Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Sage

Every year I make butternut squash soup and every year I’m underwhelmed. It never turns out very flavourful. Over the past year I’ve been cooking with all kinds of squashes a lot more then I used to. We love eating acorn, butternut and delicata squash. I’ve been roasting, mashing, topping salads and making sauces out of squash constantly. So when I made soup this year I was ready to get it right. And I did just that! This recipe is rich is flavour, easy to make and great for work day lunches.

In this recipe I roast butternut squash, onions and garlic in the oven until caramelized and browning. I also add fresh sage and delicious brown butter which takes the soup to the next level!

I like serving this soup with so super fast homemade croutons or to make it a really filling me some cooked apple sausage. Both are great options.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Sage

Yields: 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 Medium Butternut Squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Medium Onion, chopped
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 2 Teaspoons Fresh Sage, chopped
  • 6 Cups Low Sodium Vegetable Stock
  • Optional: Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 °F. Spread out chopped butternut squash, onions and whole garlic cloves on a large baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes until soft and squash begins to caramelize.

In a large soup pot melt the butter on medium heat. Continue to cook the butter in medium heat until it becomes golden and brown buts form on the bottom of the pot (3-5 mins). Reduce heat to low and add chopped sage. Sauté sage until fragrant and starting to crisp, about a minute. 

Add onions, butternut squash and garlic to the pot. Stir mixture to combine. Add the vegetable stock. Bring soup to a simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Using an immersion blender blend soup until completely smooth (If using a traditional blender allow soup to cool before blending). Return soup to pot. Taste the soup, add salt and pepper to taste if needed.

Serve with your favourite soup toppings and sides.

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Chicken Noodle Soup

Homemade Lasagna

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If I could eat Italian food for every meal I would. Pasta for breakfast sounds way better then oatmeal or eggs to me. I have always loved Lasagna. My mom would always make it when my grandparents came to visit. It’s such a great crowd pleasing meal that can be made in advance.

Now this recipe is not my mom’s. Her recipe came from the back of the pasta box. Although delicious you wont see me make a lasagna recipe that contains cottage cheese in place of ricotta…. sorry mom! This recipe has, ground beef, Italian sausage, ricotta, fresh basil and lots of cheese!! I’ll also share a trick for avoiding soggy noodles. Believe me this recipe is worth the effort.

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So my tips for this recipe are….

  1. Find the biggest pan you can! If you can get a pan thats actually called a lasagna pan that’s the best this to use since this makes a large quantity. I use the deepest 13×9 baking dish I own and always have a little bit left over. SO the bigger the better!
  2. Double or even triple the recipe. Make up a few lasagnas in foil baking dishes and stock your freezer. I wouldn’t call this recipe hard, but it is time consuming so you might as well batch cook.
  3. Throw a parmesan rind into your meet sauce. Now this is totally optional, so if you don’t have one no worries. If you do have a parmesan rind (I freeze my leftover rinds) throw it in to simmer with your sauce it will add incredible flavour.
  4. Either use fresh lasagna noodles or quick soak your dried pasta. Ok so I hate cooking lasagna sheets, they always tear and my largest pot is already being used to simmer the meat sauce. So I have two options for you, the first is using fresh pasta. This stuff cooks so fast you don’t need to boil it! It can be pretty pricy though so I normally opt for option two, quick soaking regular lasagna noodles. I put the noodles in a large pan, cover the noodles with boiling hot water for 2-3 minutes. This will soften the noodles but they will still have a nice structure, and they don’t soak up too much sauce as the lasagna bakes.
  5. My fifth and final tip is that fresh is best! Fresh cheese and fresh basil! Get your self a basil plant, they are the best! Basil is one of the only herbs I refuse to use dried. In my opinion if you only have dried basil you might as well not use any at all. Secondly your cheese should be either deli sliced, or freshly grated by you! Pre grated cheese has a weird powder on it and it impacts the flavour of the cheese so buying a block is best (and cheaper!)

So now you have a fews tip on how I make this lasagna, its really so good!

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Homemade Lasagna

Yields: 12 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pound Italian Sausage (I use spicy, but sweet is also delicious!)
  • 2 Pounds Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 White Onion, finely diced
  • 6 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
  • 2 (28 oz) Cans Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2 (6 oz) Cans Tomato Paste
  • 1 (15 oz) Can Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Red Wine (Chianti and Pino Noir are my favourites)
  • 1 Tablespoon White Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • Parmesan Cheese Rind (optional)
  • 1 Pound Lasagna Noodles
  • 16 Ounces Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Pound Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/4 Cups Fresh Parmesan Cheese, grated

Directions:

In a large pot or dutch oven brown sausage and ground beef over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Sauté until translucent, browning and fragrant (5 minutes). Add red wine to deglaze the pan. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato past and tomato sauce. Bring sauce to a simmer. Add sugar, basil, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and parmesan rind to the pot. Cover and simmer on low heat for at least 1.5 hours. Remove parmesan rind before using.

In a medium sized bowl combine ricotta, egg, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Mix to combine and set aside. Place noodles in a large pan, pour boiling water over the noodles and soak for 2-3 minutes. Remove noodles from the pan, place in a colander and rinse with cold water. Place shredded mozzarella and remaining shredded parmesan together in a bowl, Mix to combine and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 ° F.

Assemble your lasagna. Cover the bottom of the baking dish with 1 cup of meat sauce. Cover sauce with 6 lasagna noodles. Layer one half of the ricotta mixture, gently spread. Sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan cheese mixture. Top with 1 1/2 cups of meat  sauce, and sprinkle another layer of cheese. Repeat layers. Top the final layer of noodles with remaining meat sauce and cheese.

Cover loosely with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Adapted from All Recipes.

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Warm Sweet & Salty Rosemary Cashews

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Ok guys the holidays are coming! As I write this we are less then 7 weeks away from Christmas! That’s so crazy! Coming over the next 7 weeks will be lots of Christmas and Thanksgiving recipes. Canadian Thanksgiving may be over, but I know American Thanksgiving is right around the corner and there is some great sides a desserts coming for all my American friends. I also have some bonus posts coming up and even a new series coming in December! The next 7 weeks are going to be jam packed with Holiday content!

Today I’m kicking off my holiday content with a perfect holiday appetizer. These Warm Sweet and Salty Rosemary Cashews are so simple, but make a big impact. I’m all about impressing guests with as little effort as possible. The Holidays are so busy we really don’t need any fussy appetizers. With all the food that gets served on Thanksgiving and Christmas I like to keep things pretty simple. I also love that these can be made in advance and just warmed for a few minutes in the oven on the day of your party!

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This recipe can be customized to your tastes. Don’t like cashews? Swap in some almonds. Hate the taste of rosemary? Throw a little chili powder in with the butter, sugar and honey mixture. You can really make it your own. I think I may even make a trio of nuts for my next party to go along with a super simple cheese board. How delicious would that be? The possibilities really are endless. Also the possibilities are really delicious and addicting… just saying!

I hope this helps jump start your holiday menu planning!

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Warm Sweet & Salty Rosemary Cashews

Yields: 8 Servings

  • 1 Pound Raw Unsalted Cashews
  • 2 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 2 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon Fresh Rosemary, finely minced
  • Flakey Sea Salt, to taste

Directions:

Preheat the over to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a saucepan melt butter, honey and brown sugar over medium-low heat. Once combined remove from heat. Add cashews and stir to coat.

Transfer cashews to the lined baking sheet and spread out into an even layer.Bake cashews for 10 minutes tossing the cashews half way through the cooking time.

Remove from the oven. Add chopped rosemary and sprinkle with sea salt. Toss to combine. Allow to cool for 5 minute before transferring to a serving dish.

Store in an airtight container for up to a week. To re warm the cashews bake in a 300°F oven for 5 minutes.

Adapted from Entertaining with Beth.


Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

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So a few months back I was at the grocery store picking up a few things when I spotted a bag of Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies. Of course being the cookie obsessed woman that I am I had to buy them. I am slightly embarrassed to say that my husband and I ate the entire bag later that evening. Since then we have vowed to never eat that many cookies in one sitting ever again. That stomach ache was horrible… but probably worth it. Since then I have tried finding these cookies every time I go to the store. It’s been months and I still can’t find them. Isn’t that just the worst? So I’ve been craving these delicious soft, chewy caramely (not a word…just go with it!) cookies for months. Since I couldn’t find them I thought I’d try making them. Why not right?

After the first batch I asked Calvin, my husband and eager tester for his brutally honest opinion. He had a two suggestions… more chocolate and smaller chunks of caramel. He then thought about it for a minute and said actually these are amazing! So of course I still made a few tweaks because I can’t leave well enough alone, but he was right these are amazing! Dare I say better then the store bought version.

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This cookie recipe is an adaptation of my favourite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I love it because it’s super flavourful, rich, soft and chewy without being cakey or doughy. It was the perfect base for these cookies. I also chose to use milk chocolate chips in this cookie because it’s a favourite in my house, but since these are salted I thought the extra sweetness would work well. As for the caramel part of this cookie I first thought I would make homemade caramels and pack these cookies full of them. But really who has time for that? Honestly? As much as I love homemade caramel sauce and we know I love it, here, here and here. I just didn’t this the extra effort was worth it in this case. I used those caramels you get at Halloween that are wrapped in cellophane. Now that I think about it though unwrapping all those caramels was kind of a pain in the ass… possibly more then making homemade caramel. Regardless I used soft caramel candies and chopped them up into halves and quarters to add them to the batter. You need to chop them otherwise you get huge chunks of caramel that are crazy chewy and will remove all your loose fillings!

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These cookies might actually be the best cookies I’ve ever made, but my Christmas cookies are coming soon so maybe we can top them? If it means more taste testing I’m up for the challenge!

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Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yields : 16-18 Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 Cup White Sugar
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
  • 1 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Chocolate Chips (Dark, milk or semi sweet)
  • 40 Caramel Candies (approx 1/2 cup)
  • Flakey Sea Salt

Directions:

Melt butter in the microwave for 30 seconds, or until just starting to melt. Cream butter on high until whipped and pale white in colour about 2 minutes. Add sugar and beat on high until smooth about 1 minute. Add eggs and vanilla, beat on medium until combined.

Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium-sized bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture. Beat on low until just combined. It’s ok if some four is still showing.

Chop un wrapped caramel candies into thirds and quarters. Measure out a half cup of the chopped caramels. Reserve the rest for later. Fold in chocolate chips and caramel pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Using an ice cream scoop or two spoons to scoop out the dough. Roll the dough into balls and press on or two of the remaining caramel pieces into the top of each ball of dough. Space the cookies 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.

Bake cookies for about 15 – 17 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with flaky sea salt immediately. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Adapted from Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

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Happy November! Do you get excited for a new month? I don’t normally, but now that we are heading into the holiday season I was very excited for this new month.

Today I will be sharing a recipe for Sautéed Brussels Sprouts. This recipe is delicious on your Thanksgiving or Christmas table, but so simple you could throw it together on a typical weeknight (we do!). Now I know that brussels sprouts are a polarizing vegetable, but I think even a brussels sprout hated would enjoy this recipe.

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I like to sauté shaved brussel sprouts instead of cooking them whole. Not only do they cook fast but I have found that people who claim not to like brussels sprouts will like them way better if they are shaved like this. Also add bacon, garlic and cheese to anything and I’m totally sold.

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Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

Yields: 4-6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 lbs Brussels Sprouts
  • 2 Sliced Bacon, diced
  • 1 Garlic Clove, minced
  • 2 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce (soy sauce can be substituted)
  • Fresh Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions:

Trim the end off the brussels sprouts and remove outer leaves. Use a food processors grater attachment of a knife to shave brussels sprouts. Alternatively you can buy a bag of pre cut brussels sprouts. Set aside.

In a frying pan cook diced bacon over medium heat until starting to crisp, about 3-5 minutes. Drain off excess fat. I leave just enough bacon fat in the pan to coat and discard the rest. Add brussels sprouts to the pan. Sauté over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add minced garlic and sauté for 4 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to the pan. Sauté for another minute.

Transfer to a serving dish and top with freshly grated or shaved parmesan. Serve immediately.

 

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