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$100 Visa Giveaway and Butternut Squash Soup


Although outdoor activities make summer my favorite time of year in Washington, the bountiful harvest of autumn comes in a very close second. I love the flavors of fall so much that when BlogHer asked me to choose one of my recipes for a series of progressive dinner posts on fall entertaining, the only hard part was choosing which recipe to use! I decided on my butternut squash soup, not only because it’s easily adapted for an autumn or Halloween themed party, but also because all home cooks need to have at least one pureed soup up their sleeves. Even better, this soup has been a winner with every picky eater I’ve fed it to!

For me, the key to a good soup is texture. Too thin, and it seems watery and cheap; too thick, and you can’t choke it down. While an immersion blender makes blended soups really easy to make, you can also blend them in a regular blender. Just make sure to only do a little at a time; fill the blender less than halfway, or you could have hot soup explode all over you and your kitchen!

Now in my family, we can’t eat pureed soups plain; we need something chunky in there to enhance the contrast of the smoothness of the soup. I love using dried cranberries in this soup, and for Halloween I even use a little cream to draw spiderwebs in the soup, dotting them with cranberry “bugs”. Sometimes, if I want to make it extra fancy, I’ll use pomegranate seeds. Their juicy bursts of tartness add a really bright element to the soup.


Another key to a great soup is controlling the heat as you make your soup. You want a higher heat when you start cooking your vegetables, which gives a little caramelization sweetness to the soup, but once you add the liquid you want to reduce it to a simmer, so it doesn’t all evaporate.

Looking at some of the features of the new GE Café™ Double Oven Range, I started wishing for their tri-ring burner, which has three burners in one. It’s the most powerful burner GE Café™ has ever made, great for quick sautés and stir fries, but it also has a very small burner to gently handle delicate ingredients. Want to know what I find even more exciting? The dedicated simmer burner that you can move your soup pot to, so you can free up your other burners, a big bonus when cooking for a party.


I have to do a lot of pot and pan juggling right now. The wires on two of my burners have frayed, so I’m down to two small burners. Yikes! I don’t know yet if we can easily repair the problem, but if not, I’m definitely eyeing the GE Café™ line.

Okay, now the news you’ll find most exciting. You can win your very own product from the GE Café™ line, a GE Café™ 120V Advantium oven!!! To enter to win the oven, head on over to my friends at BlogHer and check out all that the GE Café™ line has to offer, and then follow their instructions to enter between 10/20/11 – 11/9/11.

You can also win a $100 Visa gift card!!! I know, I know!!! I LOVE giveaways!

Who couldn’t use an extra $100?

Here are the rules for the $100 Visa gift card sweepstakes:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods between 10/20/11 and 11/9/11:
a) Leave a comment on this post telling me what ingredient add-in you would choose for this soup. It can be dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds, like I mentioned, or you can share your own idea so we can all have fun experimenting!
b) Tweet about this promotion (Something like “Visit @DianasaurDishes to win $100 and a GE Café™ 120V Advantium oven http://bit.ly/oePwcA”  and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.  
Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.


Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Total time: 1 hour

Yield: 5-7 servings


  • 3 TBS
  • 1
    large yellow onion, diced
  • 2
    med white thin skinned potatoes (or other potatoes peeled), diced
  • 1
    butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup
    orange juice (I used seasonal clementines)
  • 1 TBS
    orange zest (used clementines as well)
  • 3 cups
    vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp
    kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp
    fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp
    all spice
  • 1/4 tsp
    fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp
    ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup
    dried cranberries

Cooking Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a large pot on medium, then add the onion. Stir to coat the onion in the butter and let cook 3 minutes until it starts to soften.

  2. Add the diced potatoes and squash and stir again. Let cook another 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so.

  3. Add orange juice, zest and vegetable stock. Stir and cover the pot. Let simmer for 30 minutes.

  4. Use an immersion blender (make sure it’s submerged, this soup is like napalm!) to blend the vegetables into a nice thick and creamy soup. Once blended, add salt pepper and spices, tasting as you go.

  5. Ladle soup into individual mugs or bowls and sprinkle with dried cranberries (pomegranate seeds are fun too!).

Visit the bloggers below for more recipes for the GE Café™ Fall Harvest progressive meal and for more chances to win!

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181 thoughts on “$100 Visa Giveaway and Butternut Squash Soup”

  1. I was just at the store & looked at the Butternut squash. I should have bought it, your recipe sounds yummy. I’m making sure I add it to my shopping list for next time. Thanks Diana.

  2. I always roast and salt the butternut squash seeds and add them on top. I also think that a bit of coconut milk adds a lot of creaminess to butternut squash soup.

  3. I’d add either a bit of cumin which is how I make it, or a little curry powder. Another option is Chinese 5 spice which kicks things up very nicely, and is wonderful in squash soup that has orange juice in it. MMMMM.

  4. I’m not the soup cook around here. However my lovely wife often cooks a healthy soup from all fresh ingredients during the fall and winter months. I can’t tolerate MSG. And MSG is added to a lot of the soups served by restaurants! The ingredients look great. We will add this recipe to our menu soon and try it out.

  5. i would finely chop walnuts and add them. But i add cooked and chopped spinach to almost everything i might even try that. Spinach has a mild flavor so it is hidden in most everything.

  6. Actually the dried cranberries with this soup is perfect to me, well I would add-in toasted sesame seeds on top.


  7. Lighly toasted sliced almonds might add a very nice touch. Or a hint of curry powder together with cashews quickly fried in veg.oil and drained on napkins…

  8. If you don’t mind a little extra work, I’d toast some
    Pecans and then in a pan melt some brown sugar with a teaspoon of bourbon. Pour the pecans in the sugar and lay out in parchment paper to cool. Gives the soup a little crunch plus…

  9. Your presentation is beautiful! It never occurred to me to add dried cranberries (which I use ALL the time in many foods) or pomegranate seeds. Thanks for the idea! I don’t really have a better suggestion.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  10. YUM! This looks good! I’m going to try to make it..I love squash. I would probably had sweet white corn & green peas.
    kfloveinme at gmail dot com

  11. recipe looks great! LOVE butternut squash… I like my soups chunkier, so I probably wouldn’t use the blender.

    thanks for the giveaway.
    katz7books at yahoo dot com

  12. I love soups, too. In spite of making quite a bit of homemade soups, I have NEVER yet made squash soup. I think my hubby would be delighted if I did. I would put a dollopof sour cream on it. The ideas of the roasted seeds sounds good too.

    Oh- I would LOVe to add a comment on kitchen stoves!!! I discovered that any range with computer controls………… VERY costly to have repaired. The money I spent on repairs on mine, over the 8 years I owned it- I could have bought a new stove. I have vowed to NEVER ever buy any stove with computer controls ever ever ever again. Dials never break down.

  13. I printed the recipe and want to try it but until I do I cannot make any recommendations for additions. It looks great! Thanks.

  14. I would add a bit of the garlic Philadelphia cooking cream. I’ve added it to many of my soups and gravies lately, and it really adds a nice flavor.

  15. tumeric- because it is good for you, improving mental function, boosts the imune system and benenficial for skin health, and to add a deeper color.

  16. mmm.. yum love your butternutsquash recipe, Fall is all about comfort food to me. 🙂 I love pie, apple or pumpkin or a combination of both in an apple pumpkin crisp it my favorite! thanks for the post and opportunity 🙂

  17. This sounds so good! I’d add some cinnamon and brown sugar! For a sweet and warm treat! Love the idea of the cranberries though – they’re delish, too!

    e-mail: lucky02130 (at) gmail (dot) com

  18. I would have never thought about adding dried cranberries to butternut squash soup – but maybe because most recipes I’ve seen are more savory. What a great idea!


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