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How To Cut Up a Butternut Squash (& Roast It)

It’s fall, so you know what that means…

No, I’m not talking about festive Starbucks cups and new fall TV shows.  It means that hundreds of butternut squash recipes are flooding Pinterest.  You’re probably getting seduced by them as we speak.  And then you remember that getting a butternut squash from whole into bite-sized pieces is THE WORST.

Until you know how to do it well.  So that’s where I come in.  I’ve found and refined a way to dismember butternut squash that doesn’t take long, doesn’t kill your hands, and will get you perfect little cubes every time.  Sure, you can sometimes buy it pre-cut (and there’s nothing wrong with that), but you can’t always find it that way plus it gets kind of slimy fairly fast.  Better to have a good back-up.

So let’s dive in, shall we?  There are two main pieces of equipment that you need, and one of them is an actual decent Y-peeler.  I’m in love with my OXO peeler, got it a few years back and now no longer accidentally take off layers of skin when I’m peeling veggies.  It gives you so much more leverage and stability than a regular vertical-bladed peeler.

Begin peeling long, deep strips out of the squash.  You’ll need to overlap your stripes, because it will likely take two tries to get it deep enough.  Butternut squash peel is not messing around. [Read more…]

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Stove-Top Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

I feel like I have to sneak one more winter-y recipe in here, even though it’s TOTALLY SPRING!

(Though you wouldn’t know it from our gray, rainy day today…)

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Oh man, I’m so glad it’s spring. Bring on farmers market fruit and veggies, grilling out, and foods that make me feel skinny. But first—hearty, cheesy, decadent (but not TOO decadent) girls’ night food.

stove-top butternut squash mac & cheese casey

We had a girls’ night at my place a couple months ago, and wanted something super easy, that I didn’t have to put a ton of time and effort into while we were all drinking wine and chatting.  This recipe came together very fast, and the only complicated piece was cutting up the butternut squash, but you could easily just buy it pre-cubed.  I even had a pretty helper—that girl’s got her priorities, has both a glass and bottle nearby! [Read more…]

Pasta with Creamy Butternut Leek Sauce

So, we basically got like two weeks of fall in Georgia before it got COOOOLLLLD! But those two weeks were really beautiful.

fall tree

This tree outside my window is absolutely glorious, like flame.

fall leaves stoplight

And these leaves form an awesome natural stoplight.

Butternut Squash Leek & Parmesan Pasta

The changing of the seasons has also meant that the grocery stores and my CSA box have been all-gourds-all-the-time. I got a couple beautiful butternut squashes and, since I finally learned how to peel and disassemble them last winter, I was actually excited to try out this recipe.

butternut squash leek & parmesan pasta sage

Also, sage. Because sage is always the answer.

Butternut Squash Leek & Parmesan Pasta done

This sauce is deceptively creamy and rich, but doesn’t have any cream or milk, or even cheese until the very end. The leeks form a super flavorful base, and the pureed butternut squash is like butter and cream and squash all in one. This was a super easy and healthy dinner.
[Read more…]

Mac & Cheese with Roasted Butternut Squash, Kale, & Chicken Sausage

As the whole country knows, Atlanta has had some winter weather troubles lately. A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough not to get stuck in the 24-hour city-wide traffic jam—only took me an hour and a half to get home. I hadn’t had the foresight to check the weather ahead of time, so I ended up being stuck at home for a few days with only the food I had stocked up in my pantry and fridge. (I did have wine this time…a few years ago I got snowed/iced in for five days without wine. #neveragain)

Mac & Cheese with Butternut Squash, Kale, & Sausage

I started poking around to see what I could make. I was craving comfort food but knew I needed to eat somewhat healthy. Unfortunately I hadn’t bought many fruits and veggies, but I found a butternut squash in the fridge and had some wilted kale, so I figured I could make something work. This is a true McGyver meal, but I think it came out pretty darn good. It was creamy and warm, with the salty sausage and the kale adding different textures.

Mac & Cheese with Butternut Squash, Kale, & Sausage baked

Can you tell I’ve been craving comfort food? Seriously, I could have chosen to make a quinoa casserole or something, but instead I ended up with a steamy, creamy mac & cheese. [Read more…]

Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash & Dried Cranberries

Blah blah blah resolutions blah. Seems like that’s all anyone talks about this time of year. But the fact of the matter is, there’s nothing magical about January in terms of getting healthy. In fact, it’s harder to make a drastic change mid-winter (when, let’s face it, your body is craving sleep and warm comfort food) than to make gradual changes over time that you can actually sustain.

Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash & Citrus Honey Dressing

For me, the two major things are exercising almost every day and eating healthy at home since my job often entails lots of eating out, drinking, and treats. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself, it’s that I’m not going to stick with a diet that I don’t enjoy. That’s why one of my big focuses in the past year has been finding super healthy recipes that I absolutely love.

Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash & Citrus Honey Dressing closeup

Make a list of the most healthy foods and ingredients you should be eating—superfoods, whole grains, spices, etc.—and then see how you can work them into recipes. Everyone’s list is going to be different. For me, I haven’t found anything involving lentils that I enjoy and brown rice is dry and bland when eaten as leftovers. But conversely I’ve found a lot of quinoa and barley recipes that I like and are great to take to work the next day. I love kale, brussels sprouts, all squashes, okra, and spinach, but there is no recipe or list of healthy benefits that can convince me to eat cucumbers, green peppers, or fresh ginger.

quinoa salad with butternut squash roasted

Once you find ingredients you enjoy, hunt up all sorts of different recipes using them. That’s where this recipe comes in. I’ve found that quinoa salads like this one and my sweet & savory chicken quinoa and quinoa & kale salad with feta & pecans are easy, healthy, filling, and affordable. And that’s quite the combination. [Read more…]

Butternut Squash & Sage Lasagna

I have been wanting to try this recipe out FOREVER!

Butternut Squash & Sage Lasagna

Why haven’t I, you ask? Mostly because I tried actually cutting up a butternut squash once many years ago and it was terrible, my hands hurt and were orange and I don’t ever want to do it again. Ever. Because I’m a chicken. So I had to wait until I remembered to pick up already-diced butternut squash from Trader Joe’s. And, sadly, that took me forever.

Butternut Squash & Sage Lasagna baked

Butternut squash and sage is a captivating flavor combination to start with. Add in gooey mozzarella, grainy ricotta, pasta, and a hint of nutmeg? Awesome.

butternut squash & sage lasagna sage leaves

I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to put together, too. I roasted the squash a couple hours ahead of time, and the rest of the assembly was very simple—particularly since I used oven-ready lasagna noodles. While you could add chicken if you wanted (or even chicken sausage), it didn’t feel like it needed meat. It was hearty enough on its own, and would be great for a Meatless Monday type of meal plan. [Read more…]

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