I am so excited about Spring, aren’t you? Spring flowers and warm weather and kicking a soccer ball around with my son in our backyard…
But sometimes I just have a hard time saying goodbye to Winter. Especially this year, when I basically avoided my kitchen all Winter unless company came over or I had a hankering for dessert.
So today, on the very last day of Winter, I just can’t resist sharing one final amazing dish with you: butternut squash lasagna.
This baby is so delicious, and so worth the effort! And because it is full of sweet squash instead of greasy meat and spicy tomato sauce, you could even get away with eating it in Spring. I’m just saying.
Let’s talk about really easy, elegant appetizers. Appetizers that look like they took a lot of work, but in fact, took you about 5 minutes. Appetizers that are amazing and yummy and full of butter and cheese. Like appetizers should be.
Because it’s appetizer season!
(Around our house, we readily agree that the only reason to be excited about the Superbowl is good food.)
This baked Brie is so simple and so delicious! It will be a huge hit at any party, whether you plan to eat it on the couch in front of a big TV or around a table with a group of girlfriends.
As a vegetarian, I often miss out on foods that other people rave about. Sometimes there is an easy substitution, like a delicious veggie burger. But sometimes, as with pot pies, I more often find that vegetarian versions are disappointing or weird than satisfying and comforting.
No doubt, to turn a meaty classic into a delicious vegetarian dish can be a challenge! It usually requires about a thousand more ingredients and a lot of extra time. Building a balanced flavor that is as hearty and satisfying to a carnivore as to a vegetarian is involved!
Part of this is definitely personal prejudice on my part. I’m sorry, but a potato is a starch! And, to be honest…peas are pretty darn close to a starch. So if those are the only “vegetables” in an already creamy and crusty pie, you’ve kind of lost me. If I am going to spend hours making crust and stirring fillings and then baking a pie, I want to be eating something absolutely stuffed with a rainbow of vegetables (and therefore nutrients), as thanks for my trouble!
Cue this pot pie, full of hearty Fall vegetables: butternut squash, carrots, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are all at their best and brightest in the cool months! Add some browned mushrooms and onions for a nice, savory base, plus the most deliciously herby and peppery crust, and I honestly think you couldn’t ask for anything more!
A while back, I mentioned that I am growing acorn squash this year! I have a little container vegetable garden on my porch, and almost everything I am growing is thriving.
Except, sadly, for my acorn squash. It all started out brilliantly: I had four plants that were green and leafy and growing like gangbusters. About a month ago, a crazy amount of blossoms started opening up and I got pretty excited for some squash to reveal itself. But…only two of the blossoms on all four of the plants sprouted squashes. After a while of not seeing any more little babies growing, I mentally threw up my hands and decided to start harvesting the blossoms. (Maybe that was my mistake? Who knows.)
Immediately after harvesting my first bunch of blossoms, the plants started yellowing. I am not an experienced gardener, people. I was at a loss. Eventually I found that one of the vines was being eaten from within by a worm—and there went one of my two baby acorn squash (augh!). I still can’t figure out what’s wrong with the others.
So. Believe me when I tell you that these quesadillas were a labor of love. With these, I used up the last blossoms my poor, sad acorn squash seem like they are going to produce.
I just realized that the Superbowl is only a few days away.
Not that I actually care about football. To be honest, I don’t even know which teams are playing! But what I do know is that Superbowl Sunday goes perfectly with a large pot of chili.
When I was growing up, my mom always made white chili for the whole family on Superbowl Sunday–this was, in fact, the first way I learned to appreciate chili, probably thanks to the mountain of crushed Doritos and shredded cheddar cheese I piled on the top before I dug in. Yum.
But this year, I think we should skip the ground meat (well, that’s a no-brainer for me) and load in a rather humongous amount of winter squashes. This recipe uses winter squash in two ways: one, pureed pumpkin is mixed right into the saucy, tomato-y broth; and two, cubed for texture and bulk in the soup. It’s so delicious with a generous splash of balsamic vinegar and shaved pecorino romano on top!
Okay, this post is totally late in coming. But I was a little bit preoccupied. (And yes, it did take me almost a week to recover from throwing the best baby birthday party ever.)
Anyway, from the last week of CSA produce ever (er…at least for this year), I am sharing with you the most delicious macaroni and cheese ever.
Did you know that mac and cheese is one of my favorite foods? And yet, in two and a half years of blogging, I have never once made it for you. That’s because I am a mac and cheese snob. That’s right. You heard me.
I have spent the last two years trying to perfect the absolute best mac and cheese recipe (gouda, asiago, ad pecorino with a dash of truffle oil…yum). But I realized, this is just like the time I thought there was only one perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. Which is completely silly! Which, of course, means I have been remiss!
When I found a recipe for butternut squash mac and cheese, which is so trendy and so different from the rich bechamel sauces I had been obsessed with, I was so excited!
This mac and cheese is full of flavor. And the weird thing is it doesn’t really taste like squash at all! There is just a tinge of sweetness and warmth from the cayenne and nutmeg. But mostly, the macaroni tastes cheesy and salty from the parmesan and pecorino and just a little nutty from the gruyère.
And one of the easiest ever ways to use up fall squash is to roast it and toss it into a grain salad with some greens and cheese. I have been a little reluctant to share this with you, because I feel like this particular combination isn’t terribly original. Quinoa salad. Been there, done that.
But you know what? Sometimes the familiar is just what we need. Sometimes simple food with bright colors and flavors is comforting.
Sarah of Well Dined came over and made this lunch with me. We added in things that are delicious and left out things that are not. Easy peasy.