Posts Tagged ‘butternut squash’
Last week we had our first frost in Memphis. I even remembered to take my basil plant inside so that it wouldn’t die. Then yesterday I had to turn my A/C on for a couple hours because I cooked up a storm and didn’t anticipate the high of 77 degrees that day. Not that I am complaining about it being warm again, but fall here never ceases to confuse me. The temperatures drop from 70/60s to 30/40s without giving you any time to acclimate with moderate temperatures in between.
Regardless of the warm sunny atmosphere, I am powering through and continuing to make fall recipes because I just can’t get enough. It’s funny that I resisted Halloween for so long and now that it has passed I am pumped for the next two holidays, especially since Halloween used to be one of my favorite holidays. I guess not dressing up this year kind of put a damper on the excitement. Anyway, feast your eyes upon this delicious butternut squash recipe with a goat cheese sauce, which was my favorite part. So much so that I think I may use twice as much goat cheese in the future.
Two years ago: Baked Apple Cider Doughnut Minis
I don’t know what it is about pizza but I have a very hard time capturing appetizing photos of pizza slices. No matter what angle or lighting I use, I rarely enjoy looking at the photos I take of pizza slices. As a result I tossed every single one for this pizza and was left with just unsliced photos. Maybe that’s why I don’t make pizza as much as I used to these days, because of its unphotogenic nature? Thankfully, I always take pictures before I slice into anything just in case so I at least have a shot of the whole pizza itself.
Pictures aside, the toppings on this pizza are perfect for fall and butternut squash happens to be one of my favorite fall/winter squashes to cook with. In fact, at the end of the season last year, it went on sale so I stocked up and froze it after being peeled and cubed. But that’s long gone and this pizza was made with fresh butternut squash from this season.
I don’t eat salads very often, mostly because I get bored of them very quickly. But when a salad like this one comes along it’s a love affair. After the salad I went nuts over last year that involved roasted butternut squash it should be no surprise that this most recent culprit also includes the same fall ingredient. It is paired up with dried cranberries, pistachios, and feta, all mixed into a bed of baby kale and spinach. There’s even these things called red winter berries in there which I had never even heard of until now. I don’t know how to describe them if you are unfamiliar, but they are a bit chewy – in a good way!
Speaking of salads, remember when I told you about the Advocare 10 Day Cleanse? Well I finished! I definitely felt lighter and unbloated even after only 2 days. Now at the end I can actually see a little bit of my abs that I knew were hidden under there somewhere. I learned about this cleanse from Steph who is doing the 24 Day Challenge and hosting a Gobble Gobble Challenge as well. Her amazing results are what inspired me to try the 10-day. I’ve shared my Day 1 and Day 10 photos below (self-conscious moment).
One year ago: Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes
I am currently battling some sort of cold. I call in sick to work but yesterday was one of those days. I’ve slept over 12 hours the past two days and I’m still not feeling any better today. However, being sick is kind of boring, especially without the internet, so I actually did run into work quick to get some things to work on at home (and to post this).
Sometimes I don’t read ingredient lists properly. I either screw up writing down the correct amount needed or the ingredient itself. Take this recipe for example: I bought orzo instead of arborio rice. So viola I made orzo intead of risotto, and it still tasted great. The fried sage and balsamic drizzle are must haves for this dish. Never thought that fried sage would be so wonderful. They turn into crispy little flavor wonders.
Get out your grocery list because you need to make this tonight. Yes, I am ordering you to make a salad which is strangely out of character. As you may have noticed I do not eat many salads, but this is the best salad I’ve ever had. EVER. To the point where I would pick this salad over pizza. This is monumental, folks and I am already putting butternut squash back on my grocery list to make this again.
The recipe says it should serve 4, but two servings disappeared before I knew what happened. I never know roasted butternut squash could be so magical! Even the dressing was just a bonus and almost wasn’t even necessary. Seriously, why are you still reading this? Go and let your taste buds rejoice!
Before I begin, let me preface today’s post by saying I 100% support the motivation of those people who have newly joined a gym and are actually using it and attending group fitness classes. I will always cheer on any person who makes a commitment to their health and well being. That being said…
At the beginning of each new year there is a large influx of new members to gyms everywhere, and the one at which I am a member is no exception. Parking spots have become a little harder to find, but who cares if I have to park further because I’m there to work out, what’s a few extra steps? Upon entering the gym, the cardio and weight lifting areas also have more people utilizing the space, but I purposely joined this gigantic Mecca because even with the influx there are still open machines here and there most of the time. If not there is a short wait.
However, I start to get annoyed when I have to show up at least 30 minutes early to the group fitness classes in order to get in. Thankfully (being a graduate student working in a lab), my schedule is flexible to an extent which allows me to leave a little earlier in order to stake a claim on a bike/mat/etc. But sometimes even getting there 30 minutes ahead of time isn’t enough and that’s when I get really annoyed. When that happens I try to make the best of it and use one of the ellipticals that may be open on the cardio floor instead. But it’s just not the same when no one is in front of you saying “FASTER”, “MORE RESISTANCE”, etc.
Anyway like I said in the beginning, I could never be mad at anyone who is trying to do the same thing as me. So hop on that spin bike and afterwards, make these awesome stuffed shells for dinner! Cause that’s what I would do . Serves with roasted brussels sprouts.
One year ago: Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Bricks
Other than pumpkin, I think butternut squash may be my favorite type of squash. But for some reason I only think to cook with it during the winter and the same with pumpkin during the fall. To solve this problem, I decided to buy more butternut squash than I needed for this recipe, and saved the remaining peeled and cubed pieces in my freezer. Muwahaha! Now to just remember it is there to use later. That may be the bigger problem because if you saw how stuffed my freezer was year-round, you’d understand. “How long has that homemade ice cream been in here?? And what flavor is it? ::sniff::” Seriously happened. Also discovered frozen boxes of Girl Scout cookies the other day. How do you forget about those? Oh yea, they were blocked by the 10 packages of butter I stocked up on when it went on sale. Serious food blogger problems in my fridge.
But I digress, let’s focus on unfrozen food such as this pasta. The butternut squash is pureed to function as the sauce itself, and what a fantastic idea! It’s complimented very nicely with the spicy sausage and the winter-ific sage. And don’t forget the spinach to finish off this healthy meal. But I decided to curb that a little by serving it with pull apart garlic bread. Mmm garlicky carbs.
And a Happy Birthday shout-out to my big brother!! Happy 33rd!
One year ago: Blizzard Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Cookies
Who wants to go to Greece!? Cause I sure do. When I heard that FAGE Total Authenic Greek Yogurt was giving away an 8 day trip to Greece to a FoodBuzz Featured Publisher, I knew I had to get in on it. (Not a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher but want a chance to win for yourself? Enter here.)
Greek cuisine and FAGE Total represent the Greek tradition of “good living”, combining good food and fine taste for a positive, healthy life. And together, Foodbuzz and FAGE Total asked bloggers to create up to three posts illustrating this concept and how it applies to their lives. Three posts means more chances to win, so guess what I plan on doing? Yup, three posts – each discussing ways I strive for “good living”.
Although it was not required to use any FAGE products, I chose to because Greek yogurt is one way in which I bring “good living” into my life. Greek yogurt helps me find ways to make delicious meals healthier without ever noticing. I most commonly have used it to replace butter in cookies. It can also be used as a great substitute for sour cream, mayo, cream, or even ricotta cheese seen in the recipe I am sharing today!
But before we dive into that, I wanted to also share that even though most of the time I strive to make meals healthier (by using low fat options, whole wheat, etc.), part of what I consider a healthy lifestyle is not denying myself some gluttony every now and then. It should be pretty obvious that food is a huge part of my life, which means I would never last a day on this earth without ever eating anything greasy, or every dessert a la mode. Without them, I think I would fall into a deep depression. However, I also make sure that I participate in a diverse range of workout routines six days a week – balancing out the times when I cannot help but eat half of a large supreme pizza. It’s all about a balanced lifestyle, right? At least that’s what works for me in the search for “good living”.
So back to this lasagna I have for you today. Not only is half the ricotta substituted by FAGE Greek yogurt, but it’s full of other wonderful things, namely butternut squash and spinach (I wish I could’ve found whole-wheat no-boil lasagna sheets too but no such luck). It’s a wonderful fall lasagna that is rich with flavor and definitely fills you up! It also turned out to be a fairly easy weeknight meal to put together, and I ended up doing a Yoga DVD in my living room while it cooked!
One year ago: Broccoli Cheddar Soup
BUTTERNUT SQUASH LASAGNA
1-1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced (I used frozen)
1 Tbsp water
6 no-boil lasagna sheets
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 large fresh sage leaves
Non-stick cooking spray
1-1/2 cups onion, minced
Up to 1/4 cup water
5 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp shredded mozzarella cheese (1.5 ounces)
4 tsp dried parsley
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
MARINARA SAUCE (makes 3 cups total)
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper
1-14.5oz can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
1-14.5oz can crushed tomatoes
- For the butternut squash: Place butternut squash* in a microwave-safe bowl, add 1 Tablespoon water and microwave for 5-7 minutes, or until tender. Set aside.
- For the spinach filling: Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray and sauté onions until tender. If onions start to burn, add in water 1 Tablespoon at a time. Add spinach to the onions and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Turn off heat and set aside.
- For the cheese filling: Combine mozzarella, parsley, nutmeg, salt, pepper, egg, ricotta cheese and yogurt in a bowl. Set aside.
- For the marinara sauce: Heat extra virgin olive oil in a medium-size pot over medium heat. Add garlic, basil, parsley and oregano. Stir constantly for 30 seconds, then add in remaining sauce ingredients. Simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8×8 casserole with non-stick spray, then spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce in the bottom. Add 2 lasagna sheets, then spread 1 cup cheese filling over the noodles.
- Arrange squash over the cheese, then spread 3/4 cup sauce on top. Place sage leaves over the sauce.
- Add 2 lasagna sheets, then spread 1 cup cheese filling over the noodles.
- Drain any excess moisture from the spinach filling, arrange over the cheese, then spread 3/4 cup sauce on top.
- Add 2 lasagna sheets, then spread the remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and cover with foil.
- Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered for 30 more minutes. Allow lasagna to cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
*If using frozen butternut squash, thaw first and check tenderness because you may not need to microwave it (I didn’t).
Disclosure: As part of the Foodbuzz Featured Publisher program, I have been entered for the chance to win a trip to Greece courtesy of FAGE. You too can enter to win one of three trips to Greece by entering the FAGE Plain Extraordinary Greek Getaway here: http://www.fageusa.com/
Every recipe I come across with butternut squash gets bookmarked. Even though I have shared more pumpkin recipes than butternut squash, it is the squash which wins my heart this season. What held me back from using it more thus far was that it required more effort than opening a can of pumpkin (aka lazy). But then I saw that this recipe called for canned butternut squash, who knew that existed!? Actually, I am still convinced that it doesn’t because I could not find it. However, it was located in the freezer section and I would prefer to use frozen over canned anyway.
There are so many other flavors mixing alongside the butternut squash in this recipe. Most of them made sense, but the apple wasn’t something I would immediately think of when pondering upon the anatomy of macaroni and cheese. Upon the first bite, I was a little skeptical still, but the more I ate the more I grew to love it. And then it was all gone and I needed to help myself to seconds. Technically this should serve four, but it was more like two servings in my house. Sometimes gluttony wins, and it’s a good thing this meal is secretly healthy (which my last mac and cheese I shared definitely was not).
BUTTERNUT SQUASH MAC AND CHEESE WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS, BACON AND APPLE
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
8 oz. whole grain elbow macaroni (half of a 16 oz. box)
1 cup canned butternut squash, pureed
1/4 cup reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp evaporated milk
1 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
1 tsp salt
1 whole medium crispy apple, chopped or grated
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 Tbsp crumbled bacon (about 2 slices)
- Heat butter in a skillet over low heat. When melted, add onions and let them caramelize for at least 30 minutes for the best flavor. Keep heat on low/low-medium.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Then drain it and return to the pan over low heat. Add butternut squash, chicken broth, evaporated milk, and cream cheese. When everything is combined, add in salt and mix to combine.
- Add onions and apples to the pasta. Stir to combine and add a tablespoon more of broth or milk if needed.
- Just before serving, mix in the cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Serve! Top each serving with 1 tablespoon bacon.
(NOTE: Because there’s very little butter, it can “dry out” quickly, especially once off the heat. Add a tablespoon of water, milk, or broth to get it back to its original creaminess.)
Source: Adapted slightly from Pinch of Yum.
I keep fogetting to tell you that I am participating in Julie at Savvy Eats’ 50 Days of Little Things. Every day you write down one thing that made your day better, and you can display it or store it however you like. Then you will get to relive all the little things on Thanksgiving when the 50 days are up. I chose some fun colored paper and a mason jar. You can also just keep a list, or get super crafty and make a thankful tree. It started on October 6th, and runs until Thanksgiving but it’s never too late to appreciate the little things!
That being said… It’s time to make soup! Homemade soup is wonderful to make in the fall. And to start this season, I satisfied a craving for butternut squash soup. I had recently purchased some from the store by V8, which was good but you cannot beat homemade. The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for the squash to cool so that you can peel it from the skin (I ended up getting antsy and suffered through burning fingers). After that it’s pure love and deliciousness.
I just realized that I am following the alphabet for my recipes this week (totally unintentional I swear). Apple yesterday and Butternut today. Will there be a C tomorrow? Stay tuned…
BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
3 to 3 1/2 pounds butternut squash, approximately 2, seeded and quartered (reserve 1/4 cup seeds and scrapings)
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus 1 Tbsp melted, for brushing
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp salt, divided
1 -1/2 tsp ground white pepper, divided
1 large shallot, minced
4 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Pepitas, for garnish
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Place the quartered squash onto a half sheet pan, brush the flesh of the squash with a little melted butter and season with 1 tablespoon of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the white pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until the flesh is soft and tender. Allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, melt the 4 Tbsp butter in a large Dutch oven (or heavy pot) over medium-low heat until foaming. Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the squash scrapings and seeds, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter turns saffron color, about 4 minutes. Remove the scrapings and seeds (I couldn’t get out all the seeds but it’s okay they will get blended later).
- Scoop the squash flesh from the skin into the pot. Add the broth and honey. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Using an immersion blender*, puree the mixture until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream and return to a low simmer. Season with the remaining salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
- Serve immediately with pepitas. Soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for several days. Warm over low heat until hot; do not boil.
*You may also transfer the soup to a blender in batches, but let it cool off a little first.