that your stock and your vegetables are ready, let’s combine the two together. Add your heavy cream or half and half if you want your soup more creamy (but it’s optional). I also like to add cut up chicken to the soup and and puree it all together, but you can just add your cut up chicken later too once your soup it blended...up to you.
  9. Once you combined everything, make sure to have a pot deep enough… so when you will be pureeing your soup it wouldn’t splash.
  10. So to finish your soup, take out few cups of liquid out of your pot. You will be adding it in later as you will be blending the soup in order to achieve the consistency that you prefer and blend everything with your immersion blender. It’s worth taking your time with it, making sure there is no lumps, so it’s smooth and rich.
  11. Your soup is now ready! There are numerous ways you can serve it. I usually like to add some grated white sharp cheddar cheese on the top, store bought fried for it to have some crunch…and top it with some sprouts to enhance color and flavor. You can also serve it with croutons, add a dab of sour cream, or top it with ham and any other herbs of your choice.
 
 
 
Copyright © 2013 Flavor Shades