Monthly Archives: July 2014

Week Two: Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese and Strawberry Brownie Kabobs

Standard

Here’s a link to this week’s delicious recipe from blogger PinchofYum… boo, just a pinch?!  Most of these recipes come from things I’ve pinned on my Pinterest food board. Of all the delectable meals, mac & cheese seems to push through the forefront, so much so that this summer may end up being a quest for the best recipe of mac & cheese. I figured I’d start off with something out of the ordinary though.  It also seemed like a good idea to start making desserts, as my board was half composed of them.  These did not disappoint.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH MAC N’ CHEESE WITH BACON, CARAMELIZED ONIONS, AND APPLES

Prep time:  5 mins
Cook time:  30 mins
Serves: 4
 
INGREDIENTS
  • ½ box whole grain elbow macaroni (about 2.5 cups dry)
  • 1 cup canned butternut squash puree
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons evaporated milk
  • ¼ cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 oz low fat cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 large crispy apple, chopped or grated
  • 4 tablespoons crumbled bacon
 
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat butter in a skillet over low heat. When melted, add onions and let caramelize for at least 30 minutes for the best flavor. Keep heat on low/low-medium.
  2. Cook the pasta according to directions. Drain and return to pan over low heat. Add butternut squash, chicken broth, evaporated milk, and cream cheese. When combined, add in salt.
  3. Add onions and apples to the pasta. Stir to combine and add a tablespoon more broth or milk if needed.
  4. Just before serving, mix in cheese and stir until melted. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon bacon.
 
NOTES
Because there’s very little butter, it can “dry out” quickly, especially once off the heat. Add a tablespoon of water, milk, or broth if you need to get it back to its original creaminess.  
 
My brother was fortunate enough to receive the task of modeling the dessert for us. This time I made sure to create a collage on the gram for your enjoyment.

My brother was fortunate enough to receive the task of modeling the dessert for us. This time I made sure to create a collage on the gram for your enjoyment.

Advertisements

Week One: Penne Ala Vodka & Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

Standard

Naturally, in my first cooking exploit, I knew that I had to make penne ala vodka, so I ended up trying Rachel Ray’s recipe, found on a link through Dr. Oz’s website: Yum!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 32 oz crushed tomatoes
  • coarse salt
  • pepper
  • 16 oz penne rigate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 20 fresh leaves basil, shredded or torn

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the extra virgin olive oil, butter, garlic and shallots. Gently sauté the shallots for 3-5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add the vodka to the pan – three turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce the vodka by half, about 2 or 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and the tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While the pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.

Stir the cream into the sauce. When the sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from the heat. Drain the pasta. Toss the hot pasta with the sauce and the basil leaves.

And now, for the meat! This one came from a less professional source… a simple food blog: Ohh yeaaa

1 1/4 pounds ground chicken
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 cup Pecorino (or Parm)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 egg, whisked
zest of half a lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 14-ounce can storebought pizza sauce (such as Don Pepino’s)
about 4 ounces fresh mozzarella (a dozen thin slices; to pile on the cheese would be to cancel out the fact that you were virtuous enough to replace fatty beef with lean chicken)

Preheat oven to 400°F, setting rack to upper third part of oven. In a large bowl, using your hands, gently mix together first 11 ingredients. Shape into lacrosse-ball size balls (that would be somewhere between golf and tennis) and place a few inches from each other on a foil-lined baking sheet. In a small bowl, mix one spoonful of your pizza sauce with olive oil. Brush this mixture on top of each meatball. Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove meatballs from oven, spoon some sauce on top of each meatball, and cover each with a slice of cheese. Broil another 3 to 5 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden.  Heat remaining sauce in a small saucepan. Serve meatballs with a dollop of sauce and a raw Tuscan kale salad that has been shredded and tossed with shallots, Pecornio, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Clearly this was before I was super committed to the food photography scene, so this is all I have to offer this time around.

Ignore the random eggplant that my father was making at the timem

Ignore the random eggplant that my father was making at the time