Roasted Delicata Squash

I had never even heard of delicata squash, until I saw Biz talk about it on her instagram. I wasn’t even sure it was available around here, since I’d never seen it.

However, I was in Trader Joe’s the other day and saw some and was excited to try it. The first way I used it was in my hearty lentil stew, but I really wanted to try it in a way where the squash was the star.

I decided to try it roasted (I have some more and plan to oven or air fry it, just haven’t done it yet). It really couldn’t have been easier. I just sliced the squash into rings, and removed the seeds. Put it on a lined baking pan, and then put a little olive oil, salt and pepper on it.

I let it roast in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes. And, OMG!, this stuff was delicious! Such good flavor and I almost couldn’t stop eating it. And, unfortunately, I didn’t get a good picture of the squash after it was roasted – that’s how quickly it was eaten.

If you haven’t tried it before – give it a try!

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Hearty Beef Stew

When it starts to get cooler, it’s really hard to beat a good stew. And, beef stew is one of our favorites. It’s warm, filling and feeds a lot – what’s not to love about it?! OH, and it is super easy to make!

I started by chopping my vegetables. Since it was going in a stew, I just rough chopped everything.

The cooking started with, as so many things that I love do, a little bit of olive oil, the onions I chopped and garlic. I cooked the onions and garlic until they started to get soft.

Then I added in the stew meat and browned it – adding in the seasonings, when it started to get browned.

Finally, I added in 4 cups – or one carton – of beef stock, the can of crushed tomatoes and the vegetables.

I let it come to a boil and then reduced the heat and covered the stew.

** Side note, the recipe is written up to indicate that you should, after lowering the heat cook it for about an hour (which is what I would normally do) – however, tonight, my daughter had volleyball and I was getting the dinner ready prior to leaving for the match, so I deviated slightly. I brought it up to a boil and then simmered for about 30 minutes or so. I had preheated my oven to 450 degrees. When I had to leave, I put the dutch oven (lid on) in the oven, turned off the oven and let it continue to cook in the oven. While this isn’t necessary for this recipe, and isn’t even how I would normally do it, I do mention it in case it is helpful to someone! The Le Creuset dutch oven is so well insulated, that this works perfectly – and kept the beef stew nice and warm for the time that we were away from the house. It was nice to be able to come home, only needing to thicken the stew before eating!

When we got home, I removed the dutch oven from the oven and returned it to the stove, as I wanted to add a quick slurry (just a couple tablespoons of corn starch mixed with about 1/2 cup or so of cold water) to the stew to thicken it a bit. To help it thicken, I brought it back up to a boil prior to adding in the slurry. Point of note – even after being in the oven, which wasn’t on – but, had been preheated to 450 degrees, for a couple hours – the stew was still pretty hot and was up to a boil in a matter of about 2 minutes.

We were hungry and we were cold – we enjoyed our beef stew about 10 – 15 minutes after adding the slurry! Super easy – super filling – super delicious – super perfect for this busy evening.

Hearty Beef Stew

2.5 – 3 lbs stew meat
5 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
6-8 red potatoes, diced
1 large can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
4 cups beef stock
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
3/4 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp Umami seasoning

  • Chop vegetables
  • In a large dutch oven, add olive oil and then onions and garlic, cook until soft
  • Add in stew meat and brown, add in seasonings
  • Add in tomatoes and beef stock, bring to a boil – then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for approximately 1 hour (timing may vary depending on the size you cut your veggies)
  • Just before serving, bring back up to a boil – and add in a slurry of cold water and corn starch to thicken

Chicken Skillet with Asparagus and Mushrooms

I do, truly, love a one pot (or skillet) meal! I love the easy cleanup and I love having one dish that covers all the bases – protein, veggies and starch (if starch is your thing – it’s, clearly, mine!). This recipe checks all the boxes. And, to top it off – it couldn’t be easier!

The prep started by cutting up my chicken to bite size pieces. I actually used chicken tenders, so cutting it to approximately 1 inch pieces was super easy. I seasoned the raw chicken with the umami seasoning and let it hang out, while I prepped the vegetables.

For vegetables, I used onion, asparagus and mushrooms – I chose those vegetables because that is what I had in the refrigerator. Certainly, you could use carrots and celery for a chicken version that would be similar to the pork chop skillet, as another option. The flavors would definitely work!

Once I had everything prepped – I started cooking. I started with browning the chicken in olive oil. I didn’t want to cook the chicken through, but I did want to get some color on the chicken. After browning the chicken, I removed it from the pan.

I had enough oil left in the pan, but if you don’t – just add a little more at this time. Then add in the onions and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes. Then add in the other vegetables, along with your salt and pepper and saute for 8-10 minutes (or until the asparagus starts to get a little soft and you get some good color on your veggies).

Once the vegetables have sauteed for a bit, you’ll want to add in your rice. Add it into the pan, prior to putting in your liquids – allowing the rice to get coated with the oil that is in the pan (it makes for such a flavorful rice, if you let it soak up the oil and the seasonings, prior to bringing it to a boil!) and stir through.

Once your rice is fully mixed in, you’re ready to add in your liquids – chicken stock, milk and cream of mushroom soup. Once added, mix well.

Then add the chicken back into the skillet – and bring it up to a boil.

Once a boil is achieved, you want to reduce the heat, cover the pan – and let it cook for about 20 minutes (or until the rice is done – for the jasmine rice I use, that is about 20 minutes).

Top with some shaved or grated romano cheese, if you like!

Chicken Skillet with Asparagus and Mushrooms

1 1/2 – 2 pounds chicken breased, cubed to about 1 inch pieces
6-8 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
15-20 spears of asparagus, cut to bit size pieces
1 onion, diced
2 cups of rice (I use Jasmine)
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp Umami seasoning
1/2 tbsp olive oil
Romano cheese (optional)

  • In large skillet, add 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • Add chicken, which has been seasoned with Umami seasoning, to hot oil and brown
  • Remove chicken from skillet
  • Add onions and garlic, saute for 5 minutes
  • Add in the asparagus and mushrooms (as well as salt and pepper) and saute vegetables for 8-10 minutes
  • Add rice in and stir – allow the rice to soak up some of the oil from the sauteed vegetables
  • Add in the chicken stock, cream of mushroom soup and milk and bring to a boil
  • Return chicken to skillet
  • Reduce heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes (or until rice is done)

Easy Chicken and Rice Casserole

I was looking for something easy to make tonight – and I knew I wanted to use chicken. So, I decided to make an easy chicken and rice casserole – that I could just throw together, put in the oven and forget about it (for the most part). Is it just me or should a casserole be comfort food? Maybe it is because I love casseroles, but I tend to associate them with comfort food. After a night of not sleeping well, and feeling poorly as a result of that, comfort food sounded just like what I needed.

Comfort food, at least in my house, tends to be creamy! And, what could make a casserole more creamy than Campbell’s ‘cream of whatever’ soup? For this recipe, I decided to use a cream of chicken and a cream of celery. To that, I added some celery, carrots and onion – to go with the rice and chicken.

As far as seasonings, I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and umami seasoning.

For the chicken, I used my instant pot to cook it (in 1 cup of stock, which I also added to the casserole). I cooked 2 very large chicken breasts, from frozen in 20 minutes – and used my hand mixer to shred it. I’ve blogged about this before – and, I still stand by the fact that I’ll never do shredded chicken any other way!

I chose to make the casserole in my large dutch oven. Once all the vegetables were chopped and the chicken was shredded, I just dumped everything into the dutch oven.

And stirred… Yes, it is really that simple! Dump the ingredients and stir!

I then put the lid on, and put the dutch oven in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, I removed it from the oven, uncovered, topped with bread crumbs. You don’t want to add the bread crumbs until some of the liquid from the casserole have been absorbed – otherwise, it will just get mushy, instead of adding a little crispiness to the top of the casserole.

And back into the oven it went, uncovered – for another 20 minutes.

There are vegetables in the casserole, but if you want – you can serve alongside another vegetable or side. I had some field peas with mine.

Easy Chicken and Rice Casserole

2 – 3 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (along with stock from cooking the chicken breasts)
2 1/2 cups rice
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery (or mushroom) soup
2 1/2 ‘cans’ (using soup can to measure) chicken stock
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp paprika
2 tsp Umami seasoning
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs

  • In a large dutch oven, mix all ingredients (yes, it is really that easy – dump it all in!)
  • Cover dutch oven and cook for 45 minutes, at 400 degrees
  • Uncover – top with Panko bread crumbs – and bake for another 20 minutes, uncovered

Apple and Pumpkin Spice Strudel

A week or so ago, I found the Pumpkin Spice Alouette Spreadable Cheese in my local Aldi. Since then, I’ve been trying to think of how I might use this cheese in recipe – did I want to try for something savory (the cheese is sweet on it’s own) or do a dessert of sweet dish.

This morning, I decided – sweet – and I wanted to pair it with apples. Yes, yes, I know – I’ve been on a huge apple kick lately – my oldest child reminded me of this – but, it is apple season, after all! I have no shame about it, at all!

I started by slicing 4 -5 small apples (I combined a couple honey crisp with whatever ‘baking apples’ that Walmart had on sale, in a bag, last week), thinly.

In a large bowl, I combined the apples with cinnamon, white sugar, brown sugar and flour.

After mixing well, I let the apple mixture sit while I prepped the rest of the strudel.

I used a store bought, refrigerated, pie crust. I just rolled it out on parchment paper, then added 2 tbsp of the Alouette Pumpkin Spice Spreadable Cheese to the center of the pie crust.

I topped the cheese, with the apple mixture.

Then, I closed up the strudel. You can do a full closure by just folding over the pie crust (and put a couple slits to vent the strudel) – or do what I did, and do small slices on either side of the apples and the overlap the slices, in the center.

I then topped the strudel with an egg wash and sprinkled on some sugar. I placed the strudel (with the parchment paper) onto a baking pan and baked in a 425 degree oven, for approximately 30 minutes. Once your pie crust is golden brown, you’ll know you’re good to go!

After removing the strudel from the oven, I let it sit for about 15 minutes. Then, I topped it with melted Cinnamon Bun Spread from Trader Joe’s.

Easy Apple and Pumpkin Spice Strudel

1 refrigerated pie crust
3-4 apples (sliced thin)
2 tbsp Pumpkin Spice Alouette Cheese
1/4 cup sugar (+ 1/2 tbsp for top of strudel)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
Juice of 1 small lemon (or 1/2 larger lemon)
2 tbsp Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Bun Spread

  • Slice apples thin
  • Mix apples with sugars, flour, cinnamon and lemon juice – set aside
  • Roll out room temperature pie crust
  • Put room temperature Pumpkin Spice Alouette Cheese onto middle of pie crust
  • Top Alouette Cheese with apple mixture
  • Close pie crust, as you wish (I did small slices on each side and tried to overlap them at the center – I left the ends open, for a more rustic appearance)
  • Brush top of strudel with an egg wash
  • Sprinkle sugar over top
  • Bake in 425 degree oven, for 30 minutes (or until the pie crust is golden brown)
  • In microwave, melt 2 tbsp of the Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Bun Spread and drizzle over top of strudel, prior to serving.

Easy Chili Mac

When I was a little girl, I remember having goulash – and this recipe reminds me of that. While this recipe is not the same as the goulash I ate as a child, it is one that I know we’ll make a lot – as it a comforting, filling and easy recipe.

The recipe contains ground beef, tomatoes, onion, kidney beans, noodles, cheese and seasonings. What could be more comforting than that?

I started by chopping an onion and then cooking it, with some garlic and olive oil, in a large dutch oven.

After the onions and garlic sauteed for about 5 minutes, I added in the ground beef and cooked until it was browned. I added in the seasonings and stirred through.

Once the beef was done, I added in the canned ingredients – tomatoes, tomato paste and kidney beans and stirred through. I added in the beef stock and brought the pot up to a boil.

After a boil was achieved, I lowered the heat to simmer and added in the pasta. I allowed the pasta to cook for approximately 13 minutes (just cook until the pasta is done, refer to the box for cooking times).

While the pasta was cooking, I shredded approximately 1 1/2 cups of cheese. I used moneterey jack cheese, but cheddar would be good too!

Once the pasta is done, you’ll want to add in the cheese and stir through. You can add more cheese, when serving, if you like!

Easy Chili Mac

1 lb lean ground beef
1 1/2 onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 16 oz box elbow macaroni pasta
1 large can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 can rotel tomatoes with chilis
1 can dark red kidney beans (drained)
3 cups beef stock
1/2 tbsp chili powder
3/4 tbsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups grated cheese
1 tsp olive oil

  • Put olive oil in hot dutch oven (or large pot)
  • Add in garlic and onions and saute for about 5 minutes
  • Add ground beef to pot and cook, until browned
  • Add in seasonings and mix through
  • Add in tomatoes, tomato sauce and kidney beans, bring pot to a boil
  • Reduce heat and add in the box of pasta
  • Cook until pasta is done (around 13-15 minutes should be sufficient)
  • Just before serving, stir in the grated cheese

Rustic Peach and Apple Tart

I have been on a bit of an apple kick – but, I also recently bought some peaches when I was at the grocery store, so I thought that I’d do something with the peaches and one of the apples that I had on hand. Originally, I thought about a traditional pie – but, decided to do a rustic tart, instead.

In addition to the peaches and the apples, I had some delicious peach jam that I decided to use in this recipe – just 2 tablespoons, but it made such a huge impact in the flavor!

I started by slicing up the peaches and the apples (pretty thinly) and then tossing them with the cinnamon, sugar and corn starch. I set the mixture aside, to let it macerate while I prepped the rest of the tart.

I heated up the peach jam, in the microwave, just to thin it out a bit.

After rolling out the pie crust (you’ll want to let it get about to room temperature, to make it easier to work with), I added a bit of the peach jam to the bottom, then piled on the fruit mixture, topped with the remaining peach jam (it’s thin enough to just pour over, after microwaving for a few seconds) turning the edges of the pie crust up over the fruit. As a finishing touch, I applied an egg wash (just a whisked egg, with a bit of water) to the edges of the tart and topped with about 1 tbsp sugar – spreading the sugar over the edges of the tart and the exposed fruit.

I baked the tart in a 400 degree oven, for about 30 minutes – or until the pie crust was golden brown.

Rustic Peach and Apple Tart

3 peaches, sliced
1 large granny smith apple, sliced
1 refrigerated pie crust, let sit out until it is at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar (+ 1 tbsp for top of tart)
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp peach jam
Egg wash

  • Slice peaches and apple
  • Add 1/4 cup sugar, corn starch and cinnamon to a bowl, with the fruit and stir well – sit aside
  • Heat up peach jam in microwave, just to thin it out a bit
  • Roll out pie crust, on baking pan (I put it on some parchment paper for easier clean up)
  • Put a little of the thinned peach jam in the middle of the pie crust (leaving about 2 inches on outside of crust) – keep remainder!
  • Pile fruit into the center of the pie crust, keeping the same 2 inches on outside of crust
  • Pour remaining
  • Fold up the edges of the pie crust, around the fruit
  • Apply egg wash to folded up edges, and sprinkle sugar over entire tart
  • Bake in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until pie crust is golden brown
  • Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting into the tart