Butternut Squash and Pear Bisque with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Soup is an excellent prep ahead meal to have on hand. Blended soups like this one are an excellent way to increase vegetable consumption.

Ingredients

4 pounds butternut squash (about 2 medium- sized squash)
4 Bosc pears, peeled, cored and quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons honey
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups fat free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 cups skim milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; prick the squash all over with a sharp knife.  Roast for 1 hour until very soft.  Coat baking sheet with cooking spray, add pears and roast along with squash an additional 15 minutes.  Cool slightly then cut squash in half and remove seeds and membrane.  Peel back the skin and place pulp in a medium size bowl; add roasted pears and set aside for next step.

In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium- high heat.  Add onions, garlic, honey, thyme, nutmeg, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.  Cook stirring occasionally until onions are caramelized, about 5-7 minutes.  Add chicken broth, milk and roasted squash and pear mixture to the pot.  

Using a stick blender, puree soup until smooth then continue to cook until soup just comes to a boil.  Serve with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds. Enjoy!!! Makes 9 servings (one cup each)

Per serving (soup without pumpkin seed garnish): 187 Calories, 2 mg Cholesterol, 2 g Fat, <1 g Saturated Fat, 233 mg Sodium, 41 g Carbohydrate, 6 g Fiber, 6 g Protein.

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

3 tablespoons powdered sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons egg whites
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 ½ cups dry roasted pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine all ingredients except seeds.  Add seeds and stir to coat.   Spread evenly on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 10-15 minutes; stir then bake for an additional 10 minutes.  Cool; serve as a garnish to Butternut Squash and Pear Bisque. 

Per 1 tablespoon: 43 Calories, 0 mg Cholesterol, 3 g Fat, 1 g Saturated Fat, 3 mg Sodium, 2 g Carbohydrate, <1 g Fiber, 2 g Protein.

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