Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta with Creamy Kale Pesto

My squash love continues...and how could I resist? Butternut squash is one of my absolute favorites. It's sweet and creamy flavor becomes magical when roasted and the crispy squash cubes add the perfect "bite" to this pasta. Kale and butternut squash are a great pairing and this dish is sure to satisfy picky eaters. It's also good cold if you have a little leftover. Enjoy!


1. Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
2. Place cubed squash in a single layer on the sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until brown and crispy, stirring half way through.


3. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

4. In a food processor or powerful blender, combine kale, roasted red peppers, garlic powder, slivered almonds, lemon juice, heavy cream and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese until smooth.


5. Place pesto and pasta in a large mixing bowl and stir until pasta is well coated. Add roasted squash and gently stir to combine. Serve.




Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta with Creamy Kale Pesto
Serves 6

All you need:
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 (14.5 oz.) box whole grain pasta
2 cups chopped kale, stems discarded
1 (12 oz.) jar roasted red peppers, drained
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
2. Place cubed squash in a single layer on the sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until brown and crispy, stirring half way through.
3. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
4. In a food processor or powerful blender, combine kale, roasted red peppers, garlic powder, slivered almonds, lemon juice, heavy cream and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese until smooth.
5. Place pesto and pasta in a large mixing bowl and stir until pasta is well coated. Add roasted squash and gently stir to combine. Serve.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Stuffed Squash

Although some people don't enjoy the taste of squash, I say they just haven't had it prepared correctly. My grandparents always had acorn squash growing in their garden so it was a staple on our holiday dinner table. This morning we ventured to a pumpkin patch where they were selling a wide variety of squash so I had to buy at least one of each kind!

Stuffed acorn or butternut squash is one of my favorite fall dishes. It's not only comforting, but it's a wonderfully healthy and filling meal. This version is meat-free, but you can easily substitute ground beef or turkey for the beans. Pair this meal with a glass of red wine and keep any leftovers for an perfectly portable lunch the next day.




1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
2. Place cut and cleaned squash halves in a 13x9 baking dish. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, season with salt and pepper and set aside.


3. Place diced tomatoes, black beans, pizza sauce, oregano, garlic powder and minced onion in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add rice and stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until rice is cooked through. Remove from heat and stir in cream cheese and giardiniera.




4. Scoop filling evenly into each squash "well". Bake for 45 minutes.

5. Top with cheese and breadcrumbs and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Cook for 15 minutes longer. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.


Stuffed Squash
Serves 4

All you need:
2 small acorn squash, cut in half and seeds scooped out
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can pizza sauce
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
1 cup instant brown rice
4 oz. light cream cheese
2 tablespoons hot pickled giardiniera (optional)
1 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place cut and cleaned squash halves in a 13x9 baking dish. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
3. Place diced tomatoes, black beans, pizza sauce, oregano, garlic powder and minced onion in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add rice and stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until rice is cooked through. Remove from heat and stir in cream cheese and giardiniera.
4. Scoop filling evenly into each squash "well". Bake for 45 minutes.
5. Top with cheese and breadcrumbs and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Cook for 15 minutes longer. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Whiskey Apple Crumble

While I'm not the biggest dessert person, I can never resist sweet baked apples and a warm, crumbly crust. Cinnamon whisky (aka Fireball - cue the Pitbull dance party) can be seen at pretty much any football tailgate these days, but since I had a bottle in the freezer, I figured why not bake with it? It works perfectly with the apples and fresh lemon juice. And, there's plenty of crumble in this recipe because, let's be honest, it's the best part. This topping is chock full of yummy pecans, oats and nutty flaxseed (see, there's some nutritional benefit here). 

Serve with a scoop of fro-yo or Greek yogurt and you've got another great way to celebrate fall flavors!



1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Cook apples and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat until lightly softened, about 5 minutes, stirring often.


3. Add the applesauce, sugar, lemon juice and whiskey and cook for 1 minute longer. Remove from heat.



4. In a small mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, pecans, flour, oats, flaxseed, vanilla and salt. Transfer to a food processor or blender.


5. Add cold cubed butter and process until mixture looks like large breadcrumbs. (Note: you can also use your hands to incorporate the butter if you don't have the food processor or blender, it just takes a little longer.)

6. Coat an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray. Pour apple mixture in and top evenly with the crumb topping. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.



Whiskey Apple Crumble
Serves 6

All you need:
2 large sweet apples (like Gala or Honeycrisp), diced
2 tablespoons water
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons cinnamon whiskey (such as Fireball)

Topping
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup crushed pecans
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup oats
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Cook apples and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat until lightly softened, about 5 minutes, stirring often.
3. Add the applesauce, sugar, lemon juice and whiskey and cook for 1 minute longer. Remove from heat.
4. In a small mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, pecans, flour, oats, flaxseed, vanilla and salt. Transfer to a food processor or blender.
5. Add cold cubed butter and process until mixture looks like large breadcrumbs. (Note: you can also use your hands to incorporate the butter if you don't have the food processor or blender, it just takes a little longer.)
6. Coat an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray. Pour apple mixture in and top evenly with the crumb topping. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Serve with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt (and a drizzle of whiskey if you like!).