Spice Up Your Life

Pumpkin Soup with Spice Shake. Photo courtesy of Kate Merker and Anna Helm Baxter

Pumpkin Soup with Spice Shake. Photo courtesy of Kate Merker and Anna Helm Baxter

As Thanksgiving and Christmas come around the corner, we all need some new recipes to try out for our friends and family. As much as we would like to stick to what we know, sooner or later, we get tired of the same old things.  As good as the tradition is, we must bring something new to the table when we sit down with our families. This year, spice up your feast with some of the many the recipes below.

Savory Pumpkin Soup with Spice Shake


Soup Spice Shake

1/4 cup of olive oil    

2 tablespoons of whole cumin seeds

1 sweet onion, chopped     

2 tablespoons of whole fennel seeds

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped    

2 tablespoons of whole coriander seeds

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper     

1 cup of toasted pepitas

2 cloves garlic, chopped    

2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon of chili powder    

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

2 teaspoon of dried oregano

2  (15-ounce) cans pure pumpkin puree

2 qt. vegetable broth

3 tbsp. fresh lime juice

Spice Shake, for serving



This recipe makes 8 servings and takes 1 hour and 5 minutes to make

  1. Make the soup: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until onion is soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, and oregano. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add pumpkin puree and broth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 25 to 30 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in lime juice just before serving. Serve with Spice Shake alongside.
  3. Make the Spice Shake:  (Makes 1 2⁄3 cups)

Cook 2 tbsp. each whole cumin seeds, whole fennel seeds, and whole coriander seeds in a small skillet over low heat, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to a bowl. Add 1 cup toasted pepitas, 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.



Roasted Butternut Squash with Cider Vinaigrette


2 small butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds each), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

1 medium red onion, cut into wedges

3 tbsp. olive oil, divided

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper                                          

1 c. apple cider

1 1/2 tbsp. whole-grain mustard

1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Directions: This recipe makes 6 servings, and takes 40 minutes to make.

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss squash and onion with 2 tablespoons oil on two rimmed baking sheets. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, rotating pans once, until golden brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring cider to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer until liquid has reduced to 3 tablespoons, 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Whisk together mustard, vinegar, reduced cider, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley.
  4. Drizzle squash and onion with vinaigrette just before serving.

Tools you’ll need: baking sheets ($24 for two-pack, amazon.com)


Roasted Butternut Squash with Cider Vinaigrette. Photo Courtesy of Kate Merker.

Ham and Cheese Green Bean Casserole


1 container (2.8 oz) French-fried onion
6 cups of water                                                                                                                          

 2 lb fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths ¼ cup butter       

 ¼ cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour       

½ teaspoon salt        

1 cup Progresso™ chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)        

1 cup half-and-half         

4 oz cream cheese          

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (8 oz)                    

 1 cup finely chopped cooked ham

Directions: This recipe makes 12 servings, and takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to make.

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13×9-inch (3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray. Reserve 1/2 cup French-fried onions for topping.

2. In 4- to 5-quart saucepan, heat 6 cups water to boiling over medium-high heat. Add green beans. Cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; drain, and place green beans back into pan; set aside.

  1. Meanwhile, in 3-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add flour and salt; stir with whisk or fork until blended. Gradually stir in broth and half-and-half; cook and stir 6 to 8 minutes or until smooth, bubbly and sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Add cream cheese and Cheddar cheese; stir until cheeses are melted. Stir in remaining French-fried onions and the ham.
  2. Pour cheese mixture over green beans; stir to coat. Spread mixture in baking dish. Top with reserved 1/2 cup French-fried onions.
  3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.


These are only some of the many amazing recipes you can make this November, so if you want to have an amazing 5 star meal in less than an hour, try some of these recipes and spice up your life .

Ham and Cheese Green Bean Casserole. Photo courtesy of Betty Crocker Kitchens.