The Feastie Blog

Feastie Friday: 17 Reasons You Should Be Eating Butternut Squash

Watch out - we're still on a squash kick. Just in case you needed more reasons to eat butternut squash - we've rounded up 17 fantastic recipes featuring the glorious gourd. Packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and lots of other good-for-you things, it also happens to be equally delicious in both sweet and savory dishes. Pumpkin may be the darling of the autumn season, but butternut squash deserves just as much attention. It's easy to cook, inexpensive, healthy, delish - the perfect fall food. So here are 17 of our current butternut favorites - everything from cake to pancakes and pizza - try something new and jump on the butternut bandwagon with us. 

1. Butternut Squash Cake With Cream Cheese Icing from The Pastry Affair
Butternut Squash Cake With Cream Cheese Icing from The Pastry Affair
Photo from The Pastry Affair

 

Mujaddara with Spiced Yogurt

This is comfort food. Pure and simple, healthy and filling, comforting - comfort food at its very best. It's easy to make and fills your house with the most incredible smells, and talk about leftovers - this tastes even better the next day. I tried this mujadarra from Food52 for the first time at my friend Emily's house - I'd never even heard of it before, let alone tasted it. It was magnificent. So simple yet so wonderful - so many incredible flavors coming together in one dish. One batch of this was enough for us for dinner for 2 nights, plus some light lunches. You probably already have most of the ingredients in your house - this just calls for some pantry staples and spices and a few fresh fridge items, nothing fancy. Which is interesting, because it tastes fancy. Even if this recipe looks like something you wouldn't normally eat, I encourage you to try it - The Mr. was a bit iffy at first (he's not a huge fan of lentils or beans, says they're "mealy" but whatever), but he now calls this one of his all-time favorite meals. This is wonderful for a special occasion dinner or you can double (or triple!) it and serve it at a dinner party. When I have the time I'll make this as a weeknight dinner - the onions take quite a while to caramelize perfectly, so it's not the best choice for when you come home late and want a quick dinner on the table. It's more for those days when you have some time, aren't in a big hurry, and want to relax and enjoy the process of making your dinner and the incredible aroma of this dish cooking. Have I talked it up enough? Try it. 

Feastie Friday: 21 No Bake Pumpkin Desserts to Make This Weekend

It's pumpkin madness right now - it feels like every shelf in every store is stacked with pumpkin-flavored goodies. But why buy store-bought, pre-made, processed pumpkin treats when you can whip some up yourself at home? And what if we told you that every single one of these recipes is no-bake? Instant gratification! Some do need freezing or fridge time or a short stint on the stove, but no baking dishes and no ovens needed. We've rounded up 21 no bake pumpkin desserts that you should make right now - this weekend. Pies, tarts, cakes, ice creams, cookies - every pumpkin-y treat imaginable.  

1. No-Bake Pumpkin Tart with Maple-Pecan Whipped Cream from Daydreamer Desserts
No-Bake Pumpkin Tart with Maple-Pecan Whipped Cream from Daydreamer Desserts
Photo from Daydreamer Desserts

 

Broccoli "Pesto" Pasta

Now that summer is officially over, I've been having a hard time finding fresh basil around here. Basil pesto is a favorite in the summer - The Mr. can't get enough of it. He will literally put it on everything - eggs, breakfast sandwiches, lunch sandwiches, pasta, crackers, cheese (yes, slices of cheese), veggies - everything. Since I didn't make enough pesto this summer to freeze for winter (BIG mistake oops), I thought I'd try a non-traditional pesto with a more winter-y veggie - broccoli! I found this recipe for amazing incredible broccoli surprise sauce (yes, that's the actual title of the recipe) from Tea & Cookies and thought I'd give it a go. It's awesome! It's not anything like traditional pesto to be sure, but it's good all the same. And healthy - this adds a nice dose of veggies to your pasta in a fun, flavorful way. I served it over penne, but any pasta will do - whatever shape floats your boat. 

Feastie Friday: 11 Healthy Alterna-Spaghetti Recipes

Spaghetti - major gluten/carb fest. If you're watching your carbs or can't tolerate gluten, then traditional spaghetti isn't the wisest choice. However, there are a bunch of creative alterna-spaghettis that are even more fun than the original, and far healthier. Spaghettis made from squash, zucchini even black beans, and topped with pretty much any sauce you can imagine. Like cheesy alfredo, marinara and meatballs, even Mexican style. So we've rounded up 11 healthy alterna-spaghetti recipes so you can get your gluten-free, low-carb spaghetti groove on.  

1. Lightened-Up Spaghetti Squash Alfredo from Chocolate & Carrots
Lightened-Up Spaghetti Squash Alfredo from Chocolate & Carrots
Photo from Chocolate & Carrots

 

Buffalo Blue Cheese Turkey Burgers

The Mr. and I were simultaneously craving burgers and hot wings, and this is what happened. My favorite turkey burger recipe is a great standby - we always have a few in the freezer - but neither of us are a fan of bone-in chicken and so the wing thing wasn't going to happen. So what to do - add blue cheese and hot sauce to the burger! But ONLY Frank's hot sauce - I can't imagine getting that "Buffalo" flavor with any other hot sauce. So I poured it into the turkey mixture and then again over the cooked patties, crumbled on some blue cheese, and voila! Buffalo blue cheese turkey burgers. Obviously I'm not the first person to make this burger - there are tons of them floating around - but this is a riff on my favorite turkey cheeseburger, and I think it's incredible. They were so juicy and tangy and the perfect amount of spicy and cheesy. Mmm. I'd recommend serving these on a nice toasty brioche bun, but I used what I had, which was a deflated little white whole wheat bun. But no matter, because the star of this dinner is definitely the spicy cheesy burger. Serve with celery and carrot sticks with blue cheese dressing on the side - or even sweet potato fries. 

Feastie Friday: 13 Slow Cookers Recipes That Do the Work For You

While cooking can be fun, relaxing, and rewarding, on those nights you come home late from work and are faced with the decision of "What do I eat for dinner?" cooking may very well be the last thing you want to do. To the extent that an easy 30 minute dinner may take 29 minutes longer than you actually want it to. So, what are your options? Drive-thru, pizza, take-out or delivery, or something crusted in ice crystals from the back of the freezer are your easiest options. UNLESS - you've let your slow cooker or crock pot make dinner for you. Sure you have to throw in a few ingredients in the morning before work, but coming home to the lovely aroma of slow-cooked pork or lasagna is well worth the extra few minutes you'd need to invest that morning. We've rounded up 13 slow cooker and crock pot recipes that do the work for you - literally make you dinner. So much better than a greasy take-out bag or a gloppy frozen dinner. 

1. Crock Pot Lentil Sweet Potato Soup from Eat, Live, Run
Crock Pot Lentil Sweet Potato Soup from Eat, Live, Run
Photo from Eat, Live, Run

 

Tomato Rosemary Focaccia

Even though summer is officially over, I have a few more summery recipes to share with you guys. This summer tomato focaccia from The View from Great Island caught my eye when I was looking for a way to use up the mass quantities of mini heirloom tomatoes I'd picked up from a local farm market. While this recipe is best with perfectly ripe, juicy, sweet summer tomatoes, using a pint of grocery store cherry tomatoes wouldn't be the end of the world. Because the tomatoes bake with the olive oil, salt, and rosemary in this recipe, the baking process will bring out a bit of their sweetness and soften them up. But, yes, it is best (stellar!) with fresh summer tomatoes. If you're not an experienced bread baker, don't be alarmed by the yeast - I'm still hesitant with yeasted breads, but this recipe is foolproof. As long as you have active yeast (i.e. it hasn't been sitting in the cupboard for years past its expiration date), you should be fine. I'd like to say I served this focaccia with some healthy dinner or something, but I didn't - we just ate it. As in, it's so good, you just sort of pick it up, eat it, and savor it. But of course it would be ideal with a salad or light dinner of some sort. 

Feastie Friday: 19 Creative Recipes for Vegan Ice Cream

Only two more days until fall officially begins - that means there are 2 days left of summer. So while we certainly encourage you to eat ice cream all year round, it would be criminal if you didn't enjoy at least one more cone or cup of ice cream before the summer is over! We mean ice cream for everyone. Vegans - we're with you. We've got you covered. Today we've rounded up 19 creative vegan ice cream recipes for you to try. Even if you're a dairy fiend, you should give these a try - you'll be pleasantly surprised at how delicious a non-dairy vegan ice cream can really be. Everything from almond milk to coconut milk, bananas and peanut butter to cashews - there are so many incredibly creative bloggers whipping up these amazing vegan ice creams. So do it - make a batch of vegan ice cream, sit in the sun, and enjoy your last cone of the summer.  

1. Caramel-Pecan Chocolate Ripple Ice Cream from Kitchen Simplicity
Caramel-Pecan Chocolate Ripple Ice Cream (Dairy Free) from Kitchen Simplicity
Photo from Kitchen Simplicity

 

Spicy Buttermilk Oven-Fried Chicken

So right off the bat let's just say that this is NOT fried chicken. Nothing tastes like fried chicken, nothing has that "crunch" and the crackling of fried chicken skin when you bite into it except for the real deal - if you're looking for an exact copy of fried chicken but without the fat/calories, you're barking up the wrong tree. That said - if you're looking for a healthier, lighter alternative to fried chicken, something that you can eat without any guilt (or greasy napkins) on a regular basis and feel good about, then you've come to the right place. And not a cornflake in sight!! Because this spicy oven-fried chicken adapted from an Epicurious recipe is awesome. It does have a light crunch, it's just a teensy bit spicy, and it has a nice fried-ish breaded feeling - but there's barely any added fat. Another big plus - I used boneless/skinless chicken thighs for this recipe, so there's no bones to worry about, no chicken skin to hem and haw over (because we all know the chicken tastes better with the skin on, but it's not exactly health food), and it cooks really quickly. We don't eat chicken very often - I definitely enjoy turkey burgers on a regular basis, but handling raw meat like chicken kind of weirds me out. I know, I know, it's silly (and no, the ground meat doesn't bother me as much), but everyone has their "thing" and that's one of mine (one of the MANY!). In any case, this chicken came about after I requested some recipe inspiration from Facebook friends. I asked if there were any requests - and I got two requests for "oven-fried chicken without any cornflakes". So I set out on a mission to make this happen, and voila! It did. I served this alongside a spinach salad with fresh peaches, gorgonzola, and sliced almonds, and it was a wonderful, healthy, filling end-of-summer dinner. The chicken is great as leftovers, too - slice or chop it up to go on salads, eat cold, layer on a sandwich, etc. I hope you enjoy this as much as The Mr. and I did - and I hope all of my Facebook friends are satisfied with this cornflake-less chicken recipe! 

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The Founder of Feastie.