Butternut Squash Tacos

This is a tasty alternative to traditional meat tacos! Although butternut squash may not be your first pick for tacos, the adobo, clove and cumin really elevate this veg and give the taco filling some serious flavor! If that’s not enough to get your meatless mouths watering, the toppings will; fresh cilantro, shredded cheese, toasted pepitas and juicy lime! Just do it!!

Ingredients: Feeds 4, 2 tacos each

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo, minced
  • 16 oz cubed frozen butternut squash
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 toasted whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 small bunch cilantro rinsed, stems removed and chopped
  • sour cream
  • shredded cheddar
  • toasted pepitas
  • lime wedges

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a shallow heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is translucent.
  2. Add the minced chipotle chile, stir and cook a few more minutes allowing adobo flavor to develop. Add the squash and seasonings, mix well, reduce heat and cover. Let cook 8 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, toast your tortillas in the oven or in a hot cast iron pan.
  4. To serve, schmear a dollop of sour cream down the center of the tortilla. Place a spoonful of the squash mixture on top and sprinkle with shredded cheese, toasted pepitas and a squirt of fresh lime juice. Fold, roll and enjoy!!

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*Recipe adapted from Alex Stupak, People Magazine

Vegetarian Bolognese

You won’t fool the meat lovers in your life but you will serve them a super flavorful, lighter version of this classic dish. If you’re tempted to nix the cheese and cream…don’t! They truly elevate the sauce and take this dish to the next level, #trust. Mangia bene!!

Ingredients: Feed 4 – 6

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 8 oz portobello mushrooms, rough chop
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp TJ’s Umami seasoning
  • 1/2 cup red wine (the kind you’d drink!)
  • 8 oz tempeh, chopped
  • 2, 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp prepared pesto
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • pinch red pepper flake
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup grate parmesan cheese, plus extra
  • splash (about 1/4 cup) heavy cream
  • 1 lb cooked pasta (I like brown rice fettuccine with this sauce)
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, mushrooms, and garlic and sauté until softened. Season with Umami seasoning and cook 2 more minutes.
  2. Add wine (pour yourself a glass while you’re at it!) and let the alcohol burn off while stirring and scraping any bits from the bottom of the pot.
  3. Next, add the chopped tempeh and stir to combine. Follow with the tomatoes, pesto, tomato paste and honey. Stir some more, then add the oregano, red pepper flake and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lastly, add cheese and a splash of heavy cream and mix well. Add cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Serve with additional cheese and chopped parsley garnish.

The Crab and the Artichoke

This is one of my go-to appetizer dips because it’s easy to make and is a crowd favorite! Sometimes I sub chopped spinach for either the artichokes or the crab depending on who I’m feeding. You can make this dip your own by adding whatever you like once you’ve made the “base” in Step 1. No matter which direction you choose to take, try the original version first because I think you’ll agree, it belongs in everyone’s recipe book! Enjoy!!

Ingredients:

  • 1, 8oz block cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • few grinds of fresh black pepper
  • 1, 14oz can of artichokes in water, drained and quartered
  • 8oz lump crab meat, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup Panko style bread crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/8 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, blend together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, cheeses, garlic and pepper using a rubber spatula.
  2. Fold in the quartered artichokes and the crab meat and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, melt butter and add bread crumbs. Toast until slightly golden over low-medium heat. Remove from heat, add the Old Bay and mix.
  4. Transfer crab and artichoke mixture to an oven safe dish. Top with seasoned breadcrumbs and cover loosely with foil. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5 – 10 more minutes until crumbs brown and dip bubbles.
  5. Let cool for a few minutes; dip with be red hot! Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with your favorite crackers!

Tropical Carrot Cake Muffins

Got a new square muffin tin and decided to create a special new muffin recipe to test it out! These carrot cake muffins take on a tropical twist with the addition of pineapple and coconut. They are super moist, protein packed and can be served for breakfast, as a snack or even for dessert! And as usual, they were made with Kodiak Cakes brand flapjack mix. Enjoy!!

Ingredients: Makes 12 muffins

  • 2 cups Kodiak Cakes Cinnamon Oat flapjack mix
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (I use a stevia/brown sugar blend)
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12 muffin tin with cooking spray or line with papers.
  2. Combine the flapjack mix, brown sugar, milk, oil, egg and spices and mix well.
  3. Mix in the crushed pineapple.
  4. Fold in the carrot, coconut, raisins and walnuts.
  5. Evenly distribute the batter among the wells of your muffin tin. Bake for 18 – 23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Let cool before removing muffins from the tin. Store in an airtight container.IMG_9831

Family Style Chicken Pot Pie

Somewhere on this blog, there already exists a recipe for individual chicken pot pies! The following recipe will be very similar in many ways, however what makes this twist unique is that it presents as one large pie that you serve family style! It’s complete with all the trimmings you’d find on your holiday dinner table including tender roasted chicken, buttery peas and carrots, creamy corn and mushroom dressing; all baked inside a flaky crust! What’s best is that it calls for pre-made pie crust and rotisserie chicken which makes your life easier for sure and can be adapted to include any leftover (or holiday favorite) veggies you have on hand!

Ingredients: Serves 6 – 8

  • 2 pre-made pie crusts
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup sliced/chopped mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp Trader Joe’s Umami seasoning or similar spice blend
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 2/3 cup frozen corn (I used fire roasted)
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas and carrots
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, picked

Directions:

  1. Remove pie crust from the fridge and let come to room temp. Meanwhile pick the white and dark meat from your rotisserie chicken and set it aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook (stirring occasionally) until onions are no longer opaque and mushrooms begin to soften.
  3. Add the flour and Umami seasoning and stir with a fork until a thick paste forms. Slowly add and in the chicken stock and milk and whisk until incorporated. Mix in the salt, pepper, thyme and sage. Allow mixture to begin to boil, then reduce heat and let sauce simmer until it thickens, stirring often.IMG_9812
  4. Once mixture is thickened, add in the frozen veggies. Let cook for a few minutes until they defrost and then add the chicken. Stir until all ingredients are well mixed and then remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.IMG_9805
  5. While mixture cools, prepare your pie crust and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay one crust on the bottom of a large (preferably glass/ceramic) pie dish and gently press dough into the sides and over the top edge.
  6. Take cooled mixture and pour it into your pie dish and spread evenly. Top with the remaining pie crust and use a fork to crimp the edges all the way around. Use the fork to poke a few holes into the center of the crust to allow some heat/steam to escape while it cooks. This will prevent the crust from cracking.
  7. Place pie on a large cookie sheet and into the oven. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes, until crust is golden, edges begin to brown and sauce oozes from the vent holes!IMG_9815
  8. Let sit 10 – 15 minutes prior to serving. Present your masterpiece to your family/guests before cutting with a sharp knife. Use a pie spatula to transfer slices to your plates.IMG_9819

Double Dark Chocolate Muffins with Raspberry and Coconut

In case you can’t tell, I’m obsessed with Kodiak Cakes products, especially their flapjack mixes! I use them more for making muffins than I do for pancakes or waffles! What I love about these products is that they are made with whole grains and fortified with added protein. For example, these muffins pack approximately 8-10 grams of protein each*, making them a great grab and go in the morning or the perfect afternoon pick me up! My favorite thing though is their versatility; the mixes serve as a great blank canvas to which you can add and create your own unique muffins. Last week I added pepitas, white chocolate chips and Himalayan sea salt to mimic a cookie I recently fell in love with. This week I added freeze dried raspberries, coconut and dark chocolate chips to mimic a decadent dessert I’ve been dreaming about. Either way, these muffins are healthier than their cookie and cake inspirations while allowing you to indulge and satisfying your cravings. Enjoy and keep me posted if you get crafty in your kitchen with Kodiak!!

Ingredients: Makes 12

  • 2 cups Kodiak Brand Dark Chocolate Flapjack Mix
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup freeze dried raspberries
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • coconut flake for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together the first 7 ingredients; baking mix through chia seeds.
  3. Fold in the mix-ins including the chocolate chips, raspberries and shredded coconut.
  4. Line a 12 muffin tin with papers and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  5. Fill each well 3/4 full and top with a few flakes of coconut.
  6. Bake 18 – 23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

 

Loaded Broccoli Mac-n-Cheese

As I was prepping this dish I came to the realization that I have never posted a mac-n-cheese recipe!? That kinda blew my mind considering what a cheese-head I am, coupled with my love of pasta! Anyhow, my recipe for mac-n-cheese is a derivative of Alton Brown’s original recipe. I discovered it years ago and use his rue as a base for many of my sauces, most notably the cheese sauce in my mac-n-cheese. This version of the classic incorporates goat cheese for added creaminess, broccoli for veggie power (and a pop of green) and bacon… just because everything tastes better with a little bit o’bacon on top! Enjoy!!

Ingredients: feeds 6

  • 12 oz of your favorite pasta (I used orecchiette)
  • florets from 3 medium broccoli crowns
  • 5 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 oz goat cheese
  • 6 oz shredded cheddar jack, plus extra
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup seasoned panko bread crumbs
  • 4 slices precooked bacon, diced

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse and set aside.
  2. Steam broccoli florets in an inch of water in a covered, microwave safe dish for 5 – 6 minutes or until they are tender yet bitey.
  3. Meanwhile prepare the sauce; in a large shallow pan, melt 2 tbsp of butter over medium heat.  Add the diced onion and sauté until translucent. Add the mustard and flour to the pan and whisk to incorporate the ingredients. Slowly add the milk and then half and half while continually whisking. Whisk until there are no longer any lumps.
  4. Reduce heat and let simmer, stirring occasionally as sauce begins to thicken. Add the goat cheese and then the cheddar jack and mix. Season to desired taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Using the empty pasta pot, combine the cooked pasta and steamed broccoli. Gently fold in the cheese sauce.
  6. Transfer mixture to a greased 9×13 casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350.
  7. In a small saucepan melt the remaining 3 tbsp of butter over medium – low heat and add the breadcrumbs. Stir to coat the breadcrumbs and allow them to cook long enough to start to brown.
  8. Top the casserole with a sprinkle of cheddar jack cheese, the toasted breadcrumbs and the crumbled bacon. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and broil for an additional 3 minutes.