Monday, October 29, 2012

Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta

I recently went to my favorite produce market and went crazy over the fall vegetables --- Brussels Sprouts, Eggplant and of course, Butternut Squash. I wanted to try a new recipe, and we were very pleased with this one! It's like Mac and Cheese with Bacon and Butternut Squash -- yum.

From Cooking Light


  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash $
  • Cooking spray $
  • 6 sweet hickory-smoked bacon slices (raw) $
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 8 ounces uncooked mini penne (tube-shaped pasta)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour $
  • 2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk $
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp provolone cheese $
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese $


  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, rosemary, and pepper. Place squash on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with salt mixture. Bake at 425° for 45 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Increase oven temperature to 450°.
  3. Cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 1/2 teaspoons drippings in pan; crumble bacon. Increase heat to medium-high. Add shallots to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until tender. Combine squash mixture, bacon, and shallots; set aside.
  4. Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well.
  5. Combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add provolone, stirring until cheese melts. Add pasta to cheese mixture, tossing well to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray; top with squash mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown.

Friday, October 19, 2012


2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 1/2 cubes butter melted and cooled

Blend all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Put batter into a greased 9x13 baking dish and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Brussel Sprout and Apple Sausage Pesto Pasta

1 Package Brussel Sprouts washed and cut in half
3 Chicken Apple Sausage links sliced ( I like the brand from Sam's Club)
16 oz Penne Pasta
2 garlic cloves minced
1 small jar prepared Pesto
Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 375, toss brussel sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Place on cookie sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes.  Cook penne according to package, reserve 1 cup cooking liquid.

In large skillet heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and add garlic.  Saute until fragrant then add sliced chicken sausage.  Add cooked penne, toss well, add roasted brussel sprouts, and pesto to your liking.  Add half cup of cooking liquid to loosen sauce.  Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

I wanted to make a fall treat for mutual and pumpkin bars were calling my name. I couldn't find our family recipe, but found this one online. I adapted slightly and these were so good!!

Recipe adapted from Paula Dean


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)


  • 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Add chocolate chips. Spread the batter into a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.

Homemade Chicken Stock

Bones and carcass from one whole roasted chicken
2 Carrots roughly chopped
3-4 Celery stalks chopped
1 Onion quartered
1 T Apple Cider Vinegar

Put carcass, carrots, celery and quarters onion in large stockpot.  Fill pot with water to about 2 inches from the top.  Place over medium low heat to bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for at least 10-12 hours.  Add more water if necessary during the day.  Strain and put into air tight containers.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Zucchini Ribbon Pasta with Creamy Lemon-Basil Sauce

Recipe from Our Best Bites
½ lb (or 8 oz) fettuccine
1 medium zucchini
2 tsp olive oil, divided
10 ounces grape tomatoes (about 2 cups)
kosher salt
black pepper
3-4 cloves finely minced garlic
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
3 ounces fat-free cream cheese
1 cup very loosely packed basil, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice, more if desired
Prepare a pot of water and cook pasta according to package instructions.  Cut ends off zucchini and slice along the long direction, cutting the zucchini into about ⅛ inch slices.  Cut each of those slices into long pieces, about the same size as the fettuccine (see photos above for explanation).  Set zucchini aside.
Heat a medium size skillet to medium heat.  When hot, add 1 teaspoon olive oil.  Add tomatoes and give them a little sprinkle of kosher salt and a few cracks of black pepper.  Cook, stirring frequently, for about 3-4 minutes. Just until they start to burst and look blistered.  Remove tomatoes from pan and place in a small dish, covered, and set aside.
Add another 1 teaspoon olive oil to the empty pan and add garlic.  Stir constantly on medium-low heat for about 30-60 seconds.  Add chicken broth.  Bring to a simmer and use a spatula to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan.  Simmer for 1-2 minutes and then reduce heat to low.
Place cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl and soften for 20-30 seconds, until it can be easily stirred smooth.  Ladle in a couple spoonfuls of the chicken broth mixture into the cream cheese and stir to combine.  Once the mixture is smooth, add it to the pan with the remaining broth mixture and whisk until smooth and creamy. Add chopped basil and lemon juice and stir to combine.  Taste sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.  (Lemon lovers can also squeeze in extra lemon juice at this point.)
When pasta is just about done, add zucchini strips to pot (so they’re cooking with the pasta).  Boil for about 2 minutes, or until tender.  Drain zucchini and pasta and combine with sauce.  Gently toss in tomatoes, or simply add them on top of each serving. Garnish with additional basil if desired.
Serves 4 generous main dish servings, or 8 sides.
Nutrition Facts (for main dish, ¼ of recipe): 286 calories, 5 grams fat.

Grilled Chicken Fajitas


1/3 cup cilantro
1/4 cup lime or lemon juice
5 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp dark brown sugar
2 garlic cloves minced

Combine in a large ziplock bag with three to four chicken breasts.  Let marinade for at least 30 minutes.  Heat grill and cook until done.  Once chicken is off the grill wrap with foil and let rest. 


yellow onion sliced
green bell pepper sliced
red bell pepper sliced

Saute with two to three tablespoons olive oil, add pepper and garlic salt to taste.

Serve with warm tortillas, avocado, sour cream, cilantro and favorite hot sauce.

Fall Apple Crisp

6-7 medium Granny Smith and Honey Crisp apples
1 cup oats
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks butter at room temperature

Core, peel and dice or slice apples.  Either put apples into a greased 9x13 dish or 6-8 individual ramekins.

In a bowl combine oats, flour, sugar and cinnamon.  Add room temperature butter and mix until topping is coarse.   Pour over apples and bake 375 for 20-35 minutes

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Thick, Chewy Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I love all things pumpkin and have been craving oatmeal raisin cookies. These cookies hit the spot.

1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces, or 115 grams) butter, softened
2/3 cup (125 grams) light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup pumpkin
1 1/2 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon table salt (I often use a half teaspoon, but I like more salt in my baked goods)
1 3/4 cups (120 grams) rolled oats
3/4 cup (120 grams) raisins
1/2 cup walnuts (65 grams), chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg pumpkin and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats, raisins and walnuts, if using them.

At this point you can either chill the dough for a bit in the fridge and then scoop it, or scoop the cookies onto a sheet and then chill the whole tray before baking them. You could also bake them right away, if you’re impatient, but I do find that they end up slighly less thick.

The cookies should be two inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes (your baking time will vary, depending on your oven and how cold the cookies were going in), taking them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.


This is a half recipe. It makes a couple dozen standard-size cookies. I always feel like I’m swimming in cookies when I make the full volume, but if you’re feeding a crowd, go ahead and double it.

My trick to getting a really thick, chewy cookie is to chill the dough before you bake it. You can scoop it and then chill it, or, if you’re like us, scoop it, freeze them and store them in a freezer bag so you can bake them as you wish. I find they’re always thicker when baked from the cold — only a couple extra minutes baking is needed.