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Tag: carrots

Fall Harvest Soup

I love it when food captures the color and feeling of a season.  This fall harvest soup does just that.  It is warm and nourishing, and its color is a beautiful combination of deep orange and gold, much like the leaves that are falling off of the trees.  With butternut squash, potatoes, and carrots being the main ingredients, it if full of necessary vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients to help us stay strong as the weather turns cold and damp.  Curry, ginger, and nutmeg give this soup a subtle flavor, along with a generous amount of ground peppercorns.  Because it is pureed in the blender or food processor, the texture is smooth and creamy, and you can serve it either in bowls or little glasses.  The garnish possibilities are endless, including chopped walnuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, shredded cheese, or sour cream.

fall harvest soup on purple benchThough I have made some changes, the recipe for this soup is based on one I found in one of my favorite cookbooks, simply called “Autumn,” by Susan Branch.  My cousin gave me this cookbook a few years ago, and I have enjoyed many of the recipes in it, along with beautiful illustrations and quotes.  This cousin is actually more like a sister to me, since she and I both grew up with three brothers and no sisters.  We are so different, yet so alike in many ways.  Food has the power to connect people, and every time I use a recipe from that cookbook she gave me, I think of her.  We live far apart now (the Atlantic Ocean is between us), yet we are able to stay connected.  She recently called me to wish me a happy birthday, and along with catching up about our families and our career accomplishments and aspirations, she told me about her latest favorite way to make butternut squash (which I want to try soon). The love of food is something we have shared for a long time, a love rooted in our shared past and our shared ancestors, and our shared favorite recipes.

fall harvest soup on railing 1No matter how much modern life seems to isolate us, or how much our busy schedules threaten to overtake our souls, food can bring us back to earth and connect us to those we love.  A humble vegetable like squash can make us feel like we have crossed continents.  Allowing time for washing, peeling, and chopping vegetables gives us time to think, to reminisce, or to talk with whomever is in the kitchen.  Homemade soup cannot be rushed.  Somehow soup that is not rushed tastes the best to me.  This soup is delicious–in its taste, in its color, and with all the associations it brings.  Wishing you all the beauty of fall.fall harvest soup on front porch 2 chopped vegetablesNick sniffing the walnutsfall grasses

Fall Harvest Soup

  • Servings: 8-10
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  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium to large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes or 4-5 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • about 5 cups of butternut squash (one medium-sized squash or about 2 and 1/2 pounds), peeled and cubed, with seeds cut away
  • 6 cups of chicken broth or stock (I like the Better than Bouillon brand)
  • 1 teaspoon of curry
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of dried ginger
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped walnuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, shredded cheese, or sour cream for garnish


Melt the butter in a large soup pot.  Over medium heat, saute the onion and carrot until soft, about 7 minutes.  Stir in the potatoes and squash.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 40 minutes.  Add the curry, nutmeg, and ginger.  Let the soup cool for a few minutes.  In a food processor or blender, puree the soup in batches.  Return the soup to the pot and add salt and pepper to your taste.  Adjust the other seasonings if you wish.  Serve in bowls with spoons, or in little glasses to sip.  Enjoy!

Pasta with Vegetables and Chicken: A Complete Meal in One Bowl

pasta with vegetables and chicken 2The pasta recipe I have posted below is one of the meals I make again and again.  I think of it as one of my workhorse meals.  Not only is it a crowd-pleaser, but it is relatively easy to prepare, full of vitamins and protein, and filling without being heavy.  One of my favorite aspects (besides that is tastes delicious) is that it does not have a lot of components and it does not require a lot of dishes!  And with fall broccoli becoming ready to harvest, it is a great way to use broccoli.  Both broccoli and carrots are full of vitamins and minerals like vitamins A and C, beta carotene, calcium, iron, and potassium.  The chicken provides protein and the pasta gives it substance and that comfort-food feeling.  There is something about a warm pasta meal that soothes and cheers  many a weary soul.  I have used whole wheat pasta and traditional pasta, and the dish tastes great with either, though it works best with the shorter pasta like penne or rigatoni–spaghetti makes it more difficult to mix with the vegetables.  I try to use chicken that is either organic or at least raised humanely and fed high-quality feed.  It costs more to buy meat like this, but since we do not eat meat every day, it works out.  The Ranch dressing gives the dish a yummy flavor and keeps it moist without making it heavy.  With the nights getting consistently cooler and darker earlier, it is comforting to have a warm, steaming meal at the end of the day.  You can serve this meal with bread and/or a tossed salad if you want, but it can stand alone if you want to really keep things simple.

broccoli and carrots 2pasta with vegetables and chicken 3

Recipe for Pasta with Vegetables and Chicken

Pasta with Vegetables and Chicken

  • Servings: 6 to 8
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  • 3 cups of broccoli, washed and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup carrots, washed, peeled, and sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 pound of chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 pound of pasta, such as penne or rigatoni
  • 1 cup of Ranch dressing
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • chopped, fresh basil to garnish


Wash and chop the vegetables and dice the chicken.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the chicken and saute the chicken pieces with the garlic over medium-high heat, about 5-10 minutes, or until the chicken is golden-light brown and not pink in the center.  Remove from heat when done.  In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Boil the pasta according to package directions.  About 2 minutes before the pasta is done, add the broccoli and carrots to the pasta. This cooks the vegetables just enough to get them tender-crisp.  When the pasta is just tender but not mushy, drain the pasta and vegetables in a colander and then return them to the pot.  Add the cooked chicken to the pot, and then pour in the Ranch dressing.  Heat over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture is combined and heated through.  Serve warm, topped with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped basil.  Enjoy!