Tag Archives: minced garlic

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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Crab Dip w/Garlic Saltines and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Ok, I can’t take the credit for this recipe but I will thank Tyler Florence for it! I saw this on his show on the Food Network one weekend and made it last week. It was delicious! Easy too! And the saltines are incredible! I am going to make another batch this weekend! Even John who doesn’t eat many carbs in the form of crackers loved them! He was adding peanut butter to the crackers! But the dip is awesome on it. It is also better to let it sit over night in the refrigerator. The flavors will meld better. I also used the lighter versions of cream cheese and mayonnaise in my version. A suggestion from John is to heat it up also and serve it as a hot dip. I haven’t tried that yet but when we do I will post the results on here! We had this as our appetizer to our Thanksgiving dinner last Sunday. Washed it down with a bottle or two of Prosecco.

INGREDIENTS:

For the crab dip:

1 (8oz.) cup cream cheese, at room temperature

½ cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (DO NOT USE REGULAR MUSTARD)

½ tablespoon lemon juice

About 1 tablespoon EVOO (Extra-virgin olive oil), optional

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped chives

1½ cups (about 12 ounces) fresh lump crabmeat, drained and picked over (I used claw meat and it was fine)

For the crackers:


2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

½ stick butter, melted (I used a butter substitute)

30 saltine crackers (about 1 sleeve)

For the tomatoes:

1 pint cherry/grape tomatoes

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

EVOO, optional

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

For the crab dip:

1. In a food processor add the cream cheese, mayonnaise and Dijon mustard, blend until smooth. Then add the lemon juice and olive oil, if desired and season with salt and pepper. Process until well combined, scraping down the sides as you go.

2. Scoop the mixture into a large mixing bowl and fold in the chopped chives and crabmeat. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper then cover and set aside in refrigerator.

For the crackers:

1. Meanwhile, prepare the saltines. Make a garlic butter by combining the minced garlic with parsley and melted butter.

2. Lay out a flat layer of saltines on a baking tray (I just sprayed it with cooking spray) and use a pastry brush to baste the saltines with garlic butter. Bake in the oven for about 5-7 minutes until golden.

For the tomatoes:

1. Split each tomato lengthwise and toss in a mixing bowl with balsamic vinegar. Toss the cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil, if desired, over the top. Season with salt and pepper and bake in oven for 7-8 minutes.

To Serve:

Arrange the three components so they can be assembled by easily. Take a saltine, spoon a little crab dip on top and garnish with a piece of tomato.

Makes 4-6 servings

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