Loosen your belts, everyone; it’s time to get cooking for that big turkey meal! I hear a few groans out there, but can it ever be too early to start preparing for Thanksgiving? I vote no, especially if I want to enjoy the holiday with my guests rather than holed up in the kitchen. Everyone has their favorite tried and true Thanksgiving dishes (myself included), but here’s an idea to shake up your traditional offerings this year: why not begin the meal with a bowl of soup?
A few weeks ago, we enjoyed dinner on a picturesque restaurant patio in St. Paul. It was still warm as the sun went down and the twinkle lights came on – a gentle reminder that summer wasn’t finished with us yet. The restaurant’s menu showed hints of fall, though, including a carrot soup that I sampled as an appetizer. Holy cow, was I impressed! Even my veggie-averse son was nudging me for more spoonfuls. I don’t think I’d ever even had carrot soup before this evening, but that quickly changed when I returned home to recreate my memorable dish.
This Carrot Ginger Soup is such a simple, flavorful taste of fall.
Have you broken out the pumpkin yet? October first is right around the corner, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to jump on the pumpkin train. Now I’m not talking pumpkin spice or pumpkin pie. I’m talking Turkey Pumpkin Chili. Pumpkin in my chili? Turkey in my chili? Are you kidding me? Nope, I’m being straight with you. Just try it, and I bet you will be an instant fan, too. But make sure you use pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling. Otherwise you will be in for an unpleasant surprise. The smoky chipotle peppers, cumin and chili powder, along with the savory pumpkin, transform this dish into an amazing fall chili.
I grew up in Nebraska, the Cornhusker state, so fresh sweet corn was a staple at nearly every August meal. Farmer’s markets weren’t all the rage back then. If you wanted sweet corn, you drove to a handful of locations around town and found the farmer who was selling it from the back of his or her pickup truck that day. It doesn’t get much fresher than that! But even a diehard corn lover can only eat corn on the cob for so long before needing to shake it up. This Sweet Corn and Squash Soup with Crispy Pancetta is a great way to enjoy sweet corn’s just-picked flavor (without having to floss after every meal!)
Summer vacation is almost here. The school day count is down to T-3 and soon the late nights of playing outside and lazy mornings will be here. Along with that comes the heat and humidity…and turning on the oven or stove to prepare dinner is the last thing you want to do. Believe me, I’m not complaining, This winter has been the longest one I can remember. EVER. So I’m looking forward to the nights of cool dinners, and this Gazpacho is one of my new favorites.
Soup is the perfect winter meal, and, let’s be honest, there is nothing quite like winter in Minnesota. Some are snowier than others, some longer than others – but they are always cold. Especially the last week of January. It really isn’t as bad as it’s hyped up to be. True Minnesotans find ways to deal with it – and heartwarming dinners are one way to make it a little easier to handle.