Mini Greek Pizza Muffins and Winter Squash Soup

3 Feb

Oh yes, friends. I made these two items this weekend. And they’re amazing.

I’ll start with the…

Winter Squash Soup

Adapted from smitten kitchen

Serves 8

Soup
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)*
4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)*
1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh sage
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 cup milk

For soup: Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, all squash and herbs; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Return soup to same pot. Stir in cream and bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill. Rewarm over medium heat before serving.)

* If you are not confident in your knife skills or lack a very very sharp one, I’d suggest roasting the squash, halved and seeded, on a baking sheet coated lightly with oil at 425 until soft, scooping it into the pot, and cooking it the rest of the way there. Peeling, seeding and chopping raw squash is not the easiest endeavor. Alternatively, you could buy butternut squash already peeled and chopped in many stores. Haven’t seen acorn yet.

Oh my gosh this soup is amazing. The ginger and cumin really make it sing. I didn’t read down to the asterisk, so I chopped and peeled the acorn squash just with my knife. Yeah, please do the roasting method if you can’t find pre-peeled acorn squash. It’s tedious as hell to peel it by hand.

Next up:

Mini Greek Pizza Muffins

I originally got this recipe from my gym’s monthly newsletter, but they forgot to include the instructions! So I was left with a delicious-sounding list of ingredients and no knowledge on the cooking time/temperature. Thank goodness for Google, because I was able to track the recipe down from Eating Well.

Makes 2 dozen mini muffins

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper (I used 1/3 cup of jarred roasted red peppers)
  • 1/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (I upped this to 2/3 cup and omitted the all-purpose flour)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 large egg, well beaten
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives (I used Trader Joe’s Olive Tapenade instead

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a mini-muffin pan with cooking spray.
  3. Whisk whole-wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, oregano, sugar, garlic powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Stir milk, feta, egg, tomato paste and olives into the onion mixture. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Fill the prepared muffin cups two-thirds full.
  5. Bake the muffins until lightly browned, 13 to 15 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

These are a perfect little snack and taste almost exactly like a bite of pizza! The texture is very light and fluffy, so you don’t feel weighed down at all.

Bonus Recipe! Spicy Roasted Squash Seeds

Oh please, you weren’t going to throw away those precious squash seeds, were you? They’re another amazing snack! And there’s a lot of freedom to season them however you’d like.

  • Start by preheating your oven to 275°F
  • Scoop the seeds out of your squash and remove all the stringy residue. Give them a quick rinse and pat dry
  • Put the seeds in a bowl, drizzle with a bit of olive oil (I used about a teaspoon for all the seeds in an acorn squash)
  • Season with salt, garlic powder, chili powder… whatever you’d like! I used Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • Give them a good mix and spread out on a baking sheet
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, stirring every now and then. I like mine really crispy, so I put mine in for another 5-6 minutes.

The end result? A healthy snack that tastes like tiny little potato chips! Never ever let those seeds go to waste.

I have some AWESOME elliptical news, but I’m first going to wait and see what part 2 of my elliptical adventure brings for me tonight.

If you make these recipes let me know what you think!

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6 Responses to “Mini Greek Pizza Muffins and Winter Squash Soup”

  1. Lacey February 3, 2010 at 9:31 am #

    i LOVE squash soup!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! mmmmm. thanks for the recipe! and i miss mini pizzas! i used to make them for myself when i was in High School all the time. dunno why i ever stopped doing that!

    • Kera February 3, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

      I think we all need a dose of K-12 food sometimes. When I’d go on camp retreats in college and the camp had those little cartons of milk everyone would be like OMG MILK CARTONS I NEED THREE.

  2. J February 3, 2010 at 11:28 am #

    yum yum yum!! I always seem to read the food posts before lunch…not a good idea!

    • Kera February 3, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

      ahhh me too! I have a whole list of food blogs in my reader and I should really avoid those just before meals. But no, I cannot resist ;)

  3. RunToFinish February 4, 2010 at 10:16 am #

    So nice to hear from another gal that’s 5’9! Like I said I started out chubby, so I think I had some unrealistic expectations for how skinny i should be, but healthy eating has made me feel so much better.

    I love finding healthy recipes like the pizza muffins, bless Google and recipe sites!

    • Kera February 4, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

      The media definitely doesn’t help. Although I was underweight until high school, I constantly thought my stomach was too flabby. Being a dancer definitely gave me some skewed views on weight. One girl in my dance classes was 17 and weighed 90lbs! Being 14, 5’7″ (at the time) and 110lbs sometimes felt like a tragedy. It’s sad, really.

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