Tag Archives: Williams-Sonoma

Roasted squash and bacon pasta.

butternut squash pasta

So am I posting regularly now? I don’t know… Not regularly enough to use a real camera to photograph dinner tonight, apparently. All we have is this Instagram shot. But this is a tasty dish, no matter how blurry or dark it may look. Several people on Facebook asked for the recipe after seeing said Instagram shot, so I figured I’d post it here for the good of all.

It came from Williams-Sonoma’s One Pot cookbook, which has some real gems if you’re looking for meals that are quick but unique. When my mother-in-law first sent it to me (she got it out of the clearance bin at Deseret Book), this was one of the first recipes that caught my eye. But Husband said he didn’t like squash, & besides, winter squash was out of season. So when the southern-hemisphere stuff started showing up in my grocery store, I ignored my husband & made it anyway. Everyone — including him — loved it (ha! So there!), though I will say that (Almost) One-Year-Old preferred gnawing the raw squash to the cooked, seasoned stuff. It takes less than 30 minutes start to finish & only dirties a pasta pot, a cutting board, & a baking sheet, plus some assorted utensils.

  • 2 lbs. butternut or other winter squash, peeled, seeded, & cut into small (1/2-inch) cubes
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved & thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • 4 strips thick-cut bacon (though I used regular and it was just fine)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh sage (I used scant 1/2 Tbsp. rubbed sage)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 lb. pasta: rigatoni, farfalle, or other chunky shape
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, freshly grated (or… not), plus more for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Toss squash, onion, & bacon with the oil. Sprinkle with sage & season with salt & pepper. Spread in a single layer.
  3. Roast until squash is caramelized & tender & bacon is getting crispy, 15-20 minutes. Remove & set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta & cook according to package directions, making sure to reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water prior to draining. Return pasta to the pot.
  5. Use a wooden spoon to free any of the squash mixture that may be sticking to the foil, then lift the foil off of the baking sheet & use it to funnel the squash into the pot with the pasta.
  6. Toss for 1 minute over high heat, adding as much of the pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce.
  7. Add parmesan, toss, & serve.

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Low-key Thanksgiving redux.

So yes, it’s been a little while since I last posted. My time was occupied with caring for a sick Munchkin, many trips to & phone calls with doctors, not sleeping, & changing about a month’s worth of diapers in less than a week.

Oh, & my birthday happened in there somewhere… My Husband The Pyromaniac made a candle bonfire on my birthday pie.

Between all that & the fact that it was 85 stinkin’ degrees outside, Thanksgiving kind of snuck up on me this year. Fortunately it was just us & 2 homesick missionaries from our church who’ll eat anything, so I didn’t have to worry about impressing anyone.

For starters, I nixed the whole turkey in favor of a turkey breast that weighed roughly what The Munchkin did at birth. (For the record, with just 4 adults & a Munchkin, we still had leftovers.) Thanks to this little miracle I discovered last year, all I needed to do was rub the turkey the night before for the most moist & flavorful turkey (breast) I’ve ever made. Additionally, cooking less bird meant less time in the oven, which meant less chance of the juices scorching. This made for the easiest gravy I’ve ever made: no tweaking or seasoning necessary!

I was able to get away without cooking anything until nearly 2pm that day, thanks to My Husband The Pie Man, who baked 2 of his best pies to date — pumpkin & berry – while we watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade & The Munchkin sobbed that she wanted to go again this year.

We maximized space & oven time in The Tiniest Kitchen Ever by making bread in the breadmaker. Cardinal sin? Maybe. But it was easy & tasted good.

For stuffing, we used a closely-guarded family recipe: doctored-up Pepperidge Farm. (Why do you think it’s so closely guarded?) All I did was follow the directions on the package & add a few shakes each dried basil & thyme to the onion & celery.

Finally, the one new recipe I did try this year. I made these mashed potatoes. I didn’t bother to read the “don’t use lowfat milk” part of the recipe until the stores were closed & we were ready to start, so I went ahead with the 2% — I rationalized that most people boil their potatoes in water anyway, so any added flavor would be a bonus — & they did just fine. But I think The Munchkin’s favorite part was using one of my birthday presents, matching mommy- & Munchkin-sized potato scrubber gloves, to prep them.

The end result? A low-key, delicious Thanksgiving dinner with almost ZERO stress! Best. Holiday. Ever.

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Easy Pulled Pork Sandwiches.

I printed this recipe off a long time ago, while I was getting paid to stare at a computer screen 40 hours a week, from an online community that I don’t think exists anymore. The date on the bottom of the printout says 3/28/2008. And I never made it! It sat neglected in my recipe binder for one reason:

Molasses.

So I finally broke down & bought the $1.28 bottle & made these. Can you believe that it took me three & a half years?

(Note: This smells very vinegar-y while it’s in the slow cooker, so I expected a Carolina-type sauce, but it’s actually quite mild.)

From the Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast: Slow Cooker cookbook

  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 4 lbs. boneless pork shoulder cut into 3 equal pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light molasses
  • 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottom pan. Brown both sides of the pork & transfer to the slow cooker. Saute the onion in the oil until golden.
  2. Add vinegar & deglaze the pan, then add the rest of the ingredients. Bring it just to a boil.
  3. Pour sauce over pork. Cover; cook on high 4-5 hours or low 8-10 hours.
  4. Shred the pork on a separate plate & discard any pieces of fat. Skim grease from the sauce, then return the pork to the sauce, stir to combine, & serve on rolls.
Tidy Mom

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“It’s Shake & Bake {Potatoes}, & I helped!”

Anyone else remember those commercials? Well, these potatoes don’t use the Shake & Bake mix you buy at the store; you use your very own herbs & seasonings. This keeps the sodium level down — a plus! We seriously love these potatoes. The recipe first came from one of my Young Women’s leaders in — you guessed it — the ward cookbook! That thing is worth its weight in gold, I tell you what. Since then I’ve started customizing the spices to complement whatever meal I happen to be making. They’re delicious every time!

  • A couple lbs. of potatoes of your choice (we like reds & sweets), cut into 1-inch cubes (peel the sweet potatoes & russets first)
  • 1 med. onion, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or enough to coat)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • seasonings of choice (see below)

Seasonings: The original recipe calls for approx. 2 Tbsp. dried rosemary & salt & pepper to taste. This way is delicious! So is using dill in its place. Tonight, though, I went with Herbes de Provence Sea Salt & my Steakhouse Grinder.

  1. Preheat your oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Let your kitchen helper help you put the potato & onion chunks in a gallon Ziploc bag.
  3. Add garlic & olive oil. (You can add seasonings at this point too, but I prefer adding them later to keep it even & reduce the amount I use.)
  4. Let your kitchen helper shake it up!
  5. This is where I sprinkle on the seasonings evenly.
  6. Arrange in a single layer on your prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until fork-tender.

Let me know what seasonings you decide to use!

Tidy Mom

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Steaks & rolls on a weeknight? Oh yes, I did! (& you can too!)

I wish I could say there was some inspired reason for breaking the Sunday Dinner mold like this. But to be honest, the steak was the first thing I saw when I opened the freezer to decide what to make for dinner tonight.

The rolls? Rhodes Bake-N-Serv rolls. Just pull as many as you want out of the freezer, & 3 hours later you have hot, fresh rolls straight out of the oven! If you’re coming home from work/soccer/Brownies/etc., they even have a quick 1.5-hour way! They really are a miracle. & they’re tasty too. We get them at Target.

Once the rolls are out of the oven, I follow the Frugal Flambe’s method for Grilling Without a Grill. I’ve mentioned it before, but I really can’t get enough of it!

Stick your cast-iron grill pan in the oven & turn it up to 500 degrees. Then take your room-temperature steak & season it how you like. He suggests salt, seasoned salt, onion salt, garlic salt, & pepper. I just kind of play with it; tonight I used garlic pepper, lemon herb seasoning, garlic salt, & this yummy potlatch seasoning.

Once the oven reaches 500 degrees, pull your grill pan out onto a medium-high burner. Splash both sides of your steaks with some Worcestershire & a spritz of PAM canola oil to keep them from sticking to the pan. Sear them for 1-2 minutes on each side, then USE YOUR OVEN MITT (not speaking from experience or anything) to put the pan, steaks & all, back in the oven for 8 minutes.

Finally, pull it back out, cover it loosely with foil for a few minutes to tenderize, & treat yourself & your family to a fancy dinner on a weeknight!

This could be a great idea for someone’s weeknight birthday or other special occasion, or just because that’s what was in the freezer!

works for me wednesday at we are that family

What’s Cooking Wednesday

Cast Party Wednesday

36th Avenue

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Orange-Braised Pork Chops with Spinach Orange Salad.

I can officially call myself a housewife: I have now cooked pork chops.

That were ridiculously on sale.

In my slow-cooker, even!

It was an interesting meal, too: The Munchkin was tired & hungry & didn’t stop screaming the entire time. She also didn’t eat a single bite of pork chop or orange. Dinner for her was a peanut butter sandwich & like 2 bites of strawberries. Eh, well, you win some, you lose some. We thought the chops tasted delicious! My Husband The Skeptical was completely won over, even though he generally doesn’t think meat should be cooked with fruit; the orange zest isn’t detectable in the taste of the finished product.

This is another one from The New Slow Cooker. You really need to get this book. Like, really. I’ve posted my alcohol-free version (no cooking wine). Also, I have to be honest: their salad dressing was super bitter. So I’ve included the tastier orange vinaigrette dressing I like, from Better Homes & Gardens.

  • 6 bone-in pork loin chops, each about 1 1/2 inches thick
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, halved & thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. red or white wine vinegar (it calls for white; I used red)
  • zest of 2 oranges (reserve oranges for salad below)
  1. Season chops generously on both sides with salt & pepper.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Sear chops until golden brown on both sides, working in batches if there are too many. Remove to a plate.
  3. Pour off most of the fat from the pan. Return it to medium heat. Add shallots & garlic; saute until just beginning to brown.
  4. Pour in broth to deglaze the pan. Stir in vinegar, zest, 1/2 tsp. salt, & several shakes or grinds of pepper.
  5. Pour pan contents into bottom of slow cooker. Stack chops on top.
  6. Cover & cook on low 7 hours. (I only made 2 chops & they were done after less than 6.) Chops will be tender.
  7. Place one chop on each plate to serve. Drizzle some of the braising liquid over each chop. Add salad, below, & serve.

Spinach Orange Salad (with BHG dressing)

  • oranges from above
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
  • baby spinach
  1. Segment oranges: Use a sharp chef’s knife to slice off the top & bottom of the fruit so you see the flesh.
  2. Follow the contour of the orange to slice off strips of skin & pith, revealing the fruit on all sides.
  3. Slice wedges out of the orange, between the membranes if you can. (I found a navel orange to be a little “sloppy” on the segmentation…) Cut into smaller pieces, if desired. Set aside.
  4. In a jar with a lid, or a Tupperware, combine vinegar, juice, oil, sugar, & mustard. Cover & shake well. (Your kids will love helping with this step!)
  5. Mound spinach onto plates, top with a few orange segments each, then drizzle with salad dressing.

Do you have a certain “housewife” dish you’ve never made either? Confession time: my other one is lasagna! Any recipe suggestions for that one?

 works for me wednesday at we are that family

36th Avenue

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Award-winning (!!!) peach-strawberry cobbler.

Yesterday was Pioneer Day, a holiday that commemorates the day in 1847 when the Mormon pioneers first entered the Salt Lake Valley. It’s a state holiday in Utah; everywhere else, Mormon wards put on picnics/barbecues/etc. to celebrate. Our new ward had a barbecue & “Dutch oven” baking contest on Saturday. (“Dutch oven” is in quotes because entrants were instructed to bake it in their ovens at home, then bring it in a Dutch oven. I used my Le Creuset Dutch oven. It still counts.)

Meet: the winner! Ta-da!

This recipe originated from The Princess & the Frog: Tiana’s Cookbook: Recipes for Kids, was modified by Tina at Mom’s Crazy Cooking, & then re-modified by me & my unfortunately still wonky (that Indiana-ism is the only word I can think of that can accurately describe it) oven.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 cups diced fresh peaches (I wound up having to freeze half of mine because produce gets to the store a little riper down here than in the Tri-State Area; they still worked fine)
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries (ditto)
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup cold milk (I used 2%)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 (or prepare your campfire, if you’re ambitious enough to be all “authentic”). Use a pat of the butter to grease the inside of your Dutch oven.
  2. Melt remaining butter in the microwave. Set aside.
  3. Combine fruit in a small-ish bowl & sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. of the sugar. Stir gently & then set aside to macerate.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, & salt. Add remaining sugar, milk, & vanilla; stir until well blended. The batter will be (perhaps alarmingly) thin.
  5. Pour the melted butter into the batter & whisk quickly until just combined. The batter should be a little thicker now. Pour immediately into the bottom of your Dutch oven.
  6. Gently spoon the fruit mixture into the batter & lightly press it partway into the batter.
  7. Bake (uncovered if you’re using the oven; covered if you’re using a campfire) about 1 hour, or until top is golden brown. Serve warm. Win a baking contest!

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