Monday, November 7, 2011

Left over, not left out!

We always have leftovers, it's a sickness really because If we do not have leftovers I feels as though I did not prepare enough food. In this house we cook about 3 nights a week and feed off our leftovers the other 4 days. So If we eat all of a meal that means we have nothing for the next few days. Now before you feel sorry for my hubby and kids I suppose I should tell you that I usually remix the leftovers into an entirely new dish, so it's not as they are eating the same thing day after day. Also, much like any good restaurant, I usually have some sort of leftover soup or stew in the fridge for a quick meal. So often on leftover nights you have a choice of a a main dish or soup. 
Today (rather than fold laundry and finish painting my chest of drawers like I should) I want to talk about 2 very delicious leftovers I have in the fridge Aacheesy bechamel sauce and some whipped acorn squash. The bechamel is left over from some cheesey cauliflower, and the whipped squash is from last night when we had a mini thanksgiving dinner. Tonight I'm going to combine them with some delicious noodles and make Acorn Squash Mac'n Cheese.
Now I know what you're thinking, and yes I do have a decided bias towards all foods rich and comforting this time of year. This is the season where I let loose and really enjoy cooking. It's finally cool enough to want to run the oven and I'm gonna make up for those few months when it wasn't!

Savory Whipped Acorn Squash

1 or 2 acorn squash
1/2 c. Milk
2 Tbsp. Butter
1/2 tsp Garlic Salt
1/2 tsp Cumin powder
Salt & pepper to taste
I'm starting with the whipped squash we had for dinner last night, which is not only tasty but also pretty darn healthy. I bought these locally grown organic squash for $1 each, can't beat that! Slice it in half and remove the seeds. Then you may either wrap the 2 halves tightly in plastic wrap and microwave until soft or place the 2 halves cut side down on a baking sheet and bake at 350 until soft. For this I chose to bake my squash as I already had my oven going for the bird. Once the squash is soft scrape it into a bowl  add a little hot milk, cold butter, salt, pepper, and garlic salt and cumin powder beat on high until smooth like mashed potatos.I used about 1/2 milk and 2 tbsp butter. Now enjoy your whipped squash but be sure to save some for the Mac'n Cheese!

Acorn Squash Mac'n Cheese

1 lb.Good quality pasta rigitoni, elbow or penne
Leftover whipped Squash
bechamel sauce
extra cheese to sprinkle on top
bread crumbs (optional, but I like panko)

For the cheesy bechamel:
3 tbsp.Unbleached flour
3 tbsp. Butter
2 c. Milk 
1/2 medium yellow onion chopped
1 clove of garlic chopped finely
1/2 c. grated cheese of your choice (I used sharp cheddar)
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
Salt & Pepper to taste

 To make the bechamel you first make a light roux by browning the flour and butter in a sauce pan. It takes only a few minutes to reach a nice golden brown that helps enrich the flavor of the sauce. 
Then toss in the onions and garlic and cook just until they have softened.

 Next add in milk and allow to simmer of a few minutes. 
The flour will cause the sauce to thicken. Add in cheese and spices and stir to combine. 
Lastly add the cooked squash and stir until it is combined. cook the sauce just long enough to get it hot

Remove from heat and pour onto boiled pasta.

 Spoon pasta into baking dish and sprinkle lightly with cheese and bread crumbs. Rather than bake an already cooked and hot pasta dish I like to just put it under the broiler for a few minutes.
Remove from Hot oven and enjoy!

I served my Mac'n cheese with some yummy sauteed kale and the kiddos gobbled it all up! 
In fact I'm not sure they even knew that there was squash in it at all so this might be good if you have veggie squeamish little ones. 
What recipes do you enjoy adding autumnal ingredients to? 
I'd love to try a few of your favorite fall foods, so feel free to share.

& Cheesy Sauce

1 comment:

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