Butternut Squash Parmigiana

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I was going to make eggplant parmigiana, but I decided last week mid-week that I wasn’t going to do any grocery shipping and I was going to use the ingredients I had in the house. I had planned to make this eggplant parmigiana, but didn’t have an eggplant . . . so I searched through my fridge and found a butternut squash that was asking for me to use it. I’ve made mini pizzas on butternut squash before, so I figured this was a good choice of foods to make parmigiana with. I really love butternut squash. This meal turned out to be decadent – with the sweetness of the squash mixed with the salty of the tomato sauce . . . YUM!!! I’m going to not go grocery shopping more and force myself to make do with what I have in the house, because this was magical.

Butternut Squash Parmigiana

Ingredients
3 cups crushed tomatoes
2 medium butternut squash
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350. Slice the squash into slices 1/3 of an inch thick. Make sure you clean out the center of the squash, disposing of the seeds.

2. Brush the squash slices with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until tender.

3. Raise oven heat to 400. Place the tender squash slices in a casserole dish, layering the bottom of the dish. Spoon the tomato sauce on top, followed by the mozzarella, and then the parmesan.

4. Cover the casserole dish with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

5. Cool for 10 minutes before enjoying!

* serves 4
* shared with Tasty Tuesdays

Foodie Pen Pals: September

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I haven’t participated in Foodie Pen Pals in SO LONG! The last time was last May. But due to major changes in my life (such as getting a job and having spending money,) I’ve been able to afford to participate again. This month my FPP buddy was Libby from Louisiana who runs Libby’s Library. The box Libby made me is full of Louisiana goodies – things that hail from the state of Louisiana. I’m excited to try everything, but there’s so much to try! And then I got strep throat… So, I will be making more things out of the box, but haven’t gotten around to it yet for the most part.

  • On the 5th of the month you receive an email pairing you with information about who you’re paired with. You email that person to get information pertaining to allergies and dietary restriction.
  • By the 15th you put together a box of treats and mail them to your partner.
  • On the last day of the month you post a blog post about your box of treat

It’s your turn to sign up!

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This box is full of Louisiana goodies for me to make dinners with – from roux to spices to packaged mixes, I got it all! I even got mardi gras beads without having to do anything for them!

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Slap Ya Mama’s Cajun Red Beans & Rice. I don’t know if my mama wants me slapping her 😉 But I do bet that her and my dad would love this with a meal. What makes that even better is they’re coming to visit at the end of October! I’ll have to make a protein with this rice for them.

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I used this Queen Bee seasoning on a piece of chicken I threw on the grill and made a chicken sandwich with. I have some other Cajun seasoning, but this beats it by 100%. It’s so much more flavorful and left a bang in my mouth!

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I also received this roux. Anyone have ideas what I can do with it!? I’ve looked online and got some recipes that I can include this in – but I’m sure it’s super flavorful.

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Next… Cafe Du Monde’s beignet mix. I made a batch of these the first weekend I got them. They were easy to make, but I didn’t have powdered sugar so I used Nutella instead. I have a sweet tooth. To note, I also sent Libby Nutella in her package. Maybe she should try beignets with Nutella 😉

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The last photo is three items – etoufee mix, gumbo mix, and jambalaya mix. There’s recipes on the packets to make cooking these three dishes even easier. I’m excited! Maybe I can have some authentic Louisiana in here (if I stop doing things like putting Nutella on the beignets!)

Quick-Fried Prawns with Spices

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Have you noticed my banner has changed in the last few months? While I will always technically be a student of the law, I decided to make it a bit more accurate. I’ve had a busy few weeks, that aren’t over yet. It’s been trial after trial and this week I got my first not guilty. Being a criminal defense attorney, generally the verdicts come back guilty, so this is a huge victory. And as my tiredness from trial wears off this week, the next one starts Monday.

But in between court and trials and suits and high heels that hurt my feet, I’ve still found time to cook.

Anyway – this month at Belleau Kitchen’s Random Recipes we were instructed to randomly pick a book off our shelf, open it to a random page, and cook that recipe. My random number generator landed me on one of my favorite cookbooks, Best Ever Indian Cookbook. I got this book years ago, before Borders closed down, off the sale table for $9.99. I never realized it would provide me so many delicious foods.

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I’ve cooked out of it a lot. In fact, it’s been the book chosen by Random Recipes before too.

Anywho, this shrimp dish was in the Soups and Appetizers section and it was suggested in the book to serve it with naan. I didn’t end up doing that. I served the shrimp as the main dish and I served it over basmati rice. It was a light meal, but it was all I really needed today. I made a few alterations with the spices because I didn’t have cardamom pods or black mustard seeds.

Now, I think I’ll stop blabbering on. I could go on forever right now.

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Quick-Fried Prawns with Spices

Ingredients
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 inch ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp ground cardamom
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper, to taste
3 tbsp cilantro, chopped

Directions

1. Combine the ginger, garlic, chili powder, turmeric, mustard, and cardamom in a bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Set aside temporarily.

2. Heat a wok until hot. Add butter and swirl until melted.

3. Add the shrimp and spices and stir-fry for 2 minutes, until they begin to turn pink,

4. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked all the way through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with coriander and serve.

* serves 4
* besides Random Recipes, this is also shared with Foodie Friday

Cheddar Cheese Pasta with Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Fried Capers

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Pasta Please is one of the challenges I try to participate in every month, though sometimes the month passes before I get to it.. This was not one of those months! I’m trying to participate in all the fun round-ups that I normally do. This month’s Pasta Please was hosted by Allotment2Kitchen who also hosts a new round up I’m going to start participating in called Eat Your Greens. The idea of Eat Your Greens is to share your vegetarian dishes made with green veggies. This month’s Eat Your Greens was paired together with Pasta Please.

I decided to use cabbage in my recipe for the challenge. My quick google search tells me cabbage may have cancer fighting qualities, as it contains a good amount of sinigrin, which has been in the attention of cancer researchers in developing a cure. However, the way to get the most benefit from the cabbage is to steam it which is not how I cooked it.

For a quick cabbage story, I love cabbage but I hate the smell of it. When I was in college one of my roommates decided she was going to go on a cabbage soup diet or something. She made this huge batch of cabbage soup which just made the house reek. In the end, she couldn’t stomach the soup because of the strong cabbage scent – so that diet was incredibly short lived, but the smell has definitely made an impact on me forever.

But, I haven’t let that get in the way of eating cabbage. It still tastes good to me at least.

This cheesy pasta recipe was delicious. The fried capers were a big hit. I’d never prepared capers like that before, but I definitely will again!

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Cheddar Cheese Pasta with Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Fried Capers
(source)

Ingredients
1/3 cup + 3 tbsp olive oil
1 cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cabbage, cut into strips
1 onion, chopped
3 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup capers, drained and patted dry
8 oz rotini pasta
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Place a baking sheet in the oven. Preheat oven to 425. Once preheated, remove the sheet from the oven. Pour 1 tbsp of olive oil over the baking sheet. Place the cauliflower on the sheet and drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil over the cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, shaking the baking sheet halfway through.

2. While the cauliflower is roasting, heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the cabbage, onion, and thyme sprigs. Saute for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, add the white wine to deglaze. Set aside.

3. In a small skillet add the 1/3 cup remaining oil. Once the oil is hot, add the capers. Fry for 2 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon to a plate covered with a paper towel to drain.

4. Cook pasta per the directions on the box. Drain, saving 1 cup of the water the pasta cooked in.

5. Once the pasta is cooked, pour the noodles into the skillet with the cabbage. Put over medium heat. Add the cheese. Add the saved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time. Cook until you have a sauce develop. Add the thyme.

6. Serve and top with capers.

* serves 4
* besides Pasta Please and Eat Your Greens, this recipe is being shared with See Ya In The Gumbo