75 degrees, 30% humidity and a cloudless, blue sky: It’s hard to beat Fall in North Carolina!
Something else I enjoy this time of year is the colors of Fall, both outdoors and in the kitchen. Many fruits and vegetables are at their peak right now providing amazing, colorful menu opportunities.
A rainbow of vegetables and fruits now in season includes:
- Fall/Winter squashes: butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash
- Grapes: muscadine/scuppernong and other varieties (buy organic when possible)
- Greens: kale, lettuces, Swiss chard, spinach (buy organic when possible)
- Apples: (buy organic when possible)
- Broccoli, broccolini
- Sweet potatoes
- Cabbage, Brussel sprouts, bok choy
- Leeks, shallots
Add a seasonal touch to your dinner or party table with the pumpkin beverage cooler and delightfully slimmed down version of traditional butternut squash bisque below. Your eyes, taste buds AND your waistline will thank you!
Pumpkin Beverage Cooler
To add a seasonal touch to your dinner or party table, try this inexpensive beverage cooler using a hollowed out fresh pumpkin filled with ice.
- Purchase a medium or large pumpkin.
- Cut off the top 1/3.
- Thoroughly scoop out the lower 2/3 part of the pumpkin.
- Line with plastic wrap.
- Fill with ice and stock with your favorite wine, beer or other beverages.
Butternut Squash Bisque
Makes 6 Servings
One of these chilly nights, try this delightfully slimmed down version of traditional butternut squash bisque using lite coconut milk instead of the heavy cream. Your taste buds AND your waistline will thank you!
- 1-1 ½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed or 1 (32-oz) container pre-cut butternut squash
- 1 medium Vidalia onion, diced fine
- ½ - ¾ tsp Homemade Lawry's Seasoned Salt
- 1 (32-oz) box fat free vegetable or chicken broth
- 8 oz lite canned coconut milk
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp sage
- Heat olive oil in a large soup pot until it shimmers.
- Add butternut squash and onion. Add Homemade Lawry's Seasoned Salt and saute for 3-5 minutes or until onions are clear and caramelized.
- Add broth and bring to a boil.
- Lower heat and add coconut milk. Simmer until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.
- Add nutmeg, cinnamon and sage.
- Let it cool a bit, then use a handheld emersion blender to puree soup directly in the pot. Or, transfer the soup to a blender and puree.
Notes: Chicken broth provides a more subtle flavor than vegetable broth for this recipe. Vegetable broth does provide a vegetarian/vegan option, however.