Paleo Approved Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Pancetta

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It’s officially October!! You know what that means, the leaves start falling, weather gets cooler, and every girl you know will be talking about and indulging in PUMPKIN! I can’t tell you why us ladies are obsessed with fall and anything and everything pumpkin, but we are… so get used it. I am a girl, so naturally I am excited about making this creamy and amazing soup!

Did I mention there’s pumpkin in it??

Anyways, if you’re a Paleo eater like me, this recipe is paleo approved and very good! Even if you aren’t on Paleo, this soup is still very tasty and a perfect way to start off the Fall season right! This soup is rich and creamy, adding the crispy pancetta is the perfect addition! You get a little salty crunchy bite in your soup which I always love!

I will recommend you trying a tiny piece of sage before you throw it in there like I did. I actually did not like the sage, I’ve only had it in stuffing and with turkey minced up with other herbs. I now know that sage isn’t for me unless in small quantities and accompanied with other herbs and spices.

I recommend saving a little coconut milk for the end to swirl in your soup and make it look all fancy!

To start, take a large cooking pot and place on medium high heat. Dice up your pancetta into small square pieces (or place in pot if bought pre diced) and once the pot is hot cook until crispy, about 5 minutes. Once cooked, place on a plate lined with paper towels  to soak up excess grease. Drain your pot of the grease.

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Turn your heat down to medium and place your broth, pumpkin, coconut milk, shake well before opening! (don’t forget to save some for your grand finale look!), and spices and stir well, the pumpkin will start to cook and lumps will turn into creamy goodness!

Wait until it boils slightly, then turn to a simmer. Place lid on and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

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Meanwhile, if you like the whole sage idea, chop some up and set aside.

Once the soup is finished simmering, pour that amazing creamy pumpkin goodness in a bowl, pour the leftover coconut milk and make it look all fancy, and crumble the pancetta on top. Serve! DSC_0059-1

The Fixin’s:
8 oz pancetta or bacon
2 cups chicken broth
29 oz canned pumpkin
2 14 oz cans of full-fat coconut milk
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground nutmeg
fresh sage, chopped, optional and not for me!

Serves 6-8

Adapted from fedandfit.com, an inspiration of a blogger!

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Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta

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Now, before you get all “ew brussel sprouts” on me, just give them a try! I know they aren’t for everyone, but if you’ve never had them roasted you need to try it! I know a number of people who don’t like brussels when they are steamed, but love them roasted. This recipe kicks it up a few notches and adds balsamic vinegar, goat cheese, and pancetta. Because brussels can taste a bit bitter, the balsamic cuts through the bitterness and really brings out all of it’s wonderful flavors.

If you’ve never had pancetta before, it’s a lot like bacon, but thicker and has a peppery taste. It also tends to have less fat. I decided to add goat cheese crumbles to subside the saltiness of the pancetta and add a creamy touch to the dish. If you don’t like goat cheese, feel free to substitute your favorite kind of cheese, or no cheese at all!

To get started, preheat your oven to 450°. Take your brussels and using a perry knife, cut the buds off of the ends. Then peel away a few of the outer leafy layers until there are no holes or broken leaves. I like to place mine in a colander when I am finished. Once you are finished, rinse the brussels with cold water. Shake to rid any excess water. Then, cut them horizontally in half.

Take a baking sheet and drizzle the bottom with olive oil. Place your cut brussels on the sheet. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar and a little more olive oil and cracked pepper over top and take a spoon or spatula and toss them to evenly coat. Cut your pancetta into thick squares and place them on the sheet mixing them in with the brussels. Before placing your sheet in the oven, make sure your brussels are laying evenly and flat.

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Bake until brussels are slightly browned and crispy as pictured above, usually about 30 minutes. You want to take your baking sheet out every 10-15 minutes to mix up the brussels in order to evenly cook and brown all sides.

Once the brussels are roasted to your desired crispiness, place your roasted brussels and pancetta in a bowl and add your crumbled goat cheese, serve and devour!

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This dish will pair perfectly with some burgers off the grill or a nice steak. What I love most about roasted brussel sprouts are that they pair well with everything, even seafood! This recipe is good all by itself, so you be the judge!  You will never think the same about brussels once you give this a try!

What you’ll need:
1 bunch of brussel sprouts, buds cut, washed and cut lengthwise
6 thick slices of pancetta at your local deli counter, cut into square pieces
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil
Pepper
Goat cheese (I used garlic & herb), or your favorite cheese substitute

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Creole Shrimp Sauté

I love Publix.

Growing up in Cincinnati area we had grocery stores called Kroger and your occasional Winn Dixie. When I moved to Florida and went to Publix for the first time I felt like a kid at Christmas! Their slogan is “Publix, where shopping is a pleasure.” Oh it is definitely a pleasure, the staff is always friendly and helpful and the food always is in good quality!

Every day Publix has someone cooking up a yummy recipe. They also have lots of recipe cards available throughout the store and the best part is that they are free!!  So I found this particular recipe card and couldn’t wait to make it for dinner! If you like shrimp with a little kick and a light olive oil based pasta, you will love this meal!

I did my usual and changed some things up from the original recipe, added asparagus for more of a color pop and also substituted pancetta in place of bacon. But if you aren’t a fan of asparagus, I would also suggest some sweat peas or peppers! You could also try some chorizo instead of bacon or pancetta.

To get started, boil a medium sized pot of water. While your waiting for it to boil, prep some of your ingredients: cut up the pancetta (or bacon or chorizo, etc) into bite-sized pieces. Chop your parsley and tomatoes.

If you are cooking with bacon, cook the bacon on medium high for 5-7 minutes or until it is almost done. If you are using chorizo or pancetta (especially pancetta) you only want to cook it ahead for a few minutes because it cooks faster. Your water should be boiling by now so go ahead and add your pasta and cook according to package directions.

Once the meat is cooked almost all of the way through, sprinkle blackening seasoning (I used my favorite seasoning Cajun!) to the shrimp and add to the skillet stirring and cooking for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, asparagus, wine, garlic, red pepper flakes. Cook for another few minutes or until the shrimp turn pink and the sauce thickens a bit.

Stir in scampi sauce (make sure you shake the bottle well before pouring!) and lemon juice. Cover the pan for a few minutes to let the asparagus steam. I only cooked them enough to be soft in the middle and a little crunchy on the outside. This gave the dish a different consistency that I love: crunchy and soft!

Take your drained pasta and place on a plate or bowl and pour your shrimp creole mixture on top, sprinkle with parsley. Voila!!

Please don’t skimp out on the lemon juice, it was my favorite part of the sauce, it gave it that tangy bite that really helped bring out the natural flavors of the veggies and shrimp! Please enjoy this with a glass of white wine such as Riesling or Pinot Grigio.

What you’ll need:
8oz. Angel Hair Pasta
4 slices of thickly cut pancetta (Get this at your deli)
1 cup diced tomatoes
2 tsp minced garlic, or 2 cloves
3/4 cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
12 oz. peeled, deveined shrimp
Creole or Cajun/Blackening seasoning
1 cup of asparagus cut into pieces
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup of scampi sauce
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Italian Flat Leaf Parsley