Tag Archives: pecans

Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts

Last week, the weather here was positively fall-like.  Then, this weekend, suddenly it is summer again.  But, I just couldn’t wait until it cooled off again to make this side.  Seriously, I think I could eat it everyday and be just as happy as a clam.  Even my kids like it (yeah, they eat Brussels Sprouts, but only if I make them like this).  As with most of my recipes, feel free to adjust to your liking.  If the kids weren’t around, I would have definitely added some chile flake to this and I might add some red chile powder next time anyway – just for fun.

Start out by peeling and cubing one butternut squash.  Then trim and halve about 30 brussels sprouts.  Toss those with about a tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper (I wish I could tell you how much, but I don’t measure it, just sprinkle it over until it feels right. Besides, your taste and mine are probably different when it comes to how much salt is enough).

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Spread these in an even layer on a sheet pan and put them in a 400* oven for about 20 minutes.  While those are roasting away, very finely dice onion until you’ve got about 2 tablespoons and mince one clove of garlic.  Sweat those down over very low heat in another tablespoon of olive oil.  When they are nice and tender, stir them into a half cup chopped pecans, a half cup dried cranberries (unsweetened if possible) and a tablespoon or two of maple syrup (again, this varies depending on your taste.  Go ahead and splurge on the real stuff though – your tastebuds will thank you.)

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When your butternut squash and brussels sprouts have been in the oven 20 minutes, pull them out and stir in the pecan/dried cranberry mixture.  Put it all back in the oven for another 10 minutes (and try not to drool).  When you pull it out, it will look like this and smell like heaven.

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Seriously! Who wouldn’t want a big ole serving of that deliciousness?!?!  I served mine with pan seared pork chops tonight, but it is equally delicious with chicken – or all by itself (you know you thought about it).  Bonus points if you can find the pork chop on this plate.4

Recipe

1 butternut squash – peeled and cubed

25-20 brussels sprouts – cleaned and halved

2 Tablespoons olive oil (separated)

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tablespoons finely diced onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1-2 Tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400*.

Toss butternut squash and brussels sprouts with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper.  Spread in even layer on a cookie sheet and roast for 20 minutes.

While squash and brussels sprouts are in the oven, sweat onion and garlic in remaining tablespoon olive oil over very low heat. When onions are soft and translucent, stir in pecans and dried cranberries.

Remove squash and brussels sprouts from oven.  Stir in pecan mixture.  Spread into an even layer and return to oven.  Roast 10 minutes more.

Remove from oven and serve with your favorite protein!

Spiced Nut Snack Mix

The rush of the holiday season is fully upon this household.  Dozens of cookies and trays of candy and shopping and wrapping and parties.  Seems I always need to take something somewhere.  And, when you add that to the seasonal cooking I already do and the everyday household stuff, I’m always looking to make my party dishes as simple as possible.  That’s where this mix comes in.  It’s slightly sweet, slightly salty, a little spicy and definitely crunchy.  It’s not as carb and sugar laden as so many of the other holiday offerings and so I feel less guilty about eating it, but it still satisfies my snack craving.  I like using dark chocolate chips, but you could certainly use chocolate candies or even toss in some white chocolate chips if you want something that looks more festive.  Also, the batch in the photos I used all almonds for my nuts.  That just happened to be what I had on hand.  I’ve used almonds and pecans and like them both equally (and like them together even more).  You can use any nut you want.

Stir together the oil and spices.  Toss the nuts in the spice mixture and spread in an even layer over a baking sheet.  Bake at 300* for 10-15 minutes.  Stir them every 5 minutes.  Nuts can go from toasty to burned in the oven really quickly.  Let your nose be your guide.  Also, I don’t recommend using coconut oil here.  It has a pretty low smoke point and you’ll fill your house with smoke.

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While your nuts get nice and toasty, measure up a cup of craisins and a cup of good quality dark chocolate chips.  Don’t skimp on the quality of the chocolate here.  The flavors in this are so simple that you really need to go with the best quality you can afford.  Also, you’ll feel satisfied more quickly and eat less if you use flavor packed ingredients.

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Allow your nuts to cool completely before you toss the ingredients together.  You don’t want to melt those beautiful chocolate chips.

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Recipe:

1 Tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon chile powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 cups nuts

1 cup craisins

1 cup dark chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 300*.

Stir together oil, paprika, chile powder, cumin and salt.  Add nuts and stir to coat.  Spread nuts in a single layer on a large baking sheet.  Bake at 300* for 10-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.  Nuts should be golden brown, but not black.

Cool nuts completely.  Stir in craisins and chocolate chips.  Store in an air tight container.

Roasted Acorn Squash

Something a bit lighter today.  Really, this method works well for any hard winter squash.  I use it for butternut squash and even spaghetti squash (when I want that roasted flavor and have the time to skip the microwave).  Very simple, but versatile and delicious. Roasted squash is great is soups and sauces too, so roast up some extra and save it for later.  I’ll share my favorite way to use leftover acorn squash later this week.

Start by using a sharp knife to cut your acorn squash down the middle.  Then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.

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Rub the flesh with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place squash cut side down on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven.  When you pull it out, the squash will be browned on the edges (and it will smell divine).

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I like to cut the halves in half for service, but you don’t have to.  Put a dollop of Red Chile Honey Butter and some toasted pecans on top.

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Recipe:

2 acorn squash

1 teaspoon olive oil

salt and pepper

butter (such as my Red Chile Honey Butter)

toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 350*.

Using a sharp knife, carefully slice acorn squash in half.  Use a spoon to remove seeds.  Rub flesh of squash with olive oil (about 1/4 teaspoon per half).  Season with salt and pepper.

Place squash cut side down on a baking sheet.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until squash is tender.

Serve with butter and toasted pecans.