roasted harvest veggie bowls with sweet avocado.

December 2, 2013 § 2 Comments

Folks, I have the cure to your “post-Thanksgiving I ate too much” blues.

These bowls are super filling and super savory–plus you get to eat CHEESE and eat your veggies, too.

Roasted harvest veggies–butternut squash, yams, Brussels sprouts–combine with mashed honeyed avocado, dried cranberries, chopped pecans, and bleu cheese.

I made this for the first time a few weeks ago and thought how perfect it’d be for the week after Thanksgiving.  So much color!  Comfort food, but also good for you food!

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Adapted from Half Baked Harvest

What you need:

  • 1/2 a butternut squash, peeled, cubed and seeds removed (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 yams, chopped
  • 1 to ½ cups raw Brussels sprouts, cut in half, stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup crumbled bleu cheese
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Sea salt and black pepper

What to do:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Prep your veggies for roasting.  Peel and chop your yams into 1-inch cubes.  Remove the stems from your Brussels sprouts and slice each sprout in half.  Peel your butternut squash, remove the seeds, and chop into 1-inch cubes.

In a small bowl, mix your olive oil, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and a sprinkling of sea salt and black pepper.  Whisk until blended.

Spread your chopped vegetables out in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet.  Drizzle the olive oil/maple syrup mixture over the vegetables, then toss them to coat.

Roast for 45 minutes – check on them halfway through and turn them over.  When there is 15 minutes left of cook time, add your chopped pecans.

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While veggies are roasting, make your sweet avocado mash.  Peel and scoop out the avocados, and mash in a small bowl.  Add your lime juice, honey, and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.  Mix well.  Add more honey if you’d like it to be sweeter.

Put a generous spoonful of veggies in a bowl to serve.  Add a dollop of sweet avocado, a spoonful of bleu cheese, and a handful of dried cranberries.

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I am a steadfast lover of bleu cheese, but if you’re not, you could swap feta or goat cheese and it’d be just as tasty.

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This is deceptively addicting.  Luckily it’s a pretty healthy food obsession to have.

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butternut squash soup.

November 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

I have made this butternut squash soup recipe so many times and could still eat it practically every other day.  It just has the best flavor and is so sweet and satisfying, especially in the fall.  I think the sherry is the secret ingredient.  P.S. This soup is totally worth the effort to peel and seed and chop up a large squash.  P.P.S. This soup will make your house smell very, very yummy.

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Recipe adapted from The Italian Dish

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 to 2-1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup cooking sherry
  • 4 cups fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped and cooked till crisp
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper

What to do:

Heat a large non-stick soup pot over medium heat.  Add your butter and olive oil and heat until butter is melted.  Then add your chopped onions, cooking until soft–about 5 minutes.  Add your garlic and saute for one minute.  Now add your chopped squash cubes.  Saute for 5 minutes, then pour in your broth and sherry.  Add a dash of cayenne pepper.  Bring pot to a boil then cover and simmer on low for 25 minutes.

While your soup is simmering, you can cook your bacon.  Drain the bacon on a paper towel to remove excess grease.

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I can’t resist a photo of simmering bacon bits.  Can you?

Puree the soup by transferring it into a blender or using an immersion blender in the pot.  Stir in the cream after pureeing, and season soup with a dash of sea salt and black pepper.

Soup can be served with or without the bacon bits.  I vote WITH!

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butternut squash macaroni and cheese.

October 23, 2013 § 2 Comments

Two perfect butternut squash had been sitting on my kitchen counter for several weeks.  Finally, on Sunday, I decided to make the first butternut squash recipe of the fall season, something I’ve never tried before: butternut squash macaroni & cheese.  This recipe is good comfort food, but also fairly good for you–no heavy cream.  The sweet flavor of the squash really steals the show.

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If you’ve never peeled and chopped a butternut squash before, lemme just say this:  It’s some serious business.  Consider it your arm workout of the day.

Recipe from Eat Yourself Skinny

What you need:

  • 3 heaping cups, cubed peeled butternut squash
  • 1 and ¼ C lower sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ½ C fat-free milk
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 C shredded Gruyere cheese (very similar to Swiss)
  • 1 C grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 box of elbow noodle pasta
  • ½ C panko breadcrumbs

What to do:

Begin by peeling your butternut squash.  I suggest slicing off the ends, holding the squash against your chest, and peeling away from you.  Slice the squash in half, long ways, and scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh.  Then, chop the squash into 1-inch cubes.

Bring your chicken broth and milk to a boil in a medium pan.  Add the cubed butternut squash and minced garlic, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 35 minutes—the squash should be very tender.

[While your squash is simmering, cook your elbow noodles per the package instructions.  Drain and set aside.]

After the squash mixture is done simmering, add two tablespoons of Greek yogurt, plus salt and pepper.   Now it’s time to blend!  I chose to pour the mix into a large bowl and use my immersion blender.  You could also pour the mixture directly into a blender.  After you’re done blending, fold in your cheese.  Then, fold in your cooked noodles.

It should look like something like this:

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I know, amazing right?  I may have had a few spoonfuls…

Pour the macaroni into a greased baking pan.  Sprinkle the Panko bread crumbs on top.   Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes.  If you like, broil for 1-2 minutes on low to brown the bread crumbs.

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Serve it up with some extra grated cheese on top.  Because why not…

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This is particularly yummy right out of the oven–all hot and gooey–but the leftovers have been heating up well for my lunches this week!

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