Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Caramelized Squash & Onions with Butter Sauce

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I know, trust me!  It was absolutely delicious!  Did I mention a snap to make?  I didn't?  Well it is, and your family will absolutely adore you.  My youngest said to me when she bit into the rice mixture, "mom it feels like I'm eating Thanksgiving right now".  Music to a mother's ears I say...

I like to use seasonal ingredients when possible.  First and foremost it is cheaper to use in season, and secondly, they are at their best flavor.  With autumn literally around the corner, squash is plentiful, bursting with flavor and very budget friendly.  Not to mention "I love me some squash"!!  

I'll share a little secret with you.  "Shhhhhh, don't tell anyone, okay, promise"?  When I first met my husband he told me he doesn't like squash.  I literally froze in my seat.  Who doesn't like squash I thought to myself? First Thanksgiving over his mother's house, I now knew and completely and utterly understood my husband's aversion to squash.  She took the box of frozen squash, you know, the pureed kind.  Dumped it in a saucepan, heated it up and put it in a bowl.  Yup, that was it...
Yummy?  NOT!  Baby food tastes better.  

Fast forward to the present, my husband now adores squash, of all kinds.  Yes, *insert fist pump* my job is done!

Ready for this very easy recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45-55 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

2 medium squash (I used acorn)
2 large onions
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil

Butter Sauce:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1-1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 - 1/3tsp cinnamon

-Preheat oven to 375F.

-Cut and seed the squash.  You can either peel it and cut it into cubes, or you can quarter it with peel on and scoop out the middle once roasted.  I usually do it that way because it is much easier, set aside.

-Cut and slice your onions add into a bowl and along with the quartered squash.  Add your olive oil, salt & pepper and toss to coat.

-Place on a baking sheet and roast for 45-55 minutes turning the onions every so often so they don't burn.  

-Once the squash is nice and soft and has turned a bit golden, along with your onions pull out of the oven.  Plate your veggies onto your favorite platter, set aside. 

-Add your melted butter into a small bowl, add your brown sugar and the pinch of cinnamon.  Whisk till nice and creamy and the butter has been incorporated with the sugar.  Drizzle lovingly over your veggies and serve.  

Don't be surprised if they ask for seconds.

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Three Cheese Macaroni & Cheese with Bacon Topping

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Believe me, it was absolutely delicious!  We had seconds, I'm not joking.  You have the macaroni bathing in that decadent creamy three cheese sauce...
Then you add the bacon topping.  "What's not to love"?  

This dish will be loved by everyone in your household trust me.  It is a snap to bake and did I mention budget friendly?  I know!  Just make sure you call me so I can come over for dinner! I'll bring appetizers or dessert or something.

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

1lb your favorite pasta (16Oz)
1lb bacon

Three Cheese Sauce:
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp Canola oil
6 tbsp flour
4 cups milk (I used 2%)
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (can use Parmesan, not the one in the jar)
1/2 cup Swiss cheese, grated
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Bacon Topping:
Cooked bacon slices minus the 4 strips
25 butter crackers- 1 sleeve (Ritz)
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
2 tbsp parsley *optional*

-Cook your bacon till crisp, drain on paper towels and reserve 4 slices, set aside.  If a bacon strip somehow, I mean these things happen, mysteriously ends up in your mouth...
Don't panic, just go with it!

-Boil pasta according to box directions.  Once cooked, drain and cool with cold water to stop the cooking process.  Keep cool, cooked pasta in the strainer till ready to use.

-Preheat oven to 350F.

-Let's get to work on that amazing sauce shall we...
Easy so far right?  I know!  Using a medium saucepan melt your butter and canola oil.  Add your flour and cook for about 1 minute. The reason you are cooking it is so your sauce doesn't have a floury flavor.

-After about a minute, add your milk all at once and whisk into the flour mixture.  Keep whisking till the sauce is nicely thickened about 5-6 minutes.  Turn off heat

-Add your cheeses and stir to incorporate thoroughly.  Here is a step by step video by me that shows you how to make a "Bechamel" which is literally the cheese sauce.  See, that's how much I love you! ♥

-Add your cooked pasta and stir.

-Pour your decadent pasta that is just so happy to be swimming in a creamy lake of luxurious cheese sauce into a 13 X 9 pre-sprayed baking pan, set aside.

-For the topping, add your bacon (I usually break them into pieces for this, I shouldn't but old habits die hard, you know how that is), your crackers, Romano cheese and parsley if using into a mini food processor.  Pulse till crumbly and fine.

-Sprinkle bacon topping over macaroni and then crumble the remaining bacon pieces over the topping.

-Bake for 30-35 minutes till nicely warmed through and you just can't wait to dig in.

I usually serve this with a simple salad of some kind, as I want the macaroni and cheese to be the star!!

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi