Oven Roasted Winter Squash Seeds

Here is another quickie for you, and the hippy in us all will love you for it. Talk about wasting nothing!  I usually thrown away the insides of a squash, but after cleaning out about 4 butternut squashes for soup, I began to wonder if I could use those seeds for anything. I think pumpkin and butternut squash are basically identical tasting. Well almost. So I figured you could roast the seeds just like pumpkin seeds! And after google-ing (not a word) to see if they were edible and not some sort of unused secret poison, decided to give it a try. 

I also usually write the recipe before I write the above portion so I had to say that this recipe below made me laugh. For some reason when I was writing the directions I turned into a 3 year old who can't measure stuff? Read ahead and you will see...

Oven Roasted Winter Squash Seeds
Seed from squash
Olive oil
Favorite Spice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

After you are done cleaning your squash separate your seeds from the slimy guts. <---- Pretty technical terms, hey?

You can rinse the seeds, but I think leaving them as is adds a better flavor. Put seed in a bowl and toss with enough olive oil to coat. Add salt, pepper, and your favorite spice. Use whatever amount seems right to you. I used a few pinches of salt, a pinch of pepper and then sprinkled with garlic salt. <----- Standard measurements too :)

Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. These are great salad or pasta toppers, and are great snacks on their own as well!


Rosemary Chocolate Chip Bread

I love a good unique recipe. This recipe came to me like this:

I had just eaten some fresh rosemary focaccia bread that I made at the end of dinner. Yum, right? Okay. So then I obviously wanted dessert. We didn't have any, because if I buy desserts or make them..... I eat them in a matter of hours. My self control is almost worst than Oscars. Anyways, so I just decide to eat some chocolate chips. This is gross but I must of still had some rosemary in my mouth and it mixed with the chocolate and *BAM*! It was a flavor miracle. 

 So then I decided to try and combine the flavors. A first I was going to make cookies, but savory cookies? Maybe not. A savory sweet bread? Hell to the yes. So here it is. This is not a special recipe, but just easily adapted to what I wanted to do. You can use your favorite sweet quick bread recipe, or I provided a basic one below!

 Rosemary Chocolate Chip Bread

1 cups all-purpose flour 
                                                               1/2 cup granulated sugar 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 tablespoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 large eggs 
1 cup milk 
1/3 cup vegetable oil 
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate chunks
1 tablespoon dried rosemary, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt) in a bowl and set aside. 

In a large bowl combine egg, milk, oil, and sugar. Beat until smooth. Slowly add dry ingredients until just smooth, careful to not over mix. Fold in rosemary and chocolate chips. 

Pour into greased bread pan and bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.


Baked Mini Quinoa Bites

This great little appetizer is a great way to empty your fridge. You can personalize this with any spices, herbs, or vegetables you have on hand but this is a great base recipe to start with. And here is an interesting fact for your Saturday.... in 1/2 cup of quinoa there is 30% of your daily value of iron! So anemics and iron-lacking vegetarians rejoice (and make this recipe) !!!

Baked Mini Quinoa Bites
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa - cooked in chicken or vegetable broth
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
7-8 baby carrots or 2 regular carrots
2 cloves garlic
2 green onions
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 cup parsley
2 eggs
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon red curry powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
butter or cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

You can either chop by hand or use a food processor. Today I used my mini food processor because I was making something mini. Not really. I used it because the large one is harder to get out :)

Place carrots, bell pepper, garlic cloves, parsley and green onions in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. 

Place into a large bowl and add egg, flour, cooked quinoa, and cheddar cheese. Stir to combine and then add mustard, curry powder, and pepper. Mix well. 

Grease mini muffin tins (or a regular sized muffin tin). Fill all the way to the top and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes. The top should be just crispy and the cheese melted through. 

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. I mixed low-fat sour cream with my favorite spices!


Havarti & Arugula Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

Despite the fact that I already finished my ENTIRE box of Valentine chocolates, I am still making some delicious carbs for you. We are back to new interesting sandwich combination, which just happens to be another grilled cheese as well. There is just something about a grilled cheese sandwich that makes me smile. Melty cheese, crispy bread, and in this case yummy sauteed vegetables inside. You can't beat it, especially on a cold winter day. 

Havarti & Arugula Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

4 slices of whole grain bread
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 medium yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
8-10 mushrooms (about 2 cups sliced)
4 sliced havarti cheese
2 cups arugula

Makes 2 Sandwiches

In a large pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Slice onion in half lengthwise, and then into 1/4 inch strips. Add to pan and sautee until soft. Reduce heat to low and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they begin to caramelize. 

While onions are cooking slice onions and mince garlic. After onions have begun caramelizing add mushrooms and stir. Return heat to medium and cook until mushrooms begin to release their juices. Add minced garlic and stir. Cook for about 5 more minutes and transfer veggies to a bowl. 

Using the same pan, without wiping down (you get great flavor with all those bits!)  heat to medium. To assemble sandwiches spread grainy mustard on one slice of bread,  add one slice of havarti cheese, a generous helping of vegetables, a cup of arugula, and the last slice of cheese. 

Butter your bread and add to pan, cooking until golden brown on both sides!

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