Roasted Spiral Butternut Squash “Noodles” with Garlic, Rosemary & Browned Butter

Roasted Spiral Butternut Squash “Noodles” with Garlic, Rosemary, and Browned Butter.

O. M. G!

Where have you been all my life spiralized butternut squash?

Many of us have been spiralizing our zucchini squash into beautiful noodles, but am I one of the last on the bandwagon for spiralized butternut squash??!!

So simple…
So quick…
So DELICIOUS!!!

I happened to come across a package of fresh spiral-cut butternut squash at my local Aldi Grocery Store recently.

I thought about pan frying it in butter and garlic, but then chose to roast it like I typically do with cut butternut squash, and WOWZIE PaZOWzie was I pleased!
And so was hubby!

What a quick, easy, delicious, and nutritous treat!

Here is the super simple, yet amazingly delicious way I prepared it.

Roasted Spiral Butternut Squash with Garlic, Rosemary, and Browned Butter

Ingredients:

  • 1 10-oz package of prepared spiral cut butternut squash “noodles” (or spiral cut your own)
  • 2 Tbsp. salted butter, browned
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. flaked sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Brown butter in skillet.  Watch closely so it doesn’t burn.  Once browned, remove from heat and stir in garlic.

Spread spiral-cut butternut squash “noodles” onto a stoneware bar pan or your favorite shallow baking pan.

Sprinkle with salt.  Drizzle with garlic-enhanced browned butter.  Top with minced rosemary.  Toss to coat all.

Roast for 7-9 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Old-Fashioned Classic Stuffed Peppers

Old-Fashioned Classic Stuffed Peppers.

People stuff peppers with a lot of different things and prepare them many different ways.

But there is one classic, old-fashioned way I sometimes crave.
The way Grandma used to make them.

Simple.
Hearty.
Lots of tomato sauce.
And served with a side of mashed pototoes.

Last Sunday, I made them for dinner.

Here is my recipe – like Grandma made.

Old-Fashioned Classic Stuffed Peppers

  • Servings: 4 stuffed peppers
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 4 large red or green peppers (best if you use the one with 4 lobes – or bumps – on the bottom as opposed to those with 3, so they stand nicer)
  • 1 lb. “Meatloaf Mix” (a mixture of ground beef, pork, and lamb)
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 large can tomato sauce
  • 1 large can condensed tomato soup
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine ground meat, cooked rice, onion, salt, and pepper.  Combine with your hands until evenly incorporated.

In another large mixing bowl, combine tomato sauce, tomato soup, and water.  Whisk until evenly incorporated.

Add 1 cup of sauce to meat mixture.  Combine well.

Cut tops from peppers and remove seeds.  Stand pepper “cups” in a deep roasting pan.  Stuff peppers with handfuls of meat packed and mounded.  Pour remaining sauce over all.

Cover and roast peppers for 1 – 1 1/2 hours until meat is cooked, sauce reduces, and peppers have softened.

Serve with mashed pototoes and ladle additional sauce over all.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Baked Brie with Candied Bacon

Baked Brie with Candied Bacon.

Need I say more?

Gooey, buttery, melted baked brie smothered with smokey bacon candied with brown sugar and maple syrup and balanced out with tangy rice vinegar, coarse black pepper and a few shakes of hot sauce.

This heavenly appetizer recipe really puts the crack in cracker.

If you are looking for the next must-have appetizer to make or take to a picnic or party, look no further.  I can pretty much guarantee this will be a winner! It sure was with my family this past weekend.

Here is how I made it, adapted from a recipe found here.

Baked Brie with Candied Bacon

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz wheel of brie cheese
  • 8 slices thick bacon, diced
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 heaping Tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4-5 drops Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (or your fave)
  • 1 box water crackers (or your fave)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook diced bacon in a hot skillet until just crispy.

While bacon is cooking, stir together brown sugar, maple syrup, rice vinegar, black pepper and hot sauce in a small bowl.

Drain grease from bacon, and add sauce.  Simmer for 3-4 minutes until thick and bubbly.

Place brie in small stoneware casserole or baking pan.  Top with candied bacon.  Bake 10 minutes or until brie is warm and gooey inside.

Allow to rest for 10 minutes or so.  Serve with water crackers or your favorite cracker.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Roasted Turkey, Bacon, & Avocado Club Sammie

Roasted Turkey, Bacon, & Avocado Sammie.

Warmer weather means lighter meals and sometimes even sandwiches for dinner.

Here is a yummy fave I made this past Sunday.

Often times on Sundays, we have a bigger, late breakfast, skip lunch, and have an early dinner.

After enjoying hearty breakfast omelets hubby made with our leftover prime rib from dinner out the night before, we made a light sandwich supper.

On a sweet onion bun thickly slathered with mayonnaise, we sliced some roasted turkey, topped it with crispy, smokey bacon, creamy avocado slices, juicy ripe tomatoes and peppery arugula and spinach.  It was yum on a bun.

Do you enjoy sandwiches for warm weather suppers?  What is your fave?

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Lightened Up Vinaigrette Broccoli Salad

Lightened Up Vinaigrette Broccoli Salad.

I love broccoli  – cooked or raw.
And I love broccoli salad.

The traditional version has a creamy mayonnaise-based dressing, and it is delicious!

But I was looking for a way to “lighten it up” a bit when making dinner one day this week, so I tried it with a vinaigrette dressing instead.

And it is DELISH too!

It is lighter and fresher tasting, and it is about half the calories of the traditional version!

This really is a nice twist on a classic that is healthier and just as yummy.

Here is how I made it.

Lightened Up Vinaigrette Broccoli Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups fresh fresh broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 thinly sliced, chopped sweet onion
  • 1/2 large sweet red pepper, thinly sliced and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup raw sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 slices bacon, diced and cooked
  • Vinaigrette:
    • 2 Tbsp apple cider (or your favorite – red wine, white, etc.) vinegar
    • 2 Tbsp sugar
    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2 Tbsp freshly ground pepper

Directions:  Combine first seven ingredients in large bowl.  Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl.  Pour over salad and toss to coat well.  Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Creamy Cauliflower Risotto with Shrimp

Creamy Cauliflower Risotto with Shrimp.

On Easter Sunday, we enjoyed an absolutely amazing buffet brunch at a local restaurant in Mars called Breakneck Tavern where they served a positively divine shrimp risotto (among a kagillion other amazing treats).  I only had about a tablespoon of it on Easter, because I wanted to try so many of the other wonderful things they had available (way more than I could sample at one sitting!), but I could not get that shrimp risotto out of my mind.  It was sooooooo good!

Well – I have also  been hearing great things about “ricing” cauliflower and have been anxious to try.

Since I had a beautiful fresh head of cauliflower in the fridge, as well as a bag of shrimp in the freezer, I decided to try a healthier version of shrimp risotto for dinner last night.

O. M. G!  This turned out almost more heavenly than the original one I had a tiny taste of on Easter.  More heavenly because it is so much healthier, but also so delish!!!

My recipe is adapted from one I found at Cafe Delites.  This recipe is a low-carbohydrate, high protein, fiber-rich, calorie-friendly plate of deliciousness!  I hope you will give it a try.

P.S.  If I was making this only for me, I would totally add fresh green peas.  What do you think?  Hubby absolutely detests peas, so I sacrificed for him, but oooohhh –  can you imagine??!!  Pea lovers out there??

Here is how I made it.

Creamy Cauliflower Risotto with Shrimp

Ingredients:

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 12-14 oz shrimp, peeled and tails removed
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1  cup Half and Half (or cream or milk)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (or dry white wine)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp coarsely ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper (optional)

Directions:

Remove core from cauliflower and break into florets.  Working in batches of approximately 1 cup at a time, pulse cauliflower in food processor until it is the consistency of rice.  Place all in large bowl and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add shrimp and sear them while stirring until they start to lose their color.  Add garlic and juice of half of the lemon.  Fry for an additional minute.  Add cauliflower, red pepper (if adding) and olive oil.  Fry and stir for 3-4 minutes until fully combined and coated.  Stir in the half and half (or cream or milk) and chicken broth (or white wine).  Grate Parmesan cheese over all and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Combine.  Cover and reduce heat to low to simmer 6-8 minutes until creamy.

When ready to serve, sprinkle with fresh parsley and wedges of lemon from remaining half.  Top with additional Parmesan if desired.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Classic Italian Lasagna

Classic Italian Lasagna.

I’ve shared before, and I’ll declare again… although I don’t have a drop of Italian heritage (that I know of) in me, I am an Italian “wannabe.”

I love cooking and eating Italian food.

Years ago – even before I was married – I worked with a young Italian woman who generously shared her Mom’s classic Italian lasagna recipe with me.

I have never made it any other way.  It is simple and classic and DELICIOUS!

I’ve adapted it to a smaller portion than the recipe originally shared with me since these days this size will last Hubby and I plenty long enough to almost grow tired of eating it for so many days in a row…. ALMOST!

When you are craving classic Italian lasagna, I hope you will give this recipe a try.  Here is how I make it.

Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart marinara tomato sauce
  • 1 lb. ground beef, pork, turkey (or combination)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 box Barilla Oven Ready Lasagna Noodles
  • 2 cups Ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried basil or 1/4 cup freshly minced basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped parley
  • 1 lb. fresh Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz.  Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese, freshly grated

Directions:

Heat olive oil in saucepan.  Add chopped onions and minced garlic, and saute until soft.  Add ground meat, and cook until browned.  Add marinara tomato sauce and simmer.

In medium bowl, mix Ricotta cheese, egg, salt, basil, and parsley.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In 8 or 9 inch square baking dish, spread 1/2 cup prepared meat sauce on bottom.  Layer with lasagna noodles – overlapping to cover.  Layer with half of Ricotta cheese mixture.  Top with sliced Mozzarella cheese.  Spoon more sauce over cheese to cover.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.   Repeat layering.  End with sauce topped with remaining Mozzarella and sprinkled with Parmesan.

Cover with foil.  Bake 25 minutes.  Remove foil.  Bake 20 minutes longer or until browned and bubbly.  Cool 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Mangia tutti!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Apple Cider Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash

Apple Cider Roasted Chicken with Butternut Squash.

The calendar says it’s Spring in our little corner of the world, but Mother Nature insists it’s Winter.  I guess since our Winter this year was often more like Spring, we have to deal with a bit of Winter in Spring.

The day I made this recipe last week (the second official day of Spring), we had more snow fall in one day than we have had in one day in the past eight years (approximately 8 inches).

So this super easy, healthy, delicious one pan oven-roasted meal I found at TheLemonBowl.com and tweaked slightly was a welcomed delight.

Using cinnamon as a spice for a savory meal is a surprising delight!   Don’t be afraid to use it liberally.  When combined with salt and coarse black pepper and lots of garlic, it just sings with flavor.

The original recipe called for apple cider, which I did not have, so I found a lonely bottle of Angry Orchard Hard Cider in the back of the fridge that kicked butt in this recipe!  I’m sure you could also substitute apple juice.

I was really tempted to throw in a handful of cashews or pecans (and might next time).  What do you think?

I served this with a simple salad of fresh greens, and  here is how I made it.  Hope you will give it a try.

Apple Cider Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed (approx 4 cups
  • 1 large bulb garlic (approx. 12 cloves), peeled
  • 2/3 cup apple cider (I used Angry Orchard Hard Apple Cider!)
  • 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place butternut squash cubes and whole peeled garlic cloves on bottom of large cast iron skillet or roasting pan.  Pour cider over all.

Place chicken breasts on top.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Season all with cinnamon, salt, and pepper.

Cover loosely with foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes or until chicken is done and butternut squash is soft.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Quick and Easy Steak Fajita Flatbread

Quick and Easy Steak Fajita Flatbread.

We all have those days….

Those days when we want something delicious, but don’t feel like fussing…

Well… what a great discovery I made a few days ago when I decided to throw some fajita toppings on a piece of Naan flatbread.

Well – maybe Hubby thought of this first…. but I gave it a name – so let’s call it a collaboration.

The plan was to have steak salads, but when Hubby discovered the Naan, well…..  the plan changed.

And oh YAY!

This Steak Fajita Flatbread creation is like a sandwich/pizza/wrap/salad all in one!

It’s a great, quick and easy, delicious meal that would be great with chicken too.

Here is how we made it.

Quick and Easy Steak Fajita Flatbread

Ingredients:

1 Naan Flatbread (I found these at Aldi’s)
1 thin Sirloin steak, sliced into strips
1/4 sweet onion, sliced
1/4 sweet red pepper, sliced
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 cup Lettuce (I used butter lettuce)
Italian or Balsamic Dressing
1/4 cup Shredded Cheddar, Mozzarella, or Monterrey Jack cheese

Directions:

Sprinkle all but 1 Tbsp shredded cheese on Naan Flatbread and place in toaster oven or oven for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and flatbread is warm.

Meanwhile, saute onions and peppers in a hot skillet with 1 Tbsp olive oil until wilted and browned.  Salt and pepper to your liking.  Remove from skillet.  Add sirloin beef strips seasoned with salt and pepper, and saute until doneness you desire.

Place onions and beef on top of toasted flatbread. Top with lettuce.  Drizzle with dressing.  Top with remaining shredded cheese.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Prosciutto Apple Gorgonzola Pizza

Prosciutto Apple Gorgonzola Pizza.

We went out to dinner with friends a few weeks ago to an amazing local Italian restaurant  near us (Della Terra) that served a too-die-for 5-course dinner with wine pairings that included appetizers, salad, pizza, pasta, and dessert.

One of the things we all went nuts over was a pizza that had apples, prosciutto and  Gorgonzola cheese.

Well – who am I kidding?!  We loved EVERY single course we had, but this pizza was something I thought I might be able to recreate at home.

And O. M. G!!  This turned out so delicious!

It really went together pretty quickly and easily, and it so satisfied my pizza craving!

We often order in pizza on Friday nights at our house.  Just one of our routine guilty pleasures.

But this pizza is worth going to the trouble of making.

Be flexible with it, and make it with ingredients you love.  Add some spinach.  Switch out the apples for pears.  Throw on a few roasted pine nuts.  Add some rosemary and garlic to the pizza dough.

Have fun and be creative!

Here is the recipe for how I made it.  Hope you’ll give it a try.

Prosciutto Apple Gorgonzola Pizza

  • Servings: 1 large pizza
  • Print

Ingredients:

Pizza Crust:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water

Pizza Topping:

  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 8 oz ball fresh Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1 large apple, thinly sliced (I used Gala)
  • 1 large sweet onion, caramelized with 2 Tbsp butter
  • 6 oz. Prosciutto, thinly sliced and fried
  • 1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Other:

  • 1-2 Tbsp corn meal

Directions:

Prepare crust by mixing 1 cup flour with yeast, salt, sugar, and water.  Gradually add 2nd cup of flour until a ball is formed.  Knead dough for 2 minutes.  Let rest 10-15 minutes in a bowl covered with dish towel.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, and prepare toppings while dough is resting.

Whisk mustard and honey to form sauce, slice Mozzarella and apple, caramelize onions, fry prosciutto, and crumble Gorgonzola.

Sprinkle corn meal on a large round baking stone, press dough on top until thin, using fingers and/or rolling pin.

Spread mustard/honey sauce on dough.  Top with Mozzarella, apple, caramelized onions, prosciutto, and Gorgonzola cheese.

Bake approximately 12 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly and brown.

Remove from oven, and let rest 2-3 minutes before slicing and serving.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi