This weekend we had a break in the rain just long enough to hit the pumpkin patch with the girls.
The temperature dropped considerably around here, so after a few hours outside, I was really inspired to start cooking some fall foods that not only taste good, but warm the soul.
As I was standing in the check-out line at the grocery story, this month's foodnetwork magazine caught my eye.
The cover showed a big giant bowl of soup that made my stomach growl just looking at it.
Broccoli-Cheddar Soup - Courtesy of Foodnetwork Magazine
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups chopped fresh broccoli florets
1/3 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 1/3 cups)
Croutons, for topping (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the chicken broth, half-and-half, both potatoes, bay leaf, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl; add 3 tablespoons water and season with salt.
Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes; drain.
When the potatoes are tender, remove the bay leaf from the soup and transfer the soup to a blender.
Puree until smooth, leaving the filler cap slightly open to let steam escape (or puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender).
Return the soup to the pot and thin with water, if necessary.
Return to a simmer over medium-low heat; stir in the broccoli and season with salt and pepper
Add the cheese and stir until melted.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with croutons, if desired.
Above is the recipe as it appeared in the magazine. I made a few adjustments for mine.
Even though the recipe called for half and half, I used 1% Milk instead but I did not add it until I was about to puree the soup to avoid scalding it.
I also added a shake or two of red crushed pepper flakes to give it a little extra heat and flavor.
The recipe says that the croutons are optional...... do yourself a favor, ADD THEM!!!
I make my own by cutting up a loaf of day old Italian Bread and then I put it in a nonstick pan with a little olive oil, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a little oregano.
Toss it over medium heat until you see the bread start to brown and crisp up.
Nick will sit there and eat the croutons right out of the pan:)
The soup was awesome!
It was not too rich, but it was still hearty and flavorful.
I will definitely make this one again.
After the pumpkin picking this weekend I was in the mood for a pumpkin flavored dessert.
I have never met anything pumpkin flavored that I did not like, so as I paged through the same magazine, I found a recipe for whoopie pies with a pumpkin twist and decided to give them a whirl.
The Neely's Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Ingredients for the cookies:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Ingredients for the filling:
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Using a stand mixer, add the butter and sugar and beat together until light and fluffy.
Add the egg, then the buttermilk and the vanilla.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
Add the dry ingredients in increments to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined.
Drop heaping tablespoons of the batter onto parchment lined sheet trays, leaving a 2-inch space between each cookie.
Put in the oven and bake for 8 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool on rack.
Beat together the cream cheese and butter, in a small bowl, until smooth.
Slowly add in the confectioners sugar.
Once smooth, add the pumpkin puree, the cinnamon and a pinch of salt.
Beat until smooth and well mixed.
To assemble the cookie, spread a heaping tablespoon of the filling to the flat side of a cookie and sandwich with another.
Repeat with the remaining cookies.
Transfer to a serving platter and serve.
Yep.... these whoopie pies are as good as they look.
The chocolate cakes are so moist and light tasting and the pumpkin cream cheese filling.... Oh yeah, it does not get better than that!
These will not be around long in our house, they are were flying off the plate faster than I could stack them.
If your kids like those oreo cakesters, they will LOVE these!!
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend..... I think Fall is officially here to stay in our neck of the woods and I love it. It is my favorite season of the year.
Happy Fall Y'all!