It’s a revival!!

It’s been months…and months…and months since I’ve updated this blog.  BUT, alas!  It’s back.  Hmm, what has changed…I’m sorry to the animals but I am no longer a full fledged veggie-terian.  We’ve shifted the focus from all veggies to improving the quality of meat we are buying.  We still don’t eat meat at every meal but when we do, we know it’s not stuffed with crazy unnatural things like hormones and antibiotics.   I’m also 27 weeks pregnant which left me looking like a lump on the couch over the last few months but recently I have been revived, hence this blogs revival.  And what perfect timing – it’s FALL!   I’m not sure if it’s Matt’s love for pumpkin beer that has me inspired but my kitchen has been busy at work cooking up some fall goodness.  I’ve recently come across a new recipe site that’s pretty much, TO…DIE….FOR.  Buffalo chicken pasta? Yes, please.  Buffalo Oven Fries?  Ok, I’ll have those, too.   I tried 2 different buffalo chicken pasta recipes so I will have a post later regarding their battle.   Aside from the writer/pure magician/pregnancy craving satisfier’s love for buffalo chicken, she also has some pretty phenomenal fall recipes that I have put to the test.

Let’s start with the Honey Roasted Vegetable Smoked Gouda Baked Penne.  So the name of the recipe is a little long but the recipe goodness is just as long lasting!  I substituted butternut squash for the sweet potato,  omitted the mushrooms and used crushed tomatoes rather than diced.  The recipe does take some prep work, after all, the abundance of veggies aren’t going to wash, cut, and roast themselves but the work is well worth it.  Plus it would be a good make ahead recipe.  I like my pasta dishes extra saucy so I think that by using the crushed tomatoes rather than the diced tomatoes helped to keep the pasta wet, I’m not sure if the diced tomatoes would have had the same outcome.  Matt and Braedan were both fans – though Braedan did seem to pick out some of the brussel sprouts so I guess we will have to work on that.  Matt’s didn’t even complain about the lack of meat because of the wholesomeness of the abundance of veggies.  In the future, I may cook up some sweet Italian sausage to toss in for a flavor enhancement (though not needed) and to satisfy the carnivorous appetite.

Honey Roasted Vegetable Smoked Gouda Baked Penne

Honey Roasted Vegetable Smoked Gouda Baked Penne

Ok, wipe your drool because I’m moving on to the next recipe.  I bought a BIG butternut squash for the above pasta so I had some leftovers (that I had already pre-cut) which was perfect for this next dish, Butternut Squash Enchiladas.   I promised Matt that I would put Mexican food on hold for a while, I guess my craving for bean burritos finally reached his last nerve BUT this recipe uses butternut squash so I figured he would let it slide (and he did).  The recipe calls for fontina cheese which is pretty pricey so I substituted fresh mozzarella which is probably why my cheese is a little more golden brown than the recipe’s picture.   I also used flour tortillas because Matt and I cannot get on board with wheat pizza dough, pasta, or tortillas/wraps…some things are just better left with white flour.  This recipe took a fair amount of time in the kitchen, I’d say that with prep and cooking time, it took about an hour but it’s also another good recipe to make ahead and just toss in the oven when ready to eat.  Braedan was a big fan of the squash, bean, cheese mixture and Matt said, “Your best enchilada recipe to date!”

Butternut Squash Enchiladas

Butternut Squash Enchiladas

Moving on.  What better on a crisp fall day while watching football than a cream based soup, you know, like a Loaded Baked Potato soup?!  Matt ranked this soup a “9/10…Restaurant quality!”   Braedan also had his fair share of bites as well!  I didn’t make any adjustments to this recipe but if you are looking for veggie friendly fair, you could use fake bacon or just omit it entirely.  It’s relatively cheap to make and also easy…while your potatoes are baking (I seasoned mine with olive oil, salt and pepper), you can prep everything else.  I would say it took about 10 minutes of “hard” work and 20 minutes or so of simmering.   **The below picture doesn’t have the FINISHED product, I was too busy eating.  The bottom picture is about 10 minutes into simmering.

Baked Potato Soup

Baked Potato Soup

OK, LAST ONE – save the best for last?  Baked Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo.

…I’ll give you a minute to savor that idea.

Ok, so this was AH-MAZING.  Matt “wasn’t hungry” but wound up going for seconds.  I gave the recipe to my sister and she tried it before I did.  She used a full cup of pumpkin which makes perfect sense because if you are going to make pumpkin anything, better make sure you do it up right.   Also, Mascarpone cheese is another relatively pricey item and hard to find via Whole Foods Online Ordering so I substituted an equal amount of whipped cream cheese.  This recipe also called for a sprinkling of fontina cheese so I subbed Mozzarella again.   The idea that you can make an Alfredo with low fat milk is pretty cray cray (that’s slang for crazy).   Something I did differently when making this recipe was I actually set out and measured all my ingredients in advance so they were easily accessible.  One would think this is common sense but over the last year of cooking,  I have guiltily been scurrying around the kitchen to find 2 tbs of flour for my roux while the butter comes super close to burning in the pan.  So yea, for all those who have ever seen me cook and scurry, thanks for giving me the heads up on doing that (insert sarcasm).  Bottom line, if you take anything away from today’s blog let it be this:  TRY THIS RECIPE.

All my ingredients ready to go...

All my ingredients ready to go…

Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce and dish pre-cooking.

Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce and dish pre-cooking.

Finished Product

Finished Product

Braedan enjoying his fettuccine!

Braedan enjoying his fettuccine!

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