Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

My mom has the most beautiful garden. Her and my stepdad have taken care of their garden for many years now and I always look forward to when the butternut squash is ready. This is unfortunately the last year I’ll be getting her batch of squash since they’re moving so I gladly took the 8 big pieces she gave me. Butternut squash mac and cheese has been on my radar for awhile now, so when my husband was gone for the night I decided to make it for me and the boys.

I start by peeling and dicing the squash into small cubes. Layering them on a sheet pan with a little oil and salt for about 40 minutes in the oven is a great way to roast them. I try to flip them around about halfway through so they’ll cook evenly. While the squash roasted I sautéed some sweet onions in butter and let them cook on low to get some flavor.

I’ve been eyeing this banza pasta for awhile now on the inter-webs so when I went to Whole Foods I was sure to snag it up. It’s made from chickpeas, has 25g protein per serving with 13g fiber. Can’t beat that. And it really tastes like regular pasta!

Look at the creaminess of that squash mixture!! I do admit, the sauce to pasta ratio was a little heavy on the squash. For me it was fine because I love squash, but some may like it with a little less. After the squash was roasted I let it cool for a few minutes. Into my ninja blender I put the sautéed onions, milk, pasta broth, and squash to blend. I added the mixed cheese after it was all blended so it would melt into the mixture. Feel free to add more cheese than I put to get more cheesy and less squashy.

The kids ate it!! Which I of course was thrilled with. I was really not sure if they would approve of this dish or not but was pleasantly surprised. Travis liked mixing his with peas and I had mine with a big salad. It was good as leftovers the next day with some chicken sausage added to it. Give it a try for a new baked mac and cheese recipe!

   

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash (2-3 cups diced)
  • 1 box bans pasta
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup broth from pasta water
  • 1 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Peel and dice butternut squash into small cubes. Bake on baking sheet for 40 minutes or until pierced with fork easily.
  3. Cook pasta according to package and reserve 1/4-1/2 cup water.
  4. Sautee onions and garlic in melted butter for 15 minutes. Be sure to move onions around to not burn them.
  5. After squash is cooked, take 2-3 cups of diced squash and put into blender. Add onion mixture, broth, milk and combine. Add more broth is mixture is too thick.
  6. Mix in cheese to squash mixture until melted.
  7. Combine sauce over pasta and enjoy.
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1 Pan Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet

My inspiration for this simple ground turkey recipe came after seeing Jessie James Decker post about cooking it for her family. I love watching celebrity moms cook for their families. Just shows some realness to them. She didn’t have a recipe and said she used a bunch of seasonings with her dish. I kept mine simple to 1-appeal to my family and 2-not mess it up. I think I did pretty good.

Normally my husband doesn’t like sweet potatoes, so I’m left catering to him by making white potatoes with the meal as well. I’ve been known to do this for shepherds pie. This time it wasn’t happening. And guess what? HE LIKED IT! This is a big victory for us in the Simpson house since the kids and I like sweet potatoes. Honestly, what’s not to like about them?

When I was sautéing the sweet potatoes and onion together I added a few splashes of chicken broth to help the pan stay moist and cook the potatoes. Not necessary but I think it helped cook them. Putting everything together in one pan makes everything SO much easier. Literally everything is mixed together (sorry to the picky kids out there: see below) which helps the flavors blend together. Using a lean ground turkey means you don’t have to worry about draining the fat.

Although I tried sneaking some spinach in because you really can’t taste it when it’s sautéed in a dish like this, my son was not being fooled. He of course picked out every shriveled up piece of “green stuff” and wouldn’t dare put in his mouth. He said his favorite colors were brown and orange today so, it is what it is.

1 Pan Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup part skim mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Dice sweet potatoes into small cubes. You can leave skin on or peel it off. Sauté onions, oil and garlic over medium low heat. Add chicken broth as needed to keep potatoes from sticking. Cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes start to soften with fork
  2. Add ground turkey to pan and cook until brown.
  3. Add mozzarella cheese and blend until melted.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
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Zucchini & Carrot Meatballs

This summer was so full of adventure and relaxing time with my boys before the beginning of kindergarten for my oldest son, Travis. We enjoyed our summer guilt free with busy days which meant little time to blog. My hope is to bring more inspiration into the fall and holidays sprinkled in with a little realness of motherhood.

Zucchini and sun dried tomatoes are the star of this meatball show. Zucchini is a late summer veggie bloomer so I was happy to use them in these meatballs. You’ll see that I love using veggies in my meatballs to add some extra vitamins for my boys. I like finely shredded zucchini because it’s less noticeable than something like chopped spinach.

I grate the zucchini over a paper towel to make it easier to squeeze out the liquid. Chopped carrots in my blender make it easy to add those to my meatballs as well. Sometimes my kids can be picky so I like adding hidden vegetables to meals when I can.

The sun dried tomatoes have been making their appearance in my meals lately and I have to say I’m digging it. I wish I had more than 1/4 cup to add to this recipe but next time I would add closer to 1/2 for the flavor.

I said we were adding some realness to motherhood here and surprise surprise my kids didn’t gobble these meatballs up like I thought they would. Usually they love meatballs no matter what I put in them but not tonight. My hubby and I approved whole heartedly on these balls so I’m convinced the boys were having an off night. I really don’t let it bother me that much if they don’t like my dinners because I still encourage (make) them to eat 3-5 bites so they try it and get a healthy meal. I let them know they don’t have to love everything I make but they do need to eat it to stay healthy. What ways have you taught your kids about eating healthy? Let me know some tips!

Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 zucchini grated & drained
  • 2 medium carrots shredded
  • 1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients in big bowl with hands
  3. Form medium sized balls and put on greased baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until meatballs are golden brown.
  5. Serve over noodles of choice with sauce.
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Easy Enchilada Casserole Bake

Making dinner can be a drag sometimes, I get it. That’s why I try to keep dinners as basic as possible. If there’s an opportunity to make a big meal to use for leftovers- I definitely take advantage. Having something in the fridge I can quickly reheat for either lunch or dinner the next day makes my life much easier. I like to stretch my meals when I can so adding stuff like beans, rice, quinoa and veggies can help bulk up a dinner and leave you with leftovers.

Mexican food is a big staple in my house. Enter: The Enchilada Casserole Bake. I make some form of a taco/enchilada dinner at least once a week. I love that you can make it with either chicken, beef or turkey and they all taste good. The seasoning combination is pretty basic after you’ve done it a few times. I’ve adapted the taco seasoning recipe below from Danielle Walker’s book Meals Made Simple. I barely measure anymore but it’s something like this:

Taco Seasoning Ingredients

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne powder

1/4 tsp black pepper

I choose a protein then add my fillers that I have/am in the mood for. This time I used black beans, diced tomatoes and corn. Sometimes I add quinoa or brown rice for a more burrito style. I made 12 enchiladas which would be enough for 2 meals (1 in the freezer), but since my sister-in-law just had a new baby (hi Hudson!) I’m bringing her this meal when we go to visit. Who wouldn’t like an enchilada after having a baby?

Easy Enchilada Bake

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1/4 onion diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 12 tortilla wraps
  • 1 cup mixed mexican cheese
  • taco seasoning
  • 1 tblsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. So I start by dicing an onion with my ground beef until it’s cooked. Then I add in a can of diced tomatoes and 1/4 can of tomato sauce. I add my taco seasoning mixture, frozen corn and black beans and let it simmer for 10 minutes- this really helps the flavors blend together.
  2. After that I spread a little tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish and start loading up the tortilla wraps. I put some mixture in it with a sprinkle of Mexican cheese then roll them up. Place them seam side down and push them close together.
  3. You can make an enchilada sauce using the spices above and some extra tomato sauce. Top enchiladas with that sauce and a sprinkle of Mexican cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
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Give this recipe a try and be sure to make enough for leftovers! #fueledupfam

Travs plated dinner
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