BUTTERNUT SQUASH + TURKEY STUFFED SHELLS

I try to find recipes that aren’t only delicious and healthy, but can feed us for at least two days. And this recipe happens to meet those needs. Butternut squash is a versatile vegetable and it’s even in season right now! It’s always best to try and eat what’s in season. Just like ordering food at a restaurant. You wouldn’t eat tacos at the best burger joint in town, would you? Eating according to what’s in season is better for your body. Here’s a great post on Mind Body Green about the 10 Reasons to Eat What’s in Season.

Now if you’re a fan of pasta, healthy eating and simple recipes like me. I highly recommend this recipe. Plus, it’s husband approved! If you don’t have the extra time to cut the butternut squash. I would suggest buying the pre-packaged cubed squash. Let’s get started, shall we?  🙂

Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes | Servings: 4 

Ingredients: 

1 Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed

Half an Onion, sliced

¾ cup Milk

¾ cup Vegetable Broth

1 lb. Turkey, ground

2 cups Spinach

3 cloves Garlic

1 lb. Jumbo Shells, cooked al dente

15 ounces Ricotta

1 egg

¼ cup Parmesan, shredded

Additional parmesan, shredded

Olive oil or Coconut Oil

Salt & Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Arrange onion and butternut squash in an even layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil or coconut oil and season with salt & pepper. Roast for 50-60 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook ground turkey over medium heat. When turkey is mostly browned, add the spinach and garlic. Cook until spinach is wilted and remove from heat.
  4. Place roasted butternut squash and onion in a food processor or blender
  5. Pulse until a smooth puree forms. Allow to cool. Stir in milk and vegetable broth.
  6. Pour butternut squash sauce into base of a 9×13 baking dish.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, stir together ricotta, parmesan, and egg.
  8. Add turkey and spinach into ricotta and stir until evenly distributed.
  9. Fill cooked pasta shells with 3-4 tablespoons of filling. Arrange shells in butternut squash sauce in the 9×13 baking dish.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes covered with aluminum foil followed by 15 minutes uncovered. Top with additional parmesan.
  11. Dig in!
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GARLIC SPINACH PARMESAN SPAGHETTI SQUASH

I had not heard of a spaghetti squash until my older sister mentioned it to me a few weeks ago. Whenever I call my sisters I always ask them,” what are you cooking for dinner?” It helps me get inspired and share recipes with them. Thanks to our parents, we always enjoyed home cooked meals growing up. And we ate as a family at the dinner table every night. I am very grateful for those memories with my family. I also remember our Dad was strict when it came to eating as a family. We couldn’t even touch our food until everyone was seated at the table and we said grace. I miss my Dad every single day, especially even more now that I’m expecting a baby. But, I know they’ve already met and he most likely taught Liviana all his jokes and crazy little sayings. I’m literally tearing up as I type, I can’t believe it’s been 8 years since he past away…

So yes, my love for food came from my parents. And I have to admit it took me a good while to get the hang of cooking. I was not the best, but I did try and try some more and now I think that I’m a pretty good cook. It wasn’t until I moved away from home and lived with my boyfriend (now husband) where I really had to roll up my sleeves and learn.

Let’s get cooking shall we? My husband and I were both surprised at how a spaghetti squash can look like pasta once it’s cooked. We think the texture and taste is wayyy better than zucchini squash. So, we will definitely be cooking this meal again!

Total Time: 1 hour | Servings: 4

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter or Coconut Oil

5 ounces Fresh Spinach

3 Cloves Garlic, Minced

  • I buy the minced garlic in a jar because I was tired of my hands smelling like garlic every-time I’d cook. My husband doesn’t like garlic to over power his food. So, I probably use half a spoonful in this recipe. But, if you love garlic use as much as your heart desires!

1/4 Cup of Cream

  • I use half and half instead of heavy cream because (1) it’s cheaper and (2) it’s healthier I think…

1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan

1/2 Cup Shredded Mozzarella

For the Spaghetti Squash:

1 (2 to 3 pound) Spaghetti Squash

2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil or Coconut Oil

Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise from stem to tail and scrape out the seeds. Drizzle the cut side with olive oil (or rub with coconut oil) and season with salt and pepper, to taste. If the squash is too hard to cut, you can place it in the microwave for 2 to 5 minutes to soften.
  3. Place the squash face-down and roast for 40 minutes or until tender and easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and let rest until cool enough to handle. The squash can be roasted and stored in the fridge for a few days if you like to meal prep and plan for a speedier dinner.
  4. While the squash roasts, start on the sauce.
  5. In a medium pot or skillet, bring a drizzle of olive oil or coconut oil to medium-high heat and sauté garlic until fragrant.
  6. Next add the spinach and stir until wilted. Add your cream (half and half) and parmesan cheese and stir well.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.
  8. Once squash is done roasting, allow to cool until easily handled and use a fork to separate and fluff the strands of spaghetti squash.
  9. Pour your sauce over each squash boat, stir to mix and top with mozzarella cheese and additional parmesan cheese, if desired.
  10. Back at 350 degrees F for around 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
  11. For a golden cheesy topping, flip your oven to broil on high for just a minutes or two until lightly browned.
  12. Enjoy!

SHRIMP + MUSHROOM RISOTTO

Risotto has become one of my favorite dishes ever since I had it in San Francisco for the first time back in March of this year. I enjoyed every single bite of that meal. And I remember thinking, “I can’t believe I just finished all of it!” Little did I know that I was pregnant, remember that post? You can read all about it here.

I didn’t realize how simple it is to make risotto, guess the name makes me think otherwise. As you will notice I provided a photo of the types of ingredients I use for this dish. Also, I substitute ingredients a lot when I’m cooking and I’ll add notes when I do. For instance, I was running low on Arborio rice (which is a key ingredient). So, I added some brown rice as a substitute. Now, you don’t want the brown rice to be the main ingredient, otherwise your risotto will turnout soggy. The only ingredient not pictured above are the shrimp. I believe they were chilling in the sink… Let’s get started shall we?

Total Time: 40 minutes | Servings: 6

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. Coconut Oil or you can use Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Half of an onion, finely chopped

Salt

Ground Pepper

2 cups Arborio Rice

1 Rosemary Sprig

6 cups Chicken Stock or Low-Sodium Broth

1 lb. Shelled and Deveined Shrimp

8 oz. Mushrooms of your choice, I normally buy what’s on sale

2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter

1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

1/2 tsp. Finely Chopped Thyme

Directions:

  1. In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, season with salt and cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the rosemary and 2 cups of the stock and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in another 2 cups of the stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Stir into the rice along with the mushrooms and the remaining  cups of stock and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are just cooked and the rice is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the rosemary. Stir in the butter and cheese and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the thyme on top and serve immediately.

 

PROTEIN-PACKED SMOOTHIE

Okay my friends I hope you’re enjoying your weekend. I just woke up from a  wonderful nap and decided to share my Yummy Protein Smoothie recipe. It calls for delicious ingredients and is super easy to make. This refreshing smoothie is great to have at any time of the day, enjoy!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop – French Vanilla Whey Protein
  • 1/2 cup – Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1/4 cup -Water
  • Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 – Banana
  • Cinnamon
  • 1-2 spoonfuls – Peanut Butter
  1. Add all the ingredients to blender. I use the Magic Bullet because it makes eye-balling the ingredients easier for me. But, use whatever it is you have on hand. As for the blueberries I probably add about a handful amount. Since I use the bullet, I shake the container a bit so the protein powder doesn’t stick to the sides.
  2. Blend all the ingredients together for about a minute or two.
  3. Check the consistency, taste it if you need too. If it’s too thick for you add more water.
  4. Continue to blend another minute or two.
  5. Drink up and enjoy!

**If you don’t have frozen blueberries on hand, add a couple ice cubes.

EASY ZUCCHINI PANCAKES

source: http://soupbelly.com/2010/06/17/super-easy-zucchini-pancakes/
source: http://soupbelly.com/2010/06/17/super-easy-zucchini-pancakes/

I love the weekends because naturally I am a homebody. Even though I enjoy being home, cooking, lounging, spending my time with my husband and our dog. Then before we know it Liviana will be part of the mix. I enjoy the outdoors just as much, especially when the weather is cooler, Fall and Spring are my favorite seasons!! We enjoy hiking at Griffith Park or Wilacre Park, the occasional trip to the Huntington Dog Beach or even a road trip down to San Diego to visit family. Even though Albi works most weekends, the time he does have off we try to take full advantage.

Anyways, I am way off topic this post is suppose to be about this morning’s breakfast. I decided to try a new recipe since it didn’t call for many ingredients. It’s a fairly simple Zucchini Pancake recipe that I found on soupbelly.com Since I’m not the best at flipping pancakes I made mini pancakes. They turned out just as good and on the plus side are husband approved. Since I made these babies or breakfast I added cinnamon to the mixture. We topped these minis with strawberry jam and a side of avocado, delish! I could totally see myself making these as a side dish for dinner without the cinnamon of course. Try the recipe for yourself here.

Also, for those interested I included a link about the benefits of cinnamon, enjoy!

Have a wonderful weekend.