Monday, December 30, 2013

Beef Stew in the Le Creuset

Beef Stew in the Le Creuset... I am excited to announce that one of my most lovely gifts this Holiday season was a much desired Le Creuset dutch oven. I have been wanting one for ages and I can finally say that I am a proud owner! To christen this bad boy I decided a hearty beef stew would be proper. There are so many stew recipe's out there and after perusing the gamete I finally decided to sort of follow along with one I saw posted by The Pioneer Woman. This was my first successful experience in browning meat and then cooking until fork tender - that part definitely worked. Unfortunately I have a pretty bad cold so my taste buds are suppressed in terms of being able to judge the flavor fully. I think if I make this next time I would continue to add more salt/pepper/spices if the flavor was not quite robust enough, but I think this is a really good way to start off a stew. Additionally, this was a pretty liquidy stew, which I knew going into it. If you wanted it to be thicker, I would suggest cutting the liquid in half.

What I used:
2 lbs stew meat
4 cups beef broth (I would cut this in half next time, or perhaps use 1 can tomato soup and 1 can beef broth)
12 oz beer
1 medium yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
tablespoon Worcestershire
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil/butter for cooking
Carrots (PW suggests 4 large, I used two small packets of baby carrots)
Potatoes (4-5 medium sized red potatoes)
Green Beans (just eyeball it - you can do it)

Heat oil and butter in the pan to sear the meat. I did this in two batches - once the first batch was browned on all sides (think 3-5 minutes in total) I placed them on a plate and added the second batch. Once all of the meat was seared I added the diced onion and the 3 crushed/chopped garlic cloves. Next I added all of the other ingredients in and gave it a good mix. While it came to a boil I cut some of the larger pieces of stew meat into small bite sized pieces and then added all of the meat back to the stew - as Pioneer Woman points out, include the meat juice when you dump it back in!

From there I pretty much turned it to low and put the lid on the pot and let it do it's thing for about 2.5 hours. At that point I added in a bunch of chopped carrots and potatoes for another 45 minutes. About 15 minutes before serving I also added chopped green beans.

The new beauty

Diced onion and garlic

stew meat

First round of browning

First batch on the right, second batch browning

Sauteing the onions and garlic

Cut the meat in smaller peices

Add it all to the pot and simmer



I can't wait to get over this cold and try this recipe again and I can actually taste it and give an update!! In terms of ease and texture I was super pleased with the whole thing. Look out for more Dahlicious posts that will include my new Le Creuset!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Homemade Meatloaf

Homemade Meatloaf... Meatloaf is actually one of those odd comfort foods that I always think I don't really like. But recently, as I believe I've mentioned here before, I found a great solution at my local Mariano's. It's already mixed with all the herbs etc and then you just bake it. But I came to the conclusion that meatloaf should be in my personal repertoire of go to dishes so I've looked at a lot of meatloaf recipes online. They all have some "secret" but none of them seemed like ones I wanted to follow to a T, mostly they just provided some good inspiration - plus I already stocked up on a few ingredients I thought I might want to use so that was also a driving factor.

What I Used:
1.5 lbs ground beef
2 slices of white bread (crusts removed and torn into small pieces)
1 cup of milk to soak the bread in (I'm estimating a cup, might be more, just cover the bread with it in a bowl)
Handful of chopped parsley
1 egg
1 pouch of onion soup mix
A spoonful of plain diced tomatoes (I had these leftover from the tortilla soup)
Salt and Pepper

Other things you could add:
Sauteed onion
Crushed garlic
Breadcrumbs instead of bread
The list goes on...

I started by removing the crusts of the bread and tearing it into small pieces. I'd seen this tactic of water or milk soaked bread instead of bread crumbs in a number of recipe's so I decided to go with it. I let it sit in a small bowl of milk while I dumped everything else into another bowl. Literally all of those things go in one big bowl. Once the bread was down soaking I squeezed out the excess liquid and added it to the other ingredients and gave the whole thing a vigorous mix by hand. Once It felt like the ingredients were evenly distributed I put the ground beef in a loaf pan and baked it at 375 for about an hour and 5 minutes. I cut into it 40 minutes and then let it keep cooking, continually checking.

It was incredibly moist and about 10 minutes before taking it out of the oven I actually drained a bit of the juices in the pan. I saw other recipes online that actually just form it into a loaf shape and cook it on a baking sheet - that is a good option if  you don't have a loaf pan (I also noticed those ones tended to be topped with slabs of bacon, also not a bad idea.

Anywho this was incredibly easy and so Dahlicious - I think the bread was a must try and the tomatoes also added a nice little change of flavor when you got one in a bite. Hope this inspires everyone to try making a meatloaf from scratch with all your favorite things involved!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup... We got our first real snowfall this weekend and Sunday night, after a trek through the fluffy flakes to yoga and back, soup seemed like the perfect option.

The week of Thanksgiving my family ventured to my maternal grandparents house in the foothills of some lovely mountains in CA. It's our yearly tradition and it's really become a favorite for everyone. We arrived late on Tuesday night and so my grandma had planned an easy dinner which could be consumed at different times throughout the night as family members trickled in. She prepared a homemade tortilla soup of sorts, which my aunt had recently turned her onto. The recipe is UBER simple and can be tweaked to be the exact Dahlicious combo you love - but the main ingredients that really help develop that flavor without all the authentic spice adding on your own are the Swanson's Tortilla Soup Broth and the canned Rotel Original Diced Tomatoes. YUM.

What you need:
1 box Tortilla soup broth
1 can Rotel Original Diced Tomatoes (you could go spicier but it already has a good kick with just this)
1/2 14oz can of plain diced tomatoes (I'm saving the other half for another night this week)
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can corn (drained and rinsed)
1/2 Lime worth of juice
2 chicken breasts

**Optional additions:
Spanish Rice
Extra lime wedges
Sour Cream
(the list could go on, tortilla strips, raw onion etc)

Cook the rice according to box directions - mine took 25 minutes. Simultaneously poach two chicken breasts in water. Simply place them in a shallow sauce pan, cover with water, bring to a boil then cover with a lid and let simmer on low until done. Then shred!

For the soup, literally, dump all contents in a pot, give it a stir, bring to a boil then turn down and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

The lineup

I would totally recommend this exact rice if you find it at your store and don't already have a favorite.

Dump in all ingredients except for the rice and chicken which you'll cook seperately

Last night's toppings

Pate the rice...

Then smother in soupy goodness!

When you're ready to serve place a heaping scoop of rice in your bowl, then ladle the soup right over. Add your toppings (I used cheese, cilantro, avocado, and cilantro) and ENJOY this Dahlicious soup.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Shrimp 'n Potatoes

Shrimp 'n Potatoes... So last night's dinner is going to sound and perhaps looks a little strange but sometimes that's just what happens on a Tuesday night, and sometimes it's still really yummy.

The past few weeks have been nothing short of hectic, with flights all around the country and random events popping up here and there - and the foreseeable future isn't much calmer! So most of my last few meals have been repeats and haven't warranted whole blog posts of their own, but before I dive into last night's dinner here is a quick update on things I've made lately:

1) Prosciutto Pizza - using raw dough from Mariano's not TJ's, I say this with a heavy heart... but.. the dough from Mariano's was MUCH better. Easier to work with, better to taste and texture, just better. Anywho, I topped the pizza with Cento brand canned tomato sauce (never used it before but I always buy their brand of clam juice and clams when making linguini with clam sauce), shredded mozzarella and parm, and of course lots of prosciutto. It was fab along side a heaping helping of kale and spinach on Sunday night.

2) Beef Bolognese - super simple, super Dahlish. Sauteed crushed garlic with finely diced shallot, in olive oil then added a pound of ground chuck and seasoned with salt and pepper. Once the meat was browned I added a can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes and a bunch of fresh chopped herbs and let it simmer away. Simple as that.

3) Spinach Salad lunch - I am a creature of habit and especially with things like breakfast and lunch which I pack almost every day. It's hard to stay creative and healthful so sometimes I get stuck in a rut bringing the same thing. every. day. This past week lunch has been a salad of spinach, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and turkey along with oil and balsamic vinegar. For breakfast you can find me scarfing down my daily dose of cottage cheese and berries.

4) Roasted Chicken Breasts & Wild Rice - This was a week or so ago, I used my go to method for the chicken breasts (which includes popping them in the oven on broil for ~10 minutes on each side). I served the chicken atop Trade Joe's Wild Rice which includes hearty barley - I also mixed in some spinach and paired the whole thing with an easy caprese salad.

OK now onto last night's dinner. My roomie had requested earlier in the week that I make some sort of shrimp in white wine sauce.. to which I groaned and gripped that I didn't want to eat pasta which is of course what comes to mind for white winey shrimp. I thought and thought and finally decided that I would still in fact include a carb in this meal but it would have to be colorful and it had to be something that needed to be used (I have a LOT of veggies on hand that need using before I head out of town again this weekend). So purple potatoes it was.

For the shrimp I simply sauteed one finely diced shallot with some garlic and fresh cracked black pepper until translucent. Then I added my peeled and deveined shrimp, which I had let marinate in half a lemon's worth of juice for about 10 minutes. I cooked them to a nice pink on each side before adding a bit more salt and pepper, dried ground basil, a few glugs (that's a real unit of measure right??) of white wine, and a small pad of butter.

The shrimp only take a few minutes so I did this right as my potatoes and asparagus were finishing up in the oven. I had roasted the potatoes after cutting them into bite sized bits and drizzling with olive oil, salt and pepper. The asparagus was steaming away in the oven in a nice little tin foil pouch.

I served the shrimp and sauce over the potatoes which soaked up the wine flavor nicely - I felt satisfied but a little better about downing purple potatoes than white flour pasta - call me crazy!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cooking for a Cold - Chicken Soup & Ginger Tea

Cooking for a Cold - Chicken Soup & Ginger Tea... It's fall yall! And that means pumpkins, gourds, hearty stews, sweaters, boots, and COLDS! Yep, that change in weather is kicking in and with it comes a slightly compromised immune system, and then a cold. We happen to be feeling just a tiny under the weather over here, so I'm spending Sunday whipping up a few cold friendly foods. I've posted about my favorite chicken soup before, but this week's version kicks up the flavor a little with additional veggies and fresh herbs. Along with the soup, I'm posting a very simple way to make a killer ginger tea which is sure to sooth your throat.

Chicken Soup:
The basics are the same - onion, carrot, celery, chicken stock, diced canned tomatoes, herbs. But I've got a couple of additions to my mom's classic that I generaly throw in, which include white beans, garlic, and dark leafy greens (usually spinach). See my normal list of ingredients in this post.

Today I added a few more...

  • Kale (Instead of spinach, we all know Kale is the mother of nutrient rich dark leafy greens and with a cold brewing I can use all the vitamins and nutrients I can find)
  • Fresh chopped Thyme (happened to have some from last week)
  • Fresh chopped Oregano (normally I add a few small palm fulls of dried oregano but this week I opted for the fresh stuff)
  • Fresh Chopped shallot (I NEVER use shallot - and I have no idea why, I love garlic and I love onions and a shallot is basically a hybrid of the two. Since a cold often dampens my taste buds I figured having the trifecta of these three lovely aromatics would help me to actually TASTE the soup)
First I sauteed 2 garlic cloves (which I chopped with a garlic press), 2 chopped small yellow onions, and 1 finely chopped shallot in oil. I then added three large carrots, thinly sliced and a fully bunch of celery (probably 8 stalks including their leaves) roughly chopped. I then added a finely minced large palm full of the fresh oregano and thyme together and gave the whole thing a nice mix. I added some salt and pepper as well.

Next I chopped a large bunch of kale, after removing the hard stalks - the leaves are really the good stuff. You could also buy it pre-cut if you prefer. I let that cook into the veggies until it was slightly wilted, then added my rinsed and drained white beans and a can of diced tomatoes. Next went the chicken stock and bay leaves. A little more salt and pepper and a tiny bit of dried basil completed the process. I brought it all to a boil and then let it sit on a very light simmer for a few hours.

Saute all the veggies and herbs letting the kale steam through

Add the canned tomatoes and white beans

Simmer in stock!

The Tea:
While at the store I grabbed a few lemons, a bottle of local honey, and a ginger root. This tea was so easy and so yummy.

I added a few cups of water to a small pot and brought it to a boil. While the water was heating I cut the knob of ginger in half, and used a peeler to remove the skin (you could leave it on). Then I simply grated the knob on a cheese grater until I had a couple of table spoons worth. Once the water was boiling I added in the ginger and turned the heat to low. I let it steep for about 5 minutes. While it was steeping I added a generous squeeze of honey (think tablespoon) and juice from half of a lemon into a tea mug. Once the ginger water was done I added it to the mugs with the lemon/honey mix in the bottom. I don't have a really fine strainer to keep the ginger out of the mug, so I just used the lid of the pot to restrict the ginger pieces while only pouring the water into the mug.

It was warm and sweet and a little spicy from the ginger. It was super Dahlicious and I would highly recommend it!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Dahlicious Lunch: Avocado Inspired

Dahlicious Lunch: Avocado Inspired... I've noticed that the few posts I have up on the blog regarding lunches have received a lot of views, which leads me to assume most of you have a hard time coming up with easy healthful lunches to bring to work (or where ever you are in the middle of the day). I happen to be pretty good about bringing my lunch - 1) it's the healthiest option I have found, 2) it's the least expensive option I have found, 3) if you are organized and do a little planning ahead of time it's actually pretty easy, 4) most of my colleagues are on the west coast and often schedule meetings at noon my time, so lunch is usually spent at my desk munching away while I have a few moments to hit the mute button.

On Monday and Tuesday of this week I brought leftover chicken and white bean soup which I made a big pot of on Sunday. Now that the leftovers have all been devoured I had to get a little creative with the rest of the week. I have tons of stuff in the fridge so it wasn't difficult to find a few options.

I happen to have 2 beautifully ripe avocados sitting out so I started with that, along with a gorgeous yellow heirloom tomato. And what goes better with a gorgeous heirloom tomato than fresh mozz? That's right, nothing.

So the first part of lunch is a simple salad of mixed greens (baby kale, arugula, spinach), topped with tomato, fresh mozz, and avocado chunks. I brought a small container of olive oil and balsamic to dress it at work.

The second part of my meal used up the rest of the avocado and worked in some protein and whole grains. For this I made a simple sando, whole wheat bread, a little spicy brown mustard, smashed avocado, and oven roasted turkey - so simple and so good!

Hopefully this serves as a little inspiration to whip up a healthful lunch based on ingredients you already have and need to use up! Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Brown Sugar Salmon

Brown Sugar Salmon... I am going to admit that this meal looks shockingly identical to the one directly below. But it's not. Kind of.

The essentials are the same: Salmon, snap peas, confetti rice. What can I say, when I make something Dahlicious I tend to crave it. And it's an admittedly super easy meal to make.

The Meal:
Brown Sugar Soy Salmon with green onions, confetti rice, and snap peas

The Salmon:
This is really the main differentiating factor in this meal vs the coconut one. I grabbed salmon at the store on Sunday (pretty much a weekly staple in my kitchen) and it was really a good piece of salmon. Sometimes they have better selections than other times, but I always opt to pay a little more for the wild fishies. This happened to just be a nice piece of fish, it was the perfect thickness (sometimes I get a piece of salmon that is awkwardly thin and not meaty and I hate that), and it had a great salmon taste without being fishy at all.

For the marinade I simply mixed together soy sauce, a spoonful of brown sugar, a couple drops of sesame oil, and a palm full of fresh chopped green onion. You could add garlic, or ginger or lime juice, or toasted sesames if you have them on hand - those would all make swell additions. I poured the mixture over top and let the filet soak up that yumminess while I got into zen mode at a yoga class. This meant my salmon got to marinate for about an hour before I came home and promptly placed it in the oven at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes. The temp and timing will range depending on how large of a piece of fish you are working with, mine was about an inch and half thick and the thickest point and weighed about a pound.

Pre marinating

Post marinating - see how the salmon became a bit darker after soaking up the goodness??

While the fish was cooking away, I sauteed the greens in a bit of oil and then in a separate bowl whisked up a little concoction. I combined a bit of light teriyaki sauce (very thin stuff, not thick and sweet), juice from half a lime, a squirt of Sriracha, and a drop of sesame oil. I added that to the greens as they were finishing off which gave them a really nice little coating.

I served the whole thing atop that wonderful confetti rice and voila. Easy peasy in about 20 minutes.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Repeat Recipe: Low Cal Coconut Salmon

Repeat Recipe: Low Cal Coconut Salmon.. A month or two back I used coconut milk in my cooking for the first time . It was SO dang Dahlicious but it was also really rich, so I decided I'd wait a while before making it again. Finally last night seemed like as good a night as any to embark on the sweet savory journey that is cooking with coconut milk.

I had grabbed the essentials at the grocery store on Sunday but opted for a few adjustments:

1) Light Coconut Milk instead of full fat.... I thought it would help it from being quite as heavy and just figured it would be good to try. Low and behold it was not.
2) Fresh ginger root & green onions instead of cilantro and water chestnuts.. only problem here is that I clearly don't know how you are supposed to keep green onions fresh between Sunday and Wednesday so they were dried up and unusable by the time dinner came around

Even though a few of my changes were not quite ideal, the meal was still great and I would recommend making it if you are looking to infuse some coconut flavor into your salmon, without the calories or heavy soup like broth that the full fat coconut milk provided.

Here's how I did this rendition:

In a large pan I added about half a cup of chicken broth and 2 smashed garlic cloves and brought that to a light simmer. (I used the chicken broth last time to thin it out and so this time using the light coconut milk I probably could have foregone the chicken broth). Once that was nice a bubbly I added the can of light coconut milk along with a slice of lime rind, a bunch of sliced fresh ginger, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, a couple of drops of sesame oil, a palm full of toasted coconut and a bay leaf.

Once that all came to a light boil I added my salmon (which had been marinating in lemon juice, lime juice, and oil for about an hour). I placed the salmon skin side up in the pan, then covered it with a lid and turned the heat down to low - just a medium simmer. I let the salmon poach for about 12-14 minutes, then I peeled the skin off and served it up!

The broth wasn't really thick enough to be a sauce but a little of it spooned over top was nice for flavor.

I served the salmon with sauteed snap peas and some super yummy confetti rice from TJ's that is full of little nuggets of flavor (ie ginger, lemongrass, baby corn), and a sprinkle of toasted coconut flakes atop the salmon.

All in all in was Dahlish and much lighter and way fewer calories than using the full fat milk. I'm glad I have experimented with both now, so in the future I know which to use when I'm craving a heavier or lighter meal.

PS Here are the ingredients I used:
1 Can light coconut milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 garlic cloves
~5-6 slices of fresh ginger
1 lime
1 lemon
1 bay leaf
a few drops of sesame oil
red pepper flakes
fresh wild salmon filet (skin on)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Semi Home Made Dinner Ideas

Semi Home Made Dinner Ideas... So far this week I have made two meals that I'll call semi homemade because they both included some vital element that was not made from scratch, well not made from scratch by yours truly that is.

On Monday I made a pretty classic meatloaf meal. I'll say that growing up we did meatloaf occasionally and (no offense mom because usually everything you make is fantastic) it was really not my fav. I'll explain further that in general in life I am not a fan of dry sauce-less food... so for me meatloaf always felt a bit pointless. However, I've had some Dahlicious meatloaf's and the one I am about to tell you about is one of them. I cannot take any credit for it as I merely took the thing from raw to cooked, but I will still take credit for the fact that it was moist and not overcooked.

Meatloaf Monday:
On Sunday I was at the grocery store with my roommate (read: significant other) and we were picking out the proteins for the week.. I had shrimp, salmon, chicken.. but what else. He suggested meatloaf. Done.

The meatloaf at Mariano's (new favorite grocery store - minus the fact that they don't have Justin's nut butter) is perfect for two in terms of size, it comes in a nice little tin baking dish that is so easy to put on a baking sheet and pop in the oven. It is perfectly seasoned and mixed and comes out tasting just like you want it to each time. I love it.

With the meatloaf (which takes 35-45 minutes at 350 or 375) I served roasted cauliflower and asparagus. Such an easy meal and totally filling, while still being relatively healthy with zero carbs in the mix.

The second semi home made meal I made was on Tuesday. After heading to the burbs for a home cooked meal on Sunday night, I was sent back to the city with not only a peach and raspberry cobbler for one night this week, but also a big tub of homemade marinara sauce. Full of San Marzanos, garlic, and fennel - Dahlish! I needed to use the sauce and since I was home alone I figured one easy thing to make would be shrimp and pasta. Except I wanted to avoid consuming too many carbs and I happened to have a perfect little spaghetti squash. Except I did want carbs... they were calling my name... so I just said to heck with it and I made a little of both. If no one sees you eating pasta the calories don't count right? Right??

Tuesday Carb Fake Out:
I had a bunch of fresh shrimp that needed to be used up so I first marinated them in lemon juice and olive oil while I got to chopping veggies and prepping the rest of the meal. Once the brussels sprouts were cut in quarters  and the spaghetti squash was halved and de-seeded, and once they were both dressed in oil and salt and pepper they were sent to the oven at 350 for about 35 minutes.

While the veggies roasted I sauteed the shrimp in a hot pan and added a heaping scoop of the leftover marinara sauce once they were pink on each side. While they marinated in the sauce on low heat to finish cooking, I cooked just a teeny tiny bit of whole wheat spaghetti to mix with my squash.

When everything was finished cooking I combined the two spaghetti's into a nice little mound and covered it with my shrimp marinara. I served it up with the crispy roasted brussels and a little side of prosciutto and fresh mozz. YUM!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pork Chops & Figs

Pork Chops & Figs... As a 20 something myself I understand that it's a funny in between time in life. Some of us have 9-5 jobs, others have round the clock jobs, and some have random gigs here and there throughout the day and week. Some of us have significant others, some have kids, some have just their own mouth to feed 3 times a day. Whatever your situation is, I really urge you to start thinking about food as more than an obligation or a treat. Food should be an enjoyable thing; look - we have to eat every day for the rest of our lives so you might as well come to love it. That being said, one has to be careful not to overindulge on a regular basis and learn when a treat is deserved or not. A random Tuesday night is not generally deserving of an ice cream sundae... ya dig?

Anyways, my point with all of this is that learning how to create and enjoy a well rounded meal is going to make life a lot easier, and more delightful (for you and whoever you have the pleasure of cooking for one day). It does take some planning as I have mentioned before, but that's part of the whole growing up thing right? Taking time to be a bit more thoughtful about your health and your day. For me growing up in a house where we ate a lot of home cooked meals around one table together was invaluable and I hope to be able to re-create that for my future family one day, and it really starts with getting into the habit now. It isn't hard to make a healthful yet Dahlicious meal and as I've mentioned before on the blog, my goal is to share the things I make for breakfast, lunch and dinner to hopefully inspire you all to do the same. I think last night's meal was a good example of this and so I wanted to remind myself, and you wonderful followers, what this whole Dahlicious blog is all about. Healthful, Yummy, Accessible food - Enjoy!

The Meal:
Grilled boneless pork chops with roasted butternut squash, steamed green beans, roasted fig & fresh mozzarella salad

The Pork:
On Sunday I got 2 nice plumpy little pork chops from the butcher that I planned to grill all week and pushed off until Wednesday as other meal ideas seemed to clamor to the forefront of my mind in the earlier part of the week. For these bad boys I simply seasoned them with grill seasoning and then seared both sides for about 3 minutes on high heat. They were each about 1.5 - 2 inches thick so I knew this wouldn't cook them all the way through but I wanted the crusty outside you get from the high heat. Once both sides were good to go, I popped them in the oven (which was already at 375 with the butternut squash inside) and let them finish cooking for about 15 minutes.

The Squash:
First of all let me say I can't believe it's already fall and time to break out the hearty squashes again. I feel like roasting butternuts and acorns last fall was just a week ago - crazy! Anyways, butternut squashes are tricky because the skin takes a bit of work to cut off and being that it's so curved you have to be careful. You can often buy it already cubed which is a fine option. I happened to have time on Tuesday night while chopping other veggies to cut it up ahead of time so that it was easy to throw right into the oven Wednesday night. Generally I cut the whole squash into quarters, then carefully use a knife to remove the skin. Scoop out the inside seeds and cut into small similar sized cubes. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper then into the oven at 375 degrees for about 35 - 45 minutes.

The Green Beans: 
I crave greens and have a hard time ever making a meal that doesn't include some. Last night't were a bit on the boring side but with all of the other sweet flavors in the meal it was nice to have some simple greens. I chopped off the ends and quickly steamed them, making sure they still had a nice little crunch.

The Fig & Mozz:
I am aware this would have been even more greatly enhanced had I had burratta on hand, but a girl can only have so much cheese in her fridge. Anyways, I really love figs but I have never used them in a home made meal myself! Not quite sure what drove the desire to grab them this week but I did, and I sure am glad. Figs can be eaten raw or roasted... or I'm sure other ways I don't even know yet. I chose to roast them, which included cutting them in half long ways, and putting them on the same baking sheet as the butternut squash just in the last 10 minutes of cooking. When I took them out they were soft and creamy and warm, SO DAHLISH! Served with cold fresh mozz and a tiny bit of balsamic it was the perfect addition to the meal.

I love naturally pretty food

I mean these colors are almost a work of art

All in all I think this was a nicely rounded meal - I know it probably looks like a lot for one person, but I made enough for 2 and brought the leftovers to work for lunch... handy right? So if you are a single person out there, no excuses, you too can do it. I promise!

Hope everyone is having an enjoyable week of eating!