Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Baked Squash Spaghetti

Who would've thought that squash could imitate spaghetti? Not me, that's for sure.

I bought this huge squash for some soup a couple of weeks ago and really needed to use it. I ran across this recipe for squash spaghetti and had all the ingredients at home. So I cooked away and it resulted in quite a tasty meal! AND completely guilt free! (Unless you add cheese... like me!)

I also only took one picture with my iPhone because I wasn't sure how this would turn out. However, I'll definitely be making it again. The boyfriend LOVED it!

Not the best picture but definitely a good dish!

Baked Squash Spaghetti

1 medium-sized squash
2 small-medium chicken breasts, thawed
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
Marinara sauce (recipe below, use entire recipe)
1 c. Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half, remove guts and seeds. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for one hour, or until the skin is soft and gives in easily when pressed.

(If you want to use the much quicker microwave method, prep the squash as necessary and place in the microwave for 14 minutes, or until the skin is soft and gives in easily when pressed.)

2. While the squash is roasting, season the chicken with garlic powder, oregano and salt and pepper. Grill until fully cooked (you can use a skillet, a grill, or a George Foreman). Cut into diagonal strips.

3. Once the squash is fully cooked, fluff the meat with a fork. This creates spaghetti like squash-pasta! Take all the meat out of the shells.

4. Take half of the squash meat and place in an oven safe dish, pour half of the marinara sauce on top. Place the chicken strips on top of the sauce. Cover the chicken with the rest of the spaghetti, then top off with the rest of the marinara sauce and cover with cheese.

5. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes or until cheese is fully melted. Enjoy!

Marinara Sauce

Olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
20 oz. of diced tomatoes (I think about 2 cans)
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Place olive oil in a sauce pan and saute the garlic gloves until golden.
2. Pour in tomatoes and heat until simmering.
3. Add in herbs to taste (I would say approx. 1 tsp+ each of oregano and basil)
4. Let simmer while cooking the rest of your meal, it will make a nice thick saucy consistency.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Brownie Sandwich with Salted Caramel Buttercream

These aren't your typical whoopie pies. It's like heaven descended on earth and left a dessert. No joke.

Look at it! Doesn't it look amazing? Oh man... scrumptious. 

They are mildly time consuming, but totally worth it. It's because I made homemade caramel sauce for the buttercream frosting. I'll post both recipes on here. And don't worry, the caramel sauce isn't that hard!

Homemade Caramel Sauce (if you want the original directions, click here)

1 C sugar
6 tbsp water
4 tbsp butter
1/4 C heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt (for salted caramel sauce)

1. Place sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat and stir the until sugar has dissolved.

2. Dissolve any crystals forming on the side with a wet pastry brush.

3. Once sugar has dissolved increase heat to high.

4. At this point do not stir the mixture directly. Now and then, using the handle, give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute or so.

5. After 3-4 minutes the mixture will turn from a light amber to medium amber and then finally to a dark reddish brown color. Once the mixture starts to smoke, add the butter and heavy cream. The mixture will bubble wildly. Whisk to combine (bubbles will subside upon cooling). Set aside to cool completely.

Brownie Sandwich with Salted Caramel Buttercream (Original recipe here)

Brownie Ingredients:
12 oz. chocolate, chopped (I used one bag of Ghirardelli 60% chocolate chips)
3 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
⅔ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup all-purpose flour, sifted
¼ teaspoon baking powder, sifted

Salted Caramel Creme Filling (by Bakers Royale):
1 cup butter
2 cups confectioner sugar
1/4 teaspoon salted
1/4 cup caramel (Make sure caramel is cooled if making homemade.)


To make brownie cookies:
1. Place 7oz. of the chocolate and the butter in a saucepan over low heat and gently stir until melted and smooth. Set aside.

2. Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat for 15 minutes or until pale and creamy. Add in flour, baking powder, melted chocolate mixture, remaining 5 oz. of chocolate and mix to combine. Set aside to to stand for 10 minutes. Spoon 2 tablespoonful of the mixture, onto parchment lined bake sheet. Bake for about 8–10 minutes or until puffed and cracked. Allow to cool completely on trays.

To make caramel creme filling:
1. Place butter in a bowl and beat until creamed. Add in confectioner sugar and salt and beat until light combined. Add in caramel and beat until combined.

How to put it together: 
1. Spread or pipe a teaspoon and a half of caramel creme on underside of one brownie cookie and place a second brownie cookie bottom side down on top frosting.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Homemade Hummus

Nom nom nom. I love hummus. It's so good with everything. I put it in my salads, I eat it with veggies, pita chips, and whatever else I can find to dip in it.

2 cans garbanzo beans, drain 1 can, reserve 1/2 of the  liquid from the 2nd can
1/4 C lemon juice
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt

Add both cans garbanzo beans to your blender or food processor, add the liquid reserved from 1 can, add all other ingredients and blend or process until smooth.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Tomatillo Salsa & Baked Tortilla Chips

I kind of concocted this recipe myself, with a little help from the internet. I don't know about other people, but I absolutely love tomatillos and any form of green salsa you can give me. I wouldn't say my acid reflux loves me for that one, though. I usually have to take tums later on because of all the spicy! But it's totally worth it.

Tomatillo Avocado Salsa:

6 small tomatillos - husked, rinsed, & quartered
1 jalapeno pepper - chopped
1 avocado - pitted & chopped
1 clove garlic - peeled & chopped
1/2 c. packed cilantro leaves
heaping 1/2 tsp salt
squeezed juice of half lime

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse to combine and get the juices flowing. Puree on low speed until a smooth mixture is formed.

Baked Corn Tortilla Chips:

1 - 12 oz. package corn tortillas
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cut each tortilla into 4 wedges and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet.

3. Combine oil and lime juice. Using a spray bottle, lightly mist the tortillas.

4. Combine the spices and sprinkle on top of the tortillas.

5. Bake for 7 minutes, rotate and bake for another 7 minutes until crisp.

Thin Mint Brownie Bites

This is one of those awesome recipes that I got from Chocolate Covered Katie, my favorite non-dairy non-sugar dessert website in the world. She's got just the best recipes in the world, and Jose absolutely loves them because he can eat just about anything from her website! Good news for him!

These are pretty simple, but can be a bit messy to make. However, they are totally worth it. Scrumptious!

1 c. walnuts
1 and 1/3 c. pitted dates (Sunmaid brand are softer and easier to use)
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 tbsp cocoa powder
A few drops peppermint extract (start with less, add more if desired)
Tiny dash of salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. If necessary, add a bit of water and keep processing. Using a small cookie dough scoop (found at Bed Bath & Beyond for a couple of bucks), scoop up balls of dough and place onto parchment paper. Place in the freezer to firm for an hour. Once firm, store in an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy!