Butternut Squash and Sausage over Barley with Gorgonzola Sauce

When I was at the farmer’s market yesterday I knew I wanted to make something with butternut squash, but couldn’t decide what to make.  After looking through my cookbooks and online, I decided to look through the pantry and use my culinary instincts (sometimes I have them!).  This actually came out very well and all of the components balanced each other.  Turned out to be a great fall dish ~

For the Squash ‘n Sausage:

1 butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 package turkey smoked sausage, sliced

1 cup barley

1/2 cup water

For the sauce:

2 oz gorgonzola

1/2 tsp sage

2 tbsp butter

1/2 cup cream

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp flour

Preheat oven to 400.  Place squash and sausage on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Drizzle squash with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Roast for 20-25 minutes until slightly brown and the squash is tender enough that you can pierce it with a fork with no reisistance.

In a sauce pan, add 1/2 cup water and salt, bring to a boil.   Add the barley and lower heat to low.  Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cook until the barley is tender but still has a slight (slight as in tiny) crunch.

While all of this is cooking, let’s start the cheese sauce…..

Bring the butter, sage, flour, garlic and milk to a boil and reduce heat to medium.  Add the cheese and bring to a slow boil,  then whisk until thickened, about a minute or two. 

Spoon the roasted squash and sausage over a plate of barley, then drizzle the cheese sauce on top.  Keep in mind that gorgonzola is a very strong cheese and you won’t need a lot – don’t go crazy with it! 

Happy Fall 🙂

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Cooking With My Kids

It’s burger night!  I let my 14 year old take the chef hat; he picked the ingredients, spices, etc.  He loves to be in the kitchen; takes after me 😉  

What fun.  I love it when my kids help me cook- I love the fact that they get the experience and we get to spend time together all at the same time.  Tonight we made some yummy burgers that had a tiny bit of heat with all the flavor (’cause we removed all those mean seeds), and also had the bite of jack cheese.   

Stuffed Jalapeno-Jack Burgers

1 pound ground sirloin

Hamburger buns of your choosing – tonight we used Kaiser rolls

2 good squeezes of Heinz 57

1/2 block Monterey Jack cheese

3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped fine

1 egg

spray for grill


Salt & Pepper

Garlic Salt

Combine the sirloin, Heinz 57, egg, salt and pepper; form into thin patties.  On one patty layer a handful of diced jalapenos, then a handful of jack cheese.  Stack another sirloin burger and press all the sides in to form one patty.  Repeat with the remaining ingredients. 

I love this picture....a little man after my own heart.

Heat grill to medium; add burgers.  Grill for about 6-7 minutes, and then turn.  Grill burgers according to preference.

Slather butter on both sides of 4 buns and sprinkle with garlic salt (or if you made big fat burgers 3) – add to grill and check after about 2-3 minutes.  Remove when butter side is slightly golden.

Serve burgers on buttered buns.

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Filled Phyllo with Caramelized Onions and Peppers with Apricot Dipping Sauce

This is only my second time using phyllo sheets; the first being a disaster.  I wanted to try it again.  Using phyllo sheets takes patience and time….unfortunately I don’t have much patience.   The sheets cannot sit out long or they will dry out unless they are covered with a damp towel. Either way, get all of your ingredients completely ready before you start messing with the phyllo. These are teeny tiny and delicate  and need to be pampered.  I decided I wanted to do something savory with the phyllo……..but what to do……….so many options.  Here is what I came up with on this go around……next time maybe I will try something more substantial.

About 15-20 sheets of Phyllo

1 onion, sliced thin

1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin

Brie – use your judgment.. in my opinion I didn’t add enough; you’ll see pics below


Olive Oil

1 tsp sugar

Apricot Dipping Sauce

3 tbsp apricot preserves

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Generously drizzle olive oil into a large saute pan.  Heat pan to medium and when oil is shimmering; add onions and peppers.  Wait a minute or two and stir.  Let onions and peppers saute about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  If you see them start to really brown, turn the heat down a little (that’s what mine did because they were spiteful little onions).  All appliances are different; I find mine cooks and bakes much faster than most.  After about 8-10 minutes add the sugar and stir.  Continue to cook over medium heat for about 20-30 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes.  Set aside.  

Melt the butter in a small bowl and prepare your work space – you will need a clean area to lay out the phyllo, the onion mixture and brie, and the butter with a pastry brush.  Lay out half of the phyllo; cover the rest with plastic wrap or damp towel.  I cut this into rectangular strips with a pizza cutter; you could use kitchen scissors also.  Place one rectangle on a buttered or sprayed baking sheet.  In the center of one rectangle, carefully layer the onions, peppers, and dot with the brie. 

With a pastry brush outline the dough with butter or water.  Now carefully pick up another rectangle and place it on top.  Press down on the edges to form a seal, and then lightly brush butter over the entire top, down to the edges.   Repeat the same steps with the rest of your phyllo.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown. 

While the phyllo pockets are baking, combine mustard and apricot preserves in a small bowl………..once the pockets are done baking and cool enough to eat……….


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Tandoori Chicken with Orange Broccolini (with a little yogurt dip)



I was so excited about making this chicken because I’ve seen so many versions of it and I love the idea of Indian cuisine.  The broccolini ended up being the highlight of the dinner.  As a matter of fact it was really hard for me not to gorge my face with it before the chicken was done….       

BUT I am one of those crazy people that love broccoli in any form and could eat it for breakfast.  Not that the non-broccoli eaters wouldn’t enjoy!  As a matter of fact if you are one of those broccoli haters this is a chance for you to get broken in!!  It’s like buttah!!!  Recipe below 🙂       

Things that make the Yummy Yogurt Sauce 🙂



*sweating the yogurt*

For the Chicken:

1 pound thinly sliced chicken breasts       

3 tablespoons of 0% TOTAL strained Greek yogurt       

1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin       

1/4 teaspoon of ground coriander       

1/4 teaspoon of chili powder       

1/2 tbsp of lemon juice       

1/8 tsp garam masala       

1/2 stick salted butter       

For the Broccolini:

1 lb broccolini       

(this wasn’t measured; just being honest) about 4 splashes of soy sauce       

2 tbsp sesame oil       

2 cloves garlic, minced       

1 fresh orange, juiced       

Trim chicken of all fat, butterfly if not thin cut.  Combine all ingredients for chicken; yogurt & spices.  Rub chicken breasts with rub and layer on top of eachother like this….     Set aside.        

Wash, trim broccolini, then place in a baking dish….like; yes, here lol…..          

I used one small container of fat free greek yogurt and 1/4 cup of a local farmer’s market onion and peach salsa!  Turned out very good and balanced the spiciness of the chicken ~       

For the Broccolini You Will Want for Breakfast:

Over the broccolini squeeze the orange, turning to coat and adding in the soy sauce.  Turn the broccolini to combine.  In a medium sized saute pan, spray with cooking spray and add sesame oil.  Heat over medium high and add garlic; cook until fragrant.  Add broccolini and stir, about 2 minutes.  Turn heat down to about medium to med-low and cover, stirring about every 2 minutes.  You’ll know when it’s done; it will be wilted.  And So Yummy.       

Anyway On to the Chicken!

I used a panini maker….lazy?  Yes!  Well it worked.  And beautifully.  Grill each chicken breast for about 5-8 minute a side and get them nice and brown.  Of course a pan on the stove would work just as well.  I was too lazy to go out and fire up the grill, as much as I love to grill. Maybe its the non-fall air in the air (what?)…..maybe I’m sick of taking off the grill cover and replacing it….maybe I wish the pool was still open and its a really weird kind of rebellion.   Again, too lazy.  However Bama won today so thank everybody and everything that is Holy.  Amen.   So make this chicken to celebrate anything and everything that is Bama.  Amen.  Again.     

Anyway, panini maker, grill, pan, whatever!  It will work.  As long as you get this amazing broccolini then you’re good!! what?? whatever, I’m weird, just make it.       

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Lemon-Horseradish Hummus

I ♥  lemon…..Also, every couple of months I get on a mediterranean kick and have to have hummus, tabbouleh, lots of feta, etc.  This happened one day when I got everything out to make hummus and saw some horseradish root in the fridge that wanted to be used; it had just been there too long.   I really wanted to find an excuse to use it and at the same time I really wanted hummus. 

  • 1 can (15 Oz. Can) Chickpeas
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 Tablespoon shaved Horseradish
  • 1 Tablespoon Greek Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Coarse Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice (i Used Half A Lemon)
  • 1 Tablespoon Parsley, Chopped
  • ¼ cups Olive Oil (or More)

Mix all in a food processor and blend until smooth. Serve with pita bread or veggies!

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