Friday, August 28, 2015

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

I am always looking for ways to add butternut squash or pumpkin to fall dishes.  I love the flavor and I love the extra boost of veggies for my kiddos.  The other night, I made this Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese for dinner along with some brisket and it was a huge hit!  My kiddos ate it up and never questioned the, win for mom!

And psssst:
1. This would make a great vegetarian pasta supper as well as a side.
2. You can roast, peel, dice and puree your own whole butternut squash or you can use a 10 oz bag of frozen.  My grocery store offers the frozen squash already purred and also cubed.  Whichever you select, just defrost it in the microwave before adding it in.  If you want to make the cubed squash nice and smooth, zip it through your blender or food processor after it's defrosted.  Easy!

This recipe makes enough for four supper portions or a side dish for six.

Shopping List
1 pound of short cut pasta (I used shells)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 shallot (or red onion), diced
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons milk
1 (10 oz) package of defrosted and pureed butternut squash
1 cup of Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated ( plus a little extra for garnish)
About four tablespoons of fresh thyme roughly chopped
salt and pepper

Bring one large pot to a boil over medium-high heat and drop your pasta.  Cook until al dente (about 7 minutes).

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add in your chopped shallot along with about two tablespoons of EVOO.  Add a nice pinch of salt and pepper to your shallot.  Saute about three minutes or until nice and tender.  Add in one more drizzle of EVOO.  Next, whisk in your flour and cook about one minute.  Then, whisk in your milk.  Whisk everything together about a minute before whisking in your pureed squash.  Continue whisking over medium-high heat until the sauce thickens (it takes a couple of minutes).  Once the sauce is thickened enough to coat your spoon, whisk in your shredded Cheddar and your grated Parmesan cheese along with your thyme.

Drain the water from your cooked pasta and pour your squash mixture down over the top of the pasta.  Serve immediately and  garnish with a little extra Parmesan and thyme.

Okay, if your sauce starts to thicken up a bit too much, just whisk in a bit more milk until it reaches a nice Mac & Cheese consistency.

Your family will love it...butternut squash and all.

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Oreo Peanut Butter Ice Box Pie

My kids would eat peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon for a meal if I let them.

We are peanut butter people.

And we're Oreo people.

And let's be honest, we're pie people too.

My Oreo Peanut Butter Ice Box Pie is simple enough that even your kiddos could whip it up with just a little supervision.  This is a great make ahead dessert for parties, outdoor dining or make ahead meals.  Make it, freeze it, remove it, slice it, enjoy it.

From these peanut butter people to you, enjoy!

This recipe makes one pie.

Shopping List
about 1 1/2 cups of crushed Oreos (about 12 or so Oreos)
6 tablespoons of melted butter
1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup of creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Lightly spray a pie plate with cooking spray.  Set aside.

To make the crust:
Crumble your Oreos directly over your food processor.  Pulse the crumbled Oreos until they are fine.  Add in your melted butter and pulse until it's all combined.  Remove the mixture and pat it inside the pie plate.  Make sure you pat it up the sides as well as across the bottom.  Freeze about one hour before filling.

To make the filling:
Beat with an electric mixer your cream cheese, condensed milk and peanut butter until combined.  Stir in your chocolate chips.  Pour peanut butter mixture into pie shell (after it's been in the freezer an hour).  Cover and freeze at least 4 hours (up to 24).

When you're ready to serve, remove from freezer and slice and serve.

For your Thursday.  Or your Friday.  Really, you should just make it now because I promise you...people will love it!

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Buffalo Turkey Burgers

In my opinion, turkey burgers need to be a little fancy or else they're a lot of boring.  Any time we're grilling up some turkey burgers, we try and add lots of flavor to our finished product.  So, a Buffalo style burger with Buffalo sauce, bleu cheese, Ranch dressing and shredded carrots sounded like the best way to jazz up a basic burger.  And's ready and on your table in no time!

This recipe makes four half-pound burgers.

Shopping List
2 pounds of ground turkey
about 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
a big pinch of salt and pepper
about a 1/2 cup of your favorite Buffalo sauce (you can use more for drizzling if you like!)
about a cup of shredded carrots 
1 red onion, chopped
about a cup of bleu cheese crumbles
 Drizzles of your favorite Ranch dressing
4 burger buns

Preheat your outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to medium-high heat.

Add the EVOO, salt, pepper and Buffalo sauce to your ground turkey.  Divide turkey into four sections and make four patties.  Grill patties about 8 minutes per side or until cooked through.

Add your cooked burger patty to your burger bun and then top with shredded carrots, chopped red onion, bleu cheese crumbles and a drizzle of Ranch.  Garnish with a little more Buffalo sauce if you like.

Just a basic turkey burger with a flavor boost!


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