Roasted Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Pasta Bake

I know, this is crazy- I’m writing in my blog after a very long hiatus. I can’t believe how busy and amazing my summer was! Lots of traveling, lots of time with friends and family and a lot of good food- mostly made by other people hah.

But here I am, gearing up for fall and looking forward to cooler weather and a bit more relaxation than my summer had. This dish was warming and oh so satisfying. The sauce is thick and creamy and all that encompasses fall (and by that I mean full of squash- mmm.)

You will need:

2 cups of cubed butternut squash
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 white onion, sliced
1 bag of baby spinach
2 tbs of olive oil, divided
1 box of pasta, I used fusilli
1 jar reduced fat Alfredo sauce
1 cup water or more as needed
1 cup 2% shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Cooking spray
Salt
Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350.

First in a casserole dish (I used the one I was going to bake the pasta in- who wants to do more dishes?) add the cubed squash and 1 tbs olive oil, pepper flakes (if desired) and salt and pepper to your liking. I usually like more pepper in my dishes and I added around 1/4 tsp salt. Bake for 30 mins stirring half way through.

While the squash roasts make the caramelized onions. These should take about the same time as the squash. In a pan (I used the stock pot I would later boil my pasta in, you could use a skillet but hey- less dishes?) heat 1 tbs olive oil on medium low heat, add the onion and some salt and pepper. Cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Onions should be soft and have a nice brown color. I don’t like to get mine too caramelized or they can get lost in the dish. In the last 5 mins add in the spinach until wilted. Remove from pan and set aside. By now the squash should also be done.

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Boil some water and cook pasta 2 mins less than instructed for al dente. Drain and set aside. In the pot add the jar of sauce, 1 cup water and squash. With a hand blender purée until smooth. If you don’t have a hand mixer, you can use a blender or food processor (but you may need to do this in batches.) Once puréed turn heat on to medium. Once warm stir in cheese. Feel free to add more water if the sauce is too thick.

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Now add pasta and onion mixture to the sauce, stirring to combine. Pour into a large casserole dish.

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Evenly sprinkle bread crumbs over the top and spray with cooking spray.

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Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

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Bon appetite!

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Brussel Sprout Breakfast Casserole

Well, well, well, where have I been? I had good intentions for posts in the New Year, but my life has definitely been more busy than anticipated lately. So unfortunately for any of my readers: family, friends, boyfriend and work responsibilities take precedence over blog posts. But! I am back and I have something delicious for you!

You might be thinking Brussel sprouts… For breakfast? Yes, seems a little strange, but if you like them in their normal dinner uses then you will like this. I have been very into this veggie since my friend Sarah made roasted Brussel sprouts at thanksgiving. Since then I have done my share of roasting and sautéing, but I wanted something new, so here we go!

You will need:

10 oz shaved Brussel sprouts
2 tbs olive oil (garlic olive oil if you have it)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp thyme
Cracked black pepper to taste
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tbs milk
10 eggs
10 oz frozen shredded potatoes, thawed
8 oz feta cheese (I used Mediterranean herb from Trader Joes- amazing)
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350.

Add olive oil to a sauté pan on medium heat. I used half garlic oil and half regular. Add in the shaved sprouts. Trader joes sells bags of shredded Brussel sprouts and I used that, but you could also rough chop some sprouts if you don’t have a TJs nearby. It’s about 2 cups of shredded sprouts. Add salt, pepper and thyme. Sauté about 5 minutes and then turn off the heat.

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In a large bowl add the Greek yogurt and milk stirring to combine. This thins out the yogurt a little so it combines better with the eggs. Crack 10 eggs into the bowl and whisk. Next add the potatoes.

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Next add in the sautéed sprouts and 2/3 of the cheese, stirring to combine.

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Boots has been missing me since I have been so busy lately. Now when I am home he is pretty much attached at my hip, so he will be in a bunch of these pics, haha. Pour the mixture into a 9×13 dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

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Then add the rest of the cheese evenly to the top of the casserole.

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Bake in the oven covered for 30 minutes and then uncovered for another 20. Let cool for a few minutes before serving. This makes 6-8 pieces depending how hungry you are or if you are serving it alone vs with something else. This would pair nicely with a salad for a brunch or dinner application. Enjoy!

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New Year Black Eyed Pea Casserole

Happy New Year! Finally(!) a post after what was a very crazy and fun filled December. Usually food blogs thrive in the holiday season, mine obviously did the opposite haha. Don’t worry though- I have big plans this year for the blog. More to come soon!

Anywho, I digress. New Years has always been a hit or miss holiday for me, but I had a great time last night! It’s been said that eating black eyes peas on new years day will bring you luck for the whole year. Let’s hope so! Even if it doesn’t this dish was really great! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it.

This was adapted from the New Complete Vegetarian by Rose Elliot. (pretty adapted since it is no longer a vegetarian dish here, haha.)

You will need:

2 tbs garlic olive oil
1 small white onion
2 cups chopped mushrooms (I used oyster and cremini)
2 cans black eyed peas (drained, rinsed and mashed)
1 can fire roasted tomatoes (I used one with fennel and red pepper)
1 tbs herbs de provance
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1 cup chopped smoked ham
2 cups left over mashed potatoes
4 ounces shredded smoked gruyere cheese

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Preheat the oven to 400.

Add oil to a skillet on medium heat. Sauté onion and mushroom for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add a pinch or salt and pepper as desired. Add mashed black eyed peas. I mashed mine about half way, if you want you can use the food processor.

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Add the can of tomatoes and ham and cook for a few minutes, until heated through. (If you want this vegetarian- just leave out the ham!)

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Add the mixture to the bottom of a 3 quart casserole dish.

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Add the mashed potatoes on top. When they are warm they are easier to spread. This is a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes!!

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Add cheese on top of the casserole. I used applewood smoked cheese, it’s delicious and not as bad for you as other cheeses.

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Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Then uncover and bake for 15 more minutes until the top is golden.

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This makes 6 servings and if you use a cookin light recipe for the mashed potatoes as I did, it should only be about 400 calories per serving.

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And here is a pic with the cookbook that my friend Marco got me for Christmas!

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Pumpkin Mushroom Risotto

It has obviously been too long since my last post! I’ve been super busy lately with work and getting together with my college friends. Two weeks ago I flew to Buffalo for my Goddaughters christening. It was great to get to hang out with her and her mother, my old college roommate Kate. We also spent a lot of our downtime watching food network. That’s when I saw Giada make a risotto with pumpkin purée. Mine isn’t really like hers, I made it a more Annsley way. It came put really great and I would definitely, no will definitely, be making it again!

Here is a picture of me and Emmie during the Christening 🙂

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And now onto the recipe!

You will need:

2 tbs olive oil
20 oz. Fresh Mushrooms, chopped. I used oyster and button. Any variety should work nicely.
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbs margarine (or butter)
1 small white onion, diced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 quart veggie broth (or chicken if you prefer)
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese (not optional :P)

First you will need to prepare the mushrooms. Add the oil to a large pot on medium heat. I used the same pan for the entire dish, my 3.5 quart Le Creuset braiser. Add the mushrooms, thyme, garlic powder and a little salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are fully cooked.

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Scoop out the mushrooms and all their juices into a bowl. Don’t drain the liquid, it is useful later. Next add the margarine to the pan and set between medium to medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté until fragrant- a few minutes.

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In a stock pot add the veggie broth and pumpkin purée, mixing to combine. Heat over low heat to keep the broth warm.

In the pan with the onion add the wine and arborio rice. Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until wine is dissolved.

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Now for the tedious part. It’s not that bad you just need to constantly be stirring and keeping and eye on the dish. Add a few ladles of broth to the rice mixture (about 3/4 cup) and stir constantly, once the mixture is mostly dissolved- repeat.

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The above picture is a good test to see if it is time to add more liquid. If you scrape across the pan and there isn’t a lot of liquid, add another 3/4 cup. Once all the broth is added to the pan, stir in the mushrooms with their pan juices. Stirring until dissolved.

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At the end, cut the heat and stir in cayenne (if you like a little kick- I do!) and the cheese until completely combined. Serve hot. And with a little extra cheese on top if you’re like me 😉

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This dish had 5 servings at 360 calories a serving with 12 grams of fat.

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Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Tonight my friends in NYC are having a chili cook off. Since I couldn’t be there in person I made this chili at home in honor of their contest. This unique chili offers the warmth and kick that I love from regular chili, but with a little something special. The pumpkin adds an extra layer of flavor without over bearing the dish. I thought it turned out just right. If you like more heat you could double the chilies or just serve with some hot sauce on the side.

You will need:

1 tbs olive oil
1 1/4 lbs 99% lean ground turkey
1 small onion, diced
8 oz mushrooms, chopped
3 cups turkey broth (chicken would work too)
4 oz can diced chilies
2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed (I used cannelini and pinto)
15 oz can pumpkin purée
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

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In a large skillet, add olive oil over medium high heat. Season turkey with salt and pepper then add it to the pan. Brown the turkey and break it into small crumbles as it cooks. Add it to the slow cooker. Return sauté pan to heat, but turn it to medium. Add onion and mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes. Add those to the crock pot. Next add everything else, stirring to combine.

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Cover the pot and cook on high 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Chili is a great dish because it is super easy to assemble. The hardest part is waiting for it to be done. Once it is done though, mmm, it warms you to the core.

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Remove the bay leaves before serving and serve hot. I like mine with a little hot sauce, Greek yogurt (sour cream for you non yogurt fans) and scallions.

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This chili was adapted from a SkinnyTaste recipe. It has 6 servings at 330 calories a serving with 4 grams of fat.

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Ham and Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, some how this October has had me more busy than expected! The sad thing is that I have been cooking A LOT, just not taking many pics for the blog. I just got home Sunday night from a great long weekend in Philadelphia. I took Monday off to recover (genius idea in retrospect, definitely would not have made it this week without that 10 hours of sleep). That day was also the last day of my CSA. I guess this means winter weather is really soon to be upon us.

I used some chard from my CSA in this, but I think finely shredded kale or spinach would work well too! I have been enjoying a small piece of this for breakfast before work this week and thought it was too good not to share. Sorry I only have one pic!

You will need:

8 eggs
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
5 oz frozen hash browns, thawed
3/4 cup diced ham
2 cups shredded chard
2 oz shredded smoked gruyere cheese, divided
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the eggs and yogurt. Stir in everything else, but only half the cheese! Once combined pour into a 10″ x 7″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Use a spoon to make sure the mixture is evenly distributed. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Mine took 40 but my oven can be… A hassle haha. Check it at about 25 minutes to gauge and put tin foil over the top if it seems browned enough. Serve hot. And if you are like me, with extra hot sauce. 🙂

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Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

This post is dedicated to my friend Caitlin. While we were at work this week I was chatting with her about this dish that I had made. I was saying how much I was enjoying bringing it for lunch this week, when we realized that she did not know what a spaghetti squash was! I had never had it until Wegmans printed a recipe for it when I was in college and I decided to make it for our friends thanksgiving. This is not that dish, but another equally as good squash meal. I had this for lunches during the week, but it could make for an awesome side. It also easily becomes vegetarian by omitting the Canadian bacon.

You will need:

1 large spaghetti squash
1 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 white onion, diced
3 minced garlic cloves
8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
1/2 cup frozen peas
10 slices of chopped Canadian bacon
1 jar lite Alfredo sauce (I used Classico)
1/2 cup pecorino Romano cheese

Start by preparing your squash. I use the microwave! I find it easier than baking it and then having to wash my roasting pan. You do have to cook one half at a time, but it still takes a little shorter than baking. Cut the squash in half and clean out the guts.

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Put it in a microwave safe bowl and cover with Saran wrap. Cook for 14 minutes. Take it out of the microwave and let it sit for a bit before handling. Once cool enough use a fork to pull the strands from the squash and into a bowl. Cook the other half and do the same thing.

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In a large pot heat on medium heat add oil, onions, wine and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes until the onion becomes translucent. Add the Canadian bacon and cook another few minutes, then add the mushrooms and peas.

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Once the mushrooms are mostly cooked add the alfredo and the squash. I like to add about half a cup or so of water to the Alfredo jar and shake it up to get all the sauce loose and pour that in too.

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Once the dish is heated through stir in the cheese. Once it is melted, serve hot.

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Add a little extra cheese on top if you’d like. (I always like more cheese!)

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This dish made 5 lunch sized portions that were just under 300 calories a serving. Spaghetti squash is awesome because it has way less calories and carbs than real spaghetti, but is still delicious. Enjoy! 🙂

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