Butternut Baklava Bites

Baklava Bites!

Sometimes I get so ridiculously hung up on a veggie that they manage to find their way into almost everything I make. I humored my fruit fancy earlier in the month with a cranberry-palooza of sorts, but lately it’s all about the butternut. So much so, in fact, that I straight up butternuted my baklava. I regret nothing.

No Ragrets

So what on earth are butternut baklava bites? I filled crispy, flaky phyllo cups with pureed butternut squash spiked with maple and orange, topped them with a medley of toasted nuts and went beyond overboard with my bear-o-honey! They’re a bite-sized indulgence that are not only packed with protein, but are practically a vegetable too! At least I like to think so!

The maple-spiked squash and candied nuts can be made in advanced and assembled when needed, for a speedy sweet treat that is perfect for the holidays!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Butternut Baklava Bites
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: appetizer, dessert
Serves: 25 phyllo cups
Ingredients
  • 1 + ½ heaping cups of cubed butternut squash
  • 1 TBSP orange juice
  • 1 TBSP pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup whole shelled pistachios
  • ¼ cup walnut halves and pieces
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 + ½ TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1 + ½ TBSP sugar [brown or regular]
  • a pinch of salt
  • 25 pre-made phyllo cups, thawed if previously frozen
  • approx ¼ cup honey, or to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring a medium-small pot of water to boil and cook squash for 10 minutes or until fork-tender.
  2. In a food processor or blender, combine squash with orange juice and maple syrup and puree until smooth.
  3. Next finely chop your nuts. This can be done in a food processor, with a sharp knife, or even by filling a plastic bag with nuts and smashing them with a wine bottle. I've employed all three techniques, choose what's easiest for you!
  4. Bring a small skillet to medium heat and melt your butter. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and your chopped nuts and saute for five minutes until they're nice and toasty and have a light glaze on them. If you have a major sweet tooth I'll look the other way while you double the glaze. Since I have a heavy hand with the honey I go light on the glaze.
  5. Fill each phyllo cup with a teaspoon of butternut puree and pile on the candied nuts!
  6. Top each bite with a hearty drizzle of honey and dig in!
Notes
Best when served at room temperature. Butternut puree and candied nuts can be made in advance and assembled when needed! I'd avoid filling the cups too far in advance since the squash will eventually soften or soggify the phyllo layers but they can easily sit out on a party platter awaiting hungry guests! Since they're dairy free, there's no need to chill them. Score!

 You can get crazy with your display…

Butternut Baklava Bites: pureed butternut squash spiked with maple and orange, topped with pistachio, pecans, and walnuts and slathered in honey!

 or simply snag a bite the second they hit the table!

Butternut Baklava Bites: pureed butternut squash spiked with maple and orange, topped with pistachio, pecans, and walnuts and slathered in honey!

The only thing that takes less time than making these, is eating them!

Flashback Friday: My Favorite Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dishes

I started tearing through my archives trying to plan this year’s Thanksgiving spread and realized my eyes are no less than 1000x bigger than my stomach; I want it all! We might have to do this old school and just turn one day of thankful face-stuffage into a week-long feast. Luckily I just found the most amazing pair of stretchy pants that will require zero unbuttoning/accidental flashings this year. I think. I hope. Wish me luck!

Anywho! Here are some of my favorites from the past few years. I’d be beyond honored if one winds up on your plate this year! Keep me posted so I can do my infamous obnoxious happy dance and really test the limits of those jeggings! Love you all like woah!

Flashback Friday: My Favorite Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes


So I totally decided to focus on the veggies for this little round-up, since they need lots of love on the big day!

Diversify your eats and let those colors pop on the table! A colorful plate is a healthy plate, even if one of those colors is CHOCOLATE! Yeah I said it! Above all else, enjoy the holidays even if you’re channeling moi circa 2011 and eating veggie pizza in your pjs. Find your happy and eat. yo. veggies!

Cranberry Goat Cheese Log with Walnuts, Pecans, and Parsley

My Favorite Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dishes:

 appetizers

Cranberry Goat Cheese Log with Walnuts, Pecans, and Parsley

Party Hummus

Restaurant-Style Olive Oil and Herb Bread Dip

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta

sides

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta

Zucchini au Gratin

Mashed Cauliflower with Caramelized Onion and Roasted Garlic

Sketch-Free Green Bean Casserole

Banana Honey Cornbread

Cranberry Clementine Brussels Sprouts with Brown Sugar Glaze

Fluffy Butternut Biscuits

Slow Cooker Creamy Potato Apple and Brie Soup

Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Easy Homemade Candied Walnuts

Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Candied Walnuts

sauces

Crock-pot Honeyed Cranberry Apple Sauce

Strawberry Apple Cranberry Sauce

Slow Cooker Apple Strawberry Cranberry Sauce

fall favorites from around the interwebs

Butternut Squash Stuffing from Real Food by Dad

Cranberry Pumpkin Cornbread via Stephie Cooks

Crock-pot Applesauce from Slim Sanity

Pumpkin Bars from Nourished by Nutrition

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash via Rachel Cooks

Wild Rice and Kale Salad with Smoky Sweet Potatoes by Amuse Your Bouche

Rosemary Roasted Carrots via Oh My Veggies

Apple Pizza with Caramelized Onion and Crispy Sage from Clean Eats Fast Feets

Thanksgiving Hand Pies by Real Food by Dad

Single Serve Caramel Pecan Cookies via The Big Man’s World

Orange Spice Coconut Pumpkin Pie from Dessert for Two

dessert

Apple Cinnamon Banana-Nut Muffins

Cranberry Cheesecake Streusel Bars

Butternut Baklava Bites

White Chocolate Cookie Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Peanut Butter Cookie Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

See? Stretchy pants are an essential part of this meal! Stay-tuned this upcoming week for a few ridiculously easy last minute dishes for your holiday line-up as well as some pretty stellar uses for all those leftovers!

What’s your all-time favorite Thanksgiving dish? Leave me a link or a comment! <3

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta: a fabulous Fall side dish for any occasion!

Who has two thumbs and just rocked her self-implemented post deadline!? This girl! Of course it took posting a photo of this plate-o-yum on IG to give me the push I needed. I have some very awesome friends with some very impatient squash [squashes? squashi? I think I'm overthinking this!] awaiting this recipe. I had to deliver!

Without further adieu, here’s my  all-time favorite butternut squash recipe. Hands-down. No question. This savory sweet side dish is perfect for the holidays; make it!

Well, make it now, and then make it AGAIN for the holidays. All of them. Duh.

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta



5.0 from 1 reviews
Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta
 
Author:
Recipe type: side
Ingredients
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled + chopped
  • a hearty drizzle of olive oil [approx 1-2 TBSP]
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2-3 TBSP honey
  • ¼ cup finely crumbled feta
  • ground cinnamon, to taste [optional but delicious!]
  • fresh or dried parsley, to garnish [optional]
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Lightly drizzle or spritz a baking sheet with olive oil.
  3. Add cubed squash to the sheet along with another drizzle of olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle with a light layer of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, based on taste preference.
  5. Roast at 400 F for 25 minutes on the center rack.
  6. At the 25 minute mark, pull out the oven rack, and add your fresh cranberries to the roasting pan.
  7. Return to the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cranberries have started to soften and burst a bit, resembling really juicy craisins vs fresh firm cranberries.
  8. Remove from oven and add a sprinkle of cinnamon [approx ⅛-1/4 tsp depending on preference] along with feta and honey.
  9. Garnish with parsley for a burst of color and dig in while it's hot!

So I read somewhere that when honey is cooked it loses a lot of it’s coveted antibacterial properties, boo. I still bake with it because it’s an awesome natural sweetener and I adore it so, but if I have the option to keep it as close to raw as possible, I do. Hence adding the honey after roasting the squash and cranberries in this recipe. The fruit and veggie medley is still just warm enough to allow the honey to cover the dish as a deliciously sweet glaze, but not so scorching that it’s spending 30+ minutes in my oven losing all it’s fabulous benefits. File this under things I tell myself so I can eat more honey.

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta

This simple side can be whipped up with just a few fresh ingredients and is loaded with Fall flavor! As an added bonus, as the butternut squash roasts away it fills the house with the most delicious aromas. I had to hold myself back from climbing in the oven with it after the twenty minute mark. It was a little less Sylvia Plath and a little more was more  “LET ME AT THAT SQUASH!” I may have stolen a few cubes to munch on when I added the cranberries. So good!

Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Candied Walnuts

Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Candied Walnuts

While I love a good bowl full of Summer, festive Fall salads have a special place in my heart and, quite frankly, my stomach! I’m thinking it’s the change of pace that gets me all riled up. By the end of summer I’m so positively over salads that I eye-roll at the thought of having one for anything other than a side dish to a more exciting main course. Of course those last few weeks of Winter leave me craving a fresh cucumber salad so badly I might die. If you’ve been reading long enough you’re probably used to my end-of-season whine fest and how quickly I throw myself into the next season out of sheer exasperation over the last. I’m a sucker for tradition. [and dramatics apparently]

Now that it’s fall all I want are my favorite comfort foods! Of course I still want salads too! There’s also the fact that I need to get creative if I want to partake in the holiday cookie chomping spree that happens ever year, and that means throwing some lightened up fare into the mix.

Now I know you kids are still cuckoo for pumpkin puffs, but I’m all about that bass those cranberries.

Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Candied Walnuts

and I’m allllllll about those candied walnuts:

Homemade 10 Minute Candied Walnuts with Honey and Brown Sugar

I’ll never shell out [hah!] for pricey candied nuts again. It’s far to easy to make them fresh AND I get to crack [ha ha!] cheesy nut jokes while I make them. It’s a win-win situation of nutty proportions. Now I’m going to go hide under the bed until I learn how to behave myself.

That… may take a while. You should make this salad to help pass the time.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Candied Walnuts
 
Author:
Recipe type: salad, side
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 + ¼ cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup fresh cranberries [or frozen!] or 1 cup dried
  • ½-1 cup fresh broccoli florets
  • 2 TBSP chopped green onion
  • salt and pepper to taste

  • for the candied walnuts:
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • the teeniest pinch of salt

  • for the dressing:
  • 2 TBSP light olive oil or grape seed oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, smashed and minced [1/4 tsp]
  • 1 TBSP fresh lime juice
  • 1 TBSP orange juice
  • a pinch of salt
  • a dash of black pepper

  • notes and such: If you're using fresh berries, the dish will have an extra burst of tartness that those juicy little buggers are infamous for! For those of you who find cranberries to be super tart when served straight up, grab a bag of dried cranberries. They're sweeter and still deliver amazing flavor to this dish! Both will result in some serious deliciousness!
Instructions
  1. First rinse + drain your quinoa.
  2. Bring a medium saucepan to medium heat and lightly toast the quinoa to remove any excess water. Stir as it toasts for just a few minutes. This step is optional but really adds to the fluff factor of the quinoa!
  3. Next add your broth and bring pot to a boil.
  4. Once it's boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered with the lid slightly ajar, for 12-13 minutes.
  5. If you're using frozen cranberries, add them to the pot after 6-8 minutes; if you're using dried or fresh cranberries add them in around the 9-10 minute mark and recover.
  6. Test the cranberries before pulling from heat to make sure they've had enough time to cook, then remove from heat.
  7. Once your quinoa and cranberries are done, season with a teeny bit of salt and pepper, fluff gently with a fork, and set aside.
  8. Add a little water to that same pot and bring to a boil. Gently blanch your broccoli florets until bright green and al-dente [you want it to still be a bit firm yet tender, not mushy] which should only take a few minutes.
  9. Drain, chop into bite-sized bits, and add to the quinoa along with chopped green onion.
  10. Place quinoa in the fridge while you prep your dressing and walnuts.
  11. DRESSING: Smash and mince garlic into a paste and combine with all remaining dressing ingredients. Whisk well and set aside.
  12. CANDIED WALNUTS: Heat a skillet or saucepan to medium heat and butter to melt. Next add in your chopped walnuts, honey, salt, and sugar. Saute for 5-6 minutes and pour over parchment paper, using a spatula to separate the nuts. Otherwise you'll have yummy walnut brittle that you'll want to break apart over your salad, which is no big deal either! Yum! Allow to cool for several minutes until the coating hardens and you're walnuts have officially been candied! Woot! Try not to eat them all before they hit the salad.
  13. Grab your bowl-o-quinoa and top with the walnuts. Drizzle with dressing just before digging in! Serve this up as a salad for lunch [I ate the entire thing myself, ha! It can easily serve 2 if needed] or serve it up as a colorful side dish to stretch it to 4 servings. Serve it chilled or at room temperature, it's great both ways! Enjoy!

inspired by and adapted from Natasha’s Kitchen and  Juan-Carlos Cruz 

vegansaurus chefs: To whip up a vegan-friendly version of this salad, simply skip the honey in the candied walnuts and use a little extra sugar or maple syrup instead!

t-rex chefs: Feel free to add some chopped or shredded chicken to this salad. It also makes a great use for thanksgiving leftovers, so save a little turkey and use it to make this!

Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Homemade Candied Walnuts

In other news, I wanted to DRINK this dressing! I stole a spoonful while I was taste testing and might have dove back in for seconds or thirds. The combination of juicy lime and orange juice with the subtly fruity undertones of the olive oil and the punch of raw garlic? I just love it. You should probably go ahead and double the recipe so you can pour it on your veggies all week long. Assuming you don’t indeed drink it.

I won’t tell if you do, pinky promise.

Actually, while you’re at it, you may want to double the recipe for the walnuts too. If you’re anything like me you’ll start shoving them in your face the second they’re cool enough to handle. Or while they’re still molten… We live life dangerously around here.

Sandwich Remix: Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Soup

I thought I was seriously living on the edge when I turned my favorite SP&O hoagie into the cheesiest of grilled cheeses. You guys remember that one right? It was a beast! Ever since that sandwich, I’ve been a sausage, pepper, and onion fiend.

Until now.

Now you’re going to need a straight-jacket to get me away from this flavor combo.

Sandwich Remix: Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Soup!

 I’ll eat the spoon if I have to. I mean business!

Well that was dramatic. And awkward.

Continuing along with my penchant for turning comfort food classics into slurpable soups, I give you the most amazing sausage, pepper, and onion soup. I wish you all could smell how amazing my house smells right now. The aromatics off this pot are killer and so is the in-your-face flavor of this dish! I took my go-to soup base [a combination of veggie broth and fire-roasted crushed tomatoes] and added delicious partially-caramelized onion, an array of tasty bell peppers, and the perfect amount of oomph from my favorite, local, hot Italian sausage.

Toss in a little smashed garlic, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and OMGWHYAREYOUNOTMAKINGTHISRIGHTNOW!?

It’s because I’m still talking, isn’t it? I’ll shut up now.

Sandwich Remix: Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Soup

Sandwich Remix: Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Soup!



5.0 from 1 reviews
Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Soup
 
Author:
Recipe type: soup
Ingredients
  • 3-5 large links hot Italian sausage
  • 1 + ½ yellow onion, sliced or diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • ¾ large red bell pepper, diced
  • ¾ large orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 3 + ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes [I used this fire-roasted variety]
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • extras:
  • homemade croutons seasoned with olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper
  • freshly grated mozzarella and hot habanero cheddar or pepper jack
  • fresh chopped parsley

  • Add the croutons, the cheese, or both! The soup is also phenomenal all on it's own and is both paleo and gluten-free sans toppings!

  • recipe yields approx 2.5 quarts of soup and serves 4
Instructions
  1. Before you begin: You'll be able to belt out your prep-work while your sausage cooks and your onions start to caramelize away. Once you pile everything together, you'll then have enough time to let it simmer on the stove, allowing all the awesome flavors to meld and intensify. A little multi-tasking goes a long way!
  2. First decide how you'd like your onions! Sliced onions will give the soup a French Onion Soup-esque feel to it while diced onions will be uniform with your peppers and a bit easier to fit on the spoon. I went with sliced, both will work fantastically.
  3. Bring a large pot to medium heat with 2 TBSP of olive oil and add your onions. Stir to coat and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir often.
  4. While your onions are cooking, chop your peppers, mince the garlic and prep the remainder of your ingredients.
  5. Cook sausage via your favorite method.
  6. I boil mine for about 20 minutes while the onions get all gorgeous and golden.
  7. Keep stirring your onions to prevent sticking/burning. Once they start to semi-caramelize and take on a golden hue, add your bell peppers, garlic, salt, and black pepper, then allow them to simmer away until the peppers are tender.
  8. Once they've softened, add the vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, and sliced sausage [which should be done by now!] and reduce heat so the soup is gently bubbling/simmering.
  9. Prep you toppings while the soup simmers and the flavors deepen.
  10. Grate your cheeses [YUM!] and, if desired, crisp a few slices of your favorite bread [I used a fresh garlic + onion loaf] into homemade croutons by spritzing them with oil, seasoning with garlic, salt, and pepper, and toasting in the oven at 350F until golden.
  11. Back to the soup. Give it a taste, and if you'd like a little burst of heat to the soup, add the red pepper flakes. They're not essential but I LOVE the kick!
  12. Serve piping hot with your choice of extras on top and dig in!

So if you’ve been reading for a while, you know I tend to over-explain my recipes a little. Don’t let that fool you! This recipe is super easy and really really ridiculously good. In fact, chances are that while you’re reading this, I’ll have a leftover bowl in my face.

And for those of you still wondering how I manage to feed your faces with new recipes while a toddler scales my leg…

Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Soup

chickpea-photo-assitant

Each recipe is a team effort!

When she’s not stealing the food off the table, the chickpea actually makes a fabulous assistant. She can frequently be found holding my foam board at ridiculous angles, dropping random objects into the shot, closing the shutters, dancing on the tripod, rearranging my props, texting Maria photos of her foot, and, above all else, eating all my food. It’s our thing!

This soup should be your thing. Get on it!

Chicken Parmesan Soup

aka what happens when your chicken parm wants to go for a little swim…

Chicken Parmesan Soup

This soup makes me giddy. There’s something about serving up my favorite foods in soup form that’s just plain fun. It’s also a really great way to lighten up comfort food and make it deliciously freezer-friendly too! It’s a win-win situation in my book. Plus it’s slurpable. So there’s the added bonus of annoying my husband. I’ll take it!

Like most of my recipes, this chicken parmesan soup underwent typical P&C test kitchen shenanigans. I tried three different cooking methods and ingredient line-ups, which is why it took me so ridiculously long to finally post this soup. Luckily it’s well worth the wait!

Dare I be cliche and say the third time’s the charm?

Chicken Parmesan Soup

Cliche or not, it’s downright charming. AND DELICIOUS!  Let’s eat!



4.0 from 1 reviews
Chicken Parmesan Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2.5 quarts
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs chicken breast [weighed post-trimming]
  • 1 large can of crushed tomatoes [28 oz]
  • 3 cups low-sodium broth [veggie or chicken]
  • ¼ tsp salt plus extra to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 3 TBSP olive oil or butter
  • ½ tsp parsley, plus extra for garnish
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp dried/ground oregano
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • chopped fresh basil, to taste
  • crusty bread [1-2 slices for each bowl]
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese, to taste
  • freshly grated mozzarella cheese, to taste

  • note: most broths and canned tomatoes are salted, so beyond seasoning the chicken breast, I typically wait until the very end to add any additional salt and pepper. This way you can season it perfectly to suit your tastes! I've made the soup with an added ½ cup of half and half [for creaminess] and without, both are delicious! Enjoy!

  • adapted from Rachel Ray
Instructions
  1. For this recipe you can spend a little extra to save a little extra [time] and grab boneless skinless chicken *or* trim your own and save some cash monies.
  2. Once your chicken is prepped and ready, use a meat tenderizer [I won't tell if you saran wrap your hammer] and pound out the chicken until it's uniform in thickness. This is optional, but will help it cook evenly, and a bit quicker.
  3. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and freshly ground black pepper. I used ¼ tsp salt.
  4. Next heat a large pot [3 quart or larger] to medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil, then add the chicken.
  5. Cook for about 5 minutes until golden and seared and flip.
  6. Add 1 cup of broth and cover.
  7. Cook approx 8-15 minutes until fully cooked and opaque [cook time will vary depending on thickness of your chicken, you can use a thermometer to check if it's reached 165F]
  8. Once cooked, remove chicken with tongs and shred on a cutting board with two forks.
  9. If you own a stand mixer you can use [this] nifty trick to shred it super fast!
  10. Return shredded chicken to the same pot and add crushed tomatoes and 2 additional cups of broth. Simmer covered while you saute the onions.
  11. Heat a pan to medium heat with 3 tablespoons of butter.
  12. Saute garlic first, to infuse the butter, then add onions and saute until tender and, if time permits, a teeny bit caramelized.
  13. Season the onions with parsley, garlic powder, paprika, and oregano and add to the soup.
  14. Stir in tomato paste and any additional salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer on low until you're ready to dig in.
  15. I typically let mine sit on the stove-top a little longer while I prep the toasts.
  16. Stir in shredded basil just before serving.
  17. Before serving, take this soup to the next level by toasting a few slices of your favorite crusty bread.
  18. Rub the toasts with minced garlic [use a little or a lot!] and top with freshly grated Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
  19. Stick the toasts under the broiler to melt the cheese or simply pop a slice on each bowl of soup and use the microwave to melt it; I love doing this simply because the bread soaks up some of the soup and ends up with a french onion soup-esque topping that sends me swooning.

 going gluten-free? you can skip the bread altogether or use your favorite GF varitey!

Alternatively, you can absolutely cook this bad boy in the slow cooker. My crock-pot test batch was delicious, but the chicken spent so much time getting up close and personal with the veggies that it straight up took over the flavor profile of the dish. As far as soups go, I loved it, friends and family loved it, but we all also agreed that we loved the stove-top version the best, so do with it what you may! If you break out the slow cooker, the flavors will be a little bit different, and I highly suggest carving out a few prep minutes to saute the garlic and onion before adding them to the pot. Cook on high for no more than 4 hours [or low for 6-8], fish out the whole chicken breasts with a pair of tongs, shred, and return to the pot. The key when slow cooking tomato based soups is to avoid over-cooking. Stir in fresh basil just before serving and top with your garlicky parm-toast topping. It was good, but the technique in the recipe above totally won me over like a squealing fangirl.

To freeze, simply pour into your favorite freezer-friendly container, leaving about an inch at the top [soup often expands when frozen], pop it in the freezer, and defrost on a rainy day! Now you’ll have delicious fast food without the fuss! =)

Fork-Shredded Chicken

Chicken Parmesan Soup

If you’re a fan of that ridiculously awesome crouton/cheese combo on top of French Onion Soup you’re going to flip over this. Depending on how you feel about your soup accessories, you can simply dunk the crusty, crunchy, cheesy, toasts into your hot soup and use it as a bonus utensil or allow the garlicky bread and cheese to soak up the delicious broth as you scoop it apart bit by bit with your spoon.

My long winded descriptions do this no justice. Your butt: get it in the kitchen! Stat!

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms with Garlic and Gouda

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms with Garlic and Cheese

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms with Garlic and Gouda

After maybe the third or fourth faceplant into my cheesy skillet seafood dip. realization hit. Mushrooms: this must be stuffed into mushrooms! I simplified the recipe a bit, gleaned a little inspiration from the over-the-top seafood stuffed mushrooms from Red Lobster [holy butter bomb batman!] and promptly got to work.

The result? They are hands-down the best seafood stuffed mushrooms ever to be introduced to my face! Things got scary for a second after they hit the table… I was convinced someone was going to get forked fighting over the biggest mushrooms on the plate. When P gets back I’m clearly going to have to make him his own plate, because one of us is bound to get stabbed over these mushrooms.

What?! I’m protective over my food! It’s absolutely the result of growing up with three hungry siblings. Food was scarce between the four of us and if you wanted a second helping of my mom’s to die for mashed potatoes, you pretty much had to dive for it.

I always won. Always.

And that concludes today’s confession of why I’m a crazy food blogger. Let’s get back to these melt-in-your-mouth mushrooms, shall we?

5.0 from 1 reviews
Crab Stuffed Mushrooms with Garlic and Gouda
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: appetizer, snack
Serves: 25 stuffed shrooms
Ingredients
  • 25-30 button mushrooms [I used three 8 oz containers]
  • ¼ cup diced red pepper [green works too!]
  • ¼ cup diced celery
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • 3 button mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, mined [around 2 TBSP]
  • ½ TBSP butter
  • ½ tsp old bay seasoning blend
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp paprika, plus extra for topping
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz lump crab meat [found in the refrigerated seafood section]
  • ½ cup gouda cheese, plus extra for topping
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Drizzle foil with a little olive oil or spritz with your favorite cooking spray.
  3. Remove the stems from your mushrooms and arrange them on the baking sheet.
  4. Finely dice your veggies and, with a ½ TBSP of butter, saute the celery, onion, and red pepper.
  5. Towards the end, add your chopped mushrooms and garlic, continue to saute until onions and celery are translucent and tender and mushrooms are fully cooked.
  6. Season with old bay, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper, stir, and pour into a mixing bowl.
  7. Add your crab, panko breadcrumbs, and cheese, then mix.
  8. Spoon mixture into mushroom caps and top with a little extra gouda and paprika.
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and stuffing is golden.
  10. Grab a fork and attack!

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms with Garlic and Gouda

On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t serve these with forks at all. Fingers are far less stabby.

Dig in!

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Squash

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Squash

Since boycotting pumpkin this year, I stepped up my squash game. Er… let me rephrase that so I sound less moronic, since pumpkin is technically a squash too! I benched pumpkin and brought my favorite over-looked and under-loved squash all-stars out to play the field. They’re seriously rocking my plate and I’m certain you’re going to love them too! It’s safe to say that I’m one proud couch. I mean cook! I mean… Oy, just eat your veggies will ya?

In other news, I think my brain is broken.

I’ve never been a huge fan of squash [Though I said the same for sweet potatoes a few years back and look at me now! Hah!] mainly because any time I tried it, that poor veggie had been manhandled and mistreated into a mushy, soggy, and/or sweetened state. With the right cooking techniques and the right add-ons, it’s downright delicious! A little roasting and some savory side-kicks can take squash from meh to MEEEEEE-OWW!

And with that, my brain finally broke.

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Squash

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Squash


Since Winter squash finally hit the shelves, I’ve been hoarding dumpling squash. Have you had it before? It’s actually the perfect squash for people who don’t like squash! It has the buttery texture and facade of an acorn squash but the mild, easy to compliment flavor of yellow squash and spaghetti squash. It’s not too sweet or too strong or too anything, as Goldilocks would say, this one is juuuuust right!

Can you tell I’ve been reading more baby books than big girl books as of lately? Yeah. Sorry about that.

Let’s get squashed! [again!]

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Squash
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 dumpling squash
  • ½-1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast [1-2 cups cooked]
  • ½ cup salsa verde [I'm obsessed with Target's brand]
  • ⅛ tsp garlic powder
  • a pinch of cumin
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp butter or oil for sauteing
  • ½-1 cup diced tri-colored bell peppers
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 2-4 oz freshly grated cheese

  • tower of toppings:
  • plain greek yogurt or sour cream
  • chopped green onion
  • am optional pinch of red pepper flakes for added heat
  • diced jalapenos for even more heat! [also yummy; also optional]
  • fresh cilantro

  • note: Any cheese that rocks your tastebuds will rock this dish! My favorites lately have been gouda [the un-smoked variety!] and pepper jack yogurt cheese. The yogurt cheese is usually in the fancy cheese section and goes on sale often! It's delicious!

  • Have some of your favorite enchilada sauce handy? Go ahead and add it to the mix!
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mental prep: though this dish has a few components that are all cooked differently, don't fret! You can cook the chicken while the squash roasts and the veggies while the chicken poaches and, before you know it, the kitchen will be clean and you'll have food in your face. Ready? Let's do this!
  3. Slice your squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
  4. To prevent sticking, rub the rim of the squash's flesh with a teeny bit of olive oil or simply place a little water inside your baking dish. Both work great!
  5. Place inside a baking dish or atop rimmed, lined baking sheet [some liquid will escape] and roast face-down for approx 40 minutes.
  6. While the squash roasts, cook your chicken and saute your veggies.
  7. You can cook the chicken any which way you prefer but to save on time I typically crock-pot it ahead of time [see notes in the post below] or throw it together on the stove top while the squash bakes away.
  8. Bring a medium pot of water or your favorite broth [hello flavor!] to boil and add your boneless, skinless chicken breasts to the water.
  9. Cover your pot with it's lid and remove from heat.
  10. Allow the chicken to poach for approx 25 minutes.
  11. Remove from liquid, chop with the grain into small pieces and combine with salsa verde.
  12. Season with salt and pepper [cayenne pepper if you're feeling spicy!] as well as your garlic powder and cumin.
  13. Stir and set aside.
  14. As mentioned earlier, while the chicken cooks, saute those veggies!
  15. Simply bring a little bit of butter or oil to heat, add your peppers and onion and saute until tender.
  16. By now you should have a kitchen full of yum!
  17. Rake a fork across the bottom of the squash and stir in your salsa chicken, peppers, and onion.
  18. Top with a mountain of freshly grated cheese and pop squash back in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese.
  19. Serve bubbly and hot with all your favorite toppings!

chopped bell pepper and onionfreshly grated pepper jack yogurt cheese

shortcut shenanigans: If your kitchen happens to be overrun leftovers from a festive Taco Tuesday the night before, or any night of the week really, then you can whip this dish up with little to no effort! That’s actually how I created this baby in the first place! Of course other ways to shave time off this recipe would be to bake your squash ahead of time, when you know you’ll be around to yank it from the oven when the timer goes off. It’ll stay fresh in your fridge for a few days awaiting this delish dish. You can also cook the chicken in advance on the stove top, in the oven, or using your slow cooker! I love making a huge batch of salsa shredded chicken over the weekend to toss into meals all week long. It’s easy and requires so little effort that it’s become a go-to these past few months. Simply season the chicken with a little salt, cumin, and garlic powder, pour over your favorite salsa verde, and let your crock-pot do the work! It can be ready in 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low; choose what works for you!

update: squash can also be microwaved for 5 minutes, halved, and then roasted at 400 F for 15-20 minutes! I tried this method the other day and it worked great! xo

so… how was it?

Despite the fact that it I over-explained the crap out of this recipe, it’s so ridiculously easy and awesome and, well, you’ve got to try it! It’s a fiesta in a [squash] bowl!

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Squash

I think I have a cheese problem.

case in point:

Savory Sweet Potato NachosPanera Broccoli and Cheese SoupCreamy Tomato Soup with Baked Mozzarella Balls

Sausage, Garlic, and Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms

Sausage, Garlic, and Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms

Every time I post a recipe with meat in it people go nuts. The general response is usually “Whaaaaaaat I thought you were vegetarian!?” or “Jenny don’t take a bite of that there’s meat in it!” Oops.

I guess I don’t talk about it much, huh? Though I haven’t been one since starting P&C, I was a mondo vegetarian/pescatarian for around 6 years. I loved it! It challenged me to embrace new foods [Beans and I became BFF finally!] and step outside of my comfort zone in order to nurture my body. Though I was happy at the time, my body’s needs changed and thus, so did my dietary lineup. Initially I only had a few servings of local grass-fed, pasture-raised meat a month, but it’s since increased to a few times a week, along with the occasional addition of poultry and pork. Pregnancy, nursing, and all that jazz played their role. I’ve even gotten as lax as to order an occasional burger at a restaurant and feed into my life-long BLT infatuation. While I’ve always tried to keep things veggie-centric on the blog, I will occasionally throw a t-rex friendly recipe your way when the craving strikes.

Well the craving struck. Hard. This one is for all my gluten-free carnivores that will humor me and let me stuff their food into vegetables. They’re flavorful finger food, perfect for a party or a holiday appetizer!

Sausage, Garlic, and Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms

Sausage, Garlic, and Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: appetizer
Serves: 25 stuffed mushrooms
Ingredients
  • about 25 standard-large whole button mushrooms [24oz]
  • ½ cup dry quinoa, rinsed
  • ¾ cup broth or water
  • 3 hot Italian chicken sausage links [the larger sized ones]
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • 5 button mushrooms, diced
  • 2 TBSP garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • Feel free to use regular button mushrooms or baby bella portobellos! I've made it with both and they're delicious! I've also tested the recipe using both organic chicken sausage and pork sausage and it was divine both ways. Choose your favorite!

  • No quinoa handy? These are also marvelous with Italian style or Panko breadcrumbs! Yum!
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Clean mushrooms, remove stems, and arrange on an oiled baking sheet.
  3. Set aside.
  4. Bring a small pot with ¾ cup of broth or water to boil.
  5. Add quinoa and cook, partially covered for 12-13 minutes until fluffy.
  6. Set aside.
  7. While the quinoa cooks, bring a skillet to medium-high heat.
  8. Remove casings from sausage and add to your skillet.
  9. Cook sausage, stirring often to create small crumbles, and once it's no longer pink in the center, set aside. The goal is to leave the sausage a bit juicy since it still has some oven time ahead of it.
  10. Keep burner on and, using the same skillet, add your onion and a little bit of water [or broth... or wine!] to deglaze the pan and saute.
  11. When onions start to soften, add in garlic and chopped mushroom and reduce heat to medium.
  12. Stirring occasionally, cook until onions are tender and translucent.
  13. Add your quinoa to the sausage mixture mix thoroughly.
  14. Season with sea salt, garlic powder, and paprika. I like these garlicky [and wouldn't have them any other way!] so feel free to give the mixture a taste before adding the garlic powder. If you love it as is, have at it. If you're a garlic lover, add the 2 TBSP in full. Let your taste buds be your guide!
  15. Remove from heat and allow to cool just a tad before handling.
  16. Refrain from scarfing too many spoonfuls of the stuffing in your mouth while you spoon the mixture into the mushroom caps.
  17. Bake for approx 15-20 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and steamy after giving up a bit of their liquid.
  18. Dig in! Well, once the mushrooms are a little less molten hot than they will be straight out of the oven. Burning the roof of your mouth is the worst!

Sausage Garlic Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms

Garlic, Quinoa, and Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Buttery Roasted Garlic Edamame

Buttery Roasted Garlic Edamame

Today’s recipe is one of those token “why didn’t I think of this sooner!?” moments brought to life. I easily can eat plain old sea salted edamame until I’m green in the face, but sometimes a special occasion [or a monster craving] calls for a little extra oomph. It seemed only fitting to bring a little buttah in on the fun! After all, edamame is as addictive as buttered popcorn so, total no brainer. The addition of roasted garlic though? You’re going to die over it. Or swoon. Or do some sort of happy irish jig. Laugh now, but I’ll be the one laughing when you break into dance at first bite. Enjoy!

Don’t let the hour long cook time below scare you off, you’ll simply be popping a bulb or two of garlic in the oven and walking away. No effort or stirring required! The garlic can even be roasted ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to four days. I’ll make multiple bulbs at once and stir that golden goodness into everything from dips to soups to mashed potatoes. It’s divine.

Buttery Roasted Garlic Edamame




5.0 from 1 reviews
Garlic Butter Edamame
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: appetizer
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 large head of garlic, roasted
  • 2 [10 oz] bags of whole edamame
  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper

  • optional: toasted sesame seeds for a crunchy topping
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Grab an entire bulb of garlic and slice a little less than ¼ of the top off, just enough to expose the cloves.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and seal into a pinched pouch of aluminum foil.
  4. Roast anywhere from 40-60 minutes, depending on your oven and patience.
  5. Once the house starts to smell like heaven, resist the urge to dive straight in to the oven and spread the entire thing on toast. Better yet, roast a second bulb so you can do exactly that! The garlic can be roasted ahead of time and stored in the fridge if you'd like to have it on hand for easy additions to meals.
  6. Next bring a medium to large pot of water [approx 4-6 cups] to boil on the stove top.
  7. Boil the edamame until tender, but still firm, approx 3 minutes or so.
  8. Test a pod for desired tenderness and drain liquid from the pot.
  9. Grab a warm head of garlic and squeeze out the bulbs into a bowl. After roasting it basically turns into buttery, garlic paste and will leave your house smelling amazing all day long. The only thing better than the smell is the taste! I die.
  10. Whisk together melted butter, roasted garlic, garlic powder, and salt and pour over edamame.
  11. Toss to coat.
  12. Add your cayenne pepper and any additional sea salt to taste and dig in!

Feel like getting butter wasted? Ill totally look the other way while you pour an extra tablespoon over. Want a bit of fire in your face? Up that cayenne and feel the burn!

Buttery Roasted Garlic Edamame

And while we’re at it, let’s talk about these bowls! This set of ridiculously gorgeous emerald dipped acacia wooden bowls rock my kitchen! Red Envelope was sweet enough to gift me a set of bowls, just because, and I loved them so much I wanted to shout it from the rooftops! Talk about getting bowled over! I literally tore through their site to order the matching set of plates and a few early birthday presents for the pilot. Thank you so much Red Envelope for the super sweet gift! All meals shall be eaten out of these bowls forevahh!

Let’s get back to that gorgeous green edamame eh!?

This buttery roasted garlic edamame was fan-freaking-tastic! I don’t think I’ve ever inhaled edamame so fast in my life! I’ve always slacked off in my seasoning routine and gone with just plain garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and sea salt but the addition of butter and creamy roasted garlic took this dish to a whole new level of yum! I dare you not to lick your fingers. And the bowl. And the other bowl you mixed the garlic in. Enjoy!

green your snacking routine!

Creamy Cilantro SpreadAvocado Topped Sushi Recipe and Instructions Healthy White Bean Dip with Avocado and Cilantro Spicy Cayenne Kale Chips + tips on how to make the crispiest oven-baked kale chips ever! Bell Pepper Pizzas Easy Broccoli Cheese Pizza