Creamed Butternut Squash Soup – Low-Calorie and Delicious

I feel like I have been absent from blogging quite a bit. I never truly forget about you (mythineaters) but I don’t seem to find the time to post new recipes. I keep my Instagram and mythineats Facebook page updated but for some reason actually taking the time that I should to post the recipe slips through the cracks.

It’s that time of year that I love! The trees start changing colors, the weather gets colder, the smells in the air are rustic and I love all things Autumn.
With that being said as soon as it got just chilly enough at night, I decided that I would attempt making something to keep us warm and cozy, but that didn’t have to take hours and that would be filling and a great way to welcome the colder weather.

So, my Husband and I stopped at our Farmer (where we buy most all of our fruits and vegetables from) to see what she had picked that day and what was new in season. I instantly saw a lovely butternut squash and knew that that was what we were having for dinner. My Husband especially loved the idea so we got the butternut squash and home we went.

Butternut squash has so many health benefits. 1 cup of butternut squash has more potassium than a banana. Is rich in vitamin A, C, E, B6, Magnesium and Folate just to name a few. So, let’s eat it up!

Now, I’ve seen plenty of recipes for this type of soup that call for heavy cream, coconut cream, milk, butter, etc.
I’m all about skipping that. I don’t think that it’s a necessary ingredient and I don’t miss it. I like to keep our meals with as little ingredients as possible. I must admit it turned out quite delicious and I’ve already made it about 3 times thus far and each time I change a few things.
The first time I added a couple potatoes. The second time I didn’t add any starch. And the third time I added a sweet potato. I have to admit the flavor was pretty much always the same so technically speaking you don’t need to add anything and it will taste delicious. You choose.

Making this off the top of my head I don’t have true measurements so I’ll try my best to give you some.
I hope you love just as much as we did!

Ingredients:

1 Butternut squash, medium sized
1-2 Shallots
Drizzle evoo
200 ml of Water**
2 Vegetable bullions, yeast free and organic**
1-2 tsp. Turmeric1 Sage branch (or 4-5 leaves), fresh
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a smaller pot put water and bullion to boil.
Now, clean you butternut squash by slicing in half remove the seeds with a spoon, and then peel. Be careful as it is tough, I generally cut mine in 3 parts and peel individually.
Once peeled, cube and set aside.

Peel and finely chop your shallot. Get a medium pot place over medium flame on the stove, add the evoo and then the shallot. Allow to cook for about 3 minutes.
Now add your butternut squash and mix thoroughly, mix in your turmeric and after about 5 minutes add the sage and your bullion water (vegetable stock). Place lid on top and allow to boil for about 20 minutes.

At this point you should be able to pierce the butternut squash with a fork. If you can then turn off the stove top if you can’t cook until you can.

Remove the sage, grab your immersion blender place all the way inside the pot and blend until pureed. (if you don’t have an immersion blender then simply grab your regular blender and carefully scoop the soup inside it and blend).

Serve with a drizzle of evoo.

Variations:
– Add potatoes or sweet potatoes to the soup, peeled and cubed, just add a little more water.
**
Instead of water and bullion you can heat vegetable stock already made.
– Top off at the end with toasted pumpkin seeds, or bacon bits, or croutons.

 

 

Healthy Guacamole for 5 de Mayo

Avocado is something that I grew up eating simply because my Mom loves it so she used to try and incorporate it in many of our meals and since a very young age I’ve just enjoyed eating it.

When I moved out at 17 I got away from it for a while because here in Italy it wasn’t so easy to find up until recently, (where pretty much every grocery store will have it), but also because it’s a little pricey and at that age I wasn’t going to spend a €1.50 on one.
I then moved to the States (as you all know) and while there I rediscovered it by going out to eat at Mexican restaurants and shopping at the grocery stores where I found it everywhere and for great prices.
Being an Italian with a vast and inquisitive palate when I lived in the United States I would only really enjoy eating out if it was Sushi, Mexican, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Peruvian, Spanish, Organic and/or Vegan. I didn’t find any authentic Italian restaurants and while I’m sure there are some that are legit they will never compare to eating here in Italy, so why bother. I explore the world because I like the to get to know it and not to find Italy in it. I love all cultures and I like to enjoy their food as well.

I’ve been lucky my husband and I found some amazing Mexican restaurants and one of the things I enjoyed most was the chips and salsa and/or guacamole. I love guacamole. The only thing I find is that sometimes it has too much onion, or other ingredients and what I most like about guacamole is the avocado mashed with cilantro and lime with just a hint of salt and lots of cayenne.
So, I’ve decide to make it at home and while now we live in Italy and 5 de Mayo is no more, we still make a Mexican dinner on that night just so we too can celebrate and enjoy this cuisine that really does not exist in Italy at all.
Here is my take in a very simple dish that can really make your day!

Ingredients:
Serves 3-4

  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Lime
  • 1 tbsp. of Cilantro, fresh
  • 1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt to taste

Halve the avocado, remove pit and place pulp in a medium bowl. Lightly mash with a fork until consistency is chunky but smooth.
Squeeze the lime and add juice, slat and cayenne pepper to the avocado and mix.
Chop the cilantro and add to avocado mix thoroughly and serve.

Super Simple Meatless Monday Recipe: Beets & Goat Cheese

Today we are talking Beets. I know that they don’t look enticing or they might not be fun to cook with or even that great tasting for most people. But let me tell you that this is a fabulous super food and you should try to incorporate it into your diet.

Here is why it’s healthy:
Beets belong to the same family as spinach and chard. It’s a rich purple color, but can also be white or golden. Think of beets as red spinach.

Beetroot is of exceptional nutritional value mainly Vitamin C, Folate & Betaine. All of which are exceptional for the human body. From lowering blood levels & helping with cardiovascuar health, to immune boosting & liver detoxification, as well as cancer fighting benefits and of course high in antioxidants.

You should really try them. You can eat them raw, pickled but mainly they are eaten steamed.

Here is a quick recipe that packs a bunch of flavor and will keep you coming back for more of this little overlooked vegetable.

Ingredients: Serves 2

2 Beets, cooked

2 Caprino (goat) soft cheese sticks*

4 Bibb Lettuce leaves

2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil

Cayenne (optional)

Tumeric (optional)

S&P to taste

Wash your lettuce and place 2 on each plate. Slice your beets and lay them on top of the lettuce.

Slice your cheese and place on top of the beets.

Drizzle 1 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive oil, sprinkle remaining ingredients and enjoy!

*check how they sell the soft goat cheese in your country here in Italy I find them like this at the grocery store

Beets and goat cheese

 

 

Meatless Monday Radicchio Risotto

The wonderful Holidays are behind us and we are off to a wonderful 2014.

I don’t know why but I feel like this year is going to be fantastic, it’s an even number and I love the way it’s starting out. I feel positive and happy!

Tomorrow is my Monday because here in Italy it was Epiphany today, “which pretty much means a ton of candy, chocolate and of course another big family meal.”
With that being said I will be doing my Meatless Monday tomorrow and I thought that this Italian recipe was perfect. I love rice and I love veggies so this Risotto is a must in my book!

Let me know what you think and how you like it. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 small head of Radicchio

200 gr. Rice

1 Shallot

3-4 cups Vegetable Broth

1 tbsp. EVOO

Splash white wine

Salt

Parmiggino Reggiano, grated

Wash the radicchio and slice thinly. Get your shallot and slice finely; place in a sauce pan with the EVOO allow to get golden and then add the radicchio and cook until it wilts.

Add your rice and incorporate with all the ingredients, add your splash of white wine mix and allow it to evaporate.
Add your hot vegetable broth to the pan mix and allow to cook for about 20 minutes or desired doness.
Once it’s ready sprinkle some parmiggiano mix well and serve.

Light & Clean Meal: Salmon & Green Beans

Let’s talk and make something healthy, light and nutritious.

It’s definitely getting colder outside, the heat is on and I don’t know if where you live they are putting up Christmas decorations but they definitely are here in Italy. All the shops, city centers, coffee shops and even the grocery stores are decorated and selling all things Christmas. I do love Christmas but I think that it might just be a bit too early for me to start decorating the house.

I feel like we recently just stopped going to the beach; wait actually I was at the beach the last week of October in my bikini, so yeah we did just end summer. Either summer ended late (which actually it did because it started late) but hold-your-horses I still want fall. I have mentioned this before and I will mention it again….I love Fall. With that being said there are some dishes I find to be perfect for both summer & winter. They are not too light or too heavy they are at that perfect in-between that is perfect year round.

Just like I change out my closets, I change my style in the kitchen. I tend to go for lots of salads, grilled veggies and lean proteins (which mainly consist of chicken and lots and lots of fresh seafood of all sorts), frittata’s, white wine, espresso and lots of raw veggies and homemade parfaits in the summer.

I generally cook lots of soups, roasted vegetables and chicken, fish al cartoccio, slower cooked winter stews such as Chicken Cacciatora, Chicken Adobo, all-vegetable stew, stuffed vegetables, cappuccino’s, red wine and lots of steamed vegetables and healthy baked treats in the winter.

Then of course there are those foods (and there  are quite a few) that I eat year round to name a few: risotto, pasta, pizza, cheese (parmigiano, pecorino & mozzarella my favorite), salads, tuna, fruit, nuts, ice-cream (occasionally but sometimes I crave it more in the winter than the summer), nut butters, and in this case Salmon.

Salmon is wonderful. It tastes fantastic both steamed, baked, grilled, smoked and even as a carpaccio. So it really doesn’t matter what the temp is outside your body will always welcome it.

Full of Omega 3, DHA & EPA Salmon has a whole bunch of amazing benefits for your body, mind and being. It boosts brain function, reduces inflammation, supports cardiovascular health, protects your eyes, increases bone density & strength, and about 3-6oz of Salmon can supply you with a days worth of Vitamin D crucial to maintaining optimal health. Plus many more benefits.
It’s so good for you and can be eaten both summer and winter and you won’t mind!

Your best bet is to consume wild or organically farmed fish to avoid any additional pesticides, fungicides and excessive omega-6 consumption (which leads to inflammation) found in conventionally farmed fish.

Here’s my light, healthy, toxic-free dinner to keep you in good health and shape.

Ingredients:

Serves 2

For the Salmon you’ll need:

  • 2 sheets of Aluminum foil
  • 2 6oz Salmon Filets
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt & Peppercorns to taste
  • Chili Flakes (optional)

For the Green Beans you’ll need:

  • 3 cups Green Beans, end cut off
  • 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat your oven @ 350

Place a medium pot half filled of water to boil.

Grab salmon filets and place each on at the center of the aluminum foil sprinkle with salt & peppercorns. Slice your lemon and place 2 slices over each filet. Get your foil and lightly wrap creating sort of a pocket or bag; you don’t want it touching the top of salmon. Make sure no open areas around the filets, place on a baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes.

Your water should be boiling by now so through in your green beans allow to boil until turns bright green about 6 minutes or desired doness. I like mine just a bit crunchy.
Prepare a bowl of cold water with some ice cubes. Drain your green beans and quickly place them in the bowl of cold water. This allows them to stop cooking instantly and preserves the vibrant color of the vegetable. Drain place in a bowl and drizzle the EVOO, Lemon juice, salt and pepper mix thoroughly and set on table.

Your Salmon should be ready remove from oven be careful when you open the pockets as some steam may come out (it burns).
Serve with Green beans and Enjoy!

Brown Rice Stuffed Mini Zucchini

In ode to Halloween I came up with this recipe. I had to:

  1. Because they look like little Pumpkins.
  2. Because a healthy, fun theme dish seems totally appropriate.
  3. Lastly, I just couldn’t resist these cute Zucchini & stuffing them seemed like the perfect thing to do since the moment I laid eyes on them.

I didn’t grow up with Halloween and I definitely never carved a pumpkin until about 3 years ago in the States with my Husband.  Here in Italy it wasn’t something common or known while I was growing up but in the past few years seems like it’s finally starting to catch on.

I was at the grocery store and since being back from the states I really do appreciate our agriculture much more. We have endless options of farm grown vegetables & fruits of which I learn more & more about each day.  For instance I had never even seen these types of zucchini before but the minute I laid eyes on them I knew I had to cook with them and make something traditionally different. You usually stuff bell peppers but I knew that this would be an excellent and lighter sub; turns out I was right. Also it brought Halloween to mind because they completely look like a tiny little green pumpkins.

I don’t really need to say that this is a healthy, vegetarian dish because it’s kinda obvious but the fact is that I think zucchini and brown rice merry so well together the flavors are light yet rich and totally perfect for the Fall to top it off the parmigiano reggiano really sets off the nutty flavors of the rice and the sweetness of the zucchini making it one delicious meal.
I didn’t really have many vegetables in the house to put inside but if you want you could add mushrooms, asparagus, artichokes, bell peppers, spinach.
For an non-vegetarian meal you could add ground meat, bacon, shrimp or chicken. That’s the fun thing about these guys is that you can do whatever you like and I think it would all taste amazing. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
Makes 4 Zucchini

4 Zucchini

100-150 gr. of Brown rice, cooked

1 Shallot

2 tbsp. EVOO

1/2 cup Vegetable broth

2 tbsp. Parsley, chopped

3 tbsp. Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

S&P to taste

Preheat the oven @ 350°F (180°C)

Slice the top off the zucchini and with a spoon gently scoop out the pulp. Set aside & repeat with other zucchini.
Heat EVOO in a medium skillet; finely chop your shallot place it in the skillet and sauté until golden. Stir in chopped zucchini pulp along with the vegetable broth, parsley & brown rice add salt and pepper stir & remove from heat.

Drizzle a bit of EVOO in a baking dish. Get one zucchini at the time add rice mixture half way sprinkle some parmigiano fill up with rice and top off with more parmigiano put top that you cut off and place in baking dish. Repeat process with the rest of zucchini. Bake for 20-30 minutes until zucchini is tender.

 

 

 

 

Frittata ai Fior di Zucca

I love this time of year. And finally the crazy busy summer schedule has subsided, I have sometime off to focus on myself and my amazing Husband.

There is one thing that I truly enjoy about this country that somehow always makes me smile; the Farmers. They care so much about the whole vegetable/fruit and make sure that they work hard under the hot sun just so we can enjoy a delicious, juicy, pesticide-free and healthy vegetable and/or fruit. I particularly love going to the Market and just figuring out what I’m going to make by seeing what they have. They will explain everything to you; from how to cook it and eat it to when it’s going to be out of season and when it will be back, how it’s supposed to look when ripe and when it’s unripe. It’s a fascinating subject to me and I just love everything about it.

I had my first day off since April and I finally was able to go back to the market in tranquility without rushing around. I started looking at what vegetables where out and what I could potentially use for dinner. Before my Husband took off for work that morning, he had mentioned that he would like to have eggs for dinner as it had been quite a while since he had had them; so with that thought in mind I figured it would be a frittata kind of dinner with some sort of vegetables and fresh baked bread.
As I looked around the Market I spotted one of the most sophisticated & prestigious vegetables and knew that I was going to get them: Fior Di Zucca (which means Zucchini Flowers) 

Here in Italy it’s something that is generally dipped in a light batter and then fried. But I knew that there had to be a healthier way to make them and considering how delicate they are I knew that it’s would have to be perfect in a frittata. I got to talking with the farmer Lady and explained my idea and she looked back at me and said ‘Perfetto, sara buonissimo’ (which means Perfect, it will be delicious). With that she gave me a tip, she told me to not cook them before the egg, to lay them on-top of the egg because being so delicate I wouldn’t want to over cook them. She proceeded to tell me that it had unfortunately happened to her once. Ha!

I went home happy about my purchase and excited to be using Fior di Zucca for the first time. It came out delicious. Seriously, might have been the best frittata I have ever tasted. It was a proud moment that night when my American Bacon and Eggs Husband said that these were the best eggs he ever had and to add them to the roster of things to cook.
Yes, sometimes it’s the simplest things in life that give us the biggest satisfactions! I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as we did.

Ingredients:

6 Fior di Zucca

6 eggs

3 tbsp. Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

S&P to taste

Delicately wash your Fior di Zucca and set aside to dry. Once dry slice them in half.

Place a medium sized skillet over medium heat (make sure that you have a cover for the skillet very important) add the olive oil and allow to heat.
In a small bowl crack your eggs, whisk and pour into your skillet. Gently add your Fior di Zucca, sprinkle salt and pepper and cover allowing to cook gently for about 5-7 minutes. Uncover sprinkle the parmigiano and by now you should see the consistency of the egg.
If it’s cooked turn off and serve, if it needs more time cover back up and allow to cook until egg isn’t runny anymore.