A step forward

Roasted Butternut Squash - serifandspice.com

My normal Sunday is usually a very lazy day. Sometimes I’m so lazy that I don’t change out of my PJ’s all day and I try to figure out something for dinner that wouldn’t involve me leaving the house to get ingredients. Occasionally you need a day like that. I have far too many of them.

This past Sunday wasn’t one of those days. I was PRODUCTIVE! I woke up early. I went to the Ramsey Indoor Farmer’s Market with my mother for fresh produce. We traveled down Rt. 17 to Fairway Market just to buy spices. I attended a baby shower. AND I made dinner. To top that all off, part of dinner consisted of roasted butternut squash that I bought whole. I normally cop out and buy the precut, peeled, deseeded packages of butternut squash. Nope, not this time. It was about time for me to dive in.

Maybe those two paragraphs didn’t paint me in the best light, but maybe this past Sunday was a step forward for me to move in a positive direction. I’ve been thinking a lot about my health recently and I’ve decided it’s time for a change. On the weekends all I want to do is relax and basically do nothing. Sometimes it’s hard to push away those winter doldrums. Hibernating inside my house on the couch, underneath blankets reading a book or watching TV has been a perfectly acceptable way to pass my time recently. On Sunday, getting out of the house made me feel good. It certainly helped that it was a relatively warm, sunny day. And coming back home to show Adam my bags full of produce and spices made my day brighter.

Tuscan Kale - serifandspice.com

After perusing the offerings at the farmers market, I decided to make a frittata for dinner. Tuscan Kale sauteed with red onion, mixed with eggs, topped with mild monterey jack cheese would be a nice simple dinner. The butternut squash was calling my name, so I gathered up my courage and bought that too. It would make a great side dish if I roasted it with spices.

My sister-in-law, a Brooklyn Locavore, has told me many times how easy it is to prepare butternut squash from scratch. I’m happy that I finally listened to her. My sharp ceramic peeler had a fairly easy job of taking off the thick outer skin of the squash and I managed to not chop off any fingers while cutting it in half and then into cubes. When I was done I felt a sense of accomplishment. Maybe I can conquer spaghetti squash next!

roasted butternut squash with moroccan spice blend - serifandspice.com

Roasted Butternut Squash with Moroccan Spice Blend

• 1 Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed

• 1 TBS of Raz el Hanout Moroccan Spice Blend* + some salt

• 2 TBS to a 1/4 cup olive oil, depending on how large your squash is

Step 1 – Set oven to 400 degrees. Peel butternut squash, cut in half, and chop into 1 inch cubes.

Step 2 – Drizzle oil over squash. Sprinkle spice blend on top, and mix with hands so that all pieces are coated with oil and spices.

Step 3 – Roast in oven at 400 degrees till squash is tender, about 30-45 minutes. Stir a couple times while roasting.

* Raz el Hanout sounds exotic, but should be available to you by the popular brand McCormic in most grocery stores. It’s a blend of many spices including Cumin, Cinnamon, Coriander, ground chili’s, Cloves, Tumeric, peppercorns – just to name a few. In the future I’d like to make my own mix – but that is for another post. 

While your butternut squash is roasting, make the frittata.

Tuscan Kale, Red Onion and Monterey Jack Frittata

Tuscan Kale, Red Onion and Monterey Jack Cheese Frittata

• 10 eggs, scrambled with a splash of milk

• 1 small bunch of Tuscan Kale or other soft green like spinach or swiss chard, ribs removed, chopped into small pieces

• 1 medium to large Red Onion, finely sliced

• 1 cup of shredded Monterey Jack or other cheese of choice

• 2 teaspoons of Herb de Provence*

• salt and pepper to taste

• olive oil

If not making with the butternut squash side dish, preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Step 1 – Scramble eggs in a medium bowl with a splash or two of milk and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Step 2 – In a 10-12 inch oven proof skillet, saute onions until they are soft and have a little bit of color to them. Add chopped kale and saute until wilted slightly. Season with Herb de Provence, salt and pepper. Stir to make sure all is well combined.

Step 3 – Over medium low heat, pour in scrambled eggs. Gently move the eggs around so that it is mixed with the vegetables. Allow eggs to set and cook partially. (About 5 minutes).

Step 4 – Sprinkle cheese on top. Put skillet in preheated 400 degree oven and allow to bake until the eggs are no longer raw, about 8-10 minutes. (To check, cut into the frittata slightly. If eggs are runny and more time is needed, bake for another minute or two). For a crispy cheese top, turn on broiler, transfer skillet to the top shelf of oven and slightly brown the cheese. Keep an eye on it, browning happens quickly.

Step 5 – Serve and enjoy.

* Herb de Provence is a dry herb mixture made of typical herbs from Provence, France. Mixes often contain Savory, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Fennel, Marjoram, and sometimes lavender. You should be able to find a premixed bottled brand name at your local grocery store. At our house we often use this mix as our “go-to” seasoning. 

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