Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Cream Sauce

Ooh ooh! Look! Comfort food!

And not just any comfort food. This has everything you need, including but not limited to pasta, fontina cheese, sausage, pumpkin and accompanying seasonal spices. So many flavors in each delightful little bite!

These Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Cream Sauce are a wonderful Fall spin on a classic dish. Even though I love basically every baked good made with pumpkin ever, this season I've been trying to incorporate pumpkin into more savory dishes. And, based on how ah-mazing this recipe turned out, that happens to be a very, very good idea.

The idea for these stuffed shells was born first and foremost from my desire to make a pumpkin and sage cream sauce, filled with nutty fontina cheese, creamy pumpkin, fresh sage plus cinnamon, nutmeg and a little red pepper flake. I knew I wanted these shells to be both meaty and cheesy, so I built the filling around savory ground sausage to really bring out the sage. Combine that with a bit of ricotta cheese, more pumpkin, spinach and parmesan and you will be well on your way to the ultimate Fall pasta dish!

Are you hosting a holiday party or Friendsgiving this year? Have you been tasked with bringing the first course to a family dinner? Look no further than this recipe right here! Don't be intimidated by the number of steps - everything about making this dish is therapeutic plus you have the promise of aaaall this deliciousness at the finish line!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Recent Eats - Volume 6

I can't believe that Halloween is just around the corner! I really love Halloween, but I am not ready to accept that we are hurtling head-first into the holiday season. We've got a busy November and December ahead of us, but I will be cooking and eating to my heart's content. Check back each week for some new, hopefully super festive recipes! In the meantime, here's a look at a few bonus eats we've been enjoying the past few weeks!

Quick, clean Zucchini Fritters

November may be just around the corner, but there is no denying that this has been a rather warm autumn so far. Turns out, that's not the worst thing ever because that means we got a few extra weeks of fresh vegetables at the farmer's market. I used the last of my zucchini bounty for zucchini bread, turkey zucchini meatballs, enchiladas, and these zucchini fritters! I originally walked through the step by step recipe on my Instagram stories, but since those only survive for 24 hours I wanted to be sure these could live on forever on the internet.

Super simple, super yummy, clean-eating approved...just put a drippy egg on it and you have breakfast/lunch/dinner in 20 minutes or less!

One Pot Stove Top Mac and Cheese!

I am of the firm belief that in this world, we all need a back-pocket stove top macaroni and cheese that we can whip up in no time at all with a few staples. It's like the stuff from the box but 100% more delicious and creamy AND without any weird unknown chemicals. This is the type of recipe we cook up after a long day, when we feel like crying for no reason, or when we just need a big old hug. It's so simple, we don't even need to make a roux! The secret is...wait for it...CREAM CHEESE!

Here's how you make it: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook a box of small cut pasta, such as shells, for 7 to 8 minutes until very al dente. Reserve at least 1 cup of cooking liquid then strain the pasta and return to the pot. Over low heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter, 4 ounces low-fat cream cheese, 2 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup grated parmesan, a big pinch of black pepper, a little salt and red pepper flakes to taste. Stir, stir, stir with all your might until everything is melted and starting to come together. Add enough reserved pasta water to create a creamy, dreamy sauce. Sprinkle in some fresh chopped chives and serve at once...yummy!

The Best Italians in Boston

Back in March, we moved to the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston, and it wasn't until last week that a coworker of mine informed me that the actual best sandwich you can get in Boston is ALSO in Hyde Park.

Tutto Italiano is a nondescript little deli that has some of the tastiest and most authentic Italian offerings this side of the Charles River. They have tons of Italian wines, sodas, and candies, in addition to fresh pasta and sauces and classic Italian cookies. But it's their amazing sandwiches, piled high on bread they bake fresh in the store, that brings the crowd (and yes, there will be a crowd no matter when you go!) I had the classic Italian, and trust me when I say it lives up to the hype. Not only is the bread fresh, but they also freshly slice all the meats as well as the lettuce and onions for each sandwich. Truly to die for! If you find yourself in the neighborhood, be sure to stop in! You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pumpkin Chip Vanilla Pudding Cookies

These cookies are little festive pillows of happiness!

No, seriously. I could honestly take a nap on one of these cookies. They are irresistibly soft and bursting with pumpkin flavor.

When I first saw these Toll House Pumpkin Spice Chips at the grocery store, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I HAD to have them. I didn't know exactly what I was going to do with them, but I had no idea it would be this delicious.

These Pumpkin Chip Vanilla Pudding Cookies are made with all the best things that we need in a cookie, plus a few extra special ingredients that kick the flavor up a notch. We start with a whole stick of butter, because duh, and a bit of pumpkin puree because it is October after all and if your pantry isn't packed with cans of pumpkin then how are we even friends? These get beaten together with both granulated sugar and brown sugar until smooth and creamy.

Note: if your butter is not super soft, this mixture may look a little curdled when you start mixing it...don't panic. Everything is fine. Keep going and trust the process.

To the butter, pumpkin, sugar mixture, we will add some eggs and the ultimate secret ingredient -- a package of vanilla pudding mix! If you have never made pudding cookies, I'm here to blow. your. mind. Adding a package of pudding mix to cookie batter adds a burst of flavor and also keeps your cookies soft and fresh for days and days!

To finish up the batter, we will mix together our dry ingredients. which includes a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg of course to bring out the flavor of the pumpkin, and combine wet and dry. Lastly, the pièce de résistance, those pumpkin spice chips! Delightfully bright orange in color, sweet, and packed with warming spices and a subtle pumpkin flavor. Oh gosh. My mouth is watering just thinking about these cookies, they are truly that good!

I actually LOVE these cookies straight out of the fridge - when they are chilled, they become a bit chewy and the flavors really develop...mmm, ok. I need to go make another batch of these! Don't miss this recipe!!

P.S. I am realizing now that these aren't the most beautifully styled photos, but that's because when I was taking these pictures my husband was up on our roof for the first time ever taking down a satellite dish so I was a little stressed...believe me, though - THEY. ARE. TASTY!!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Fall Drink and Snack Pairings with SkinnyPop!

There is nothing quite like autumn in New England!

Well, except this year, when autumn in New England means extreme humidity and mid-summer temperatures...

Then again, that hasn't stopped me from setting out mums and pumpkins on the front porch, going apple picking, and enjoying as many fall drinks and baked goods as possible!

As for everyday snacking, my husband and I always have a bag or two of different SkinnyPop popcorn in our pantry for munching on no matter what time of day it is. My favorite flavors are Sea Salt & Pepper and Aged White Cheddar. SkinnyPop popcorn is full of flavor and incredibly satisfying while still being a light snack you can feel good about all day long.

No matter what fall drink you love, SkinnyPop has a drink and snack pairing that you'll be enjoying straight through Thanksgiving and beyond! These five fall-inspired drinks make my mouth water, and I am even more excited that SkinnyPop has paired each drink with the perfect flavor of popcorn!

I am most excited to mix up a batch of Autumn Pear Mojitos to serve alongside SkinnyPop's Sea Salt & Pepper popcorn. Pears add a slightly sweet and autumn-inspired twist to a classic mojito, and you can really pump up the flavor by adding a pinch of cinnamon to the muddled pears and mint. The refreshing cocktail will quench your thirst while also bringing out the flavor of the pepper - a win-win!

Be sure to pin this post so you can always have delicious cocktails to pair with your favorite popcorn flavors! Enjoy responsibly :-)