Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells

Ingredients:                   IMG_0230 

  •  1 box of shells
  • 1 lbs of cubed butternut squash
  • 1 1/4 cup of ricotta
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt
  • pepper

Step 1:

  • Cube your butternut squash and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and olive oil
  • Roast in the over for 30 minutes, flipping once at 425 degrees

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Step 2: 

  • Using a potato masher (my favorite kitchen tool), mash that squash

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Step 3: 

  • Grab a bowl and put your mashed squash, egg, chopped spinach, Parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic
  • Mix it up – this is your filling!

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Step 4: 

  • Start boiling your shells
  • Grab a 9 X 13 pan and grease the bottom
  • Heat the oven to 375
  • Once the shells are cooked, and cooled down, add one hefty spoonful to each shell

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Step 5: 

  • Bake the shells for 25-30 minutes & enjoy!

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Inspiration: http://www.prouditaliancook.com/2009/10/butternut-squash-stuffed-shells-with.html

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Thyme Roasted Carrots

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of baby carrots
  • 1 tbspn Thyme (fresh or dried)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbspn olive oil

Step 1: 

  • Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl

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Step 2: 

  • Place on a parchment lined baking sheetIMG_0243

Step 3: 

  • Roast @ 425 for 20 minutes, flip, continue roasting for 3-5 minutes

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Roasted Eggplant Quinoa w/ a Lemony Feta Twist

I don’t know about you, but Eggplant scares me.  Until now!  This meal is, as Mr. D likes to call it, “Bird Food”.  But I like to believe that the added feta gives it more of a satisfying – don’t have to supplement with Cadbury Cream Eggs – lunch.

Have I talked about Cadbury Cream Egg season and how it invades our lives every February through April?  Mr. D likes to have on average, 1-2 a day – sometimes his pockets are filled with a couple.  If you see him on the street throughout this time period – feel free to ask him for a Cadbury – cause odds are he has one or two to spare.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach (to taste) or kale
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • Squeeze of 1/2 Lemon
  • 1/3 cup Feta cheese

Step 1:

  • Roast that eggplant!  Cut it up into cubes, stick in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and throw the eggplant on there
  • Bake @ 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, flip once, then an additional 5-7 minutes

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Step 2: 

  • Cook up that quinoa!  I prefer the black quinoa from TJ’s.  You can cook with vegetable broth or water
  • Saute minced garlic w/ sauteed spinach and/or kale

Step 3: 

  • Add the cooled quiona, sauteed spinach/kale and roasted eggplant into a large bowl

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Step 4: 

  • Mix it up!  Squeeze 1/2 lemon, add feta, and additional salt or pepper if needed

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Inspiration: http://juliasalbum.com/2014/10/spinach-eggplant-and-feta-quinoa/

Olive Garden-Inspired Creamy Gnocchi Soup

Baby, it’s cold.  

I can’t recall the last time I craved soup as much as I have this winter.  Mr. D and I have been consistently freezing both inside and outside the DINK pad for the past, eh, 2 months I’d say?  There’s no better meal than a piping hot bowl of soup, and there’s no better restaurant in America than Olive Garden.  Put the two together, and you get this delicious situation.

Ingredients: IMG_0213

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  •  salt and fresh black pepper
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 + 1/2 cups half & half
  • 1 pound potato gnocchi (Trader Joe’s if it’s available to you!)
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped small
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Step 1: 

Saute carrots, celery, onion, and minced garlic in a large pot.

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Step 2: 

Add 1/3 cup of flour to the veggie mixture.  Stir to remove the clumps.  This will help thicken up the soup.

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Step 3: 

Add 4 cups of broth.  If you aren’t vegetarian, you can use chicken broth & meat if desired.  Let simmer for 2-3 minutes.

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Step 4: 

Add half & half.  Stir generously.  Add basil, salt, and pepper.  Simmer for 2-3 more minutes.  And add that butter.  Yum.

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Step 5: 

Add that spinach.  Popeye demands it.  Stir again.  Now eat!

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Inspiration: http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/olive-garden-chicken-and-gnocchi-soup-copycat/

Israeli Couscous Salad with Roasted Vegetables

So 8 days ago I decided to try being a vegetarian again, and managed to convince Derek to do it with me. It’s as much of a health challenge to me as it is a cooking challenge. I’m going to have to explore different ingredients and master the art of cooking them.

Tonight, I started off easy.

Ingredients:

Israeli Couscous
Broccoli (1 cup)
Cauliflower (1 cup)
Onion (1/2 cup)
Carrots (1 cup)
Apple Cider Vinegar (1 tbspn)
Olive oil (1 tbspn)
Honey (2 tspn)
Salt
Pepper

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Here’s how to do it:
Step 1:
Cut vegetables into desired size
Mix in bowl with drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper
Roast on a parchment lined baking sheet for 30-40 minutes, flipping once

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Step 2:
Mix Apple Cider Vinegar, Honey, Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper together with a fork

Step 3:

Boil Couscous (I like to buy the box from Trader Joes cause it’s delish and the perfect amount)

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Step 4:

Mix it all together and serve warm. If you’re feeling up to it – add feta!

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Inspiration: http://thewanderlustkitchen.com/warm-israeli-couscous-salad-roasted-vegetables/

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pound of chicken
  • 1 can of artichokes
  • 1 bag of penne pasta
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tbs red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • salt
  • 1 cup of white wine

Step 1: 

  • Cube the chicken and saute until cooked through
  • Add the garlic and onion and brown the chicken
  • Boil the pasta on a separate burner at the same time

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Step 2: 

  • Add the sun-dried tomatoes & artichokes to the mixture
  • Add the wine and seasonings

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Step 3: 

  • Combine the pasta
  • Add more wine & spices if needed
  • Saute for an additional 5 minutes on low heat & serve
  • Add Feta for a special treat

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White Bean, Jalapeno & Lime Soup

If you like a healthy combination of sweet & spice, I recommend you try this soup.  There were a couple hiccups when playing around with this recipe – so here are some tips:

  • Be careful with the number of jalapenos you add
  • If the soup is too thin or too spicy, add an additional 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • Feel free to add as many veggies as you like
  • Mix up the beans if you like – I just prefer white beans

Ingredients: 

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large pepper (any color)
  • 2 cups corn
  • 2 jalapenos (or 3 if you like REALLY spicy)
  • 2 15oz cans white beans
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3 limes
  • 2 tbs cumin
  • 3 cups of veggie broth
  • salt & pepper

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Step 1: 

  • Mince jalapeno & garlic

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Step 2: 

  • Add all remaining ingredients (except the limes) to a large pot
  • Keep heat on medium and simmer for 15-20 minutes with cover on (constantly stirring)

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Step 3: 

  • Grate the zest of 1 lime and add to the soup
  • Squeeze the juice of 2 limes into the soup

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