With Christmas quickly sneaking up on me - I'm thankful to have a few great side dish recipes in my back pocket that look just as great sitting on my holiday table as they taste. Roasted Butternut Squash with Sticky Walnut Topping is exactly that - a vegetable side dish that tastes as good as it looks! It looks elegant and fancy and it tastes scrumptious but more importantly - it's super easy to put together. Just the recipe that I need when I'm trying to pull together an entire holiday meal.
I'm a big fan of squash but I know that not everyone shares my love for the gourd family. I think that I might just be able to change the mind of some non-squash lovers with this scrumptious recipe though. I'm fairly certain that I could eat a piece of cardboard if I put this sticky walnut topping on it. It really is THAT good.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Sticky Walnut Topping
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 Tablespoons molasses
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Spoon walnut mixture over squash and serve.
I didn't peel my squash first but it you wanted to serve it to guests who may not be aware that you shouldn't eat the peel, you may want to do it ahead of time. I also didn't have any fresh sage on hand so I used dried sage instead. 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried sage is all you need to replace the 2 T. of fresh sage in this recipe. I also think it would be fun to experiment with other fresh herbs. Enjoy!
When Cooking Light magazine publishes a recipe for a vegetable skillet lasagna - I feel compelled to try it. I love lasagna - I'm obsessed with vegetables and EVERYONE loves dinners that you can make in a single pan. I made a few modifications to the original recipe but I definitely have to give a shout out to Cooking Light for the inspiration behind this amazing meal.
I'm not sure that I would give this meal "guilt free eating" status but I do love the 21 grams of protein in this lasagna. I also love the nutritional boost and from all the vegetables.
Just in case your curious ... this is the nutritional information on this recipe.
Calories 384 Fiber 7g
Fat 15g Sugars 5 g
Satfat 5g Added Sugars 0g
Unsatfat 9g Sodium 548 mg
Protein 21g Calcium 39% DV
Carbohydrate 44g Potassium 17% DV
Skillet Vegetable Lasagna
2 Tablespoons oil
1 zucchini, cut into 1/4" thick slices
1 1/2 cups onion, thinly sliced
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
4 cups baby spinach
3 cloves garlic, minced
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
4 1/2 no boil lasagna noodles
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
Cover and simmer 20 minutes.
Sprinkle mozzarella over lasagna and broil until lightly browned.
You probably noticed from the pictures that I didn't follow my own recipe exactly. I didn't have a can on crushed tomatoes on hand but I did have an opened jar of marinara that I had to use up soooo I decided to substitute. I poured the marinara over the zucchini and then I opened a can of diced tomatoes to pour over the noodles. I really should have drained my tomatoes though because it added a little too much liquid to my lasagna. I ended up simmering it - with the lid OFF - for an additional 15 minutes to get some of the liquid to evaporate.
I would say that this recipe was a success. Ben had 3 helpings!!! In the world of me - that is a big compliment. This one is definitely going to be on our short list of quick and easy dinners. I'll just have to keep a can of crushed tomatoes on hand!
Just in time for Thanksgiving - I'm sharing a scrumptious sugar free dessert recipe for all of you who might still be racking your brains for foods that you can serve to your Thanksgiving guests who are on a reduced sugar diet. I very rarely post Sugar Free recipes - mostly because no one in my immediate family follows a reduced sugar diet and I don't make them very often. So when I get a request for a special Thanksgiving Day sugar free banana pudding - I get excited.
Modifying the traditional banana pudding recipe into a sugar free masterpiece is relatively easy. I replaced the wafer cookies with a nutty crust, swapped the regular pudding for sugar free pudding and substituted Stevia for white sugar in the whipped cream. No problem. Right?
Sugar Free Banana Pudding Squares
2 cups pecans
4 Tablespoons melted butter
3 Tablespoons Stevia sweetener
1 large box sugar free vanilla pudding
3 cups milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 Tablespoons stevia sweetener
3 Tablespoons pecan chips
Spread remaining whipped cream on top and sprinkle with pecan chips.
I realize that this recipe is a little bit different from the traditional banana pudding recipes that you grew up eating but I promise you - it's worth a try. I would be willing to bet that ALL of your Thanksgiving guests will love this dessert - not JUST the ones on a sugar free diet.
I felt like I was channelling my mom last week when I made this Turkey Barley Soup recipe. My mom is the MASTER of using every ingredient to it's fullest. She doesn't waste ANYTHING in the kitchen. We actually tease her quite a bit about her extreme resourcefulness but the truth is - she can squeeze more meals out of one bag of groceries than anyone I know.
I think we would all be better off if we took a lesson from mom and reduced the amount of waste coming out of our kitchens. Since Thanksgiving is around the corner, consider making a batch of homemade turkey stock instead of just tossing that turkey carsass into the garbage after dinner. I know that it takes more time to make stock from scratch but it's easy to make, it tastes better and in my opinion - it's better for you than store bought turkey stock. Not to mention the fact that it's cheaper than buying it in the grocery store and it's reusing something that I would otherwise toss into the trash.
I love that this Turkey Barley Soup is truly homemade - none of the ingredients came from a box or a can. I used the leftover turkey and carcass from the Apple Cider Turkey that I made last week to make this yummy soup. I also love the barley but if you're not a fan - swap it out for noodles or rice.
carcass from 12-14 pound turkey
10 cups water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
pinch of red pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups turkey stock
3/4 cup pearled barley
1 bay leaf
2 celery rib, cut into 1/4" pieces
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 cups shredded turkey
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper
To make turkey stock, place turkey carcass in dutch oven. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 4-5 hours. Pour stock through strainer to remove bones.
Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Inevitably, at some point this winter, we will all end up with a cold or a cough - or both - and this soup is going to be my go-to meal. I still believe that homemade turkey soup is the best medicine. My mom gave it to me when I was a kid and I still feed it to my family when they're feeling under the weather.
Thanks mom for sharing your love of cooking and for the endless bowls of homemade soup. Love you.
Thanksgiving is next week but fear not friends - I've got all of your Thanksgiving recipe needs covered. Browse through my recipe index for roll recipes, cranberry sauce recipes, vegetable recipes, sweet potato recipes and desserts.
And if you're in search of a great turkey recipe for the big day - you NEED to check out this apple cider brined turkey recipe with roasted apples and carrots recipe. This was one of the best turkeys that I've ever baked - it was moist and juicy, delicious and tender.
Follow my simple step by step pictorial instructions to recreate this beautiful bird for your Thanksgiving table. Just remember that you have to get your turkey in the brine on Wednesday if you want to cook it on Thanksgiving day. If you're planning to cook a frozen turkey make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to allow your turkey to defrost so that it thaws completely before it soaks in the brine overnight.
Cider Glazed Turkey with Roasted Apples
6 cups apple cider
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
2 Tablespoons peppercorns
8 cloves garlic, smashed
4 bay leaves
2 small onions, quartered
6 cups water
12 pound turkey
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 small onions, quartered
4 small apples, quartered
4 small carrots, halved
4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 cups apple cider
1/4 cup apple jelly
Serve with roasted apples and vegetables.
I used a Lil' Butterball turkey for this recipe. It was about 7 1/2 pounds and it was a perfect size. This turkey served 3 for dinner and the rest I carved up and added to a batch of soup the following day.
Happy (early) Thanksgiving to all of you. And just remember that at the end of the day - it really doesn't matter how your turkey turns out. There are far more important things to worry about than turkeys so relax and enjoy the day. Love you all.
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