It isn’t always easy to find the time to cook and bake like I’d like too. At least, not while Tommy is so young and needs our attention focused on what he’s up too. I’m not complaining though, because when I do get the time to cook or bake, I truly enjoy it.
We’ve had a lot going on both in our little family life and socially, since the beginning of the month. I find it’s nice to take a break from all the thinking, planning, and “doing” of things when I force myself to find a recipe that sounds interesting and to make it. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Fall always feels like the perfect time to try something new, or try a different recipe for a familiar comfort-food recipe. I’ve made a few different things from soups to meats to desserts. I thought I would share a couple with you. I don’t have pictures for all of them…but trust me – they were delish!
My supermarket had butternut squash on sale so I decided to make soup out of it. I’ve only had BNS soup once, but I remembered enjoying the taste and texture. I found this recipe from Food Network, and after reading the reviews decided to change things up a bit and make it my own. Here’s my recipe:
Butternut Squash Soup
1 butternut squash, peeled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 Red delicious apple sliced
4 cups chicken stock
Cut squash into 1-inch chunks. In large pot melt butter. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add squash, apple and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash is tender. Remove squash chunks with slotted spoon and place in a blender (or food processor) and puree. Return pureed squash to pot. Stir and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Serve.
* Note: I learned the hard way how hard it is to cut fresh squash…the tip from my friend Tana to you: Poke holes in the squash (like you would a potato), and put into the microwave for a couple minutes. This makes the squash more tender and easier to both cut and peel. Thanks T!!That night I grilled up some cheese sandwiches and served them along with soup. We all enjoyed it…Tommy even began to dip his sandwich into the soup before he ate it. Yum!!A few days later I wanted to make baked macaroni and cheese, but use the recipe for “Smart Mac.” The recipe is not as cheesey as some others I’ve had and light too – I didn’t feel stuffed after indulging in a bowl of it! We use Barilla Plus elbow macs, so tasty! Here’s the recipe I copied from the Ronzoni site:
Macaroni & Cheese
1 pkg ELBOWS
3 tbsp margarine or butter
3 tbsp all-purpose flour (I use unbleached)
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup minced onion
8 oz shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Directions: Cook ELBOWS according to package directions; drain. Preheat oven to350°F. In a medium saucepan, melt margarine. Stir in flour. Graduallystir in milk. Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat, until saucethickens. Stir in salt and pepper. Add onion and cheese; stir untilcheese melts. Stir cheese sauce into ELBOWS. Spoon into a greased 2quart baking dish. Top with bread crumbs. Bake 30 minutes.
Since I clearly could not leave well enough alone…and I had book club the evening following the one where I made the mac n cheese…I decided to mix some of the BNS soup with some mac n cheese, and bake them in the oven together for a bit. The mac n cheese took on the sweet taste of the squash, and I LOVED it. Tommy and I had it for lunch the next couple of days. A great way to include a vegetable of the season into a comfort-food staple I’ve always loved. Sorry…no picture, just trust me – its good! Btw…I named my new dish: Squashed Mac n Cheese…get it! I know, I crack myself up!
I usually make dessert for Book Club meetings, and since we had just completed reading about the Julie/Julia Project (and no, I don’t recommend the book) I decided to create my own version of a mini tiramisu. Some mascarpone cheese mixed with pumpkin spice and some coffee, layered in between butter cookies and topped with chocolate sauce…and here’s what you get. Believe me…it tasted as good as it looks! Oh, and I even hand made my own whipped cream to dollop on top! Cute, right!