Since Holiday meals usually involve lots of protein rich foods, it's nice to give your digestive system a break and make some simple flavorful vegetable dishes instead. And of course it's so much easier with Convection. For this meal, I roasted cauliflower for soup and butternut squash for a simple side dish with sauteed spinach and white beans. I also made some spicy cheese crackers to serve with the soup.....easy and so delicious.
Roasted Cauliflower Soup
1 - medium head cauliflower, coarse stem removed, cut into 1” thick slices or florets
2 - cloves garlic, minced
¼ - teaspoon mixed Italian seasoning
2 - tablespoons olive oil
1 - large leek trimmed washed free of any dirt and sliced into thin rings
1 - tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter
6 - cups chicken, turkey or vegetable stock
Optional - chopped chives for serving
Combine all the ingredients and spread onto a rimmed baking sheet.
Heat the oven in the Convection Roast Mode 400 - 425 degrees and roast for 20 - 25 minutes until the cauliflower begins to caramelize and is soft. Stir once during the cooking to avoid overbrowning on one side.
Meanwhile, heat a 2 qt capacity saucepan on moderate heat and add the olive oil and butter . When the butter is sizzling stir in the leeks and cook over moderate heat to soften.
Add the stock and bring to a gentle simmer.
Stir in the cooked cauliflower and simmer for 5 minutes, then puree till smooth.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Sauteed Spinach and White Beans
1 - small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1” dice
1 - 14oz can cannellini or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
¼ - cup chicken, turkey or vegetable stock
Combine the butternut squash with the remaining ingredients and spread onto a rimmed baking sheet. Heat the oven in the Convection Roast Mode 400 degrees and roast for 25 - 30 minutes until the edges begin to caramelize.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet and stir in the yellow onion. Cook the onion to soften then stir in the garlic, cook for a minute then stir in the spinach and cook till wilted.
Stir in the stock and the drained white beans, cover and cook over low heat for five minutes. Gently stir in the cooked butternut squash and add salt and pepper to taste before serving.
Spicy Cheese Crackers
These crackers are very easy to make. Once combined, the batter needs to be rolled into a log and refrigerated for an hour or overnight prior to slicing and baking, so plan ahead. Since they are baked at 325 degrees Convection they can be baked before or after the vegetables are roasted. The surprise ingredient of rice krispies gives these cookies a nice crunch.
½ - cup softened butter
1 ¼ - cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 - cup all purpose flour
⅛ - teaspoon salt
¼ - teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 ¼ - cups Rice Krispies
Beat the butter and cheddar cheese in a large bowl till blended.
Whisk the flour, salt and cayenne together in another bowl and gradually beat into the cheese mixture. Stir in the rice krispies, then turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a stiff dough.
Shape the dough into an approximately 7” long roll, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
Heat the oven Convection 325, cut the cookies into ¼” slices and place 1” apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 14 - 16 minutes until the edges are golden brow