Friday, November 30, 2012

Curried Butternut Squash and Rice Casserole

Are you tired of squash yet?  "NEVER!" you bellow, "Keep it coming!"  Well, you won't be after you try this family-friendly dish!  Yay for a meatless meal winner!  This has been by far the best meatless meal/squashful dish I've made yet.  It was delicious!!!  The whole family liked it- and that is saying something.  It was flavorful, had a fun variety of textures- I loved the nuts and cheese on top that add contrast AND protein.  This is a very healthy one, but it taste more like comfort food.  We didn't miss the meat one bit.  Also fairly inexpensive to make.  Could also pass as a side dish.  I was so happy to have stumbled across this one... I know you'll thank me! :)

Curried Butternut Squash and Rice Casserole (Country Living)
2 tablespoon(s) Vegetable Oil
1 cup(s) (about 1 medium) Chopped Onion (I don't usually have "shallots" lying around, so I used a big onion.)
1 Shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon(s) Curry Powder
1 teaspoon(s) Salt
1/2 teaspoon(s) Ground Coriander
1/4 teaspoon(s) Ground Black Pepper
2 cup(s) Reduced-Sodium Chicken Or Vegetable Broth
1 can(s) (14-ounce) Reduced-Fat Coconut Milk 
2 1/2 cup(s) (about 1 1/2 pounds) Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cup(s) Basmati Rice
1/4 cup(s) Sliced Almonds 
Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup(s) Golden Raisins (I left these out.)

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. In a 4-quart shallow Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, shallot, curry powder, salt, coriander, and pepper. Sauté until onion has softened — 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir in the broth and the coconut milk. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Cook 1 minute. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the squash, rice, almonds, and raisins. Cover tightly and place in oven. Bake 20 minutes. Carefully remove the cover and bake 10 minutes longer. Serve immediately.

Lyd's Directions: I sauted the onion and squash with the seasonings in a little olive oil.  I also used cook rice from left-overs.  Then I stirred it all together (except cheese and nuts) and heated through, and poured it into a baking dish, added cheese and almonds and covered with foil, following the same cooking time.

Nutritional Information

(per serving)

Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
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Friday, November 23, 2012

Decadent Pumpkin Muffin

So how was the feast?!  Ours was pretty yummy.  That turkey is powerful stuff- I could hardly wake myself up this morning. :) Well, here is something happy to wake up to.  It is a great, healthy way to use up the other half of that big pumpkin can. (I just made one pumpkin pie, so I had the other half hanging out.)  It doesn't even use oil, and I made it using whole wheat and didn't even put in the 1/2 cup of brown sugar.  It was still great.  These muffins held together really well- a great consistency, and quite pumpkinly-delicious. :)  We ate them for breakfast.

Lyd's Tip:  I like to keep an eye out for discounted yogurt at the grocery store.  Sometimes they mark it down and it still has some time left before expiration.  It is great in pancakes and muffins.  It adds flavor and moisture.

Decadent Pumpkin Muffin (allrecipes)

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I made this recipe twice and used whole wheat the second time.  It turned out great.)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar (I just left this out.)
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup fat free vanilla yogurt
4 egg whites (I just put in 4 eggs- though I'm sure it would be healthier with the whites.)
1 egg
2/3 cup water
1 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line two 12 cup muffin pans with paper muffin liners.
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves. In a large bowl, beat together the pumpkin, white sugar, brown sugar, applesauce, yogurt, egg whites, and egg. Blend the flour mixture into the sugar mixture, alternating with the water, to form a smooth batter. Fold in the raisins. Transfer to the prepared muffin pan.
Bake 16 to 18 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool on wire racks.
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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Squash Pasta

Had to post this one lest you doubted me when I say that squash keeps sneaking into my foods. :)  I will also add that this is an AWESOME way to sneak it in!  No one knew... and I sat silently chuckling to myself all through dinner. :)  It had a little different taste than your regular homemade egg noodle, but still great.  I served it as a side dish, but I would definitely throw it into chicken noodle soup next time.  It was so easy and inexpensive to make-- why wouldn't I sneak an extra veggie serving in! :)  "Forgive me... a cruel chuckle."  Glad I found this one- I'm definitely going to experiment.

Lyd's Tip: Please do me a favor and save yourself an hour of baking and electricity and just microwave your squash.  Cut it in half, turn it cut side down on a glass dish, pour just a little water and microwave for about 7-10 minutes.  Then you can get right to work making dinner. :)

Gold Nugget Squash Pasta (
1 whole gold nugget squash.  (I used gold nugget, but I bet acorn would work too.)
1 3/4 cup All-Purpose Flour (I'm going to try whole wheat next time- just to be brave. :)
1 teaspoon Hazelnut Butter
(I added about a tsp of salt- it needed it.)
1 pinch Black Pepper
1 pinch Ground Nutmeg
1 pinch Garlic Powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut squash into quarters, remove seeds and place in a baking dish with ½ cup of water. Cover and bake until tender (50 to 60 minutes). Let cool and mash flesh. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine ¾ cup of squash with remaining ingredients to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured board & knead until smooth and pliable like a firm bread dough. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap & let rest for at least 30 minutes. Shape and cook dough as desired.

(I rolled them out and cut strips.  This might work best if you let the noddles dry, but you know me, and I wasn't going to wait, so I just boiled them right away.  It took about 5-10 minutes to cook.  It worked out great.  I think I would just try to make them thinner next time.)

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Super Sloppy Joes

I'm not gonna lie.  It is just difficult to duplicate that "manwich-like"flavor.  That being said, after a couple failed attempts, I have found a
"homemade" Sloppy Joe recipe I like.  They really are SUPER. :)

Lyd's Tip:  This may sound funny, but we just had these tonight, and I made a big batch, and had just enough left over to make Shepherds Pie.  I spread it on the bottom of an tin casserole dish, added 2 cans of drained green beans, used our "Sunday mashed potatoes," and topped it with grated cheese.  How easy was that?  Another meal out of the way.  I put foil over the top and froze it.  All this assembly took me about 2 minutes and no extra cooking.  LOVE IT! :)

Super Sloppy Joes (Taste of Home)
2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 celery ribs with leaves, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1-2/3 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon steak sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika
8 to 10 hamburger buns, split

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the beef, onion, celery and green pepper until meat is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender; drain.

Stir in the next nine ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Spoon 1/2 cup meat mixture onto each bun. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Nutritional Facts: 1 serving (1/2 cup) equals 306 calories, 13 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 60 mg cholesterol, 473 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 22 g protein.
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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Butternut Squash and Sausage Bake

Butternut Squash is my new best friend!!!  I'm trying to convince my family of it's wonders, but they just weren't buying it... until this dish!  It was SO GOOD!  You know it is getting bad when after your 6 year old would ask, "What we are having for dinner," it was immediately followed by, "Does it have squash?"  And it was't a happy, "I'm looking forward to that!" kind of question.  I must admit that it has been showing up in MANY of my dishes lately. :)  But this was a dish to celebrate, because everyone liked it, it was quick and easy to prepare, it packed lots of yummy comfort-food flavor, but was lite on the meat and heavy on the veggies.  You could almost go meatless, but I think the sausage really adds some flavor.  A definite winner in my book!

Meat Lite: Butternut Squash and Sausage Bake
Joy Manning, Serious Eats
1/4 pound Italian sausage (I used regular.)
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
3 onions, quartered and sliced
5 thyme sprigs (I just used dried, ground thyme and sage.)
2 teaspoons dried sage
 salt and pepper
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2 cubes, (about 6 cups) seeds and scrapings reserved
(I also added 1 or 2 yellow summer squash I had.  They went well in it.)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup shredded smoked mozzarella
3/4 cup chicken stock
3 slices white sandwich bread, cut into cubes (Just used bread crumbs- saved myself some time.)
2 tablespoons melted butter, optional, plus a little extra to prepare baking dish (Didn't need it.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9-by-12 inch baking dish.
Remove sausage from its casing and cook in a large skillet over medium heat until just browning, breaking up sausage with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Remove cooked sausage and refrigerate until ready to use.
Add enough olive oil to the rendered fat in the skillet to equal two tablespoons, and then add the onions, thyme and sage. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, scraping the bottom of the skillet to loosen brown bits. When onions are thoroughly soft, remove and set aside.
While the onions cook, simmer the squash seeds and scrapings in the chicken stock for 10 minutes, strain and keep the stock warm over low heat.
Add the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Toss the squash with the flour and arrange in a single layer in the skillet. (If the skillet isn't big enough, you'll need to do this in two batches.) Let the squash brown, undisturbed, for 4 minutes then stir the squash as it cooks for the next 4 minutes. Season liberally with salt and pepper and set aside.
To assemble the casserole, layer the onions in the buttered baking dish. Dot the onions with the sausage bits evenly, and then top with the squash. Sprinkle the smoked mozzarella over the top, and the pour the stock into the baking dish. Press the top of the casserole with a spatula to evenly distribute the liquid. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
While the casserole bakes, pulse the bread crumbs with the melted butter (if using) in a food processor until you have coarse bread crumbs.
After 30 minutes, pull the baking dish out of the oven, remove the foil, top casserole evenly with breadcrumbs and bake uncovered an additional 20 to 30 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the top is nicely browned.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Zucchini-Banana Bread

Did I mention how much I love zucchini bread?  I love it so much that I picked up the "free" overgrown zucchini, at the farmer's market, that was bigger than my baby.  I had about five people stop me and comment on its abnormally large size.  I know huge zucchini are kind of obnoxious, but my good there are so many uses!!!  I love the way zucchini lets other ingredients take center stage.  It's just good healthy filler in casseroles, stove-top dishes, and desserts.  So versatile!  This recipe was pretty tasty- fun to throw bananas in there.  Of course I made it whole wheat. :)

Zucchini-Banana Bread (Taste of Home)
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I did whole wheat and it tasted great.)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon banana extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In a small bowl, beat the egg, bananas, oil and extracts. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in zucchini and walnuts.
Transfer to three 5-3/4-in. x 3-in. x 2-in. loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 3 mini loaves (6 slices each).

Nutritional Facts: 1 slice equals 175 calories, 9 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 12 mg cholesterol, 116 mg sodium, 23 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 fat, 1 starch, 1/2 fruit.
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