Maple Butternut Squash with Goat Cheese

Now that it is fall, I constantly find myself leaving the grocery store with multiple types of squash. Usually some combination of butternut, spaghetti or delicata. Butternut squash can be intimidating because it does take some prep (peeling, cutting, removing seeds, etc.) but I was so happy with how this recipe came out that I can’t wait to make it again. The maple syrup creates a rich, caramelized flavor and the goat cheese adds a great tanginess. I cooked half of this in the air fryer and I roasted the other half in the oven and the air fryer did turn out better (more caramelized) but the oven works well too.

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1-2 oz goat cheese

Directions

  1. If using the oven, preheat to 400
  2. Peel the skin off the squash, cut off the ends, scoop the seeds out with a spoon and cut into 1-2 inch cubes
  3. Place cubes in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper
  4. If using the air fryer, cook at 400 for 20-25 minutes
  5. If using the oven, cook for 40-50 minutes
  6. Add goat cheese prior to serving

Sweet and Spicy Brussels Sprouts

I love crispy roasted brussels sprouts but usually keep it simple with olive oil, salt and pepper. This is a great alternative when you want a more flavorful side dish! Just make sure to roast the brussels sprouts long enough that they get brown and crispy. I ate mine in a bowl with quinoa and shredded chicken!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of Brussels sprouts (one standard bag)
  • 3 tablespoons high-heat oil (canola oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon sriracha sauce
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon if using jarred garlic)
  • Salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Rinse and dry brussels sprouts
  3. Slice off the base of each sprout and then cut in half (you can leave smaller ones whole)
  4. Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil, add sliced brussels sprouts, coat in 3 tablespoons high-heat oil, sprinkle with salt and mix thoroughly
  5. Cook for 45 minutes or until browned, stirring halfway
  6. When the brussels are close to brown, begin preparing sauce
  7. In a small saucepan, combine, soy sauce, maple syrup, sriracha sauce, lemon juice and garlic
  8. Reduce for roughly 5 minutes, until sauce starts to thicken
  9. Transfer brussels to large bowl and slowly drizzle sauce over, stirring as you go
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

Polenta Fries

These polenta fries are crispy, savory and so delicious! They require some prep time (1+ hour in the freezer) but trust me, they are worth it. The combination of garlic, sage and parmesan make these incredibly addicting and the garlic lemon aioli (also seen with the zucchini chips last week!) puts it over the top.

Polenta Fries

Total Time Required: 2 hours

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry polenta
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

Directions

  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add in polenta, garlic, 1/4 cup parmesan, salt & pepper
  2. Stir for several minutes until creamy
  3. Turn off heat and cover for several minutes
  4. Line a square (I used 9×9) baking pan with parchment paper and pour in polenta, spreading evenly
  5. Freeze for at least 1 hour
  6. Preheat oven to 425
  7. Remove from freezer and cut polenta first into quarters and then each quarter into ~8 fries
  8. Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for 30-45 minutes, tossing halfway through, until golden brown and crispy
  9. Add chopped sage to melted butter and once fries are finished baking, pour butter mixture and 1/4 cup parmesan over fries
  10. Serve hot and enjoy!

Garlic Lemon Aioli

Total Time Required: 35 minutes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yields: 1/3 cup

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and cover
  2. Let sit in refrigerator for 30 minutes until ready to serve

Zucchini Chips with Garlic Lemon Aioli

Is anyone else surprised by how versatile zucchini is? You can throw it on the grill for a quick side dish, spiralize it into noodles, bake it into brownies, or in this case, make chips!

This recipe might’ve been easier if I had a mandolin but instead I used the slicing side of a standing cheese grater and it worked great. I think the size of the “chips” would’ve been more consistent with the mandolin but mine turned out totally fine! It does take some time to bake these in the oven so be sure to keep that in mind!

Zucchini Chips

Total Time Required: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Yields: 3 cups zucchini chips

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 225
  2. Cut off ends of zucchini and slice zucchini into even, thin discs (using a mandolin or slicing side of standing cheese grater)
  3. Place slices between paper towel sheets and dab away excess moisture
  4. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and arrange zucchini slices so they are close but do not overlap (they will shrink in the oven)
  5. Using a pastry brush, coat top of zucchini slices with a layer of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  6. Bake for 1.5-2 hours or until zucchini chips are brown and crispy

Garlic Lemon Aioli

Total Time Required: 35 minutes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yields: 1/3 cup

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and cover
  2. Let sit in refrigerator for 30 minutes until ready to serve

Caprese Salad

A Caprese salad is the perfect summer side and with only a few ingredients, comes together in under 10 minutes! This salad is always a crowdpleaser and pairs well with a variety of main dishes. We had this with steak on the grill and orzo with pesto.

Total Time Required: 10 minutes

Yields: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 tomatoes
  • 16 oz mozzarella
  • 10-15 basil leaves
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Balsamic Glaze (optional)

Directions

  1. Slice tomatoes and mozzarella into discs with relatively even widths
  2. On a platter, alternate laying tomato, mozzarella and basil (either one small leaf or half of a larger leaf)
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic glaze and season with salt & pepper
  4. Serve cold and enjoy!

Classic Pesto

Today I’m sharing a recipe for classic pesto! As you may have gathered, pesto is one of my favorite ingredients and I always have a jar in my refrigerator but I definitely prefer homemade pesto with fresh basil to any store-bought option.

This recipe calls for 5 cups of basil leaves but it can easily be scaled down to use whatever quantity you have.

Total Time Required: 20 minutes

Yields: 3 1/2 cups pesto

Ingredients

  • 5 cups basil leaves, packed tightly
  • 1 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/4 cup graded parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Toast the pine nuts lightly on the stove and set aside
  2. Wash and dry basil leaves and add to food processor bowl
  3. Add olive oil and pulse until the basil starts to puree
  4. Add garlic, toasted pine nuts, salt and pepper and process until smooth, wiping down the sides of the bowl halfway through
  5. Add parmesan cheese and process until incorporated
  6. Pour pesto into container for storage and cover lightly with olive oil (keeps the pesto green!)

Pesto freezes well so we used ice cube trays to separate the pesto into smaller portions for easier use but if you plan to use it sooner, store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Creamy Corn Salad

This salad is great side for a summer dinner and incorporates staple ingredients you probably already have in the fridge! We served this with steak but it would also be perfect with fish or chicken on the grill. Enjoy!

Time Required: 15 minutes

Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of frozen corn (or corn from 6 ears of corn)
  • 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 4 ounces of goat cheese
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Cook corn according to instructions on bag and let cool for 5-10 minutes
  2. Cut cherry tomatoes into quarters and place in a large bowl
  3. Cube the avocados and add to the bowl
  4. Add the corn to the bowl and stir in goat cheese. The slightly warm corn will melt the goat cheese to coat the salad
  5. Whisk together white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and drizzle over the salad

While I enjoyed this salad as a side, I was even more pleased with the leftovers. The following day for lunch I started with a bed of arugula, added one scoop of the corn salad and 2 slices of turkey breast and topped with a dollop of pesto. The result was a sweet and salty salad that kept me full for hours. 

I will definitely be doubling the recipe next time to have more leftovers!