Posts from the ‘Cookbooks’ Category

Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli and Spaghetti Squash bake

I don’t know why I was being so lazy all weekend and procrastinated making this dish – I threw it together in under an hour over lunch today and it is…how do I say this…just amazing! I altered the “Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli and Pasta Bake with White Cheddar” recipe from Curtis Stone’s What’s for Dinner cookbook in an effort to make this total comfort food a little bit more healthy and gluten free. Check it out – by adding the spaghetti squash I ended up with enough for six individual servings instead of four – yahoo for leftovers! I also must say…I’m convinced that roasting vegetables before you do anything with them is the way to go – such great flavors unleashed!

mini bakes


Nothing too complicated here:

6 tbsp. olive oil

1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into bite sized florets

1-2 heads broccoli (about a pound) cut into bite sized florets

sea salt & pepper to taste

1 medium to large spaghetti squash

4 oz. pancetta, coarsely chopped

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 tbsp. Penzey’s Pasta Sprinkle

2-3 tbsp. flour (I used almond)

3 c. fat free half and half

1 1/2 c. shredded white cheddar cheese

3 tbsp. crumbled gorgonzola cheese

1 c. gluten free bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place your spaghetti squash on a baking sheet and bake for one hour. In the meantime, place your broccoli and cauliflower florets on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tbsp. olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. When you have 20 minutes left on your squash, place the broccoli and cauliflower in the oven.

Heat two tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until slightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the onion and Pasta Seasoning and cook, stirring occasionally, for another two minutes. Sprinkle a tablespoon of flour over this mixture and stir it in for about one minute.

Gradually stir in the half and half and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring often, for about four minutes. If it doesn’t thicken to your liking, add another tablespoon of flour. Remove the sauce from the heat and add cheddar and gorgonzola, stirring until melted.

When you’ve removed your squash, broccoli, and cauliflower from the oven, you can add the broccoli and cauliflower to the sauce. Cut your squash in half, and scrape out the seeds and stringy inside (I do this with a melon baller) then scrape a fork against the flesh of the squash to create the “spaghetti” strings. Add this to your sauce mixture and make sure everything is coated well.

I have six individual glass baking dishes that I like to use for portion control, but you could easily put this in a 9″x13″ baking pan as well. Once you’ve placed the mixture in a pan, use another bowl to mix the bread crumbs with about 2 tbsp. olive oil. Spoon this crumble mixture over the top and bake in the casserole for another 10-15 minutes, until the toping has browned and it’s bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

cauliflower bake


This is SO GOOD! I did the math and it’s about 400 calories per serving if you divide the entire recipe by six. The serving is good sized and very satisfying – I hope you enjoy as much as I did!


Roasted chicken, winter squash and endive-apple salad

This was a big hit when I made it for my folks this week! The chicken is a recipe that I make a lot from Practical Paleo, and the rest of it is from Curtis Stone’s What’s for Dinner? cookbook.

winter squash salad


Chicken & Squash:

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

2 tbsp. brown mustard

2 tbsp. coconut oil

salt & pepper

1 small acorn squash, halved, seeded, and cut into 1″ wedges

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. fennel seeds


1 head endive

1 package baby arugula

1 apple, your choice (I used granny smith)

1/2 c. walnuts

3/4 c. crumbled gorgonzola


3 tbsp. cider vinegar

3 tbsp. minced shallots

2 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. dijon mustard

1 tsp. tarragon

1/4 c. olive oil

salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place chicken thighs on a baking sheet. In a small saucepan, mix mustard, coconut oil, salt and pepper until oil is melted; whisk together and baste chicken with it. Start roasting chicken on bottom rack of oven for 10 minutes.

Toss the squash, olive oil, fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on another baking sheet. Move the chicken to the top shelf of the oven, and place the squash on the bottom. Roast for about 30 minutes or until the squash is tender and undersides are deep golden brown.

To make the salad dressing, whisk all of the ingredients together. For salads, cut the endive into chunks and toss with arugula, apple pieces, and about half of the dressing. Divide the salad between four plates and top each with 2 chicken thighs and some squash. Sprinkle walnuts and gorgonzola on top and drizzle the remaining dressing over it all.

Serve immediately, and enjoy!

(I usually make recipes where I can have leftovers, but I wouldn’t recommend it for this one. Make it for family or friends and eat it all up!

90 degrees and fall is around the corner – Squash enters the lineup

Today’s post brought to you by comfort food eaters anonymous and the Practical Paleo cookbook. Spaghetti squash bolognese has never been at the top of my list, but I wanted to try something different that was gluten free/Paleo. I shocked even myself – this recipe is amazing! As usual, I tweaked it a little bit from the cookbook. It made me feel like fall, and was delicious enough for me to put it into my regular cooking rotation.

Here we go:

Preheat oven to 365 degrees. Cut a squash in half (this recipe called for spaghetti squash, but I used butternut instead) and place it cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes.


Remove from oven and let cool a little bit before cutting.

2 tbsp. butter
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
Sea salt and pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 lb. ground beef (of course mine was grass fed and organic from my cousins farm in Westby, WI)
8 slices bacon (I used Neuske’s)
1 c. Coconut milk
1/2 c. Dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
6 oz. tomato paste

Melt your butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chopped carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper; sauté for a couple of minutes until onion becomes transparent. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Add beef and bacon; sauté until meat is cooked and no longer pink. Add milk, wine and tomato paste; stir until combined, reduce heat and sauté for about 5 more minutes.

At this point I cubed my squash (you could use a fork to make spaghetti squash) and spooned the meat mixture over the top.


I was so happily surprised when I tasted this. Simple ingredients made an awesome flavor, perfect for the kick off of fall. If only I wasn’t sweating while I ate it.

Chicken Masala with coconut rice

My good friend Stephanie got me my favorite kind of gift for my last birthday: a new cookbook with lots of pictures and interesting recipes that are simple enough to succeed in cooking. Tonight I tried my first recipe from Curtis Stone’s “What’s for Dinner?” Cookbook: chicken masala with cucumber raita.


I had a taste for Indian spices, so this was a great solution. I tweaked a few things to my taste (and frankly, I underestimated how much curry powder I had, so had to improvise!) This was a tasty dish that I will certainly make again!


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used one package of organic tenders)
Salt & pepper to season
1/4 c. Curry powder (I used about 1 tbsp. curry, then added some tandoori and masala seasoning to make up the difference)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 lg. yellow onion, chopped
1 tbsp. ginger
5 fresh garlic cloves, pressed (I only used 2, but they were large)
28 oz. can whole tomatoes with juice
1 c. Chicken broth (I used home made turkey broth)
6 oz. fresh baby spinach (I forgot to add this, whoops!)
1/4 c. Fresh cilantro, chopped
3/4 c. Greek yogurt
1 lemon, zest and juice from 1/2
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced thin
1 c. Jasmine rice
2 c. Low fat coconut milk

Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, curry powder (and other spices if you choose) and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until no longer pink, remove from pan and place in a bowl.

Add the onion to your hot pan and start to soften. Add ginger, garlic and additional curry powder. Once onions are soft, add the tomatoes and juice. Cook together for about 5 minutes.

Stir in broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes to thicken. If you prefer it a little thicker, like I do, add a little bit of flour (I used tapioca flour). Once the consistency is how you like it, add the chicken back in and let it simmer for a few more minutes so the chicken reheats.

To make your coconut rice, stir 2 c. Coconut milk with 1 c. Jasmine rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Let it simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let it sit covered for about 5 minuts.

To make the raita, whisk together the yogurt, cilantro, lemon zest and juice, cumin and sliced cucumber.

At this point you are supposed to stir in the spinach, just so it wilts.

To plate, start with your rice, spoon your chicken masala over it, and top with a spoonful of raita. The favors all compliment each other beautifully – a little spicy, a little sweet and the cool creaminess of the raita all pair perfectly.

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