Pumpkin Pasta with Italian Sausage

I love fall! And one of the main things I love about fall is the excuse for to try pumpkin in everything. I saw this recipe on Pinterest and couldn’t wait to try it. Just a few minor tweaks and this recipe has already become one of my favorites. The flavors are amazing, bright and unique…you need to make this dish!

Pumpkin Pasta

Pumpkin Pasta w/ Italian Sausage

  • 1 pound Ground Turkey or Italian Sausage (I did a mix)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (or substitute plain non-fat yogurt)
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 Tbsp parsley
  • 1-2 large Spaghetti Squash (you can use noodles as seen in the picture above; however, this dish is amazing with the squash!)

Pre-heat oven to 450F. Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle the flesh with olive oil, salt and pepper. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place squash flesh down. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Once done, scoop out the flesh with a spoon.

Meanwhile, saute garlic and meat over medium heat. Once meat is cooked, add remaining ingredients. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Serve over the spaghetti squash and get ready to enjoy!!!

Original Inspiration from: http://abirdandabean.com/2010/11/creamy-pumpkin-pasta.html#_a5y_p=1000769

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Asparagus and Ground Turkey Pasta with a Garlic Cream Sauce

Tonight I wanted pasta with a garlic cream sauce so the below was created in my kitchen:

  • 1/2 pound of ground turkey
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 Tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 and 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • Asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Mushrooms, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 box of shell or penne noodles

Boil water and prepare noodles according to package, drain. In a saucepan, cook turkey and onion. Add butter, garlic, asparagus, and mushrooms to the pan. Add in heavy whipping cream and spices. Once the cream is heated, stir in the noodles. Enjoy!!

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Lemon-Mint Slushy

One of my all time favorite drinks in summer is a combination of lemon and mint – refreshing, tart with just the right amount of sweetness and easy to make!

What You Need (for a single serving):

  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 6-8 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • a sprig of mint

Place all ingredients in a blender. Adjust ingredients as needed (more sugar if too tart, more lemon if too watery, etc) Pour into a fun glass and enjoy!

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Apricot Almond Shortbread Dessert

It’s March and I’ve had a tin of shortbread cookies taking up room in my pantry since Christmas. Tonight was the night to create something with them…and the outcome was this:

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Crust:

  • Shortbread cookies (or graham crackers), crushed (about 25-30 cookies)
  • 3/4 to 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all crust ingredients together and press into a greased 8×8 baking pan.

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups white wine
  • 1-2 cups dried apricots
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 325. Put almonds onto a cookie sheet and toast in the oven for 6-10 minutes, checking regularly.

Meanwhile, bring wine to a boil in a small saucepan. Add apricots to wine and reduce heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

Melt butter and add vanilla and cinnamon, remove from heat after about 4 minutes.

Place almonds into a food processor and blend until crushed. In a large mixing bowl, combine almonds, flour, powdered sugar and salt. Add butter mixture and eggs; mix well. Add almond extract. Stir to combine.

Pour almond mixture over crust. Press apricots lightly into the top of the mixture. Bake for 40-50 minutes until browned.

Enjoy!

Ice Cream Cake with Bailey’s Liqueur

My decision to try a new dessert today turned into quite a lengthy process; however, it was totally worth it. This ice cream cake is comprised of mint and coffee ice cream, brownies, fudge and a Bailey’s cream sauce. My original plan was to make whipped cream infused with Bailey’s. That plan changed when I realized I only bought coconut milk and not heavy whipping cream. I improvised and the outcome is quite yummy!

Ice Cream Cake with Bailey’s Liqueur – fills an 8×8 glass pan

  • 1/2 gallon of coffee ice cream
  • 1/2 gallon of mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • 9x 13 pan of brownies (I made a box mix from the store)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate sauce (I made mine from scratch, see below), could also use fudge
  • Bailey’s cream sauce (recipe below)

Scoop out half of each ice cream flavor into separate bowls and let sit at room temperature to soften. Meanwhile, break up half of your brownie into small pieces and line the bottom of your 8×8 pan.

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While waiting for the ice cream to soften, make your chocolate sauce, following recipe below.

Chocolate Sauce

  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Combine first four ingredients in a bowl. Add in half of the milk and wisk to combine.

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Place mixture and remaining milk into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, add vanilla and cool.

Spread the mint chocolate chip ice cream (more like sauce) over the layer of brownies.

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Drizzle a healthy layer of chocolate sauce over the ice cream.

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Break up the remaining brownies and add to the pan.

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Add your coffee ice cream on top of the brownies and place your pan in the freezer.

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Now make the Bailey’s cream sauce:

Bailey’s Cream Sauce

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 1/2 tsp gelatin powder (I used French vanilla flavor)

Pour milk into a bowl and place in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the gelatin with cold water. Turn burner to low and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Remove bowl from freezer (your milk will be slushy)and add remaining ingredients.

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Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high speed for about 8 minutes until mixture has thickened and is a creamy consistency. Place mixture in fridge. After 20 minutes, remove from fridge and add to the top of your 8×8 ice cream cake pan. Place your ice cream cake back in the freezer and allow to harden. The cake will probably need at least 2 or 3 hours dependent upon how soft your ice cream was. The Bailey’s mixture will freeze in under an hour.

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Enjoy!

Quinoa with a Creamy Butternut Squash Sauce

For some, this will sound delicious; for others, a horrendous combination of healthy foods. I wasn’t quite sure what the outcome would be, but wanted to try something completely different from what I’ve tried in the past. As I’m typing this up, I am staring at an empty plate and my taste buds are very happy with the outcome. Try this recipe…I dare you 🙂

Quinoa with a Creamy Butternut Squash Sauce

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, rough chopped
  • 2 Tbsp coconut milk
  • salt, pepper, red pepper flakes or cayenne, turmeric, cumin, garlic powder and coriander
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded

Bring 6 cups of chicken broth to a boil in a large stock pot. Add chopped squash, onion and garlic to the boiling water.

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Boil for 15-20 minutes until squash is soft and can be forked. Meanwhile, combine quinoa with the remaining 2 cups of chicken broth in a large saucepan with lid. Bring to liquid to a boil, then turn to low and simmer for about 15 minutes until the chicken stock is absorbed.

Using a blender or food processor, cream butternut squash, onion and garlic (do not add any of the stock unless needed).

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If you want, you can set aside some chunks of the butternut squash to add into the quinoa whole. Transfer the creamed squash mixture to a boil and add a splash of coconut milk (about 2 Tbsp). Add spices.

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Here is my guess at what I added: a couple dashes of pepper and salt, 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, 1/8 tsp each: turmeric, cumin, garlic powder and coriander.

Pour squash mixture into the saucepan with quinoa and heat on low. Taste mixture and add additional spices (after in the pan, I added more salt, red pepper, cumin and coriander). Add shredded cheese to the pan and stir to melt.

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Spicy Cashew Chicken Salad

I LOVE chicken salad and throughout the years have had many yummy versions. Tonight I was inspired to through together a handful of flavors and my taste buds are currently enjoying the outcome 🙂 I decided that this would be lunch for the week, so I made a decent amount.

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Spicy Cashew Chicken Salad

  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 lbs. Chicken Breast, cleaned and cubed
  • 1 Poblano pepper, de-seeded and diced
  • 2 Celery Stalks, diced
  • 2 Green Onions, diced
  • a large handful of cilantro, rough chopped
  • juice from 1/2 of a lime
  • 1/8-1/4 cup cashew pieces
  • salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin
  • 1/4-1/2 cup mayo

In a large skillet, heat oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and poblano peppers. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne and a squeeze of lime juice. Once the chicken is cooked through, drain excess liquid and let cool. (I wanted to eat this quickly so I stuck my chicken in the freezer for about ten minutes). Add the remaining ingredients and mix. I added somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 tsp of cayenne and cumin to my mixing bowl until I got the kick I was looking for; I also used less mayo as I prefer other ingredients to have center stage 🙂

Try this chicken salad and you will never settle for the standard chicken salad again!