Chickpea Soup with Greens, Onions, and Pasta

We made this soup in my Food Systems lab class, and even though I was eating it at 10 in the morning, it was still really good! I enjoyed having the solid chickpeas and noodles contrast with the soft Swiss chard. Definitely add the cheese on top at the end; even if it isn’t a lot of cheese, it does provide extra flavor.

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Gingered Carrot Soup

My fantastic friend Jade shared this recipe with me and I am so thankful she did. I am not the biggest fan of ginger but this soup is so…calming? It was very comforting and it made my stomach feel so peaceful. My first go of it left the soup a little dry so it ended up as more of a puree. If you want a smoother consistency, add some more broth or water to the soup and blend again.

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Pumpkin and Apple Soup

On a whim, I bought a sugar pie pumpkin. It has been staring at me for the past two weeks and today I decided to use it in this soup. It was small enough to give me the perfect amount and a few seeds for an attempt at roasting pumpkin seeds (recipe to follow shortly, I’m sure).

Whenever I cook pumpkin, I have the hardest time cutting it open, until recently. A friend pointed out that we use flimsy saws to carve pumpkins all the time, and so I used a steak knife– the struggle is over. I carved out the top, as if I was making a Jack-o-lantern, scooped out all the guts, and then cut the pumpkin in half. Luckily my peeler was sharp enough to peel the skin off, which came rather speedily once I got the hang of it.

I didn’t have any vegetable broth so I used chicken instead and I don’t recommend it. The chicken broth gives the soup a richness that just isn’t right for the other ingredients. Still, I think this is a very rich soup no matter which broth you go with. As far as serving goes, I like to eat squash soups with some diced Haas avocados and a good sourdough toast.

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Braised Salmon or Halibut Steaks

I have made this recipe twice and both times I have absolutely loved it. I wanted to start eating salmon and I think this was the perfect recipe for it. Following the recipe to a T is great, but you can play around with it as well. There are a lot of options for the fish in the recipe itself, but you can also trade out bay leaves for rosemary or thyme. I added zucchini to the onion mixture and it still came out fine. Just add the zucchini halfway through the onion cooking time so they don’t cook down too much.

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Hazelnut-Crusted Halibut with Roasted Asparagus

I love the presentation of this dish. The rich toasted brown of the hazelnuts and the bright green asparagus just scream “Eat me because I’m good!” It’s a nice meal to put together, and although there are a bunch of little steps to complete, the process is relatively simple and doesn’t take long at all (23 minutes. I timed it.)

If you can’t find halibut anywhere (for whatever reason, they do not sell it in Gainesville, which is very frustrating) or it is more than you want to spend on fish, I’ve found that flounder makes a very nice substitute. I think flounder is a little less flavorful than halibut, so I would recommend adding some extra herbs or spices to it, such as some extra thyme from the asparagus.

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Moroccan Couscous with Roasted Butternut Squash

It’s fall and it’s squash season. I have recently discovered how much I enjoy squash and have been experimenting with different varieties of squash (there are so many!) and different methods of cooking them. This is my first time cooking with butternut squash and it was an experience. Cutting a butternut squash is like cutting a sweet potato, you need a sharp knife and some muscle to get through the flesh. Peeling it is tricky as well, the skin is waxy and my peeler just couldn’t get a grip on it. So if you aren’t opposed to it, I would recommend buying butternut squash pre-cubed. But first make sure to try working with a whole squash first; it will make you appreciate the cubed ones so much more.

Aside from preparing your own butternut squash, this recipe is very, very easy to do. It’s a quick weeknight meal that is very hearty and very satisfying. The only thing I would change for next time is increasing the amount of raisins. I love the flavor raisins can add and compared to the amount of other ingredients, there aren’t enough for my taste.

Saving the time it took for me to chop up the butternut squash, the entire process took 20 minutes. Trust me when I say that this dish is quick and easy.

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