Monday, January 27, 2014

Pasta with Butternut Sauce, Sausage and Spinach

Recipe adapted from:


  • 11 oz (4 links) Italian sausage
  • 1 lb butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp light butter
  • 1 lb any fun shaped pasta, I used trulli 
  • 1/4 cup shallots, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add butternut squash and cook until soft. Remove squash with a slotted spoon and place in a blender, blend until smooth.

Add pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions for al dente, reserving at least 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.

Meanwhile, in a large deep non-stick skillet, sauté sausage over medium heat until browned, breaking up with a spoon as it cooks. When cooked through, set aside on a plate.

Reduce heat to medium-low and melt the butter, sauté the shallots and garlic until soft and golden, about 5 - 6 minutes. Add pureed butternut squash, season with with salt and fresh cracked pepper and add a little of the reserved pasta water (I used about 1 cup) to thin out the sauce to your liking. Add baby spinach and stir in Parmesan cheese and seasoning. 

Toss in cooked pasta and sausage and mix until well coated.

Tips & Notes:

I thought this turned out really good. You can certainly customize this to your preferences, but I really enjoyed that the sauce didn't have cream in it, yet was still super creamy.  I served this with a salad and bread.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Super Easy Breakfast Pizza

  • Pizza crust (I used store brand personal size pizzas)
    • this could be anything from pita bread, naan, homemade crust, store bought
  • Cream Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Shredded cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Put slices of bacon on a cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Bake bacon for 18 minutes or until crispy.
  4. Take bacon out and drain on paper towels.
  5. Turn the oven up to 425 degrees.
  6. While bacon is cooking, scramble the eggs (I used 8 eggs for 3 individual size pizzas)
  7. Spread the pizza crust with cream cheese
  8. Put the eggs on the cream cheese, followed by the meat (bacon, ham, ground beef, sausage)
  9. Sprinkle on the cheese
  10. Bake for 10 minutes or until crust is tan and cheese is melted 
Notes & Tips:

Nothing fancy to this, but man it was good. Mat and I topped ours with hot sauce, because really what are eggs without hot sauce?  Totally customizable. Use anything you'd like. You can even whip up some sausage gravy and spread it on the crust before you put the eggs on. YUM!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lentil, Mushroom & Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

Recipe adapted from:


- 5 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
- 1 cup brown or green lentils, washed and picked over
- 3/4 cup dry steel cut oats, gluten free
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound mushrooms, divided
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce

- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning  
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prick each sweet potato several times with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until very soft to the touch. Set aside to cool.

In a medium pot, combine the lentils, oats, bay leaf and salt with 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil and lower heat. Simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until lentils are soft but not mushy, stirring occasionally to keep the oats from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Discard bay leaf and drain mixture into a colander.

While the lentils and oats are cooking, finely chop half of the mushrooms and set aside. Cut the remaining mushrooms into quarters. Warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the quartered mushrooms and a pinch of salt and cook until browned and soft. Add the chopped mushrooms, onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent. Lower heat to medium and add the lentil and oat mixture, followed by the vegetable stock, wine, tomato paste, soy sauce, paprika, and parsley. Taste and add salt if needed. Simmer mixture for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add a few grinds of black pepper.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Peel sweet potatoes with your hands and place in a medium bowl. Use a fork to mash them into a smooth paste and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Evenly spread the lentil mixture into a 9x13-inch baking dish. (For thicker layers, use a 9x9-inch pan.) Spoon the sweet potato mixture on top and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling at the edges.

Notes & Tips:
This is Gluten Free, Vegetarian and  from what I know it's Vegan too. I made this to take to a friend who is feeling under the weather, who is a gluten free eater. So I divided this into 2 round aluminum disposable baking dishes (I think they were the 9 inch ones). You could always add ground beef if you'd like to make it a meat dish. Mat and I try to eat meatless one meal a week so this was ours. I used my Tupperware Quick Chef Pro to chop all of the veggies. So quick and easy! This recipe can also be made in advance (just keep the filling and roasted sweet potato mash separate) until you're ready to assemble and bake. The original recipe also says it can be frozen unbaked (just bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees after thawing)!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Soy Maple Salmon with Cauliflower

Recipe adapted from:
Erica McMannes 

  • 2 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup 
  • 1 Tablespoon orange juice (fresh squeezed if you'd like)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 4 5-ounce salmon fillets, (preferably wild salmon)
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets (1 head chopped)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth, or water
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoon dried cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped almonds or pistachios (I used pecans)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 Tablespoon parsley (I used basil)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Mix soy sauce, maple syrup, orange juice, 2 of the garlic cloves and 2 Tablespoons of water in large bowl. Add salmon, turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
  3. While that is marinating, put the cauliflower in microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap (or Tupperware's stack cooker. Microwave until tender, about 6 minutes.
  4. Coat rimmed cookie sheet with canola oil. Drain salmon, season with salt and pepper. Place skin side down on cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until salmon flakes when you put a fork in it. 
  5. Heat olive oil in large skillet, heat oil and remaining garlic until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower and broth, cranberries, nuts, orange zest parsley, salt and pepper stir to heat through. Serve cauliflower with fish. 
Notes & Tips:

I thought this was a great recipe, healthy and very easy. The wild caught salmon really has a much better flavor than anything farm raised or flash frozen. Obviously, I didn't go catch the salmon myself. I was glad this recipe had a built in side dish. I served it with Parmesan couscous. Without the couscous this is gluten free.