Flamin' Hot Butternut Squash Fries

Monday, November 16, 2015

As winter approaches, we all want a little more warmth and love coming from the oven.
The beautiful produce of the summer is gone, and we are left with carrots and parsnips and squash and brussles sprouts... and really nothing that jumps out as exciting.

Let's be honest... we can only have roasted vegetables so many times before we want to yank out our eyeballs.... WELL... these fries are going to change your mindset about roasted vegetables this winter. 

A little sweet, a little spicy, and a whole lot of perfection. 

Nothing like the typical winter veggie roast, this will be exactly the heat that your cold evening is looking for.

Flamin' Hot Butternut Squash Fries
Serves: 2
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

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1 large butternut squash
1/2 - 1 tablespoon olive oil (just enough to barely coat, will depend on the size of your squash)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4-1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper (less is more... and more is SPICY)
sprinkle of sea salt


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Peel squash, and use a very sharp knife to cut off the ends of the squash. Slice it in half, spoon out seeds and moosh (which I'm sure there is a real name for... but that's not important), and slice french fry sized pieces of squash. 

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 ((make your fries as thick or thin as you want, just remember that the thicker they are the longer you have to wait to enjoyyyyyy them!))

3. Toss the fries into a large mixing bowl, drizzle with olive oil. Mix to coat. Sprinkle on the garlic powder, ground cayenne powder and sea salt, mix again.

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4. Spread on baking sheet, and bake at 425 for 15 minutes, flip them and bake for another 15 minutes... continue on this way until they are nice and browned and beautiful :D

Spicy, carmelized, and best of all... HEALTHY!
Take that, Winter.  

Blackened Tilapia Taco Bowl

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Taco Tuesdays have become a staple in our home.... it's easy, reliable, gives us an excuse to eat guac, and the meat is almost always marinated and ready to go from the freezer. We usually do a flank steak, grilled peppers and onions, and salsa on top.

This week, we decided to mix it up and try something a little bit different..... FISH TACOS! 

After diving into Costco membership this week, we decided that we need to start replacing one of our red meat nights (which we adorrrrreeeee) with a night of lighter seafood fare! So we bought a giant flat of fresh, beautiful Tilapia and portioned it out to freeze when we got home.

When it came time to thaw out some protein for tacos this week, my husband challenged me to create a fish taco bowl... here's what we came up with.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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Blackened Tilapia Taco Bowl
Serves: 2-4 depending on hunger levels ;) 
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes


4 Tilapia Fillets
Bekah's Blackened Fish Rub (recipe below)
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can sweet white and golden corn (or 2 corn cobs, cooked, and removed from cob)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 avocado, cubed, if desired
handful of cherry tomatoes, if desired
1 lime, sliced for garnish
4 tsp olive oil
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 When it comes to tacos and fajitas, I like to make sure to cut up and rinse all the veggies and extras first. On more occasions that I can count, we have sat down to the table, eaten our entire meal, and then realized that the bell pepper (or some other sort of important side ingredient) was completely left out. By laying everything out, I have an extra moment of taking stock and making sure we've got everything we want to include.... plus it's so colorful and pretty :)

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Bekah's Blacked Fish Rub
In a small dish, mix together:
1.5 T chili powder
1 T ground cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. oregano
pinch of sea salt

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You could adjust the amount of ground cayenne pepper to up the spice intensity... we're not huge on super spicy foods in our house, so this is just the right amount of kick for us.


1. Rub both sides of the tialpia fillets with the spice mix, and set aside while you heat a cast iron skillet (or other frying pan) to medium.

2. Once the pan is heated, add 2 tsp of olive oil, followed by 2 fillets of fish. --This is all my skillet can hold, if you have one that can fit all 4, feel free to add all of the oil and all of the fish :)

3. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side, until the fish is cooked through and flakey. Remove from the heat to a plate and cover with tin foil. Repeat with the remaining oil and fish.

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4. Once the fish is cooked, add the red pepper, onion, and corn to the skillet. Let it cook as it lays in the pan so that it caramelizes a little bit in the remnants from the fish. Cook for 5-7 minutes until onions are translucent, or until your desired level of done-ness. (I mean, they're veggies that are yummy cooked or raw... you can't really screw this up.)

 5. Mix in the black beans and warm for 1-2 minutes, just before removing the veggies from the heat.
6. Spoon into a bowl (or tortillas, or lettuce wraps if you're opting for more of a classic taco) and top with the fish!

Optional toppings:
squeeze 1/4 of a lime over the top
fresh sliced tomatoes and avocado
light squeeze of a chipotle mayo

7. Enjoy!
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Lucky Luciano's Killer Combo

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Like Lucky Luciano, this dish is straight forward, to the point, and the king of Italian secrets.
In crime and in cooking, people get caught up in fancy appearances.... when the reality is that a simple approach is most often the most successful.

Shooting straight down the middle, this dish will BLOW YOUR MIND.

From the 5 Points Gang to this 5 Ingredient Dish, Italians know how to get things done.

Lucky Luciano's Killer Combo

serves: 2
prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 15 minutes

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2 Chicken Breasts
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
4 ounces fresh mozzarella
2 tsp basil pesto
balsamic reduction for drizzle
optional: Tuscan herb blend


1. Carefully fillet the chicken breasts in half, leaving the final edge connected to create a pocket that you can use for stuffing the breast.
2. Spoon 1 teaspoon of pesto into each breast and spread.
3. Tear 2 ounces of mozzarella and split between the 2 breasts, spreading evenly.
4. Sprinkle sun dried tomato pieces on top of the cheese.
5. Close breasts and use 3 pieces of kitchen string to securely fasten so that the stuffing doesn't escape during cooking.

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6. If desired, sprinkle outside of chicken with a Tuscan blend of herbs (oregano, basil, red pepper flake-- or premade mix)
7. Heat skillet to medium high, spray with olive oil cooking spray and set pouches carefully onto the skillet.
8. Let them brown for 2 minutes, carefully flip to the other side and let brown for 2-3 minutes.

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9. Reduce heat to medium low and cover for 10-12 minutes (flipping half way), or until chicken is cooked through.
10. Take remaining Mozzarella, divide between the 2 breasts and lay over top of the chicken. Cover again until the cheese is nice and melty.
11. Transfer to plate, drizzle with balsamic reduction, and enjoy!

We like to serve this dish with a simple spring mix salad, sprinkled with tomatoes, carrots, and  cucumbers. Use a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the same balsamic reduction, and you've got yourself a simple winner!

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