Spaghetti Squash Bake

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This recipe makes a huge batch and gets better over time. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash Bake – Mom-Makes original 

  • 1 large spaghetti squash, baked and shredded
  • 3-4 cups roasted veggies – I used zucchini, broccoli, bell pepper and mushrooms
  • 3-4 cups marinara sauce – I used this recipe
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • Parmesan cheese

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread out the spaghetti squash into the bottom of a 13×9 inch baking dish. Combine the marinara sauce and the roasted veggies in a pot to warm slightly, then pour the mixture over the top of the squash. Top generously with the cheeses. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

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Apple Spice Bread

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Yum! This was my first attempt at grain-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free baking… that’s a lot of “free”! 😉 I am so used to baking with flour that I was slightly apprehensive about how this recipe might turn out. I was relieved when this baked up beautifully light and soft. The kids and I, (well, mostly I), ate a whole loaf today. Instead of making one large loaf, I made three minis, cooled them completely, then wrapped them and stored them in the refrigerator. I know I’ll make this again and I’ll have fun trying out new coconut flour recipes soon. My next experiment will be testing this same recipe, but swapping the apple sauce for pumpkin puree. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

1Ingredients, minus the vanilla extract.

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These popped out of the pan nicely after cooling for 15 minutes. I love my USA Pans! 🙂

Applesauce Spice Bread – adapted from Au Naturale Nutrition

  • 6 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, butter, or ghee (melted)
  • 1/2 cup raw honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, natural applesauce
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine wet ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into dry and blend until evenly combined. Grease pan(s).  Pour batter into 3 mini loaf pans or 1 large glass loaf pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes in mini pans.  Bake 65-70 minutes for 1 large loaf. Allow to cool completely.  Store in fridge.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Milkshake

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This dessert hits the spot and makes me feel like I’m cheating on my diet! It’s a great fake-out dessert because the frozen bananas create a thick, ice cream-like consistency. Even my husband and kids enjoy this – that’s a win for clean eating! 😉 I have made this at least five times in the last two weeks, actually, I could go for one of these right now 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Milkshake – adapted from Detoxinista

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • ¾ cup milk (or non-dairy milk)
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 7 ice cubes (about 2 handfuls)

Directions – 
Throw all of the ingredients into a high-powered blender, and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into two glasses and serve immediately!

Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Parmesan

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Two weeks ago,  I purposed to eliminate refined sugars and flour from my diet. The new and kind of drastic change in eating habits has inspired me to try new vegetables and clean eating recipes. The first four days of detox were painful to say the least, but I’m so glad that I have made this change. I have more energy, I’m more clear-headed and I don’t feel sluggish or bloated. This veg is on of my new favorites and I have purchased six in the last two weeks. They’re cheap, versatile and a great substitute for spaghetti noodles.

This side dish is so darn quick, easy and flavorful that I could eat it daily – the hardest part is cutting the squash in half. All you need is a roasted squash, good olive oil, chopped garlic and Parmesan cheese to make this savory and satisfying side dish. The first time I served it along side sautéed tilapia and steamed peas. The next three times I served it along a spinach salad with my favorite maple Dijon dressing. Soon I will share with you the other clean eating recipes I have tried, like my favorite peanut butter, banana and chocolate smoothie, stuffed zucchini boats; and a spaghetti squash bake that tasted even better the next day. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Parmesan – adapted from Chow

    • 1 large spaghetti squash or two small ones
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil
    • Kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 2-3 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped (*if you have it on hand*)
    • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Directions –

Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Brush the flesh with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Place the squash halves cut-side up on a baking sheet and roast until fork tender, about 40-50 minutes.

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Remove the squash from the oven and let sit at room temperature until cool enough to handle, about 30 minutes. Scrape the flesh with a fork to make long strands; set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and shallot, season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

Add the reserved squash, toss with tongs to coat thoroughly, and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the cheese a handful at a time while tossing the squash to evenly coat. Serve with freshly ground black pepper and extra cheese.

Brown Sugar Banana Bread

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I love the library! I have borrowed many cookbooks lately, Back in the Day Bakery is one that I would buy. There are so many recipes in it that look and sound amazing. The first recipe I tried was chocolate chip cookies which baked up really thin and flat, but the flavor was one of the best I have tried. I will have to make those again, and hopefully work out the kinks so I can bake a batch worthy of photographing…

Anyway, onto the bread – it bakes up with a dense crumb, but it’s not at all tough or chewy. I didn’t have any mace on hand (who does?), but I replaced it for freshly grated nutmeg instead. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Brown Sugar Banana Bread – from The Back in the Day Bakery

  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground mace (I used nutmeg instead)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 pecans, toasted and chopped (I omitted)
  • 1 1/2 cups well mashed, very ripe bananas (about 3)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 TBSP unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TBSP dark brown sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Directions –

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, light brown sugar, baking soda, salt, mace, cinnamon and pecans; set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix the mashed bananas, sour cream, eggs, butter and vanilla with a sturdy wooden spoon. Gently fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan, spreading it evenly with a spatula. If using, sprinkle the dark brown sugar on top of the loaf. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool the bread in the loaf pan for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Wrapped in parchment, the bread will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

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Coco-Nana Bread

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His All-Time Favorite

Tres Leches Rice Pudding

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Rice pudding is the nostalgic comfort food of my childhood. My dear Gram would often make a big pot of arroz con leche for breakfast, which I happily ate then and will continue to enjoy – even if the pot is all for me. Sadly, (and strangely) my family doesn’t have an appreciation for this kind of treat. Last night, I did get my girl to try two small tastes of this (she’s the picky one), and she said it was pretty good. I will make a believer out of her yet! 😉

Most recipes call for chilling the pudding for a couple of hours in the fridge – forget that! Why wait when this stuff begs to be eaten hot with just a pinch of cinnamon on top? This pudding was luxurious and creamy and not too sweet. Near perfect! Gram’s will always be the standard, but I think she’d approve of this 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Tres Leches Rice Pudding – adapted from Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

  • 1 cup (180 grams) long- grain white rice
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 large egg
  • One 12- ounce can (11/2 cups or 355 ml) evaporated milk
  • One 13.5- ounce can (1 cups or 415 ml) unsweetened coconut
  • One 14- ounce can (11/4 cups or 390 grams) sweetened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon, to finish

Cook the rice: Put the rice, 2 cups of water, and the salt in a medium saucepan with a tight- fitting lid. Bring to a boil- you should hear the pot going all a flutter under the lid and puffing steam out the seam. Reduce to a low simmer, and let the rice cook for 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Remove the rice pot from the heat.

Once the rice is cooked, whisk the egg in a medium bowl, and then whisk in the evaporated milk. Stir the coconut and sweetened condensed milks into the rice, then add the egg mixture. Return the saucepan to heat and cook the mixture over medium- low heat until it looks mostly, or about 90 percent, absorbed (the pudding will thicken a lot as it cools), about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in the vanilla, then divide the pudding among serving dishes. Chill your puddings for at least an hour if desired – I love mine warm with a sprinkling of cinnamon 🙂

Hungry for More??

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Coconut Milk and Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding

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Arroz con Leche

Mushroom, Caramelized Onion Macaroni and Cheese

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This isn’t something that I get many chances to make, so as soon as I saw it I sent a text to my vegetarian food-loving friend. As expected, she was all in for this fancy mac and cheese! It was so good – full of savory flavors from the caramelized onions and meaty mushrooms. Don’t substitute any of the cheeses; they’re worth every penny – besides, when I make her lunch I get a date night 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Mushroom, Onion Macaroni and Cheese – adapted from Joy the Baker

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, for cooking the onions and mushrooms
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced in semi-circles
  • half a pound of button or cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, divided
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 scant teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyère
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound pasta shells, boiled until just undercooked
  • 1/3 cup panko crumbs

Directions –

In a medium skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.  When heated, add the sliced onions and saute until translucent, stirring occasionally.  Add a pinch of salt, a pinch of black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, and reduce the heat to low.  Continue to cook until the onions are completely browned and thoroughly cooked, about 10-15 minutes. Spoon caramelized onions into a small bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the quartered mushrooms and stir to coat in fat. Allow the mushrooms to soften and brown, about 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt, a pinch of black pepper , and remaining thyme and reduce the heat to low. Cook until mushrooms are browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until mixture is combined. Add the milk and whisk together until mixture has thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Add scant teaspoon of salt and black pepper. Stir to combine.

In a small bowl, beat the egg. Add a few tablespoons of the warm cream sauce to the egg and whisk together. Once the egg is warmed, add it back to the cream sauce and whisk well to combine. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheeses. Stir until melted and combined. Add the cooked pasta, onions and mushrooms and stir until all is coated in cheese sauce.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a  a 9×13-inch pan, and scoop the pasta mixture into the greased pan then top with panko crumbs. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the bread crumbs are browned and the pasta is sizzling. Remove from the oven and serve warm.
**Pasta can be made a day ahead and left in the fridge unbaked. Just add the bread crumbs just before baking.

Pasta with Mushroom, White Wine and Cream

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I love cremini mushroom,s and this dish is a new vegetarian fave of mine!  Out of all the produce that I have ever prepared, mushrooms are by far the most rich, meaty and flavorful. Of course, it helps to season and cook them properly; and I have my two favorite methods down! I love sautéing them in olive oil, butter and garlic; and a close second is roasting them with olive oil, salt and pepper. I had to fudge the amounts of ingredients in this recipe because the metric system and standard measurements don’t play well together 😉 When I make it again, I try adding some fresh thyme to cut through some of the richness of the sauce. This recipe yields about four servings, but if you served it as a side dish you could get at least six smaller servings. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Pasta with Mushroom, White Wine and Cream – adapted from Real Italian Foodies

  • 10 ounces dried pasta – pappardelle, fettucine, tagliatelle.
  • 1 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • grated Parmesan
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions –

Bring a large pot of water to boil, add salt and pasta – cook until al dente.

In a large, heavy-bottomed saute pan over medium heat, add the butter and olive oil. Once the butter has melted, add your cleaned and sliced mushrooms along with the minced garlic. Cook until the mushrooms begin to turn brown – don’t salt the veg until this happens, about 5-7 minutes. Season the veg with salt and pepper to taste, then pour the white wine into the pan to deglaze. Continue cooking until the wine has evaporated, add your cream and Parmesan cheese, turn the heat to low and simmer until the sauce has thickened.

Drain the pasta and add it to your sauce, mix together and serve with extra Parmesan cheese.

Portobello and Kale Pesto Pizza

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I needed a vegetarian pizza that wasn’t plain cheese (boring!) for my friend who was coming over for dinner. Anytime we have company over I don’t like to make something that I haven’t made/tweaked/perfected; but I threw caution to the wind and made this amazing pizza. I found this recipe, (surprise, surprise!) on Pinterest! I immediately sent a text to her to see if she was up for it – thankfully she was game for anything! I love when I get to cook for people who aren’t picky 😉

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Verdict: This was seriously good! My friend said it was the best thing she’s ever eaten – maybe that’s just because she’s pregnant and super sweet, but I’ll take it 😉 The kale pesto has rich flavor and a garlicky bite, and the sautéed mushrooms are savory, meaty and absolutely perfect! It’s a new favorite for the both of us, and I’m sure we’ll enjoy this one again soon. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Portobello and Pesto Pizza – adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Pizza Dough –

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Topping –

  • 12 ounces portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1/2 of an onion, sliced
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup kale pesto
  • mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • grated parmesan cheese

Directions-

Pizza Dough –

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine all of your ingredients, and stir until a loose dough forms. Attach the dough hook to your mixer and set the speed to 2, continue kneading adding more flour if necessary. You don’t want the dough to be too sticky, but a little tacky is good. Knead for 5-7 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

After kneading is finished, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently shape it into a ball. Place the ball in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise until doubled in volume – about an hour. Divide the dough into two pieces; you only need one ball for this recipe.

Mushroom Topping –

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and butter. Add onions and cook 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms to the pan. Continue cooking until the veg is evenly browned and tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and continue to cook down for a few more minutes until the pan is mostly dry. Set aside.

To Assemble –

Place a pizza stone on a rack on the lowest part of your oven. Heat to 475 – 500 degrees.

Flatten your dough into a disk  until it’s as thin as you like it (I like mine around 1/4 inch, and about 12 -14 inches in diameter). Spread the pesto over the dough leaving about 1/2″ border uncovered. Sprinkle with cheese, then top with the mushroom  and onion mixture, and then top generously with more cheese. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown, remove from oven and let cool slightly before slicing.

 

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Kale Pesto – adapted from Little Leopard Book

    • 4 cups kale (chopped)
    • 4 – 6 cloves garlic (crushed)
    • 1/4 cup cashews
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1/4 cup parmesan

Directions –

Add the kale, garlic and cashews to a blender or food processor. Blend for 30 seconds. Add the salt, pepper, olive oil and water. Blend until all ingredients have been incorporated (30-60 seconds). Add the parmesan cheese and pulse for 5-10 seconds. Serve with pizza, pasta or your favorite dish.

Spinach Artichoke Pasta

Every once in a while I make something that isn’t worth making again, and this is a good example. It was bland and I forgot that I really don’t like the texture of wilted spinach – it grosses me out! I bet the hot spinach artichoke dip on the previous post would be amazing poured over pasta. I meant to try it; but when I make the dip, it’s meant for an appetizer and not an experiment 😉 If I ever do I’ll be sure to post about how it turned out. Thanks for reading!

Spinach Artichoke Pasta – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 6 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 2 bags Baby Spinach
  • 2 cans Artichoke Hearts, Drained And Halved
  • 3 Tablespoons Flour
  • 3 cups Whole Milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1-1/2 cup Mozzarella Or Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
  • 1/2 cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth (less Or More)
  • 12 ounces, weight Penne, Cooked Until Al Dente
  • 1/2 cup Seasoned Panko Breadcrumbs
  • Crushed Red Pepper, To Taste

Directions –

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot or skillet. Add garlic and throw in the spinach. Stir it around until it’s wilted, about 1 minute. Remove spinach from heat and set aside.

Add 2 tablespoons butter to the same pot and raise the heat to high. Throw in the halved artichokes and stir it around until they get a little color, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the artichokes from the pot and set them aside.

Reduce the heat to low. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the pot. When melted, sprinkle in flour and whisk until it’s combined. Pour in milk and whisk to combine. Let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until starting to thicken. Add Parmesan, Mozzarella/Monterey Jack, salt and pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir to melt, and if it’s overly thick, splash in chicken broth.

Add artichokes and pasta, tossing gently to combine. Gently fold in spinach, then pour the pasta into a serving bowl. Sprinkle the top with crushed red pepper flakes and plenty of Panko breadcrumbs for crunch.