Week 17 – Tortellini Soup, Pumpkin Oat Bars, Stuffed Squash

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Man, weeks like this can just keep coming.  Work has been great – enough things to do that the (strictly 8 hour) day goes by quickly, but nothing to make me stressed out or feel like I have to be at the office past 5:30.  I bought a 2 week pure barre pass that I started at the beginning of November, so I finished that out this week.  That work out is seriously effective, I wish it didn’t have such a crazy price tag!  Matt’s bday present to me was a bunch of their equipment and their podcasts so I can try out these workouts at home, stay tuned for how that goes…

The weather was beautiful fall weather until Thursday rolled in.  It’s still in the 40s and way better than Syracuse or Chicago, but it’s cold enough to make me extra excited for California (work trip) next week and NM and AZ (vacation) the week after!

Having time to cook again is the best.  I love it so much!  Lately I’m trying to focus on a mix of quick and easy things that can be made after work on a weeknight, and then we might get fancy for a weekend recipe.  When looking at new recipes I’m also looking for ones that require fewer ingredients, or very common ones that we have most of at home already.  When I get too fancy with the stuff our grocery bill goes wayyyyy up, not cool. Another thing I’ve decided that I’m super excited about is the extremely simple concept of freezing soups!  Instead of making a batch on Sunday and then eating the same soup allllll week, I now have a mini stash of frozen pint sized jars full of a couple different soups!  So when I make a fresh batch, we enjoy that for a day or two, and then freeze the rest and pull a couple jars out of the freezer for the rest of the week.  I don’t know why I didn’t think to do this sooner!

The recipes this week were oh so great.  The soup was delicious and soooo easy to make.  It was another recipe from the cookbook made up of recipes from ladies at one of my bridal showers.  (Thanks Debbie!)  The pumpkin oat bars were something that I saved a year or two ago.  Weight watchers posted it to their facebook page I think?  I don’t have a link to it, but it’s definitely a weight watchers recipe (for those who care it’s 4 pp per serving, according to the print out).  I made them Friday night so we’d have them for breakfast on Saturday, and when I walked into the kitchen Saturday morning one of the first things Matt said was “Honey, the pumpkin bars are SO good!”   They ended up being pretty moist, so I was a little skeptical of these, but Matt was right.  They’re delicious!  And finally the stuffed squash.  This Recipe just looked so pretty, it was from the Blue Apron Autumn cookbook, and can be found on their website too.  I was a little skeptical of this one too, because it has no meat.  But dang, there is so much food in this recipe!  I think you could probably stuff 3 squashes with the amount of camponata it makes, but maybe we just had small squashes?  Strike two was that I had to go to whole foods to find millet.  But that ended up not being a bad thing because it reminded me of their great bulk food section.  I generally find that place one giant headache and super over priced.  But when it comes to buying random stuff like millet, you can just get as much as you need.  It was like 50 cents and now I don’t have a giant bag of leftover millet forcing me to google “recipes that use millet.”  We also used carnivale squashes instead of sweet dumpling squashes because it’s what Trader Joe’s had, and I don’t know the difference between those and “sweet dumpling squash.”  Anyway, the dish was delicious and Matt decided that because it had no meat he could make cookies for dessert and it all evens out.  Maybe…

Baked Squash with Millet & Caponata

Makes: 2  servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 Carnivale or Sweet Dumpling Squashes
  • ½ Cup Millet
  • 1 Small Zucchini
  • 1 Small Eggplant
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Bunch Parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Raw Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Goat Cheese, Crumbled

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Cut off the tops of the dumpling squash, then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Place the squash and their tops on a baking sheet, cut-side up. Drizzle the insides with a little olive oil and season them with salt and pepper. Turn the squash cut-side down and roast in the oven 30 to 35 minutes, or until browned on the outside.
  2. While the squash roast, wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and mince the garlic. Roughly chop the parsley leaves. Small dice the red pepper, eggplant, and zucchini.
  3. Add the millet to the boiling water and cook 18 to 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Drain thoroughly (this is key) and rinse with cold water. Transfer the drained millet back to the empty pot it cooked in.
  4. While the millet cooks – In a large pan, heat some olive oil on high until hot. Add the eggplant, red pepper, zucchini, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until softened. Add the sugar, vinegar, and half the parsley. (Reserve some for garnish.) Cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved. Transfer the capontata to the pot with the drained millet and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Carefully fill each squash with as much of the caponata mixture as possible. (Reserve any extra filling for serving.) Sprinkle a little goat cheese over the top of each. (Reserve some cheese for garnish.) Roast 7 to 9 minutes, or until the squash is completely tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.
  6. Divide any remaining filling between 2 plates. Place a stuffed squash on each plate. Garnish with the remaining parsley and goat cheese. Bon Apetite!

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Pumpkin Oat Bread

Makes: 24  servings

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups (1 can) pumpkin puree
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp+ pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 ½ cup quick oats
  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • 2 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 24 Whole walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 10×15 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Using an electric mixer, in a large bowl cream ½ cup softened butter and 1 ½ cups brown sugar until light and fluffy,
  3. Add 3 large beaten eggs and 2 cups canned pumpkin; beat well.
  4. Add ¼ tsp salt, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or more if desired, I did between 1 ½ and 2), 1 ½ cups flour, 1 ½ cups quick oats, and 2 ½ tsp baking soda; mix thoroughly.
  5. Pour batter into prepared baking dish and place walnuts on top so each piece will have one,
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes.

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Hearty Tortellini Soup

Makes: 10+  servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef*
  • 1 can Campbell’s condensed French onion soup
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 pkg frozen green beans
  • 2 small zucchini, cut up
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 pkg cheese tortellini, thawed if frozen
  • ¼ tsp dried basil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Brown ground beef in a large pot.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients except tortellini. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the tortellini and cook until tortellini rises to the top.

*Optional: add minced garlic to the ground beef while cooking if desired

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