Tag Archives: cheddar cheese

Twice Baked Butternut Squash (two ways)

This recipe was originally a Rachael Ray recipe which I adapted.  The first time I made it I ‘twice’ baked it back in the original shell of the squash. It came out wonderful. Delicious. Filling.

Twice Baked Butternut Squash

Twice Baked Butternut Squash

The 2nd time I made this I was all ready to put it back in the shell/skin to ‘twice’ bake it when I decided to try it in a casserole dish instead. Maybe it wasn’t as fancy or unique as baking in the skin but it was easy and less of a hassle. 

Twice Baked Butternut Squash Casserole

Twice Baked Butternut Squash Casserole

I think both ways came out excellent. Both delicious. Both filling. This was the entire meal for John and I. It was more than enough. It can easily be used as a side dish as well. If using as a side dish I would say it serves 4 people but as a meal, 2 people.

The recipe is a little time-consuming but it is well worth it. It’s a simple dish with lots of flavors. Butternut squash is also low in calories and just plain delicious so give it a try! Actually the most difficult part of this is cutting the squash in half. Make sure you have a strong knife and sturdy counter!

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash

extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

salt and pepper

fresh nutmeg

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided in half (leave out if you wish)

¾ cup sharp cheddar cheese, divided (or use any kind of sharp cheese you want, I used a combo of horseradish cheddar and regular cheddar last time)

8 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese (feel free to use full fat one also)

¾ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided. (we use Locatelli)

½ cup chopped finely red onion

4-5 cloves of garlic, minced (use less if too much for you)

2-3 scallions chopped (all parts)

Directions:

Heat oven to 425°. Halve the squash lengthwise. Be very careful! Like I said this is the hardest part of the recipe. Scoop out the seeds and mushy stuff. (you’ll see what I mean)

Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt, pepper and a little fresh nutmeg. If using powdered just lightly sprinkle a little bit on top. Honestly this will not make it taste like a cake or anything weird. 

Roast till fork tender, 30-40 minutes. Let it cool so you can handle it easily.

Carefully scoop out the inside of the squash into a bowl, trying to keep the skins intact. (if you’re not going to use the skins than don’t worry about it)

Mash the squash.  I have a pretty lame masher so I put the squash flesh in my food processor and blended it till smooth.  

Put the squash in a large bowl and add half the cheddar, half the bacon, half the parmesan cheese, all of the ricotta, red onions, garlic and scallions. (you can save some scallions for topping if you wish)

Mix all completely. If using the shells place the filling back into the two shells. It will be a lot but don’t worry it’s fine.  If not using the shells place into a casserole dish. (I sprayed the casserole dish with cooking spray just in case).

Top the squash with the remaining cheddar, parmesan and bacon. Put back in oven for 5-10 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.

Serve!!

Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a side dish

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Cauliflower Crust Pizza

As promised, here is a recipe I made for pizza with a cauliflower crust. I was at a Weight Watchers meeting a couple of weeks ago and I heard someone mention making a pizza crust with cauliflower. I was intrigued! My husband is doing his Atkins thing, again,  so he’s avoiding bread like the plague. I however still want my bread! But to be nice I researched the alternatives using cauliflower. Now I will say, it’s not like normal pizza crust. It’s not bread! But, it is still really good! I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome and my husband loved it. So I guess it was a success. I have made it twice now so it’s a keeper for sure.  And for those of you out there crinkling up your noses, it doesn’t taste like cauliflower! Honest! It is a little soft but hardens a bit when it starts to cool out of the oven. 

Made with crumbled chicken sausage

Made with crumbled chicken sausage & cheddar cheese topping

What I really like about this is you can put anything you want on it to make it a pizza. I used chicken sausage, some tomato sauce and some cheese. Incredibly delicious! So be daring, make some cauliflower crust pizza today! It’s worth it! Honestly the hardest part is shredding/chopping the cauliflower. Don’t be scared. It’s a taste sensation!

Crust before baking

Crust before baking

Ingredients:

2-3 Cups shredded or finely chopped cauliflower (I used my shredder attachment on the food processor)

2-3 large eggs, if they are on the small size of large, use 3, beaten

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1½ teaspoon fennel (this really makes a difference, I didn’t use it the 1st time but did the 2nd time, so invest in a jar)

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon garlic powder (more if you desire!)

Directions:

1: Finely chop, shred or rice cauliflower until you have 2-3 cups of cauliflower. Add the eggs and shredded cheese.

2. Add the spices and mix well.

3. Press the mixture into a greased pizza pan or cookie sheet. (Don’t worry if it doesn’t fill up the entire sheet, mine didn’t the first time I made it) First time I used a cookie sheet. Second time I used a stoneware baking sheet. I think the cookie sheet worked better. It’s up to you though.

(Make sure it’s as flat as you can get it with no holes showing through.)

4. Bake at 450º for about 20 minutes. If it is starting to brown and crisp on the edges it’s good. You can cook a little longer if you want.

5. Remove from oven and add desired toppings. Be careful with sauce, don’t over-sauce as it will make the crust too soggy. I used about ½ cup sauce and spread it thin over the crust. I topped it with chopped chicken sausage and part-skim mozzarella. Use whatever you want!!

6. Bake until brown and cheese is bubbly! (about another 5-10 minutes, just keep an eye on it)

Makes about 8 servings

Made with sliced chicken sausage & mozzarella cheese

Made with sliced chicken sausage & mozzarella cheese

Hot & Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Dip

Happy New Year everyone! Hope everyone’s new year is off to a good start so far. Keeping with the whole having black-eyed peas for New Years is the reason for this recipe. Ok, yes I was supposed to post it BEFORE New Year’s but life happens and I am doing it now.

This recipe was adapted from one of my favorites, Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. Her recipe was Zannie’s Black-Eyed Pea Dip. Click the link if you want to see the original.

I didn’t have all the exact ingredients so I changed it up a bit. It was delicious, yes, was. My husband and I devoured it. So delicious! So spicy! So darn good!

Feel free to change the ingredients around, I did! So hopefully even though we didn’t have this exactly on New Year’s, I hope it brings good luck

Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Dip

INGREDIENTS:

1 can (about 14 ounces) Black-Eyed Peas

½ medium Vidalia onion, chopped fine

3 cloves garlic, chopped fine

¼ cup light sour cream

1 cup grated Habanero Cheddar Cheese (I used Cabot, it was in the house)

3 tablespoons salsa (any kind)

salt & pepper to taste

Tortilla chips (I used Trader Joe’s Quinoa & Black Bean tortilla chips)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. Drain and rinse can of black beans. Put in large bowl and mash with a fork but leave some whole.
  3. Add rest of ingredients. Stir to combine.
  4. Spread into a 1¼-1½ quart baking dish.
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes until bubbly and hot. (I baked for 30 minutes)
  6. Serve with tortilla chips!

Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Dip Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Dip Quinoa & Black Bean Tortilla Chips

Meatless Taco Casserole

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Well here I am again. It has been quite a while since I last posted. But it took getting sick and staying home ‘resting’ to get back into my blog. I have missed it so much! I’ve missed all of you readers as well! Sorry for the long delay in coming back. I promise to do better!

Well a few weeks ago I bought a bag of Morningstar Farms Meal Starters. I got the Grillers Recipe Crumbles. I had heard so much about this stuff and after having had a bad experience or two with ‘Boca burgers’ in the past I was leery but I thought I would give them a try. I am so glad I did! Wow, I was completely surprised at how good this stuff was when mixed with other ingredients!  It’s 100% vegetarian, has 75% less fat than ground beef and is only 80 calories per serving (about 2/3 cup)! Even my husband liked it! I had first made it in chili (didn’t take pics of course) and then tried it in a taco casserole. It was so delicious! And filling! I also added my fave Shirataki Tofu Noodles as well, which gave me more fiber! I only used 2 cups of the stuff in the recipe and it really goes a long way. So if you were considering trying this, go ahead, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Don’t get me wrong, I will always love my ground beef as well, but this is a nice alternative!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Grillers Recipe Crumbles

½ large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1-2 tablespoons taco seasoning (I used my recipe)

 1 can (15 oz) fire-roasted tomatoes

1 package Shirataki Tofu Noodles (fettuccine style)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

sour cream

DIRECTIONS:

1. Prepare tofu noodles as directed on package, set aside.

2. In large skillet add and heat olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and sauté till soft, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the “Crumbles” to the pan and mix well, cooking and stirring till heated through. Add the taco seasoning and mix well.

4. Add the can of tomatoes and mix well. Heat through.

5. Add the tofu shirataki noodles and mix well. Divide the cheese in half and add ½ cup into the skillet. Mix well.

6. Pour mixture into any shaped casserole dish and top with remaining cheddar cheese.

7. Bake at 350ºF for about 15-20 minutes, until cheese is bubbling. Serve hot!

Add sour cream to top if desired.

Makes 2-4 servings

Not Your Usual Green Bean Casserole

For Thanksgiving we are going to a friend’s house and when I asked what I could bring, I was asked: “How about that green bean casserole thingy? Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without it!” I said ok and searched for the usual recipe. Growing up in my house was very different when it came to Thanksgiving. Why? Well it wasn’t until we were all much older that we started to actually have a turkey for the Thanksgiving dinner. I’m not joking. I never really remember Dad carving a turkey. Ever. I do remember us having a huge tray of lasagna though. Every year. And sometimes a ham. But never a turkey. It was usually lasagna. When we started dating and then had to do the two house thing for the holidays we all discovered how different things were out there! Nobody had lasagna! I was flabbergasted! I don’t know why we didn’t have turkey, maybe Dad hated carving? I don’t know. But once we started experiencing the ‘normal’ Thanksgiving foods I was introduced to the green bean casserole. And for some reason it is rarely served any other time of year! Why? Again, I don’t know. So of course I have never made it before. This is a first. But I also didn’t want to do the same ho-hum basic green bean casserole. So I scoured the magazines and internet. I then took a little bit of each recipe that I found and it’s now something new. I am making it Thursday so I won’t know how it tastes until then. I will report back though for sure. And I will remember to take a picture before we eat it!  And have no fear everyone, I’m still using those french-fried onions. My husband insisted on it. I have to keep remembering, change is good. It will be fine. Thanksgiving will still be a food fest. Happy Eating!

**Ok, the green beans were a hit! Very tasty and full of crunchy goodness! The water chestnuts and almonds are a nice change from the ordinary. I also lowered the oven temp to 350 degrees, because the onions got a little too well done, but still really yummy! I’m also thinking next time maybe a little hot sauce added to it would be good also.


INGREDIENTS:

3 packages (9 ounces or so each) of frozen French-style green beans

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 (10.5-10.75 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted (I am using the 98% fat-free kind)

3 ounces cream cheese, softened (I am using light cream cheese)

1 cup french-fried onions

1 (8 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, chopped

¼ teaspoon garlic salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese (I am using 2%)

1 (2½ ounce) package slivered almonds

paprika

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cook green beans according to package directions, drain.

2. In a large pot or dutch oven melt the butter. Add the soup and cream cheese and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until cream cheese is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat.

3. Stir in the green beans, 2/3 cup of the french-fried onions, water chestnuts, garlic salt, pepper, and cheddar cheese.

4. Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased 1¾ quart casserole dish. Top with the almonds and remaining french-fried onions. Sprinkle with paprika.

5. Bake at 350º, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

Serves 8

Homemade Feasts For Your Pets!

Yes you read that correctly. Homemade food for your pets. I know there are many readers out there that have pets. I myself have two cats. Gus, our 8-year-old male orange tabby. He is named after John’s dad. Quite the ladies’ man, just like the original. He is also my little shadow. Though little is not how we’d describe him these days. He’s a solid 17 pounds. He’s not fat! He’s big-boned! He actually does not eat all that much but he doesn’t run around much either. Hates exercise, just like me! Gus is a Florida native. He found us when we lived in Lake Worth. Best thing he ever did! Our other cat is Toonces (aka The Driving Cat) who is a 10-year-old female calico. She is a Long Island cat, south shore. We brought her with us, as a kitten, from NY. She had a wonderful trip down too. We drove from NY in our Corolla and Toonces had the entire back seat and window ledge. Snuck her into motels on the trip. She loved it. And she actually LOVES car rides. No joke. Gus however, hates the car. Toonces is a svelte 10 pounds and still runs around like a little kitten, she loves exercise. Just like John.

The last few years we discovered that Gus had urinary issues. So we’ve changed his diet several times. But we wanted something both cats could eat. Have you ever tried to get two cats to eat two different foods? Doesn’t really work. Toonces actually always finishes her food first and then pushes Gus out-of-the-way and eats his! So both foods need to be the same. I now feed them all natural foods, no by products etc. But I’ve also been looking into making the food for them. Not all the time, I have a hard enough time feeding us humans! But every so often. This post will have a recipe for dogs as well as cats. So give it a try! Your pets will love you for it!

CAT RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup water

1/3 cup dry rice

2 teaspoons corn oil

½ teaspoon iodized salt

2/3 cup ground meat (beef or chicken or turkey is good)

1 tablespoon bone meal

2 tablespoons cooked liver

DIRECTIONS:

1. Bring water to a boil, add rice, corn oil and salt. Simmer 20 minutes.

2. Cover the meat with bone meal and add liver to the rice mixture. Simmer 15 minutes.

3. Let cool and serve. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers.


DOG RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

½ pound ground beef

1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 carrot, finely chopped/grated

½ cup bread crumbs

1 egg, whisked

1 teaspoon tomato paste

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350º.

2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Scoop out by the spoonful and roll into mini-size meatballs.

3. Place the meatballs on a cookie sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes. Store in the refrigerator.

Thanksgiving Shepherd’s Pie

Since we had Thanksgiving in July in my house last weekend we now have lots of delicious leftovers. I was trying to think of something great to make with them and came up with this recipe. It is actually leftovers from the turkey dinner and leftovers from a few days before. I had a few containers of leftover vegetables. Stir fry mix with corn, snow peas, beans, water chestnuts, carrots and some green beans. I also had some broccoli and cauliflower from our dinner at Carrabba’s the night before. What I came up with was a Thanksgiving type Shepherd’s Pie! It was so good. It didn’t get rid of all the turkey or gravy leftovers but it was a start! You can use any kind of vegetables you have leftover. You will have a new family favorite!

INGREDIENTS:

Leftover cut up turkey (about 2 cups or so)

Leftover cut up vegetables (about 2 cups)

1 cup leftover turkey gravy

Leftover mashed potatoes

3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese


DIRECTIONS:

1. Put all the vegetables in a large bowl. Cut up any really large pieces. Add the turkey to bowl. Add the gravy and mix thoroughly.

2. Put all the vegetables into a 2 quart casserole. (Or one that is big enough or small enough to hold them all). Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of the turkey/vegetable mix, like you are frosting a cake.

3. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the top and bake in a 350º oven until the cheese melts and the “pie” starts to bubble on the edges. Usually about 30 minutes.

Serves 2-4

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