Spice Up the Season | Sun Life

Whether this holiday marks your culinary debut or you're a seasoned chef looking for a fresh take on seasonal favorites, you can take some notes from the pros. Every good chef has an arsenal of tricks and techniques to create amazing dishes every time, and the perfect blend of spices is one of those winning secrets.

In a properly seasoned dish, the spice accents the natural flavors without overpowering them. That's why it's a good idea to build your menu around spices and herbs of the highest quality, such as Spice Islands, which crafts and packages spices and herbs from around the world to deliver the most authentic and intense flavor possible.

Add flavor-rich, seasonal spices to your holiday table with these flavorful recipes for Butternut Squash Soup with Thyme Butter and Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes.

From the appetizers to the main dish to dessert, flavorful seasonings can make a good recipe great. Find more ideas for spicing up your holiday menu at SpiceIslands.com

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Yield: 18 mini cheesecakes

18 paper baking cups (2 1/2 inch diameter)

18 gingersnap cookies

12 ounces cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon corn starch

1 teaspoon Spice Islands Pumpkin Pie Spice

2 eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/3 cup light corn syrup

Heat oven to 325 F. Line muffin tin with paper baking cups. Place 1 cookie in each cup.

With electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, corn starch and pumpkin pie spice. Add eggs and mix well. Add pumpkin and corn syrup; beat 1 minute.

Pour filling into liners, dividing evenly. Bake 30-35 minutes until just set.

Chill 1 hour.

Butternut Squash Soup with Thyme Butter

Prep time: 35 minutes

Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Ginger

1/4 teaspoon Spice Islands Cayenne Pepper

3 pounds (about 7 cups) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 medium cooking apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped

2 small onions, coarsely chopped

2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) chicken broth, divided

1/2 cup water

Thyme Butter:

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon Spice Islands Thyme

1/2 teaspoon Spice Islands Garlic Powder

Heat oven to 425 F.

In large bowl, combine oil, ginger and cayenne pepper. Add squash, apples and onions; toss to coat. Transfer to 15-by-10-inch baking pan. Roast in single layer 35-45 minutes, or until tender. Remove from oven.

Working in batches, combine squash mixture and one can chicken broth in blender or food processor; blend until smooth. Transfer pureed mixture to large saucepan. Stir in remaining chicken broth and water. Bring soup to boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.

To make thyme butter: Combine butter, thyme and garlic powder until well blended. Spoon onto wax paper and roll into 3-inch log; wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm.

To serve, cut butter into thin slices. Ladle hot soup into individual bowls; top each with slice of butter.

Tip: Puree can be made in advance, covered and refrigerated up to 2 days.

Source: Spice Islands

Send your family's favorite recipes to the Sahuarita Sun and we'll include them in a coming issue. Email to [email protected] A photo is welcome, too!

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