Category Archives: Casseroles

Butternut Squash Pasta with Kale and Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Sauce

I am a sucker for all things butternut squash, or any squash really, and Hubby really loves leafy greens like kale. Plus, who doesn’t love pasta? So when I saw this recipe I was pretty excited.

When I do my meal-planning, I always try to include at least one day a week of a vegetarian meal. It’s healthy, it’s easier on the wallet (or at least it was when I didn’t live in the desert…), and actually it’s good for the environment. Meat production takes a lot of resources, and just by cutting meat one day a week, you can really make a difference in helping our planet.

This recipe for Butternut Squash Pasta with Kale and Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Sauce from GoDairyFree.org takes it a little farther than I’m used to since it’s actually a vegan recipe, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

squash pasta
This photo belongs to GoDairyFree.org

I had such high hopes for this dish. It looks pretty yummy, and includes lots of things that I like. The problem was, it took too long to put together (you have to roast your squash and cauliflower first, then blend up your roasted cauliflower to make a sauce, boil your pasta, etc.), and when I take a long time to make a recipe, it darn well had better be delicious.

This recipe wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t delicious. The sauce was flavorful and as creamy as a vegan sauce is going to get. Pasta is good, squash is good, kale is good (actually I used Swiss chard because Hubby always asks for it, but I consider them fairly interchangeable), but altogether I wasn’t wowed.

The biggest problem was that when I put everything together and tossed it in the oven to heat up evenly, the pasta soaked up ALL the sauce! So my dish was kind of dry and not all that flavorful. Bummer.

I will say, though, that if you actually are vegan, this recipe is probably worth making. It was good, just not what a non-vegan is used to, I guess.

Ratings

Flavor: Three Stars – The sauce is pretty tasty, but I wish it had been creamier and coated the ingredients better instead of soaking into the pasta.

Skill Level: Moderate/High – It’s not so much that anything is HARD to do, it’s more that this takes a LOT of time and effort. You have to peel and cube the squash, which, if you’ve never done it before, is pretty labor-intensive. You have to roast the squash and the cauliflower in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour before you can even think about anything else, then you have to take the cauliflower you just roasted and blend it up in the blender with a bunch of other stuff to make the sauce, you have to boil the pasta, tear up your greens, and then you have to toss the whole thing back in the oven to warm through. It just has a lot of steps.

Overall: Three Stars – Too much work for not enough payoff. I probably won’t be making this one again.

EB squash pasta
Here’s mine

Cheesy Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

I know, it’s cliche to start a food blog. I’m sorry.

With that said, this one is a little different. I’m the kind of person who spends a lot of free time scrolling through Pinterest. Maybe you can sympathize. It seems like a common occurrence, though, that people pin things (recipes specifically) and then never make them, or do the project, or whatever. I, on the other hand, do probably 90% of my cooking based on Pinterest recipes that I have found. I’m addicted. I love to try new recipes, and Pinterest feeds this addiction.

The problem with Pinterest cooking, though, is you never really know how a recipe will turn out. After all, anyone can post recipes or anything else on the web. No publishers or chefs to verify and taste test, “Yes, this recipe belongs in the book.”

That’s where I come in.

Yes, I am making recipes I have found on Pinterest and then posting them here with my review for all the world to see.

My first recipe, I’m pleased to say, was a real winner.

The original recipe is for Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes with Ham over at lovegrowswild.

Here’s the image that sold me on trying it. Mmm, looks good, right?

Cheesy-Scalloped-Potatoes-with-Ham-final
Photo belongs to lovegrowswild.com

Here’s the image that sold me on trying it. Mmm, looks good, right?

I’m not going to put the recipe here in this post because that feels like plagiarism and, to be clear, this is not my original recipe. I promise that if you click on the link above the photo, you will be swiftly taken to this delicious recipe.

One thing I did differently than the original recipe is I swapped half of the 3 cups of milk out for almond milk because I’m pretty lactose sensitive and I worried that 3 cups of regular milk would make me quite sick. I kept half the regular milk, though, because I didn’t want to possibly lose the creaminess of the sauce. I will say, though, that the almond milk did not affect flavor and if you’re more lactose sensitive than I am, go for subbing all almond milk. If dairy doesn’t bother you, by all means, do 3 cups of regular milk.

Ratings

Flavor: Five Stars – Cheesy and delicious

Skill Level: Low/Moderate – Can you slice potatoes? Can you sautee onions and melt cheese into milk? Yes? Then you can make this recipe.

Time: Medium/Low – This takes more time than your traditional Ham and Scalloped Potatoes, mix milk with cream of mushroom soup, recipe. That said, it’s totally worth the extra few minutes to make the sauce. If you’re a real novice, you should know that this recipe requires about an hour baking in the oven, plus maybe a half hour of prep work.

Overall: Five Stars – This recipe will definitely be back on my table again.

Cheesy Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

Here’s how mine turned out. Forgive the crappy lighting, it’s dark by dinnertime here, now. As you can see, I served mine with a big side salad. Yum!

I hope hearing that this recipe was good inspires you to give it a try.