Butternut squash savory pie

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Here I go again, making squash pie for dinner. Although, last time it was spaghetti squash, and this time it’s butternut. Totally different…

Truth…I’m a southern girl. If it’s in a pie shell, there’s a really good chance I’m going to like it. Plus, it looks fancy even though it’s really easy.

This dish is vegetarian, but carnivores should expect a hearty, complete meal with protein. Between the eggs, nuts and cheese, you’re covered. Add it to your meatless Monday rotation.

It’s also complete from a nutritional perspective, and the flavor and vehicle is family friendly.

Savory Butternut Squash Pie

  • 1 frozen pie shell
  • 1 bag of frozen butternut squash
  • 1 handful of frozen kale
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup parmesan
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • s&p
  • 1 handful of walnuts

Preheat oven to 400.
Cook onion in olive oil until golden, add garlic, stir for one minute, add squash and kale and cook until fully defrosted, remove from heat and add to pie shell.

Whisk eggs, basil and a sprinkle of each salt and pepper. Pour over mixture in shell. Top with parmesan then walnuts.

Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

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Pie, it’s what’s for dinner.

Dinner Pie

Pie for dinner? Heck, yeah! We’re all adults here, which means we can make rash meal decisions, such as deciding to have a milkshake for dinner. (Yep, I’ve done it.)

Honestly though, this is not that kind of pie. The crust only makes you think you’re cheating.

When I made this for dinner last night, it was definitely a last-minute, what do we have to make a meal, kind of dish, but it turned out delicious. I used a leftover half of a cooked spaghetti squash, which was great because it cut down on cooking time, and the squash was already cooled so I didn’t have to worry about it cooking the egg prematurely. In case you’re wondering, I used the other half of the squash with an artichoke and lemon sauce from Williams Sonoma the previous night.

My husband returned from a trip yesterday and I originally thought we would eat out, but we were both tired from golf, travel and pregnancy (respectively), so I decided to scrounge around the kitchen so we could relax at home. My pie pans haven’t arrived yet from our last duty station, but a cake pan worked just fine. Suffice it to say, this dish is easy, can be made last-minute, and can be built from a wide variety of ingredients. As long as you have two refrigerated pie crusts, one egg, some cheese, and a small selection of vegetables, you can create this pie.

Just as I did, get playful with this meal and use what you have. Maybe you have different kinds of meat, vegetables or cheeses on hand. Perhaps you want to make it vegetarian. As long as you use some cheese and an egg for binding, and make sure to drain excess grease and liquid (avoid a soggy crust) before building your pie, you can make it your own.

This is one of those recipes that looks and tastes impressive, but is as easy as making a casserole. It’s also a great way to sneak in a boatload of veggies. I did not add salt and pepper. It simply didn’t require it.

To really dress up the plate, you could serve a mixed green salad on the side. It would be lovely for a brunch, lunch or dinner.

Dinner Pie

  • 2 refrigerated pie crusts (bring to room temp before unfolding)
  • 2 slices of bacon (chopped)
  • 1 chicken sausage (chopped) (I used one with feta and spinach in it)
  • 1 can of tomatoes with basil, garlic, oregano, no salt added (drained)
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seed
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cooked spaghetti squash (cool and de-seeded)
  • 1/2 cup sliced zucchini
  • 1/2 cup sliced/chopped sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar
  • 1/2 cup grated/shredded parmesan
  • 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350F.

Set out pie crusts to bring to room temperature. Do not grease pie pan.

Cook meat in a skillet. Add tomatoes, fennel seed and red pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Drain excess grease and liquid. Let cool a bit so it won’t cook the egg when mixed in.

In a medium bowl, combine squash (I used a fork and knife cross-cut to help the spaghetti mix more easily), zucchini, onion, cheese and egg. Add in meat and tomato mixture. Pour mixture into first pie crust, press, top with second crust, cut slits in top, bake at 350F for 50 minutes.

Inside of pie before baking or adding top crust


Sweet potato, carrot, coconut and chicken soup

Sweet potato, carrot, coconut and chicken soup not only tastes amazing, it’s a cancer-fighting machine.

For those of you on a diet with concerns about the ingredient list, allow me to dispel some myths (italicized, and best read in a valley-girl accent).

Oh, I don’t eat potatoes, they have carbs, and carbs will make me fat. 

Not all carbs are created equal. If you over-consume processed carbohydrates, you will not see the results you are hoping for in your body; however, whole potatoes are unprocessed, extremely nutrient-dense, and sweet potatoes, in particular, rank the lowest on the glycemic index.

Sweet potatoes are nutritional rockstars, and they’re a potato you should say yes to – assuming you aren’t coating them in butter, marshmallows, or any other ingredient that turns them into candy. That’s like adding a candy bar to your oatmeal.

I heard carrots are like sugar sticks with orange food coloring. 

Carrots get a bad rap because they’re a starchy vegetable. Do they have carbohydrates and sugars, yes, but they are all natural, and hold a lot of awesome nutritional wealth that is absolutely worth it in the right portion sizes. The energy boost and fat-fighting properties of carrots cancel out the carbohydrates.

Horses are smart to go for these orange sticks, and you should follow suit. You’ll get vitamins A, K, C, and B6, beta-carotene (for healthy eyes, and cancer fighting power), potassium (fight off the muscle cramps you’ve been experiencing in your workouts), calcium, and more. Besides, natural sugars don’t act the same in your body as refined sugar, and Mother Nature uses more reasonable amounts per serving size than candy companies.

Coconut milk has fat, so I can’t have that either. No fat. No carbs. No sugar.

The fat in coconut milk is not the same as the fat in your french fries.

Although it should still be enjoyed in moderation, the fat in coconut milk is actually good for you. It helps your skin stay elastic. Coconut milk is also high in phosphorus, iron, magnesium, fiber, zinc, potassium and vitamin C.

The bottom line: You should eat all “real” food in moderation. Don’t eat something that’s processed simply because it claims to have less fat or carbohydrates. If your body can’t easily recognize an ingredient, it doesn’t know how to use it, and it will get pushed to the side to live in your problem areas and cause your body to run less efficiently. Choose unprocessed food, and eat the appropriate portion size

  • If you’re a vegetarian, this soup is great without the chicken, too.
  • You can skip a cooking step by using a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
  • If you like a little kick, add a bit of cayenne with the other spices. You’ll feel nice and toasty after a bowl of this goodness.

Sweet potato, carrot, coconut and chicken soup

  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil or real butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken/vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed or not from concentrate)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pkg (about 6) chicken tenderloins, cut into chunks
  • Arugula for garnish (A green that serves as your pepper!)

Cook chicken in olive oil and set to the side.

Saute onion in 1 Tbsp coconut oil/butter over medium heat until soft. Add carrots, potato, and second Tbsp coconut oil/butter. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add orange juice, salt, spices, and half of the chicken broth, and bring to a simmer. Simmer until potatoes and carrots begin to soften (about 8 minutes), then process until you reach desired smoothness. Add processed soup back to pot and add remaining broth and coconut milk. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add chicken to soup and heat through. Serve topped with arugula. Enjoy!


Sandwich Intervention

Are you a good wich, or a bad wich?

With all the sandwich shops out there ready to build your dream hoagie, it’s hard to know when you’re making wise nutritional choices. One way to save money and guarantee you’re sandwiching nutritional choices from crust to crust, is to make your own at home, but turkey and cheese with mustard can get boring pretty quickly.

Here are a few heathy options (they’re also vegetarian), that will help you get protein, whole grains, and even fruit in between two slices without missing a single bit of the flavor you get from fancy breads and sauces at shops.

I use Ezekiel bread for all of these. Always pick whole grain breads, and steer clear of those made using refined flour and sugar. Not all bread is created equal. The right decision can make or break your diet, and how your clothes fit.

Cucumber Sandwich

Healthy Cucumber Sandwiches – Laughing Cow cheese replaces cream cheese for a healthy swap.

  • 2 slices of Ezekiel bread, toasted
  • Half a cucumber, sliced
  • Half a tomato, sliced
  •  2 wedges of Laughing Cow cheese
  • Basil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • S&P

Spread one wedge of cheese on each slice of bread. Sprinkle tomatoes and cucumbers with vinegar, salt and pepper. Layer veggies on one piece of bread and top with basil. Put the top piece of toast on and enjoy!

 

Peanut Butter and Berries The berries add sweetness without using jelly, so you skip the added sugar.

  • Fresh or frozen berries of your choice
  • Natural (no salt added) peanut butter
  • 2 slices of Ezekiel bread, toasted

Spread peanut butter on one piece of toast, add berries, press, slice and enjoy.

 

Grilled Apple and CheeseDo not butter the slices. The cheese and apple will add all the flavor you need. 

  • 2 slices of Ezekiel bread
  • Half an apple, sliced
  • One piece of sliced cheddar

Place one slice of bread on a sandwich grill, top with sliced apple and cheese, top with second slice, grill until cheese is melted.


Recipe: (Vegetarian) Roasted red pepper and tomato soup with cheese toast

Tomato soup with grilled cheese has always been one of my favorite comfort foods; so, when my house had a crazy day recently, I knew that adding a little extra TLC to an old favorite would set us right up.

Some days are harder than others, and there’s a reason why they named a book series “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” Warming up your insides with soothing soup, accepting the things you can’t control, deciding to be better tomorrow, and going to bed a little earlier than normal, can make all the difference.

A glass of milk replaced our usual glass of wine with this dinner, and we felt transported back to a time when decisions were simpler, and life was less hectic.

I hope this recipe soothes your soul and eases your mind as it did ours.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup with Parmesan-Cheddar Cheese Toast

  • 1 Red pepper
  • 1Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 28oz. can of whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 1 can white beans (drained) – delicious addition that adds protein and fiber
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 small container of plain greek yogurt
  • s&p to taste
  • sliced whole grain bread
  • parmesan
  • cheddar
  • butter
Heat your oven to 325 F (165 C) and roast your red pepper and garlic clove for about 25 minutes.
Remove and discard stem, seeds of red pepper, and peel and dice your garlic.
Heat oil in skillet/pot and add onion. Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, then add the roasted pepper (chopped), garlic, tomatoes, red pepper flakes, basil and cinnamon.
Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes, then pour into blender/processor and grate until semi-smooth.
Return contents to pot/skillet, add beans (drained) and chicken broth, stir, and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
Reduce heat and add yogurt, salt and pepper.
While keeping the soup warm, butter some sliced bread and top with cheddar and parmesan. Use your low broil setting to toast it until the cheese melts. Serve cheese toast with your soup for dipping.
If you want to add to the presentation of the dish, add a little dollop of yogurt and a basil leaf to the middle of each bowl of soup.