Copycat: Panera Autumn Squash Soup


Last night I tried a new pasta salad recipe at dinner. It was one of those replace everything bad with healthy alternatives kind of deals. It was horrible. I couldn’t even swallow the first bite. Good thing I cut the recipe in half, because I felt terrible dumping it out.

Old Me would’ve been like, “Yup, this is why we don’t get creative in the kitchen. You’re just not a good cook.”

But Awesome Me was ready and rearing to try again today!

Ever since I had my first serving of acorn squash about two weeks ago, I’ve been on a major squash kick… my way of getting into the season, I suppose. I went to Panera and had their delicious Autumn Squash Soup last week, and I thought (completely surprising Old Me), “I bet I can make this.”

So I took to Pinterest, because… why recreate the wheel?  …and I found this copycat recipe. And I decided today was the day.

There were many challenges to overcome. First, I had never skinned, seeded, and chopped an entire squash before. Nor did I have the proper kitchen utensils to do so. I made do with a rather small knife better suited to chopping onions than skinning a butternut squash. But I prevailed! (And my puppy enjoyed chewing on a few pieces of flying squash skin.)

And then, there was this…


In my defense, the recipe says, “heat over medium to a gentle boil.” It doesn’t say, “stir.” It doesn’t say, “will bypass gentle boil and start exploding all over your kitchen.” So there I was, being a good little cook, washing my dishes at the sink, when I turn around and see pureed butternut squash and pumpkin everywhere. And if you think that looks bad, know that most of it went up onto my microwave, cabinets, and, of course, ceiling.

So enter the whisk. Stir while heating, no problems! Until… I had to add the spices.  More coordinated people might have prevailed, but I could not manage to measure spices and stir at the same time. It’s okay though! Because I’m a problem solver. Got a lid and held it on with my elbow (because gentle boil my butt, those bubbles were tough!) while measuring out spices.

End product: Sure tastes like Panera’s autumn squash soup to me. Delicious. Good thing I didn’t quit after last night’s disaster.

How to Be Awesome Tip #2: Don’t quit. Keep trying.


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