Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
I can’t believe it’s already day 5 of TripleSBites! Last night we had our awesome twitter party, which included a few of our awesome sponsors and lots of tasty recipes. Today’s feature is one that takes a bit of prep work but offers a great twist on a classic dish. While a few of my twists on Mac & Cheese haven’t been blogworthy (hello, cauliflower) but this one is out of the world! To save some time I used a few of my Gourmet Garden treats and also added just a touch of a new goody: Chili Cumin from Acala Farms. Normally I use mustard seed in my mac & cheese but decided to switch it up this time!
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp chili cumin oil
- 1 butternut squash (about 2 lbs), halved
- 1 lb elbow noodles
- 1 tsp Italian Spices paste (Gourmet Garden)
- 1 tsp Chunky Garlic paste (Gourmet Garden)
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 3 ounces goat cheese
- 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (optional)
- Turn oven to 425. Mix together the olive oil and cumin oil and pour in the bottom of a roasting pan. Place the squash in roasting pan, cut side down. Roast for 45 minutes.
- Turn oven down to 350 and remove squash from oven for 10 minutes, then remove and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile cook the elbow pasta per the box, rinse and then return to the pan.
- Stir the squash in to the cooked pasta, along with the spices, greek yogurt, and goat cheese.
- Place in to a casserole dish and top with the breadcrumbs. Then bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
by AmandaE at dancingveggies.com
Another HUGE HIT! For a quicker version, drop the baking part and serve right after mixing everything together. Always been a big fan of the breadcrumb crunch but some nights there just isn’t time. If using a gluten free pasta, add 2 tbsp of milk to the dish before baking to prevent the noodles from drying out.
Have you entered the Giveaway yet?!?
Smokey Loaded Potato Soup
This is most certainly the season for snow, considering there is snow on the ground with more forecasted for tomorrow afternoon – fun times! However this means lots of time at home messing around in the kitchen – which is perfect considering the awesome blog event I’m taking part of starting Feb. 2nd! As part of this I got lots of goodies, one of which I already mentioned, and a few more that I’ll be talking about over the next week or so. One of the more interesting items that arrived was a container of mixed spices thanks to VooDoo Chef – I knew that testing it would be a bit difficult as a single whiff indicated that this stuff was good and POTENT. I had been toying with the idea of a loaded potato soup for a few days at this point, and decided that this package of Red goodness would be a great way to add a smokey taste to my potatoes – allowing me to skip the roasting step.
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch spring onions, cut all the whites the flip and cut half-way down the green
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tbsp Red Spice
- 2 lbs butter potatoes, in large cubes (eights)
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese
- Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the white parts of the spring onions and cook until transparent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and Red Spice and stir well then continue cooking for 3 minutes before adding the potatoes. Cook for an additional 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the potatoes from burning but allowing them to brown.
- Add the vegetable stock and water and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low, and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender to puree soup, or remove in portions to a stand blender. Blend in the greek yogurt, then begin adding the cheese - allowing it to melt before adding more.
- Season to taste with pepper and top with the green sections of the spring onions. Serve and Enjoy!
If you don't have Red Spice, most Creole spices will work - just make sure to go for a smokey one and/or add a bit of cayenne powder
For a Vegan version, replace the extra sharp cheddar with your favorite meltable vegan cheese - such as Daiya or Chao!
by AmandaE at dancingveggies.com
Perfection! The spice had the perfect balance of smokey and cheesy without any one ingredient being too overpowering. This soup also gave me an idea for another dish that I’ll be sharing next week during TripleSBites. By the way, this blog challenge will also include my first (!!!) giveaway! More details coming Monday February 2nd so be sure to check back!
Note: I received VooDoo Chef’s Red Spices as part of the #TripleS blog challenge, which starts February 2nd. I was not required to use the products, or post anything about them outside of acknowledging that I received them, so all opinions and experiences are my own.
Poblano Mac & Cheese
First Monday of November – and with that time for the Secret Recipe Club! This month I was sent out of the US and south of the border to check out Leslie’s La Cocina de Leslie blog which is packed full of spicy traditional dishes. I’m a huge fan of spicy food, and over time my husband has also grown to appreciate the delicious that comes from a good pepper. Leslie’s blog had so many delicious treats to pick from, and more than a fair number of them used ingredients or techniques that were new to me – which are my favorite dishes to pick! In the end I decided to go with one that had a new ingredient as well as a new technique – as a bonus it’s a technique that wouldn’t have worked at my old place with our electronic stove. So enough teasing – time to share her incredible Poblano Mac & Cheese which made enough for a fantastic dinner and a tasty lunch the next day. I had to a make a small change due to allergies but since her recipe was already vegetarian perfection it was only the lime/cilantro that had to go away. I used wasabi arugula from Chocolates and Tomatoes Farm but any variety would work – just figured the added spice would fit right in!
- 2 poblano chiles
- 8 oz. elbow macaroni
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1-3/4 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chile powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 cup chopped arugula, chopped
- 12 oz. grated Manchego
- Roast the poblano peppers directly over an open flame until the skin is charred and blistering. Place the peppers in a plastic bag and seal for 5 minutes. Remove the skin, and then seed and dice. Set Aside
- Cook the pasta per instructions on box until al dente. Rinse and remove to a lightly oiled casserole dish.
- Preheat oven to 350
- Melt the better in a large saute pan over medium heat and add the garlic, cook for 5 minutes. Add in the flour and stir until well combined, then slowly whisk in the milk. Cook until thick, around 7 minutes, then add the spices along the pepper and arugula.
- Turn off heat, and slowly stir in half the cheese. Once melted stir in to the pasta, then top the pasta with the remaining cheese.
- Bake for 25 minutes - then serve and enjoy!
Manchego cheese was a pain in the arse to locate at my grocery store but well worth it - that stuff was AMAZING!
by AmandaE at dancingveggies.com
I also bookmarked another handful of dishes for the future, most of which will need to wait until next summer when fresh tomatoes are available. The first on the list are her entomatados with the rajas con crema close behind. So many amazing dishes to try – a few of which I had never even heard of! Needless to say this SRC was another smashing success.
One more sign of fall – Football season is here! I’m not a huge fan of football, more of a hockey girl, but now that we are living in a football town I feel like I have to at least show some team spirit. So with that in mind, below are some awesome dishes perfect for tailgating.
Sweet Potato Chili
Zucchini Parmesan Crisps
Garlic Feta Dip
Hot Artichoke Dip
These are also the same dips that I rotate in and out for gaming days – with the Garlic Feta Dip being everyone’s favorite. It also makes a great burger topping, be it meat or otherwise. Chili is also the perfect group dish since it can easily be doubled and switched to a stock pan if it becomes too much for the slow cooker.
I totally blame Becca over at Amuse Your Bouche for today’s post – when I saw her cheesy toast variation the other week I got a total craving. I don’t remember the first time I had cheesy toast but I’m going to guess it was a case of my mom not having enough bread for grilled cheese sandwich and going with an open-faced variation. Also should note as this point that I’m a HUGE fan of open-face sandwiches so thanks mom This extends as far as stripping my burgers which is why I tend to load up my cheesy toast with all sorts of goodies. I want the bread to just barely be hanging on so in part it does become a balancing act of figuring out how many toppings a piece can handle. I also used two different spreads (or smears) as I couldn’t decide which one would work best, one being vegan and one being not so vegan. That is of course assuming that vegan bread is being used, something I can assume since I made my own peasant bread using dairy-free stick “butter”.
- 1 cup kale, chopped
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 4 slices bread (assuming 1 per person)
- 2 tbsp tofutti cream cheese (or dairy cream cheese)
- 1/2 tbsp chives
- 2 tbsp yogurt spread
- 2 roma tomatoes, sliced
- 4 pieces Daiya slices, provolone variety (or dairy variety)
- Place the kale in a small bowl and massage in the olive oil over 5 minutes, toss in the pepper and set aside.
- In another small bowl, blend together the cream cheese and the chives until well mixed. Set aside and allow to continue softening.
- Preheat oven to Broil - Low
- Spread the cream cheese chive mixture over half of the bread pieces and then layer on the tomatoes and the massaged kale. Top with a slice of cheese.
- Repeat the process with the yogurt spread on the other two pieces. Then place all the slices on a cookie sheet.
- Broil for 5-7 minutes, or until cheese has melted and has started to bubble. Allow to cool on the sheet for another 5 minutes then Serve and Enjoy!
by AmandaE at dancingveggies.com
The more I use Daiya, the more I’m starting to enjoy it in the melted form. The texture still drives me crazy when it’s raw but that all goes away once it melts. I’m also hoping to find some more varieties of cashew cheese as there are occasions where I can’t melt the cheese but would still like to have some, such as cold salads. I’m also sending this open faced cheese sandwich over to 52weeksofcooking for their historic foods challenge since this Depression Era treat has become a comfort classic over the past (almost) 100 years. Also cool to note that the original version was open-faced and it wasn’t until the 60s that the top piece was added. Important to note that the cheese on toast is historically different than an open faced cheese sandwich, something that has been around since the 15th century – the toasting makes all the difference!
In gardening news, I have a good dozen green cherry tomatoes growing and today my first little pepper joined the party. I’ve also got lots of purple flowers on my fairy eggplant but so far no lil eggplants, fingers crossed that will change. I’ve never done a container garden before so I’m looking forward to seeing how it does in comparison to my awesome box garden. I’m also hoping that the guy who bought my place appreciates the awesome box garden and is using it.