Why this blog??

Why this blog?? I often find myself stressing over what to make for my family for dinner. We live a busy life and some meals need time to prep, cook and let's not forget shopping for everything you need. I love cookbooks and websites, but there are so many recipe's at times it is overwhelming. The recipe's I will be posting are things I actually made. I will tell you if they are easy or more time consuming. I will also tell you if they are good. Most of these are recipe's I have made for years and continue to make because they are easy or quick and my family loves them and i know yours will too! I will also try to at least once in a whlie try a new recipe I've found on line or in a book and honestly rate it. I always encourage others to send me their favorite recipe's as well! I am a mom... not a chef. But I am a mom who enjoys cooking for her family and making a somewhat healthy meal (some days more healthy than others:) ) In each recipe I will share how I recommend serving it, any substitutions I can think of that are also good, or ways to prepare ahead of time to make the cooking part seem quicker! I am not a photographer, as you can see... most of these pictures are taken from my phone camera, so may not be the best! I love to hear from others who have made these recipes and what they have done to change the recipe... please post comments! Thank you! To "like" me on facebook, go to this link... It's What's Cookin

Friday, September 2, 2011

Penne Pasta with Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese

I was watching the cooking channel one day and saw the episode where Giada De Laurentiis made this. It looked SO good, but I knew my husband and kids would never eat it. So tonight, I had a girlfriend over for dinner and decided to give it a try on her. If you want to go to Giada's link click HERE. I like the video on her site. I pretty much just copied and pasted the recipe and ingredients down below.

We really liked it. I love nutty flavors so this was perfect for me. I love goat cheese and I love butternut squash. My friend liked it a lot too, but thought it needed more salt (or garlic salt). (I didn't add more salt like the recipe called for at the end, I had only added it to the squash. So next time I will add more at the end too.) We also both thought it would be good to add shredded rotisserie chicken to this to make it a well balanced meal:)

If you don't know how to peel and dice a butternut squash, you can go to THIS site and watch the short video. I've never peeled one before even though I've made butternut squash many times before!


Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 (2-pound) butternut or kombucha squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 onion, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
Olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound penne pasta
1 cup (8 ounces) goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (see Cook's Note)
1 packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan
*Adding this after making it a second time- 1tsp garlic salt. Definitely adds more flavor!

Put an oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Spray a baking sheet, liberally, with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.

Mix the squash and onion together and arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake for to 40 to 45 minutes until the vegetables are golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

While the squash mixture is cooling, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 2 cups of the pasta water. Put the pasta, goat cheese and 1 cup of pasta water in a large serving bowl. Toss until the cheese has melted and forms a creamy sauce. Add the squash and onion mixture, the walnuts and the basil. Toss well and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with Parmesan and serve.

Cook's Note:
To toast the walnuts, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until lightly toasted, about 6 to 8 minutes Cool completely before using.




put on baking sheet with diced onion and roast with olive oil and seasonings

place goat cheese at bottom of serving bowl. Place hot pasta on top along with one cup of the pasta water.

add the butternut squash and onion

add chopped, toasted walnuts and chopped fresh basil

Mix well, add grated parm cheese, salt and pepper.

So creamy and good! 

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