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Stuffed Butternut Squash with Roasted Chickpeas, Beets, Apples and Kale

Stuffed Butternut Squash with Roasted Chickpeas, Beets, Apples and Kale

butternut squash with chickpea, kale apple saladThe first official orange dish can be none other than Butternut Squash. I got mine at Trader Joe’s, and what I love about TJ’s is that all their produce is priced by item, so I chose the largest squash possible to get the best $1.99 deal. My squash ended up being around 3 pounds!

Lets just say the past three days have been filled with butternut squash. This dish, butternut squash mac n cheese (see my pumpkin mac n cheese for similar recipe), butternut squash and kale salad… and that was with freezing half of it. I still have one cup of puree (for soup) and one more chopped cup to add to another salad.

This dish is filling- definitely a great post-run dinner filled with complex carbs, starchy vegetables and protein.

 

IT’S RACE WEEK! 

I’m tapering this week for the Atlanta Allstate 13.1 half marathon this Sunday (Oct. 6) so I’ve upped my carb intake. It’s helped me not have so many late-night pretzel cravings. My goal for the race is 1:38- one minute faster than my PR at Rock n Roll half marathon in St. Pete. I feel confident in my training, I’ve incorporated speed and tempo work from RunCoach.com. I’ll have a more comprehensive analysis of how my race went next post, and we’ll see if the training plan helped!

QUINOA-STUFFED BUTTERNUT SQUASH with ROASTED CHICKPEAS, GOLDEN BEETS, APPLES AND KALE

INGREDIENTS

Quinoa-stuffed Squash

1 butternut squash, halved and seeds scooped

coconut oil, salt and cinnamon to season squash

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

handful of dried cranberries

 

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rub squash with oil and season with cinnamon and salt.

2. Roast for 1 hour. (Meanwhile you can prep and cook the roasted veggies)

3. Remove from oven, let cool. Use the part of the squash where the seeds were scooped, preserve the rest of the squash for another use. Stuff the cavity with quinoa and top with dried cranberries.

 

Roasted Chickpeas, beets, apples and kale

1 whole golden beet

1/2 apple, chopped

1/2 cup chickpeas, tossed with allspice, cinnamon

2 cups kale- tossed with olive oil, balsamic and salt/pepper

 

1. With the oven at 425 degrees (from the squash), wrap a golden beet in aluminum foil. Roast for 30 minutes.

2. Add in the chopped apple to roast for  20 minutes.

3. Add in the chickpeas to roast for 10 minutes.

4. Add in the kale to roast for 5 minutes.

5. Remove everything from the oven and plate up!

stuffed squash with quinoa

 

Holiday Party Dinner: A Crowd-Pleasing Meal

Holiday Party Dinner: A Crowd-Pleasing Meal

It’s Christmas Eve! The holidays approached much quicker this year, maybe because it was the first time I wasn’t in school.

dinner party

 

What kind of traditions do you do? My family has a strange tradition, we go to a Japanese Steakhouse (hibachi grill where they cook in front of you) every Christmas Eve. I really don’t even know how it came about, but we’ve been doing it since I was like 8, so we just keep it up. This year I was ready to change the tradition and find a nice restaurant with a prix fixe menu, but my mom said “We have to keep with tradition.” I don’t know how I feel about that… I get tired of the lack of variety at a Japanese Steakhouse.

We usually go to Christmas Eve mass at 6, but this year we’re going to Midnight mass. Not sure how the old lady (AKA me) will be able to stay up that late, I can barely stay awake in a crowded bar at night! On the way to mass, we creepily drive through neighborhoods and look at everyone’s lights. Okay, its not that creepy.

It doesn’t matter how old I am, we always end Christmas Eve with my dad reading “The Night Before Christmas” to us. Now that we’re older, he improvises and does some ad-lib, which sometimes can be a little inappropriate. haha

We had our family Christmas party yesterday. I made the whole meal and it turned out to be a crowd pleaser:

pork roast

a pork roast with clementines and an orange caramel sauce

roasted honey cinnamon heirloom carrots

tri color carrots

white and green roasted asparagus with balsamic vinegar

roasted garlic red potatoes

And for dessert, a peppermint white chocolate and plain chocolate mousse with crushed peppermint

White Chocolate Peppermint Mousse

WHITE PEPPERMINT CHOCOLATE AND REGULAR CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

Chocolate:

2 cups chilled heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
7 oz semi-sweet chocolate morsels

  1. Heat 3/4 cup cream in a 1-quart heavy saucepan until hot. Whisk together yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a metal bowl until combined well, then add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking until combined. Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until it registers 160°F on thermometer. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and stir in vanilla.
  2. Melt chocolate in microwave, 1 minute at a time on 50% power until melted.
  3. Beat remaining 1 1/4 cups cream in a bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Whisk one fourth of cream into chocolate custard to lighten, then fold in remaining cream gently but thoroughly.

White: 

1 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
6 oz good quality white chocolate, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
1 tablespoon crushed peppermint candy, for garnish

  1. Heat 1/2 cup cream in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate until melted, then stir in the peppermint extract. Cool completely, about 10 minutes in the freezer, stirring once halfway through. Whisk the mixture a couple times to thicken.
  2. Beat the remaining 1/2 cup cream until firm peaks form. Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the whipped cream.

Assembly: 

Spoon the chocolate mousse into 8 glasses of your choice. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint. Spoon the white chocolate mousse on top and finish with another sprinkle of crushed peppermint.

I started with a layer of chocolate mousse and then ended with peppermint white chocolate

I started with a layer of chocolate mousse and then ended with peppermint white chocolate

Everything turned out wonderful, and despite spending 1pm-5pm in the kitchen, I really didn’t feel overwhelmed. The roast is a perfect way to use up all those Clementines that go on sale this time of year. My family was a little thrown off about the tri-color carrots and the white asparagus, but when they tasted it the color didn’t matter. This is a well rounded meal and looks fancy without using a ton of ingredients.

My bro and two cousins, despite being the oldest I"m the shortest!

My bro and two cousins, despite being the oldest I”m the shortest!

Baked Potatoes Stuffed with Vegetables… then topped with an EGG!

 

 

 

So I don’t know if anyone else is a fan of the food website The Kitchn, but they’ve been posting a TON of egg recipes lately. Don’t get me wrong, I love eggs, but I find that I rarely have them for breakfast. I end up making them for dinner, either because I’m too lazy to cook meat, don’t have meat, or haven’t had enough protein. What I like about eggs and potatoes is that you can add an egg to the top of a potato and not have to add butter. The egg yolk gives the same sort of rich taste that butter gives, but they run down through your vegetables into the potato. Top this with feta!

By the way, I currently am watching the part of the movie Julie and Julia, and guess what she’s doing? POACHING AN EGG. Of course.

 

INGREDIENTS  (for 4)

4 baking potatoes- season them with olive oil, salt, and pepper

Roasted Vegetables cut into strips: 2 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, 2 bell peppers

Italian Seasoning

Feta cheese to top

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pierce potatoes with a fork and bake  for 45-50 minutes, until tender.

2. Prep the vegetables, cutting them into strips. Toss with olive oil, italian seasoning, sea salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil.

3. In the last 15 minutes, add the vegetables to the oven to roast.

4. Fry an egg (or poach if you dare) to add to the top of your potato.

5. Once the potatoes and vegetables are done, remove from oven. Cut the top of the potatoes. Use a fork and fluff the inside. Then top with the roasted vegetables egg, and feta cheese.

 

 

Balsamic Cheesy Pesto Pasta with Roasted Veggies

At this point, we realize I love to roast. Just throw things in the oven at 400 degrees and come back in 20 mins.

I don’t eat pasta much, but when I do I always do a lot of veggies and pesto sauce.I had leftover artichokes from my Mediterranean Chicken so I roasted a few other veggies to go with it: zucchini, peppers, mushrooms.

My friend lives in Italy and while she was home visiting she gave me real Italian pasta! It wasn’t whole wheat, which usually would freak me out, but this stuff was SO good, it was worth it! Made with Semolina flour, the pasta wasn’t thin… I can’t think of the word, not doughy, but full of flavor?

My dad and bro aren’t big fans of vegetarian dishes, but they thought this was pretty filling!

INGREDIENTS  (for four)

olive oil, sea salt, pepper, Italian seasoning for roasting

8 baby artichokes

2 zucchini

2 red peppers

1 cup mushrooms

1/2 cup grapes

1 box pasta (whole wheat rotini or ziti… unless you got yours from Italy like me!)

3/4 cup pesto sauce

mozzarella cheese (however much you want, I think we used a cup)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS

Boil pasta according to package instructions. Prep other ingredients while cooking. Set aside but keep warm.

Preheat oven to 420.

Drizzle all veggies: artichokes, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms- with olive oil, pepper, sea salt, seasonings.

You’ll set a timer for 20 mins and progressively roast everything:

20 mins: artichokes

15 mins: peppers and zucchinis

10 mins: mushrooms

5 mins: grapes

When everything is done, toss pasta with pesto sauce, balsamic, and cheese. Then add in veggies and mix up.

Makes for a great, healthy pasta!

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