Squash It

I have a fellow foodie that is just my spirit animal when it comes to trying new dishes and eating out together. Not only is she just as adventurous as me, but she is a phenomenal cook. One day when we were discussing different recipes we both came to the conclusion that we are obsessed with autumn vegetables and summer fruits. Those are the best seasons for the respective produce and you should go crazy making dishes that incorporate those seasonal ingredients. Now I know I am a long shot away from Fall, but with the recent flurries we experienced in the Philadelphia area, it sure feels more like autumn than spring. Check out this lovely butternut squash (one of the shining stars of the Fall veggie scene) recipe, it even re-uses the maple syrup you bought for this chicken recipe and the squash from the Fall Stew. Plus, eating it should help me “squash” my feelings of missing Fall. Oh what a wordsmith I can be.

  • 1 package of the pre-peeled and cubed butternut squash from Trader Joes (I am obsessed with TJ and lazy, perfect combo).
  • 1 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. of the maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. of cayenne (although I did equal parts of cinnamon & cayenne, since I like the heat)
  • 1 tsp. of course sea salt
  • Optional: 2 tbsp. low fat sour cream & 1 tsp. chopped fresh chives.

Set the oven at 400 degrees and toss the ingredients with the squash. Spread out on baking sheet and cook for 20-30 minutes. I do the fork test and prick the larger piece to check for done-ness. If it slides out and the squash is soft, you can shut off the oven & let it cool. I also serve this with a dollop of cold low fat sour cream which I sprinkle with chopped chives. I adore the yummy mild onion flavor it adds to the dish. Plus any potato chip lover knows that sour cream can’t breath without onion/chives.

Happy Eating, XO.

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Roasted Potatoes

Barefoot Contessa, or as some of us know her as, Ina Garten is known for simple and casual entertaining. Recently watching her show, I realized she cooks a lot like me. Or shall I say I cook a lot like her (After all she is the famous one, not me). Anyway, she likes roasting. May it be asparagus, zucchini or potatoes, she is a fan and so am I! So here are her roasted potatoes with my own twist!

  • 2 pounds small red or white potatoes
  • 1/8 cup good olive oil (typical Barefoot Contessa, “good”).
  • 1  teaspoon salt (kosher if you are Ina, as for the rest of us whatever is in your shaker is fine. I used sea salt because I adore the stuff).
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (she says this because its coarser than normal black pepper, but either works)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1  teaspoon onion powder (my addition & so yum!) My other suggestion is to shave some parm cheese over when serving, but I am trying to cut calories and since this is already a carby/starchy side, I restrained.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (this is important, I tried to cook with my dessert at 350 degrees and the potatoes didn’t cook as fast or get that crisped up edge so even if you have to take shifts with the oven make sure you do it at the 400 degrees, raw potatoes need a high temp). Cut the potatoes in half or quarters  (the smaller the pieces the quicker they cook) and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic; toss until the potatoes are well coated. Transfer the potatoes to a sheet pan and spread out into 1 layer. Roast in the oven for 45 min to 1 hour or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking in order to ensure even browning. (For a change I wasn’t lazy and actually did this, I like mine evenly cooked so I made sure to swing open the oven half way through & toss).

Remove the potatoes from the oven, toss with parsley & onion powder, and serve hot. This serves 4 people. The original recipe is actually for 8 people, but I cut it down to serve with the Fig, Mustard & Pear Champagne Glazed Chicken.

Happy Eating, XO.

Fig, Mustard & Pear Champagne Glazed Chicken

An ode to my favorite grocery store under the Sun. Trader Joe’s. Cheap, fresh, organic, tasty, you name it…this place is THE best. Anyway, this blog is primarily easy recipes. Easy sometimes is mistakenly synonymous for quick. And while we appreciate the pace of most of the recipes, some of them such as the Sunday Simmer are best made “low and slow”. This is by far one of the easiest recipes because its mix, pour & roast however the total cooking time is 2 hrs. So if you need a quick week night dinner, keep scrolling. However, if you have some time to get laundry or other cleaning done…this recipe is clutch. Plus all ingredients are from TJ! So here you have it ladies & gents…Fig, Mustard & Pear Champagne Glazed Chicken.

  • 1 TJ’s Whole Organic Chicken (bone chicken = more scrumptious than non bone chicken, you better recognize! check out Mama Z’s whole chicken recipe too).
  • 1 jar TJ’s Fig Butter (I used the little that was remaining as a spread with goat cheese & crackers on wine night so obviously a multi faceted purchase here).
  • 1 jar TJ’s Whole Grain Dijon Mustard (this is used in dressing recipes, the crab cake recipe, etc…aren’t you happy to have to buy one less thing this time around, your welcome).
  • 1 bottle TJ’s Pear Champagne Vinaigrette (keep this around for an endive salad coming to the blog this December. We always want you to be able to use leftovers. Plus, we hope you like the dish enough that you wont have leftovers because you will re-make it at least once more!)

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the fig butter, 1/2 cup of the mustard and 1 cup of the vinaigrette. Rinse and thoroughly pat dry the chicken (moisture on the chicken will prevent the glaze from sticking to it). Place the chicken in a baking dish and spread 2/3 of the glaze mixture generously all over the chicken. (I did so, too generously. What I mean is that there was so much of the glaze that was on the pan surrounding the chicken that it started to burn & made my fire alarm go off. Crisis was averted by opening a window and switching to a clean pan, but it messed up the heating/cooking temp of the chicken & probably could’ve gotten an extra 20 min the oven to make up for the mid cooking swap). They say the rule of thumb is 20 min per lb. (I didn’t put much thought into that and just pulled it out when it looked done). Anyway half way through I basted the chicken with the remaining 1/3 of the glaze mixture, so moist & divine this chicken came out!

This serves 4 people and I served it with the roasted potatoes recipe under sidekicks.

photo

Happy Eating, XO.