This is a great time of year to think about how to eat healthy while house hunting. The season is definitely changing in North Carolina. Crisp days, cool nights greet us. It’s gorgeous — this time of year always is. But then again, what time of year isn’t great here?
The change in season brings a welcome change in food, too. Not that I don’t love the light, refreshing tastes of summer that are perfect for days when the air is enough to keep us warm and comfy. In the fall, however, food starts to take care of some of that need. Hot, hearty squash dishes — like Butternut Squash-Apple Cider Soup and Autumn Chicken and Butternut Squash Stew — start speaking to me. Also this Sweet Potato-Portabello Mushroom Wrap. Or this Pork and Sweet Potato Stew.
Stellar taste — stellar nutrition. It’s a routine I like to follow year-round, even though the actual foods that fit the bill change. Welcome, Fall!
Butternut Squash-Apple Cider Soup
One of the loveliest things about this time of year are the wonderful smells that fill our homes. Warm spices that fill the air and surround us with memories of our mother’s and grandmother’s kitchens at the holidays. This delicious recipe offers a silky soup with just the right amount of spices. Try these unique roasted seeds for a special treat, your kids will love them!
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded (seeds reserved) and chopped
(about 4 1/2 cups)
4 medium onions, chopped (2 cups)
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups apple cider
2 cups fat-free (skim) milk
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Reduced-fat sour cream, if desired
Spiced Squash Seeds (below), if desired
Heat squash, onions and chicken broth in 6-quart Dutch oven or large stockpot to boiling. Reduce heat to low; simmer about 30 minutes or until squash is tender.
Place squash mixture in blender or food processor. Cover and blend on high speed about 30 seconds or until smooth. Pour squash mixture into Dutch oven. Stir in cider, milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar, salt, and pepper until well mixed. Reheat soup over low heat.
To serve, garnish each serving with 1 teaspoon sour cream and a few Spiced Squash Seeds.(Makes 8 servings)
Spiced Squash Seeds
Reserved squash seeds
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Heat oven to 350°. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Rinse reserved squash seeds in bowl of water; pat dry with paper towels.
Toss squash seeds with sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Spread seeds evenly on cookie sheet. Bake about 30 minutes or until seeds are golden brown.
Sweet Potato-Portabello Mushroom Wrap
(Makes 4 servings)
Here’s a great way to get your vegetables…and love every bite! This tasty wrap may look complicated, but it really goes quickly and is worth the time you invest. If some of the vegetables aren’t your favorites, experiment with ones you do love…several ideas include fresh spinach, shredded carrots, even parsnips! Enjoy!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 medium portabello mushrooms, sliced
1 small sweet potato, peeled and sliced
1 small red pepper, seeded and cut in strips
1/2 medium onion, peeled and sliced
1 summer or zucchini squash, sliced in rounds
1/4 teaspoon dried or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup shredded part skim Mozzarella or reduced-fat cheddar/jack cheese
4 8″whole wheat wraps or soft tortillas
Savory Yogurt Topping (see below)
Heat oven to 375°F. Combine oil, vinegar, honey and mustard in a small bowl; brush small amount of mixture on mushroom slices; place on a cookie sheet and bake about 20 minutes.
Combine sweet potatoes, red peppers, onions and zucchini or summer squash in a large bowl: sprinkle with herbs; toss with remaining oil and vinegar mixture. Spread vegetable mixture on a flat pan or cookie sheet. Place in oven and bake about 25 minutes, stirring once. Remove from oven and season with salt and pepper.
To make wrap, layer 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese on the each wrap; top with ½ cup vegetable mixture and several slices of portabello mushrooms. Roll and bake until warm and crispy. Cut in half. Serve with 1-2 tablespoons Savory Yogurt Topping.
Time Saving Tips
Instead of making the oil and vinegar marinade, use a bottled balsamic vinaigrette and/or use a prepared yogurt dip as a garnish. The vegetables can be prepared ahead of time and reheated in the oven with the finished wrap. Leftovers? This wrap freezes well, too!
Savory Yogurt Topping
1/3 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons garlic-flavored oil
Make sure that you eat healthy this fall while selling or buying your home.
We would love to know what your fall food favs are!