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Meatless Monday: Roasted Squash Chili Mac

chili mac
Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Chili-anything is usually loaded with meat. Chili dogs, chili-cheese fries and the chili that comes with nachos at a restaurant — always beefy. If you want to start a big fight, tell a chili enthusiast that vegetarian chili is legit. True chili traditionalists believe that chili is made with meat, or it’s not chili at all.

Rachael Ray’s Roasted Squash Chili Mac is an exception to the everything-chili-is-made-with-meat rule. It’s made with roasted butternut squash and chili spices like chili powder, cumin and oregano, plus cinnamon and nutmeg which pair well with the squash. It’s creamy and cheesy like mac and cheese should be, but there’s nary a beef clump in sight.

Bonus: You can assemble the casserole ahead of time and bake it before you’re ready to eat.

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Meatless Monday: Butternut Squash With Quinoa, Spinach and Walnuts

butternut squash and quinoa recipe

Bobby Deen's Butternut Squash and Quinoa

There’s a strategy to my weeknight cooking. I like my weeknight meals to be easy-to-make, fairly healthy and with leftovers enough to either take to lunch the next day, or versatile enough to transform into another dish later in the week (think pasta sauce becoming Eggs in Purgatory). Bobby Deen’s Butternut Squash With Quinoa, Spinach and Walnuts meets all of these qualifications — it’s super healthy (quinoa is a superfood you should be eating more of), ready in under an hour, plus it’s great hot or cold so if there’s a line at the microwave at work, I don’t really have to wait. Bonus: it’s made in one pot so there are fewer dirty dishes.

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Meatless Monday: Pasta with Winter Squash and Tomatoes

butternut squash pasta Top your pasta with a little bit of butternut squash sauce, or a real lot.

Squashes I love, in order of preference: butternut squash, spaghetti squash, summer squash and acorn squash. No offense to acorn squash or anything, it just comes in last because I have a bad memory of one eaten in my childhood, drenched in maple syrup and studded with burned raisins (great job, grandma). But I do love it now, as long as it’s cooked properly, say, roasted.

But enough about that, since it came in last. My number-one favorite squash, butternut, is the star of every soup du jour from now through Thanksgiving. And while butternut squash soup is divine (especially when topped with goat cheese and apple chips), butternut squash isn’t just for soup. It can star in pasta, too.

Mark Bittman’s fall pasta sauce is made with tomatoes, but it certainly isn’t your average marinara. It’s thick and full of savory-sweet  fall squash that clings to the pasta (use ziti with ridges for the most sauce-on-pasta magic). And since the squash doesn’t need to be roasted, it’s quick enough for an after-work Meatless Monday dinner.

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Cooking The Channel: Emeril’s Butternut Squash Cobbler

Butternut Squash Cobbler

Emeril's Butternut Squash Cobbler

Butternut squash risotto. Butternut squash soup. Roasted butternut squash. My diet has been full of the stuff ever since I invested in a bushel bag of butternuts. But since there’s only so many bowls of soup one person can eat, I needed to branch out. Enter Emeril’s recipe for Butternut Squash Cobbler: Use the last of the season’s squash to throw together an impromptu dessert easy enough for a Wednesday night.

And here to show you how, a special guest: my mustached sidekick/sous chef, Bertram the Butternut Squash.

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Cooking Channel Thanksgiving TV Preview

No one knows turkey like Alton. Watch him dish out the tips Sunday at 5pm ET.

Thanksgiving is coming! The turkey, the stuffing, the sides, the pies — and so much good TV to eat up, we thought you could use a little help.

Keep crafting your Thanksgiving menu with Cooking Channel this weekend…

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