Main Dishes, Other, Recipes

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Tart

This tart is full of hearty butternut squash and mushrooms, and of course has some cheese and bacon on top for extra deliciousness! 

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Tart |

Tarts and quiche are some of my favorite foods! They’re fancier than a regular frittata but almost as easy. The thing is… I like to fill them with things like butternut squash, zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, and the like. All veggies that while Ben tolerates, he doesn’t really like. Soooo when I know I’ll have an evening to myself, this is just the sort of dish I like to make. Cooking for one only has to be a bore if you let it! Though, I must say, I don’t cook for one very often these days so when I do it’s kind of a novelty. But back to this tart!

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Tart | thepajamachef.comA slice of this tart is pretty much the best thing ever. Though it has a lot of steps, the work goes quickly and when it’s done, you get to eat! 🙂 I used the crust the recipe suggested, and it’s pretty basic with the twist of using olive oil for the fat and seasoning just with salt and pepper. You could certainly use your favorite tart/pie crust though. This crust was super flavorful and once it was topped with the filling it was just perfect! I loved that the cheese was spread out throughout the tart, not just on top, but next time I will probably mix together all the veggies and the bacon with the eggs, and top with cheese for simplicity’s sake.

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Tart |

I enjoyed this tart for dinner, but the leftovers were equally fabulous for breakfast and lunch, so make it anytime you please! Enjoy! 🙂

one year ago: Oatmeal Fudge Bars
two years ago: Lemon Pasta Salad
three years ago: Pineapple-Apricot Teriyaki Chicken
four years ago: Sweet and Tangy Pork Chops with Pineapple

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Tart

  • Servings: 8
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from Cooking Light


for crust

  • 5.6 ounces all-purpose flour [about 1 cup + 2 tablespoons]
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
for filling
  • 3 cups cubed and peeled butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup diced onions
  • 2/3 cup [2.5 ounces] swiss or Gruyère cheese, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 ounces pancetta or 2 strips bacon, chopped
  • 5 ounces sliced mushrooms [shiitake is preferred but any will work]
  • 1/4 cup white wine or chicken stock


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9 or 10 inch pie pan coated with cooking spray. Begin by making the crust.

In a food processor, combine flour, salt, pepper, and baking powder and pulse until combined. In a measuring cup, whisk together oil and water. With processor running, slowly pour in oil mixture. Process until dough is just barely crumbly. Press dough into an even layer on bottom and sides of pie pan. Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes.

Next, make filling. Place butternut squash into food processor [no need to clean first!] and pulse for about 1 minute to finely chop squash.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan. When hot, saute squash and onion for 7-9 minutes, stirring constantly.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together 1/3 cup cheese, eggs, and pepper. When squash is cooked, fold in with egg mixture. Evenly spread over pre-cooked crust, then return to oven for 9 minutes.

Using the same skillet as before, set over medium-high heat, cook pancetta or bacon until it starts to brown [about 1 minute for pancetta, more for bacon]. Add oil if necessary. Add mushrooms and reduce heat to medium, then saute for 5-6 minutes until browned. Season with pepper to taste, then add wine/stock and turn heat to high. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes until liquid cooks down.

Spread mushroom mixture over egg mixture, then top with remaining cheese. Return to oven and bake for 4-5 minutes until cheese melts. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Recipes, Sides, Vegetables

Parmesan Butternut Squash Au Gratin

An easy, cheesy butternut squash side dish… with an impressive presentation! The best new Thanksgiving side dish. 🙂

Parmesan Butternut Squash Au Gratin | #Thanksgiving

If you make ONE new Thanksgiving side dish this year, this totally should be the one! It is absolutely perfect, and a great way to introduce butternut squash to squash skeptics. I mean, isn’t it gorgeous… golden and beautiful?!? One of the fun things about butternut squash is it’s shape. It’s just so BIG for a vegetable! It’s always a shame to take the fun shape and puree it up into soup, mac and cheese, etc. Don’t get me wrong, those are delicious ways to enjoy this sweet ‘n nutty squash. But I always like to do something different! And this au gratin starring butternut squash is definitely different. Ben looked a picture and asked if it was potatoes. No, no, it’s not. But that doesn’t mean it’s not amazing!

Parmesan Butternut Squash Au Gratin | #Thanksgiving

With this Parmesan Butternut Squash Au Gratin you’ve got SO many layers of flavor. Sweet squash, garlic butter, crisp bread crumbs, Parmesan, and fresh herbs. Ohhh yum. It’s just so good. I’m not sure how anyone could resist. I couldn’t keep my fork outta the serving dish!

Parmesan Butternut Squash Au Gratin | #Thanksgiving

It’s the kind of side that’s perfect on its own–hearty, cheesy, and delicious with the perfect balance of flavors. However, I’m sitting here on my couch dreaming of ways to, shall we say, enhance the amazingness for Thanksgiving day. Isn’t Thanksgiving about going all over the top? Adding some chopped bacon to the topping, layering butternut squash with sliced apples, or even drizzling the whole dish with some pesto just sounds wonderful to me! But even without those enhancements, this butternut squash dish is such a winner! Hope it brings joy to your table this year. So sorry, so cheesy. 🙂

Parmesan Butternut Squash Au Gratin | #Thanksgiving

one year ago: Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad
two years ago: Pork, Apple, and Ginger Stir Fry
three years ago: Thai Seared Shrimp with Tomato, Basil, and Coconut
four years ago: Stovetop Mac & Cheese with Broccoli

Parmesan-Butternut Squash Au Gratin

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

from Betty Crocker


  • 1 medium butternut squash [about 2 1/2 pounds]
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped herbs – like oregano or parsley


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a large baking dish [9×13 inch pan, or a 10 inch round baking dish] with cooking spray.

Poke butternut squash all over with a fork, then microwave for about 2 minutes. Remove and cool for a few minutes before peeling. This makes it much easier to peel and slice the squash. Peel butternut squash, then halve and deseed. Slice squash into 1/2 inch thick slices, then arrange in bottom of baking dish, overlapping as necessary.

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Turn to low and add garlic. Stir constantly as butter cooks for 2-3 minutes. Don’t brown the butter, just cook until garlic softens.

In a small bowl, stir together panko, Parmesan, pepper, and 1 tablespoon garlic butter. Brush  remaining garlic butter over squash, then sprinkle with panko mixture.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until squash is cooked through. Turn oven up to 425 degrees F and cook for another 5 minutes or so, or until topping turns golden brown. Top with herbs before serving.

Main Dishes, Pasta, Recipes

Mystery Dish: Cheesy Baked Everything Pasta

Welcome to another edition of Mystery Dish! This month Krista from Joyful Healthy Eats challenged us to use three of the following ingredients: lamb, apple, butternut squash, puff pastry, Frosted Flakes, goat cheese, fresh rosemary, cherry pie filling, spinach, or corinader. I decided to use apples, butternut squash, and fresh rosemary to make a delightfully cheesy baked pasta.

Cheesy Baked Everything Pasta2

The pasta features two kinds of cheese AND chicken sausage [that also contains spinach–bonus points for me!], so when I was trying to come up with a name for this dish, Ben suggested we called it “cheesy baked everything pasta” because it contains everything that’s good… fruit, cheese, veggies, meat, pasta. Pretty much all we eat on a regular basis. If only I had also included yogurt! Haha.

Cheesy Baked Everything Pasta

Anyways, this pasta is basically a kicked up mac ‘n cheese. All the magic begins with the sauce. While this sauce does include cheese–swiss and ricotta, to be precise, what makes this sauce stand out is that it starts with butternut squash soup. So Krista, I hope you don’t mind that I took a little liberty with this month’s ingredients. 🙂 At the core, butternut squash soup still features the squash itself as the star ingredient. For my dish, you can make your own soup [use leftovers] or use some storebought soup. Either way, butternut squash soup is so creamy that it thickens up perfectly with a little flour, seasonings [rosemary!!!], and cheese. It’s the perfect coating for pasta, sweet apple slices, and sliced chicken sausage.

Cheesy Baked Everything Pasta3

Now, I know for the hardcore mac ‘n cheese lovers out there, there may be two red flags. First, the cheeses. Ricotta and swiss are NOT very strong. But they are flavorful and creamy, which helps this baked pasta dish stay velvety and indulgent on the inside, while still being a little crisp and heartier on the top. [On a sidenote, I love baked pasta so much because I adore standing in the kitchen after dinner, picking at the dish and grabbing the crunchy, cheese-covered noodles. Ben makes fun of me, but please tell me I’m not the only one who does this?!?] Also, this dish is a little sweeter than your average pasta… but really, the apples are just a fun addition and pair so well with the rustic herb-flavored chicken sausage and the woody rosemary. Cheesy Baked Everything Pasta is truly a great fall dinner… comforting and full of amazing fall tastes! I can’t wait to make it again!

one year ago: Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
two years ago: Thai Peanut Ginger Chicken Wings
three years ago: Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Praline Sauce

Cheesy Baked Everything Pasta [adapted from Eats Well With Others]


  • 16 ounces rigatoni
  • 32 ounces butternut squash soup [storebought or homemade]
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary, divided
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups grated Swiss cheese, divided
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 apples, sliced [I used Jonathan]
  • 12 ounces chicken sausage, sliced [I used Trader Joe’s Spinach, Fontina, & Roasted Garlic variety]
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9×13 inch baking dish by greasing with cooking spray.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook rigatoni for 3 minutes less than the recommended cooking time. Drain and return to pot, setting off the heat.

Meanwhile, heat the soup over medium heat. Stir in the flour, half the rosemary, and some pepper. Simmer until it starts to thicken, then add half the swiss cheese and all the ricotta cheese.

Add cooked pasta to sauce, then fold in apple and chicken sausage slices. Pour into greased baking dish, then top with remaining rosemary, swiss cheese, and panko bread crumbs.

Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread crumbs are golden brown.

Time: 45 minutes.

Yield: 8-10 servings.

Be sure to check out the other recipes for this month’s Mystery Dish here:

Quinoa, Recipes, Sides, Vegetables

Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

How many new foods have you tried because you read about them on a blog? For me, it’s probably been a lot–namely a lot of veggies I didn’t grow up eating and/or didn’t know how to prepare, cheeses, grains, etc. I’ve never really been a picky eater, but reading blogs and cookbooks certainly have revealed gaps in my foodie education. Since I’ve been reading blogs, one of my favorite new foods has been butternut squash. Sure, it’s a pain to cut, but it’s just. so. tasty! And it makes this quinoa–one of my favorite foods ever, btw–an essential dish for your fall cooking season. Period.

Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad |

One of my favorite ways to enjoy butternut squash is roasted and tossed in a salad, particularly this quinoa salad. I made this several times last winter and just never got around to sharing it here, so I was so happy when I realized this week that it was finally butternut squash season again! What makes this salad so good is the always delightful pairing of sweet and spicy seasonings, some strong cheese, and some salty meat. Molasses! Lime juice! Feta! Canadian bacon! All the good things, huh?! 🙂

Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad |

One of the key flavors here in this nutty salad is the molasses. It does a double duty as a marinade for the roasted squash, and as a dressing for the salad itself. Molasses is totally underrated, but it lends such rich flavor and subtle sweetness to this dish. It’s such a great fall flavor that I want to play with more! In the meantime, enjoy it on this fabulous side dish or light lunch. I can’t wait to make this many more times this fall and winter, and hope you try it out too! 🙂

one year ago: Carnitas
two years ago: Thai Seared Shrimp with Tomato, Basil, & Coconut
three years ago: Apple City Barbecue Sauce

Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad
click to print


  • 1 large butternut squash, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups broth [chicken or vegetable, as desired]
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped and soaked in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes then drained and thoroughly dried
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup canadian bacon, chopped


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel and cut a large butternut squash into 1 inch cubes. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, molasses, chili powder, lime juice, and a generous amount of black pepper. Add cubed butternut squash, then toss to coat. Spread in a single layer on two large rimmed baking sheets, then bake for 30 minutes or until fork-tender.

Meanwhile, cook quinoa in broth according to package directions. Stir in soaked and dried red onion, molasses, lime juice, crumbled feta, and chopped canadian bacon. Fold in cubed butternut squash, then season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!

Time: 45 minutes.

Yield: 4-5 servings.

Linked up with: What’s Cookin’ Wednesday.

Main Dishes, Pasta, Recipes

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

Think about the thickest, creamiest, cheesiest mac and cheese you’ve ever had the pleasure to indulge in. Got it in mind? Good.Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese |

Was it something like this? Anything like this? Please tell me I’m not the only one who judges mac and cheese by how close the color of the cheese sauce resembles that of the quintessential blue box.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. And let me tell you something. You absolutely have GOT to take away any preconceived notions of *gasp* butternut squash being, like, a vegetable or something like that. Vegetables aren’t creamy or cheesy or anything like that, are they? And they don’t really belong in cheesy comfort food. So, you might be wondering if I’m trying to pull the wool over your eyes here.

Well, I must confess that the humble butternut squash isn’t exactly cheese. There’s no denying that. But when roasted up in the oven, pureed, and then mixed into with some eggs, half and half, milk, cheese, and spices and poured atop some noodles, butternut squash does become quite thick, rich, and creamy. It also receives bonus points for achieving an almost artificial orange hue… albeit an all natural orange hue. Score! Makes this girl happy.

I was also happy because this slightly sweet yet wholeheartedly savory, rich mac and cheese took almost no time at all, with the exception of roasting the butternut squash [which could be done ahead of time]. That means that this delicious, hearty bite is much closer than you think! Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese |

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Print

adapted from my recipe and Pinch of Yum


  • 1 large butternut squash
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, minced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • cayenne pepper
  • 13.25 ounces small pasta [I used whole wheat shells.]
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup fat free half and half
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 rounded teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 8 ounces Marbled Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • reserved pasta water
  • Panko bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Split the butternut squash in half and place in a large baking dish. Brush with olive oil and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until soft enough to pierce easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, begin caramelizing the onion. Heat about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in n a small skillet over low heat. Add onion and season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and just a touch of cayenne pepper [or more depending on desired level of spiciness]. Stir to mix and allow to caramelize over the next 30 minutes at least for best flavor.

When the butternut squash is cooked, allow to cool briefly and then scoop out into a medium bowl and puree with an immersion blender. Alternatively, use a food processor or regular blender. Puree should yield about 3 cups.

Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, whisk together eggs, half and half, milk, mustard, and sage in a small bowl. When pasta is ready, drain and return to pan over low heat. Pour in egg mixture and stir together. Then, add butternut squash and stir again. Finally, fold in cheese and most of the onions, reserving a small amount for topping.

Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add extra pasta water as needed to thin out the sauce. I used about 2/3 cup. Serve immediately, topping with caramelized onions and Panko bread crumbs.