Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Happy Hump Day everyone! Congratulations - the weekend is officially in sight! 

As I shared with you last week I was up in Vermont with my family the other weekend, I will not repeat myself by saying over and over again how fun it was.... 

Weekends away are great, but they are in fact quite a bit of work. A weekend away is basically a super long dinner party, so similarly you are crazy if you think you can do it all yourself! Trust me, I have tried, I spent the entire weekend cooking like a mad woman and barely saw my guests. To that end I suggest dividing up meals - for my weekend in Vermont I was responsible for lunch on Saturday. I also helped out with dinner because I am an overachiever... 

When cooking for a crowd I like to keep it simple but also pack a punch with flavors. I also like to serve things family style, as you can see below. 

I didn't realize till I sat down that my artsy blog shot had been photo bombed by my family friend's 3 1/2 year old's lunch and sippy cup. I think it adds a little something extra don't you?

Anyway, for lunch I made my favorite roasted butternut squash soup (always good to have something to warm people up when they come in form the cold!). This soup combines butternut squash, apples, and shallots with the heat of curry. It is a spectacular dish that can warm you up on a cold day. 

I paired the soup with, munster grilled cheeses with fox hollow mustard and arugula. I wanted to jazz up my grilled cheese, so I added the mustard (fox hollow is a balsamic vinegar and molasses based mustard - honestly its like my crack) and arugula. But lets be honest the key to perfect grilled cheese is BUTTER and lots of it. I wanted to add a peppery bite to cut through the sweetness of the butternut squash and the mustard. Now not trying to toot my own horn but it was pretty tasty not going to lie. 

My mom always serves our lunches family style like this - with a large platter of sandwiches where you are able to grab what you want. There is much less waste this way, because you grab however many slices you actually want, be it a half or a whole sandwich. 

The soup can easily be made in advance and reheated day of. The grilled cheeses can also be banged out pretty quickly especially if you have a large skillet (like the ones for pancakes). 

What are a few of your favorite ways to feed a crowd? Let me know in the comments!

xo

L

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

  • 3 - 4 lbs butternut squash
  • 2 apples 
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 shallots 
  • 6 cups chicken stock (or veggie stock if going vegetarian) 
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 - 2  tsp curry powder (depending on preference)
  • cayenne pepper (I just used a dash to add heat, you can use more if you love it spicy)
  • salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Peel and roughly chop the apples, shallots, and butternut squash into 1 inch cubes. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them out on two baking sheets. Roast for 30 minutes until tender (a fork should come in and out easily).

In a soup pot over medium heat add the butter, once melted add the curry powder. Stir the curry butter mixture, this will allow the curry to bloom and develop a rich flavor. After about 5 minutes add the stock and bring to a simmer. 

Meanwhile heat the stock on the stove to a simmer. Once the squash is tender transfer it to either: A. your blender puree until smooth adding some of the stock to help it grind up. (be careful it will be very hot) OR B. put the roasted veggies and apples in the pot with the stock and use an immersion blender to puree until smooth.

Bring the soup to a simmer and allow everything to get to know each other over low heat for approx. 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Note: To make things easier, feel free to roast the squash, apples, and shallots a day or 2 before. The day of puree them with the hot stock to cut down on prep time.

Crack Pasta aka Cherry Tomato & Mozzarella Pasta

This is a recipe that I have been working on and tweaking since college, it all started in the kitchen of Ridge 15 (Shout out to my camels!), we were doing a family dinner and I wanted to make a simple and fresh pasta sauce. What started with some olive oil, garlic, parmesan, and a pint of cherry tomatoes has since evolved into what I call "Crack Pasta."

Chances are if you come over to my apartment for dinner and I am feeling lazy - crack pasta will be on the menu. It is probably one of my favorite things to eat - and I have shared this recipe with many a friend looking to impress their boyfriend/friends/parents etc. It is super simple, flavorful, and above all satisfying. 

It is also very versatile - don't have cherry tomatoes, cook down roma's. Fresh or dried herbs will both do the trick! I prefer a short pasta like a fusilli - but if you only have spaghetti? Go for it! No mozzarella - feel free to sub in copious quantities of Parmesan, Fontina would work, ricotta, even goat cheese!  The one thing you cannot skimp on is giving those tomatoes time to stew in their own juices - you can do it in as little as 20 minutes or as long as 2 hours. But do NOT cheat the tomatoes people! I promise you will not regret it. 

Enjoy!

xo

L

PS. Update your iPhone's people! New Emojis!! 

Crack Pasta aka Cherry Tomato & Mozzarella Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes (I prefer the yellow tomatoes - they are sweeter, however red or heirlooms work great as well)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic (If you are a garlic lover like me - go with 4 tablespoons)
  • 2 pinches red pepper flakes (if you like more heat feel free to add more!)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 lb. Short Pasta (I like penne of fusilli) 
  • 1 cup graded parmesan cheese
  • 1 container ciliegine mozzarella or 1 ball fresh mozzarella (this i the little cherry tomato sized balls)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Pro Tips:
1. Cooking Your Pasta: Pasta water should be as salty as the ocean, this is your chance to flavor the pasta! Also be sure to use a large pot, it help help keep your pasta from sticking, it is important to have enough water so that each piece can cook evenly. 
2. Cutting Mozzarella: If you could not find the ciligenine (aka cherry tomato sized mozarella) place a ball of fresh mozzarella in the freezer for 5 minutes and then use a seraded knife to cut it, this will make cutting the mozzarella easier. 
3. Finishing Your Pasta: Once your pasta is al dente drain and immediately add it directly to the pan with the sauce, this way the pasta will finish cooking in the sauce, and the starchy liquid will help thicken your sauce. 

Place a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil under high heat. 

In a medium sauce pan under medium low heat add the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. sauté for 5 - 10 minutes or so until the garlic becomes fragrant and begins to brown slightly. Be sure to stir constantly - once the garlic begins to brown add the cherry tomatoes. Season generously with salt, pepper, oregano, and dried basil. 

Allow the tomatoes to cook on the stove top for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The tomatoes will begin to burst creating the sauce for your pasta. Feel free to use the back of your spoon to help some of them along.  Once the tomatoes have burst turn the stove down to low. 

Cook pasta according to package directions, once finished cooking reserve 1 cup of pasta water. 

Add the pasta directly to the pot with the sauce, stirring well to combine. Add the parmesan and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Once the sauce has begun to thicken sprinkle the mozzarella balls around the pan. Cover for 5 minutes or until the mozzarella has become melty. 

Sprinkle with fresh basil (if you have it) and serve immediately! 

 

Breakfast for One

I feel like I spend 75% of my time thinking about food, this is due to two factors: firstly I am perpetually hungry, I could sit down and eat at anytime regardless of how much I have eaten so far that day. The second is obviously that I love to cook and try new recipes so my brain is always spinning thinking of new things to try. So when I woke up on Saturday morning my first thought was obviously, what am I going to make for breakfast. I decided that I really really wanted pancakes, but in an effort to be healthy and due to the fact that I am going to be in a bikini in less than 2 weeks I wanted to make them better for me. and so my super pancakes were born! I used both flax and chia seeds to add texture, I made them with almond milk as well to add nuttiness but also to cut back on the diary.

This is an awesome breakfast recipe for one, it makes 3  pancakes, a perfect porition for someone who needs a substantial breakfast like I do, you can easily double the recipe if you're making breakfast for someone else ;) ;)

enjoy!

xx

L

ps. and before you think I've gone absolutely crazy with this health kick, I put butter on them after I cooked them.

Chia & Flax Blueberry Pancakes

  • 1/3 c flour (G-free or G-full)
  • 2 tbs chia seeds
  • 2 tbs flax seeds
  • 1/2 c almond milk (or regular milk)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tbs agave nectar
  • 1/2 c blueberries 
  • Maple Syrup

combine the wet and dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Lightly grease a medium not stick skillet and heat to medium temperature. Ladle 1/3 of the mixture into pan, sprinkle with blueberries and flip once the pancake batter's bubbles have popped. Flip and cook the other side until browned. Repeat 3 times. Serve with warm maple syrup or more agave nectar. 

Saffron Risotto with Chicken & Peas

So not to go all Scrooge on you guys, but, I am really not a valentines day person. AND I am not just saying that because I am single, I just don't think you need a day to tell someone that you love them, you should do that every day!

What I do celebrate is Galentines Day! Galentines Day is the creation of none other than Leslie Knope (shes the best). Best put by the boss herself,

"February 14, valentines day is about romance, February 13th Galentines Day is about celebrating lady friends, its wonderful and it should be a national holiday." 

I got a big group of my girlfriends together and we had an awesome time celebrating each other! 

So instead of getting all bent out of shape about not having a boyfriend or getting stressed out about what to get your man, get your best girls together and have a ladies night! I promise you wont regret it. Also if you want your friends to love you forever, make them this risotto. It is super flavorful and so easy!

xx

L

Saffron Risotto with Chicken & Peas

  • 1 c arborio rice
  • 3 c low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts (diced)
  • 1 c peas
  • 1 c corn
  • 3 slices of bacon diced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 c white wine
  • 1/2c grated parmesan cheese
  • zest of one lemon

In a medium sauce pan heat your stock, keep at a simmer. In a dutch oven over medium heat render the bacon till crispy. Using a slotted spoon take the bacon out of the pan, add 2 tbs olive oil to the pan. 

Once hot sear the chicken breasts about 3 - 4 minutes each side until cooked through. Set aside. Sautee the onion until translucent. Add in the rice and toast for about 3 minutes until it starts to smell nutty. Add the butter and deglaze the pan with white wine.

Ladle stock into the pan covering the rice, continue to stir and add stock as the rice begins to plump up and get softer. Add the saffron threads. It should take about 20 minutes for your rice to finish. Stir in corn, peas, and chicken. Add the parmesan cheese and lemon zest. 

Ladle into a bowl and finish with bacon crumbles (if you have any left, I usually nibble on mine). Enjoy!

Lemon Ginger Honey

I owe you all another HUGE apology. I have completely neglected you all yet again! I got the flu (which was horrible, I am feeling like I am still attempting to recover from it) and things got crazy busy at work. But I am back and I promise your instagrams (@louisesgfkitchen) and internet will be full of delicious and tasty things to eat!

Now the flu has been ravaging New England over the past few weeks, and the one thing that got me through was tea with lemon-ginger honey. The ginger added heat and an extra layer of flavor while the lemon was soothing and comforting. Okay and I also may or may not have been adding shots of my good friend bourbon to each cup... I was having trouble sleeping okay? Remember this is a no judgement zone!

This lemon-ginger honey is not only perfect for when your sick it is also a great for when you are cold and want to cuddle up with something that is not as rich as hot cocoa (although if you want hot cocoa, make my

Mexican Hot Cocoa

)

Stay Healthy!

xx

L

Lemon Ginger Honey... with Bourbon

  • 1 c water
  • 1 inch piece of ginger peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • the juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 shot of bourbon (I prefer Makers but whatever floats your boat)
  • 1 chamomile tea bag (optional)

In a small pot over medium heat, heat the water, ginger, lemon juice, and honey. Once at a rolling bubble, strain into a mug. Here you can add the tea bag (if you like), if not add the bourbon.

** this recipe makes one serving, you can easily double it etc.

Banana Peanut Butter Overnight Oatmeal

I know I know I have already shared my one oatmeal recipe with you all already, but I have become obsessed with overnight oats (you can easily adapt my

Spiced Oatmeal with Blueberries and Agave

by following the directions below). This recipe is so easy and sets you up with a great breakfast for the day. Anyone who knows me knows that I am pretty much constantly hungry and this breakfast holds me over until lunch. Plus eating anything out of a mason jar is just fun (as I explained with my

creme brulee

).

I have found that when I start my morning off with a healthy breakfast that I stay on better track all day. It also cuts down on the amount of candy I will eat at my desk... So start your day off right with me!

xx

L

PS. if you're having a bad day check this out,

you wont regret it.

Banana Peanut Butter Overnight Oatmeal

  • 1/3 c GF quick cook oats
  • 1/2 - 3/4 c almond milk (depending on how wet you like your oatmeal, I like mine looser so I add 3/4) ** you can also use water, soy milk, or regular milk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tbs peanut butter
  • 1/3 c sliced almonds
  • 1 banana sliced 
  • 1 tbs chia seeds

** if you're feeling saucy add 2 tbs chocolate chips in the morning, to quote Parks and Rec "treat yo self"

In a mason jar or tupperware container add all the ingredients except the banana and almonds. Shake well and place in the refrigerator over night. The next morning slice the banana and add the sliced almonds to the jar. Eat and enjoy! 

Mushroom and Baby Kale Baked Pasta

I spent most of my Monday thinking about mac and cheese, it was cold and dark and dreary and rainy. And all I wanted was something that would be delicious and comforting and warm. This was also compounded by the fact that they had mac and cheese at lunch today and of course I could not eat it because it was chock full of gluten. I thought about just making the

4 cheese baked pasta

I shared with you a few weeks ago, but I decided to shake it up. This baked pasta checked every box for what I was craving.

AND it felt healthy...ish because I put vegetables in it! I have come the decision that no matter what it is, it automatically becomes healthy if you just add kale. My obsession happens to be with baby kale, it is much more tender and I just like it way better. As you can see from this blog I have made salads with it and even put it in quesadillas. So I figured kale and mushroom  baked pasta would satisfy my mac and cheese like thoughts as well as make me feel slightly less guilty about my dinner.

Anyway it is cold and possibly snowy today in New England so make this for dinner and I promise you wont regret it!

xx

L

Mushroom and Baby Kale Baked Pasta

  • 1 lb short pasta (I used g-free but as always you can substitute for some g-full)
  • 2 portobello mushroom caps, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 4 handfuls of baby kale
  • 1 1/2 c chicken stock 
  • 2 c parmesan cheese
  • 1 ball of mozzarella
  • 1 tablespoon thyme 
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons flour (I used g-free but as always you can substitute for some g-full)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Note: Be careful how much salt you add to this dish, chicken stock and parmesan cheese are both very salty. Be conservative with the salt you add, you can always add more later but you cant take it away. 

In a large skillet over medium heat sauté the mushrooms, garlic, and onions in olive oil until they begin to brown and become tender. Add in the butter, once melted add the flour. Once the flour is fully dampened slowly add the chicken stock. Whisk carefully, be sure to get out any lumps of flour that occur. Cook for about 5 minutes until thickened, add in the parmesan cheese and thyme. Cook the pasta to the package specifications.

Toss together the pasta, kale, and the mushroom sauce. Butter a large baking dish or individual ramekins. Toss 1/2 of the mozzarella with the pasta. Pour the pasta mixture into the baking dish. Scatter the remaining mozzarella around the top of the dish.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes until the top is crispy and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Last Night I Had Popcorn For Dinner...

I don't know what it has been but this week has been horrible. Every. Single. Thing. that could go wrong at work has. Last night it really got to me and I had zero energy. No energy to fold the three loads of laundry sitting on my floor. No energy to do the work I was supposed to do last night. No energy to make the delicious dinner I wanted to make and post for you all. So I decided to put on a movie, I watched This is Where I leave You, pour myself a glass of wine, and make popcorn.

I did however find the energy to make a "foodie" popcorn and I honestly don't think I can ever go back. I made a rosemary infused butter (Thanks mom for the rosemary bush I got for Christmas) and sprinkled it with truffle salt. I died. It actually made my night, fingers crossed this popcorn will turn the rest of this hell week around.

Hopefully you are having a better week than me! If you are in New England stay warm!

xx

L

Rosemary Infused Popcorn with Truffle Salt

  • 1/2 c popcorn kernels (if you don't have an air popper just use a bag of regular unsalted and unbuttered popcorn) 
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary 
  • 1 tsp truffle or regular salt 

In a small sauce pan over low heat melt 1/2 a stick of butter. Sprinkle in the rosemary. Allow to sit and get to know each other for about 20 minutes. After that either turn on your air popper and pop 1/2 c of popcorn kernels. OR using the microwave pop a bag of popcorn. In a large bowl drizzle the butter over half of the popcorn, sprinkle with truffle salt. Toss to combine, add the rest of the popcorn, drizzle with the rest of the butter, and sprinkle with truffle salt. Toss again to combine and sit down and enjoy!

** 1/2 a cup of kernels makes enough for about 3-4 people depending on how hungry they are. For 1-2 people I would make 1/4 a cup of kernels. 

A Trip to NYC & Baby Kale Salad

Just realized this post never never went live : ( here is an update on what I did before Christmas!!

I just spent the most fabulous weekend with my sister in NYC, it was so much fun! We danced, ate, exercised, and drank. The dancing was covered by going to see an epic 80s cover band and by going and seeing the Nutcracker. The eating was covered by restaurants in her neighborhood and Spice Market. We went to exercise classes at Refine and Flywheel (my ass will never be the same). And lets be honest, we all know how we managed the drinking. This was one of my first visits to NYC that didn't cause me huge amounts of anxiety. It felt very relaxed, maybe I'm staring to get a hang of the big apple? who knows.

There are two highlights to this trip:

ONE:

Getting to go on stage with the 80s band (called Jesses Girl) for Girls Just Want to Have Fun. The singer yelled out, "lets get all the hot girls on stage" and before she had even finished her sentence my sister and I were up there. We had the stage to ourselves for about 30 seconds before other girls came up and joined us. It was epic.

TWO:

I ended my time in NYC with a trip to Eataly. I follow them on instagram and I was absolutely dying to go there in person. It was insane there were people EVERYWHERE. But we had a fabulous time eating mozzarella, amazing fresh ricotta, cured meats, and oysters. We drank red wine and made friends with the people around us. Even though it was totally crazy it definitely made you feel like you weren't in New York and had a great European feel.

So anyway back to the reason you read this blog, the food! Theres this mustard, that you can get in Vermont. It is a molasses based mustard. It is called

Fox Hollow Mustard

. It is amazing. I put it on hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, and keilbasa. Now my friend K, made a warm bacon vinaigrette and used this mustard. This was a full on mind bomb for me. I frequently put whole grain mustard in my vinaigrette. So as you wonder why you are reading about my thoughts on mustard, I shamelessly copied my girl K, and made a baby kale salad with a warm bacon vinaigrette (using fox hollow of course) and topped it all off with a fried egg. I can actually see myself eating this for breakfast, or dinner, or lunch.

Make it for yourself or someone who you want to love you because trust me after this they will.

Merry Christmas!

xx

L

Baby Kale Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette & a Fried Egg

  • 3 slices of bacon, minced in lardons 
  • 1 tablespoon fox hollow mustard (or whole grain)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Baby Kale

In a large sauté pan over medium heat render the bacon until crispy. Using a slotted spoon remove the bacon, add the mustard and olive oil whisking until well combined. Add the bacon to a large bowl with the baby kale, toss with the vignette until coated.

In another large sautee pan over medium heat melt the butter. Once it is sizzling crack the eggs into the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to cook for 2 minutes, flip the eggs. Cook for 1 more minute. The whites will be cooked through but the yolks will still be runny.Place eggs on top of salad. Eat immediately!