Tag Archives: bacon

Rigatoni with butternut squash, bacon and caramelized onions

During a recent nap time, I went through all my cookbooks, found all my favorite recipes and those I had not yet tried that sounded good based on their ingredients or the picture. And what did I do with all these recipes? I made a giant, five page alphabetical Word document index. It’s organized like this:

Recipe title (main ingredients), Publication Title page number.

Yes, I am that crazy, anal retentive, type A, overly organized, and all the other adjectives I am sure you can have fun coming up with for me.

I am so happy I did this because I found lots of new recipes and having the main ingredient list next to each recipe allows me to find them based on what is in season.

So this recipe is based on one I found in a book I have had for years that went largely ignored.

Rigatoni with butternut squash, bacon and caramelized onions
Adapted from “Rigatoni with Squash and Caramelized Onions” in Food & Wine Best of the Best Vol. 9 which is a compilation of recipe books and this one is originally from Recipes by Susan Spungen, the founding food editor of Martha Stewart Living

-1/2 lb rigatoni
-1 butternut squash
-2 garlic cloves, pressed
-1 tbsp butter
-1 onion, halved and sliced
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
-dash or two pumpkin pie spice
-2 thick slices bacon, chopped
-1 cup stock (I used vegetable)
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
-salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.

Cook pasta in salted water two minutes less than recommended time on package (it will continue to cook in the oven).

While the pasta is cooking, peel, chop and remove the seeds from your butternut squash.

Brown the bacon. Remove from pan and drain. Set aside. Add the garlic, onions and butter to the pan and brown. Add 1/4 cup water and cook 5 more minutes.

Remove the onions from the pan and set aside.

Add the oil, squash, half the rosemary, salt, and pepper and sauté until tender when pierced with a knife. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Simmer around 8-10 minutes. Add cream, bring to a boil and simmer one minute more. Remove from heat.

Combine with bacon, pasta and all remaining ingredients thoroughly, reserving 1/2 cup cheese. Transfer to a baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake 30-35 min until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbly.


Serve with a salad of mixed greens, apple, pomegranate, green onions and sunflower seeds dressed with olive oil, salt and vinegar. You may also want a bit of warm bread at the end to sop up the sauce.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts

If you are about my age and had parents that grew up in the 60s and 70s, you probably didn’t see Brussels Sprouts at your dinner table growing up. That’s because our parents were given this vegetable in the most disgusting manner possible: boiled or steamed. This results in a slimy, pungent ball of leaves in your mouth. There’s no way I would have touched them either. As a result, most people only think they hate Brussels Sprouts.

I think it’s all in the preparation though and will venture to say that most people actually will like them if done right. I, too, was in disbelief until September when my friend Brooke made some roasted Brussels Sprouts for me (different recipe). So don’t knock it until you try it. Besides, there is bacon involved and we all know that like butter, bacon makes everything better.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts


-1 package fresh Brussels Sprouts
-3 slices bacon
-1 Bartlett pear
-olive oil

Preheat oven to 425°.

Cut Brussels Sprouts in half.

Chop pear.

Slice bacon into thin strips.

Catch toddler getting into your secret stash of Jelly Bellys.

Scatter sprouts, pear, and bacon on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and thyme.

Place in oven for 20-30 minutes or until Brussels Sprouts are tender and slightly crispy around the edges.

Serving suggestion:
While you’re at it, go for the whole classic ’60s meal of Brussels Sprouts, mashed potatoes and meat loaf. Only make Ina Garten’s meat loaf and not the dry brick you’re thinking of.


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Gourmet Lisa: A Southern meal, I think

So last night my menu plan called for this recipe. Except there were a few problems.

#1. I forgot to defrost the chicken.
#2. Trader Joe’s didn’t have any chorizo, plus I’m not really a fan.
#3. My brain wasn’t really up to the mental capacity required to follow a recipe.

So I decided to take Rachel Ray’s concept of mixing the kale in with the mashed potatoes and come up with my own recipe. I learned a few things along the way and came up with a revised recipe below that is a little different from what we actually had last night, but I’m sure it will probably be better. This recipe was great because it used up quite a bit of produce from our last two AH boxes.

• 1 pkg keilbasa, sliced into 1 inch pieces
• 2 strips bacon, cut into small chunks
• 1 shallot, peeled and sliced
• 1 bulb/head/stalk? of green garlic, finely diced
• olive oil
• splash of milk/cream
• couple handfuls of Parmesan cheese
• 1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
• 1 bunch chard, stems removed and chopped
• 4-5 Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped (we only had 3, but I think it would be better with more, see notes below)

Fry the keilbasa in a pan until cooked through. I usually do this on medium heat and I cover it so that I’m sure the sausage gets cooked all the way through. You could also grill it and then cut it up later if you want.

Meanwhile, bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and boil until softened.

Also while the potatoes and sausage are cooking you want to add some olive oil to another pan. Add shallot, garlic and bacon. Cook until bacon is browned. Stir in kale and cook until softened (This is where I went wrong in the recipe last night. I added all the greens in at once and chard cooks much faster than kale). Add in the chard continue cooking until all greens are wilted and soft.

Drain potatoes and place in mixing bowl. Add greens mixture, milk/cream and cheese. Mix until well combined, potatoes are smooth and cheese is melted.

Serve with sausage.

Recipe notes
I thought this was pretty good, but I’m big on my veggies. Stephen said the potato to greens ratio was not right. He would have preferred more potatoes. He went through the whole pile searching for places where there was a large amount of just potatoes. So that is why in my recipe I upped the amount from 3 potatoes to 4-5. You may want to adjust the milk/cream and cheese ratio too depending on how much you like those ingredients. I think it could have probably used a little more cheese, but tasted fine the way it was and I didn’t want to push my husband’s lactose buttons. I thought the bacon added enough salt, but you might want to salt and pepper to taste as well. I thought the potatoes were better this afternoon for lunch because the kale wasn’t as crunchy. So definitely learn from my mistake on that and cook the kale a little first before adding in the chard.

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