Roasted Butternut Squash

It’s the week of Thanksgiving and you might be looking for one last side dish.  Pick up a butternut squash and I bet you have the rest in your pantry.  Roasting butternut squash is super easy and completely tasty.  I love the balsamic vinegar in this recipe.

You can prep your butternut squash in the morning and throw it in the oven thirty minutes before dinner.

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Roasted Butternut Squash

2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

3 T olive oil

2 T balsamic vinegar

2 T unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Mix together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and butter.  Toss the butternut squash in mixture.  Pile squash into a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Then season well with salt and pepper. Roast, stirring once about halfway through, until fork-tender and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven.  Serve warm.

Simple Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

In our home, you will never hear me begging our boys to eat brussels sprouts.  Brussels Sprouts are a favorite and enjoyed often.  For me, this is simplest way to make  tasty, little sprouts.  Add them as any side dish.  Get creative and add bacon!  Sing and Dance- Amanda

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24 Brussels Sprouts, cleaned, and halved lengthwise
2 T Olive Oil
2 T unsalted butter
5 Garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

In a large shallow pan, over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Let the butter bubble a little then add the garlic cloves and cook until they turn a light browned.

Remove the garlic cloves from oil.  Discard garlic. Turn the heat to low.

Place each brussels sprout cut-side down on the pan. Simmer covered for about 10-12 minutes or until the brussels sprouts are nicely browned (cut-side) and tender when pierced.

Place on a serving platter.  Season with salt and pepper.  If you are feeling crazy, add shredded Parmesan cheese.

Stuffed Brussels Sprouts

The man of this house LOVES Brussels sprouts.  Little does he know the amazing nutrition that is served up every time he eats these little buds.  Crazy amounts of vitamins  C and K.  High five for Brussels sprouts!  This creation was a perfect side dish and will be a regular addition to family dinners.  They take just a little extra work and it totally pays off with presentation.  Turn the blah side dish into a Bravo!  Get to stuffing- Amanda

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Don’t Judge by the Picture

Stuffed Brussels Sprouts 

15 very large Brussels Sprouts (think…I’m going to stuff these babies!)

1 c Skim Milk Ricotta

1 c shredded parmesan

1/2 c panko bread crumbs

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 T dried Thyme

1 T dried Basil

1 t dried Marjoram

1 t dried Sage

1 t sea salt

a pinch of pepper

1 T Olive Oil

Wash your Brussels sprouts.  Trim the ends and cut into halves.  In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add your sprouts.  Let them cook for 2 minutes, remove, and let them cool.

Now you need to core your spouts.  Simply take a scoop out of the middle leaving a good shell.  Finely chop the cored Brussels sprout pieces.  In a skillet, add olive oil, finely chopped cored Brussels sprouts, and minced garlic.  Cook until the chopped sprouts are tender.

Mix sprout and garlic mixture along with ricotta, panko, parmesan cheese, salt, and herbs.

Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a small spoon, fill in the Brussels sprouts with the stuffing.  Please over fill them.  Place on your baking sheet.

Bake the stuffed Brussels sprouts for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.  (or until the caps are crispy and browned.)

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin

In an attempt to try out a few new holiday side dishes, I discovered a dish that makes me push away the typical potato casserole.  I will admit that I have not cooked with spaghetti squash.  What a pleasant surprise!  This creation had this carb loving family excited.  All the goodness with no guilt!  If you are a newbie to spaghetti squash, this video might help you out.  http://www.ehow.com/video_2346682_making-spaghetti-squash-strings-spaghetti.html
Start making your menus!- Amanda

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin

1 medium spaghetti squash
3 tablespoons butter
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
¼ t red pepper flakes, or more if you like it spicy
1 t fresh thyme
½ cup sour cream
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds.  Place in a covered dish with a ¼ inch of water and microwave for 10 -12 minutes.  In a medium sized skillet over medium heat, add the butter, onions, red pepper and thyme and cook until the onions are slightly brown in color.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Using a fork, scrape the insides of the squash and transfer to a small bowl.  Combine the squash, onions, sour cream and half the cheese together and mix well.  Transfer the mixture to a buttered baking dish 8 x11 and top with remaining cheese.

Place into a 375º for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown on top.

Bite-Sized Tomato & Mozzarella Salad

On this Meatless Monday, I wanted to share a favorite “meatless” salad. In the summer, I make this salad once a week to accompany pasta dishes, steaks, or even hamburgers. It perfect to bring as your side to the next neighborhood cookout. And with the 4th right around the corner, serve your salad in a blue bowl to capture all the red, white, and blue! Taste the summer!- Amanda

Bite-Sized Tomato & Mozzarella Salad

1 cup small cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 cup fresh mozzarella, diced

4 fresh basil leaves, chopped into pieces

1 1/2 T olive oil

1 t soy sauce (we use low sodium)

1 t balsamic vinegar

pinch of sugar

freshly ground pepper

Mix together the tomatoes and mozzarella. In separate bowl, whisk together oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and sugar. Toss the tomatoes and mozzarella in dressing. Then add the fresh basil. Top with fresh ground pepper.

Zucchini Tots

As Chris prepared some mean hamburgers, I whipped up some zucchini tots.  These bite-sized tots are the perfect guilt-free alternative that complete our hamburger night.  Just a little prep work and pop those tots in the oven.  Nothing to it!- Amanda

Zucchini Tots

1 cup zucchini, grated- like a cheese grater- The whole zucchini!

1 large egg

1/4 onion, diced

1/4 cup cheddar cheese

1 T parmesan, grated

1/8 cup Italian bread crumbs

1/8 cup Panko

Salt and Pepper

Take grated zucchini and by using paper towels squeeze out the excess water.  This will make sure your tots are not soggy.  No one likes a soggy tot! In a bowl combine all ingredients: egg, onion, cheese, bread crumbs, Panko,  zucchini, salt and pepper.

Prepare mini muffin pan by spraying with non-stick spray. Using a spoon, fill the muffin cups to the top. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes, or until the top is browned and set.  Makes about 12 tots.

Basic (Greek Yogurt) Coleslaw

There is something about coleslaw.  It seems every family has a special way of making their slaw.  Regions have inspired types of coleslaw and generations have perfected the creation.  I am always typing new coleslaw recipes.  Everyone has their own way of doing it.  This basic coleslaw was a hit with our family.  I thought the greek yogurt changed the elements plus you didn’t have to add all that mayo.  The complimentary touch was the cider vinegar.  Serve this slaw up with your favorite barbecue.  I promise no great-great grandmother will bat an eye at you trying something new! – Amanda


Basic (Greek Yogurt) Coleslaw 

½ cabbage, sliced thin
¼ cup red onion, minced
¼ t salt
1 t cider vinegar
½ t sugar
½ t Dijon mustard
1/8 t ground black pepper
1 carrot, shredded
2 T fresh parsley leaves, minced
1 (7-ounce container) plain Greek yogurt (I used Chobani- Fat Free)
2 T mayo

In a large bowl, stir together the cabbage, onion, salt, vinegar, and sugar. Set aside. This allows time for the cabbage and onion to slightly pickle.  When ready for the meal, add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.  It’s ready to serve!  If you want to make ahead of time, feel free to add all ingredients at the same time.  Both ways are still delicious!