Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Baked Speghetti Squash with Chunky Marinara

God's creation makes me smile... I love that there is a squash that when you bake, turns into a dish that is just as good, if not better, than good old speghetti. This is definitely an "seasonal" dish though. Unfortunately, other than at your local farmer's market, late summer, these squash can be very pricey. But they are beautiful and plentiful during the late summer months. Guilt free, warm, comforting Italian food!!!!

*Prepare ahead because a larger squash will need to bake for about an hour or a bit longer*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1 speghetti squash, sliced lengthwise ( this meal was for 2 people)
Olive Oil, garlic salt, pepper
Bake the squash cut side up, covered with foil for 45 minutes. Test with a fork and continue baking until soft. The sides should scrape away into "noodles"

For the marinara sauce:
1 small onion
1 medium bell pepper
2-3 cups of diced tomatoes
garlic sal and pepper
1/2 tsp of italian seasoning

Sautee the onion in some olive oil, salt and pepper on medium to low heat for a few minutes. Add the green pepper. Sautee another few minutes to soften. Add the diced tomatoes, salt, pepper and italian seasoning. Simmer while squash cooks.

Pour the marinara over each half of the sqush, top with cheese and serve. Caution, these will be very hot down through the layers. Scrape the sides as you eat to create more "noodles" So cool! Josh, my husband, actually giggled with joy over the yumminess of this meal!

Oat Bran and Parmesan Breaded Chicken

In my family, meat is not a very desirable option. But for some unknown reason, chicken nuggets are given permission to come to the table. I do turn to good old Tyson lots of time, but this time I may have made a discovery that would make the standby chicken nugget be a thing of the past! These are delicious, beautiful and were accepted by my kids and even better... gobbled right up!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
4-5 thin chicken breasts
Olive Oil
1/2 cup of oat bran (wheat germ would probably work too)
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
garlic salt and pepper
optional - dried parsley

On one plate drizzle 1/4 cup of olive oil. On a second plate, stir together the oat bran, cheese, garlic salt, pepper and parsley. Cover the chicken in the olive oil and then the coating mixture, place on your baking sheet. Repeat with all the pieces. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Flip and bake for 15 more minutes. Until brown and beautiful.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Roasted Tomato Soup

The summer has brought us a bounty of vegetables and with fall approaching, my thoughts turn to football games and warm yummy soup! My plan for this soup is to be a base for chili, ministrone and stuffed pepper soup. But don't get me wrong, this soup is delicious on it's own with some fresh basil, parmesan, and a toasted cheese sandwich.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups of chicken stock

Roughly slice any tomatoes, onions, garlic and celery that you have to use. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. 

Roast at 400 for about 45 minutes until vegetables are bubbling and soft. Remove and allow to cool for a bit.

Puree them until smooth. Place in a large pot. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Serve or cool to store.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

I baked a pumpkin. I made muffins. I love when fall arrives!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup of oil
1/4 cup water
1 cup of pumpkin

This is an intersting technique that came to me out of desperation! I baked my pumpkin and only had time to scoop out the goodies and get it into a storage container. When I wanted to make these muffins, I realized I needed the pumpkin to be pureed. So I put the wet ingredients and the pumpkin in my blender. Blended it up. Added it to my dry ingredients already combined in the bowl and stirred. And there you have it! Muffins! I know. Little things make me happy... but my husband thinks that's a good thing!!!

Scoop muffins into a greased muffin tin. This makes 12 muffins. Bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

I also made a less healthy version. Used unbleached flour. Only 2 eggs. And added mini chocolate chips. DELICIOUS!!!! I love pumpkin and chocolate together!