December 19, 2007

Healthy Meal: Butternut Squash Soup and Waldorf Salad

Slow to post tonight because I was busy watching The Biggest Loser season finale. It was great to see how much weight everyone had lost! However, I have to say, at the beginning of the season I always found it super-inspiring. Tuesdays were my hard workout days because I would just jump on the elliptical and go for the whole show, sometimes even hitting the treadmill after! Lately, though, not so much. Tonight I did 35 mins — which is still great, but nowhere near the 60 I was aiming for. I’m excited about the new season January 1st though. Hopefully that will provide fresh inspiration.

Anyway, get ready for some amazing food! Tonight I made butternut squash soup, which is like RIDICULOUSLY healthy. I had a huge portion (it was really two portions), and it was still only 200 cals! Pretty awesome.

My mom sent me the recipe a few days ago and I was eager to try it – I love butternut squash soup. However, I’ve never bought/used an actual butternut squash before. Peeling it without dropping it into the garbage can was a bit tricky, but didn’t really take that long, and chopping it is fairly easy because it’s all going to get mushed up anyway so you don’t really have to worry about how uniform you’re making the pieces.

I paired it with a version of a Waldorf salad, which was actually more cals/fat than the squash because I threw walnuts on top. Now, I tried to plate it all pretty, but I think I just don’t have the knack for this, because it looks the same as the pictures I’ve already been posting:

I cut up a slice of that Mestemacher whole grain bread to have with the soup, and that was pretty tasty. Also, that stuff you see on top of the soup are a few extra walnuts and some nutmeg. See, I told you toppings can really make a recipe look great!

And now for the substitutions of the day. For the soup: one tbsp of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter instead of 2 tbsp butter, 2 cups of Swanson Natural Goodness Chicken Broth (it’s lower sodium and fat-free) plus 2 cups of water instead of 4 cups of chicken stock, and I skipped the optional heavy cream. I meant to put in skim milk at the end but forgot until I was already eating, and it was delicious without it. I also tossed half an apple (diced) in with the squash to give it an extra complexity and sweetness.

I used one of those handheld masher things to try to squish the squash into soup, and it almost worked. However, it was still just too irregular for me (especially since tonight was going to be pretty picture night!), so I finally dug out the big blender and put it in. It seriously took like 2 seconds in the blender to puree it. I mean, I pressed the button, then realized I had filled it too full and went to take the top off to dump some out before trying again, and when I did that, I saw that it was already done. Cool!

Substitutions for the salad: no oil or cream in the dressing (it was still great), and I subbed fresh cherries for the grapes. Neither is really in season, but the grapes at my grocery looked gross whereas the cherries looked good, so I figured either was fine. Also I messed with a lot of proportions on the salad. When I get a salad recipe, I tend to just use the amounts as guidelines. Because if I like a little less onion and a little more apple in my salad, who cares? If you do want to know the exact proportions of everything I used, you can always check out the DailyPlate link below (where it says the number of calories).

The whole thing was SO filling. Seriously I am completely stuffed right now and I kind of can’t believe I ate that much. However – there’s no real guilt, because it was a pretty healthy meal!

Nutrition info:
200 cals for the soup (recipe here)
120 cals for the bread
316 cals for the salad (recipe here)
55 cals for 1/2 glass of skim milk (I was running low)

Now, 691 cals might sound like a lot. However, I really can’t tell you just how filling this is. I could have eaten half of everything and still been full! That’s a real calorie bargain.

Review: 5/5
This is absolutely incredible. Please please please, if you try nothing else on my blog, try these recipes. They go together really well, and are the perfect winter meal without necessarily being all meaty and heavy. Peeling and chopping the squash was a teeny bit of a pain, but that was all the prep for the whole recipe, so really not a big deal – you just have to stick around for 20 minutes for it to simmer and soften. Just enough time to do a quick fitness DVD in my room! I see this recipe appearing on the menu quite often in the upcoming weeks of winter 🙂


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