Butternut Squash Carbonara

Butternut Squash Carbonara

I’ve been soaking up the cool weather and rain we’ve had in Orange County over these past few weeks. I don’t necessarily want rain every day, but the cool weather can definitely stay!

I recently had a big bag of cubed fresh butternut squash in my fridge from another recipe I made to use up and had a craving for pasta. Butternut squash actually makes for a perfect sauce for pasta. When pureed, it takes on a creamy and almost cheese sauce-like texture. I love a good carbonara so I thought why not combine the two into one delicious and comforting dish?!

Butternut Squash Carbonara

Cheeseburger Quesadillas

Cheeseburger Quesadillas

I’m interrupting our regular healthy January recipes today to bring you something that would just be wrong for me to try to sell as healthy, but seriously, it’s so delicious, I have to share it! If you like burgers and quesadillas, then this is the recipe for you!

Plus, the Super Bowl is almost here and I always like to test out new Game Day recipes and these Cheeseburger Quesadillas are a definite winner! These quesadillas are easy enough to make for a quick weeknight dinner, but I also love them to serve as an appetizer for the big game.

Cheeseburger Quesadillas

I mixed up a batch of my favorite best ever burger and fry sauce for these. It’s so good for spreading on the quesadillas and for dipping! If you don’t want to make it though, you can also just mix up some mayo and ketchup.

If you’ve been following the blog for some time, you might know we are team #nomustard in my house, but if you love it, you can also spread some on these guys with extra on the side for people to dip in. Basically, whatever your favorite burger topping is, you can totally work it into these. I made mine with ground beef, plenty of cheddar cheese, pickles, and the burger sauce. Bacon would also be delish and/or some grilled onions, whatever you like really! Just make sure not to overstuff the quesadillas as they can be hard to flip!

One other thing to note – in the recipe directions, I have you assembling the quesadillas on the side and carefully transferring them to the pan to cook. But, if you can move fast enough, you can assemble them directly in the skillet. I do it this way, but realize it may not be the best method for everybody. It’s easy enough to assemble in the skillet as long as the pan is not super hot, so whatever method you are most comfortable with is fine!

Cheeseburger Quesadillas

Easy Chicken and Dumplings

Easy Chicken and Dumplings

I’ve had Chicken and Dumplings on my to-do list for some time now. Chicken and dumplings are basically the best of both worlds between chicken soup and pot pie. Instead of noodles or pie crust, you’ve got some delicious and comforting homemade biscuits on top.

This recipe may seem like it has a lot of steps, but it is really very simple and most of the time is just cooking time. The dumplings only require basic ingredients. I like to season this recipe with Italian seasoning. Thyme and rosemary work well here, but if you don’t want to buy the seasoning, I’d at least use fresh thyme.

You may also note that this recipe makes a more soup-like dish rather than a thicker chicken gravy. I prefer it this way, but if you want yours to be thicker, you can add less of the broth.

Easy Chicken and Dumplings

Note that the very last step in the directions involves putting the pot under the broiler for a few minutes. This helps the dumplings get lightly browned on top. This step is not required, but I prefer to include it as I like the look of the dumplings a little golden on top and the slight crispiness it gives, but if you are pressed for time, you can skip it. If you do plan to stick the pot under the broiler, just make sure you are using an oven-safe pot! I love using my Le Creuset dutch oven for this recipe!

Green Breakfast Smoothie

Green Breakfast Smoothie

Every year when January rolls around, I always go into smoothie detox mode. I want ALL of the smoothies and all of the time. I’ve been feeling like I need to incorporate more veggies into my diet throughout the day and putting them into a smoothie is such an obvious idea, but truth be told, I’ve never really been into “green” drinks.

The the flavor of the greens HAS to be covered otherwise its a no for me. I’ve tried different recipes quite a few times and have never been content with the flavor so I just move on with life, but I finally got a recipe down where you really cannot taste the spinach!

Green Breakfast Smoothie

In fact, even Madeline, one of the pickiest eaters ever, LOVES this smoothie! We’ve been drinking these almost every day.

My favorite “trick” for creating thick and creamy smoothies is using a frozen banana. You’ve probably heard of “nice cream”, right? Blending up frozen bananas for a couple of minutes gives them that ice cream-like texture and thickness. So, I recommend letting your blender run for up to 4 minutes or so. This may seem like more time than necessary to blend everything, but the extra time really helps that banana get thick and creamy creating the dreamiest smoothies!

I also add frozen mango to this smoothie and a couple of tablespoons of nut butter. You can use almond butter or peanut butter, though peanut butter has a stronger flavor to cover up the spinach which is probably why I can get Maddie to drink it!

This green breakfast smoothie is definitely going to be sticking around in our house!

Green Breakfast Smoothie

Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

If my kids and husband had their way, they could probably eat french fries every single day of the week. My 4 year-old basically wants to live off of french fries and salad. At least I can get her to eat salad!

I love making roasted potatoes for dinner. They are relatively simple to prepare and pair with pretty much every meat. But, roasted potatoes just don’t have that same appeal as a crispy french fry.

Up until now though every time I’ve tried to bake homemade french fries, they just come out tasting like plain old roasted potatoes. Then I discovered this recipe from the Kitchn which says the secret to crispy baked fries is cornstarch! I was sold and gave it a try, but like many reviewers, the fries weren’t all that crispy, the cornstarch ended up sort of pasty, and a lot of the fries were soggy.

Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Happy New Year! I hope you all had an amazing holiday. We had a nice, but busy break. Although I really missed seeing my family, I have to say that it was really great to not have to travel this year and lug a bunch of presents back and forth. I loved that the girls got to wake up in their own house for Christmas morning!

It’s January and I can’t believe the holidays are over! It’s now that time of year where we all want/NEED a little detox after the holidays. You can bet I am all about salads, green smoothies, and low-carb everything right now!

I love a good chicken lettuce wrap. I mean, just see here!

Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps

What’s not to love about them? A flavorful filling served in some fresh green lettuce? So delicious and best of all, nutritious!

This teriyaki version is no exception. The mixture includes ground chicken (you can also use ground turkey if preferred), green onion, red bell pepper, and grated carrots. I also toss in some water chestnuts towards the end and I like the added crunch they add to the wraps.

Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps