I adore cooking, but the novelty of being able to throw a bunch of ingredients into a container and have it churn out a gourmet end-product doesn't get old. Since so much of the holidays involves prepping multi-course meals, I wanted to drum up a few simple, seasonal creations that I could return to for indulgence and comfort without slaving over the stove. If you're looking for some delicious and easy recipes that can be made in a single appliance, like our Vitamix Professional Series 500, here are three dishes to try out. The best part is that the soup and pecan praline butter yield multiple servings, so the effort-to-enjoyment ratio is that much higher. Fair warning that the eggnog milkshake may be something you want to make daily...
Butternut Squash Soup with Crema and Fresh Sage
2 cups of chicken stock
1/2 cup of cream (or evaporated milk)
1 large butternut squash, peeled, diced and cooked
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1/8 tsp cinnamon + 1/8 tsp nutmeg)
1 tsp crema
1-2 fresh sage leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, place diced squash on the pan, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Place in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until soft.
3. Place all ingredients (aside from the crema) into the Vitamix in the order shown, and set to level 1, or to the "Hot Soup" setting (which is an option on our machine.) If you have this setting, once you click the start button, you're pretty much done, as the machine will adjust the speed automatically, so you can skip the remaining steps.
4. Slowly adjust the speed from 1 to 10, then to high. Blend for 4-5 minutes, or until steam begins to rise from the top of the lid.
5. Pour into bowl and drizzle with crema.
Pecan Praline Butter
2 cups of dry roasted pecans
1/2 cup - 1 cup packed brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like the spread)
2-3 tbs water (to thin out the butter)
1. Place the pecans in to the container, followed by the brown sugar.
2. Place lid on top, turn on and gradually increase speed to high. Blend for 1-2 minutes, adding water as necessary, to create a smoother consistency.
3. Scoop out of container and place into a glass jar. Will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks.
Boozy Eggnog Milkshake
1 1/2 cups of Egg Nog
2 scoops of high-quality vanilla ice cream
1 oz of brandy (optional)
pinch of nutmeg
1. Place egg nog, ice cream and brandy into container, place lid on top and blend on medium-low speed until ingredients are combined.
2. Pour into a tall glass, top with whip cream and sprinkle with nutmeg.