• Leigh

In the Advent Kitchen -- December 19


Butternut Soup

Sweet Potato-Chickpea Patties

Cauliflower Mash

Spinach

Orange-Almond Cake

Tonight is a good evening for a meatless supper. A simple butternut soup will warm you up and not plump you out. The soup is made with frozen squash puree and can be ready in less than 20 minutes. After the soup, try sweet potato-chickpea patties. The ingredients mix quickly in a food processor, and the patties—rich with fiber and protein and nicely warmed with spices—cook in less than 10 minutes in a skillet. A one-minute-to-make yogurt sauce tops the patties. Alongside the patties, consider serving cauliflower mash and spinach—fresh or frozen—steamed in the microwave. Dessert is a simple orange-almond cake. Mix it up in a few minutes and pop it in the oven while you eat dinner. The cake needs about half an hour to bake. It will scent the kitchen nicely and taste wonderful warm from the oven. Serve it plain, with a bit of low-fat whipped topping, or with some low-fat ice cream or yogurt.

Butternut (Winter Squash) Soup – Serves 6

You can’t get much easier than this soup. It tastes rich, but it isn’t. The soup is loaded with vitamin A, high in manganese, and very low in calories. So enjoy its warm, nourishing goodness!

2 10-ounce packages of butternut (winter squash) puree

2 tablespoons of dried minced onion

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

2 cups of reduced sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon of dried parsley

½ teaspoon of ginger

½ cup of applesauce

Cinnamon and fat-free yogurt (optional)

Combine all the ingredients except the cinnamon and yogurt in a soup pot and bring the ingredients to a boil. Stir the mixture well, reduce the heat, and simmer the soup for 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Sprinkle each serving with a dash of cinnamon and add a dollop of fat-free yogurt if you like.

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Patties – Serve 4

These patties are great for a meatless meal. Preparation is simple with a food processor, but, if you’d prefer, you can always use a potato masher and some arm muscle. The texture will be a bit chunkier, but you might like it that way (I do—especially because I don’t have to wash out the food processor). Try it and see. The sweet potato and mixture of warm and sweet spices give the patties wonderful flavor. The sauce—a mixture of marmalade, cider vinegar, and Greek yogurt—is simple and really complements the spices in the patties.

1 large sweet potato, cooked and peeled

1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

½ teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

1 teaspoon of cumin

½ teaspoon of curry powder

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

1 tablespoon of chopped parsley (or 2 teaspoons of dried parsley flakes)

¼ cup of chopped green onion

1-2 teaspoons of canola oil

¼ - ½ cup of plain, fat-free Greek yogurt

Pulse everything in the food processor except the green onion and the yogurt. Mix in the green onion and enough yogurt to bind the mixture together. Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium high heat and add the oil. Form 3-inch patties with the chickpea mixture and, when the pan is hot, add them to the pan and brown them on each side for 3-4 minutes. Serve the patties hot, with the sauce.

Sauce

¼ cup of orange marmalade

1 tablespoon of cider vinegar

½ cup of plain, fat-free Greek yogurt

Blend all of the ingredients in a cup or bowl and serve on top of the chickpea patties.

Cauliflower Mash – Serves 4 +

Cauliflower has become incredibly popular as the low-carbohydrate craze has developed. Nonetheless, the vegetable has been part of many diets for years, with its mild taste making it useful in a variety of dishes. This recipe is for a cauliflower version of mashed potatoes, but, frankly, it’s just a mashed up, dressed up version of your grandmother’s cauliflower with cheese sauce. Her way or this way, cauliflower is good! Rather than the frozen cauliflower, feel free to use a small head of fresh cauliflower, cut up and cooked soft, before proceeding with the rest of the recipe. I use frozen cauliflower in this recipe because it’s faster and less expensive.

1 16-ounce bag of frozen cauliflower, cooked according to the package

directions until very soft

¼ teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of pepper

½ teaspoon of smoked paprika

½ cup of low fat sour cream

2 teaspoons of dried minced chives

½ -1 cup of low fat milk

¼ cup of grated Parmesan cheese

Mash cauliflower with a potato masher and add the salt, pepper, sour cream, smoked paprika, and chives. Add enough milk to reach the consistency you like. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Re-warm the mash in the microwave, if necessary. Stir the mash before serving it.

Orange-Almond Cake – Serves 8-10

This cake is like a “little black dress.” It is quite good and elegant in its simplicity. The cake also is very easy, inexpensive, and just sweet enough. A touch of warm cinnamon heightens the orange flavor. The glaze adds additional moisture and sweetness to the cake, but you could certainly leave the glaze off, if you’d prefer. The cake is wonderful “as is.” You also could serve it with a scattering of fruit—strawberries, raspberries, or other berries—and/or whipped cream or ice cream. Or drizzle it with some chocolate sauce. It’s an adaptable cake.

½ cup of plain, fat-free yogurt

1 cup of sugar

¼ cup of canola oil

3 eggs

Zest from an orange or 2 clementines

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

½ teaspoon of orange extract

1½ cups of self-rising flour*

¼ teaspoon of cinnamon

½ cup of slivered or sliced almonds

Glaze

¾ cup of confectioners’ sugar

2-3 tablespoons of orange juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat a 9 or 10-inch round spring-form pan with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the yogurt, sugar, canola oil, and eggs and whisk them well. Whisk in the orange zest and extracts. Whisk in the self-rising flour and cinnamon and pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the almonds. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool slightly—about 10 minutes—and remove it from the pan. For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and juice in a measuring cup and stir the mixture until smooth, adding a drop or two of extra orange juice to thin the glaze, if necessary. Drizzle the glaze on the warm cake and let it sink in a few minutes before serving the cake.

* Or use a scant 1½ cups of flour, 1½ teaspoons of baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon of salt.

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