Butternut Squash Meatloaf


I've made many a meatloaf in my day, but I had never thought of putting squash in it before.  However I swear, you can google any two ingredients and a recipe will pop up, which is exactly what I did last night.  By adding butternut squash (cooked in bacon, onion and sage) to this meatloaf, the flavors are off the chart.  And now I talk like Guy Fieri from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  

I used this recipe and made some minor changes.  Instead of pork, I used ground turkey, I skipped the red pepper flakes (in case my kids wanted to try it, hahahaha, they did not), I didn't use an egg because I didn't have one (it turned out just fine), and before cooking it I topped it with a balsamic/ketchup combo (which I highly recommend doing).  By the way, I like to use my hands to form the loaf and cook it on a baking sheet vs. a bread pan.  I think it makes the exterior nice and crispy, which I love.  I plan on turning it into a sandwich for lunch.  Is it lunchtime yet??  

Rosemary Rutabaga Fries


Rutabaga might be the coolest word.  Say it a few times (if you know how to pronounce it).  Rutabaga.  Rutabaga.  Now say it with an Elvis accent, I don't know why, just trust me.  Don't you feel cool?  Or are you starting to feel extremely foolish?  Ok, we'll move on.

It is a root vegetable, and when I went to that cooking class I talked about a few weeks ago, the chef prepared Rutabaga Fries.  They were so good - not crispy like traditional fries, but that caramelized, roasted texture makes up for it.  Rutabaga's taste similar to a turnip, and have a little of that horseradish flavor that I happen to love.  Combined with the earthy rosemary, salt, pepper and good olive oil, these were a perfect side dish for this time of year.

Rosemary Rutabaga Fries
(Serves 4)

1 rutabaga
2 T chopped rosemary
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel and chop the rutabaga into 1/4-inch sticks.  Place in a bowl, and drizzle with olive oil, rosemary and salt and pepper.  Use your hands to toss, making sure everything is well coated.  Place on a baking sheet, and roast for 15-20 minutes, shaking the pan a few times to ensure even cooking.

Caramel Pumpkin Bread Pudding


Yesterday I whipped up this Today Original Recipe with Willie and Natalie... Caramel Pumpkin Bread Pudding.  I made it over the weekend, too, and it's truly ridiculous.  Perfect Thanksgiving dessert turned into Black Friday Breakfast.  I mean, if you're going to participate in that madness, it's probably best you carb-load that morning, am I right?

If you missed the segment or want the recipe you can check it out here.  

Friday Links


A few random links for you to enjoy on this Friday.  Check out the first one... starting a new Instagram account and I want YOU to be a part of it!

Share your REAL LIFE moments on Real Moms Wear Grey.
I will not sleep until you sign up for the TODAY Food Club.
We've had some serious dance parties to Daniel Kim's Pop Danthology 2015.
And while we're on absurd dips... S'Mores Dip.  OMG.
Holiday candles like this one are my weakness.
Thanksgiving in a slow cooker?
And finally, more grey... these pajamas!

TODAY Food Club Launch


Yesterday I was honored to help launch the TODAY Food Club.  If you're still unfamiliar with it, it's an online community where people can share recipes and connect with on-air talent, chefs and Today Show staff.  It includes monthly challenges, weekly tips and meal-plan ideas (lord knows I need that), and the chance to win prizes and be featured on air!  Instead of just an online place to find recipes, it will be a place to have a conversation and receive feedback.  Food is my favorite thing to talk about (duh), so I couldn't be more excited about this!

Yesterday, I made the infamous Spaghetti Pie (which was Today.com's number one recipe for 2015), and Today Food Stylist, the lovely Alli Simpson, made her family's Ultimate Banana Bread (truly the best I've ever had).  It was a treat to be there for such a special event.  Go join the club, share your recipes, get your friends to vote for you, and maybe I'll see you on the Today Show someday soon :)

Alli and I (top) and some of the fabulous Today Food team (below)...

All photos by Samantha Okazaki

Taco Pie with Winter Squash


After making this insanely delicious Spaghetti Pie the other day (as seen on my Instagram page), I started imagining what other dinners I could make in a pie pan, and because it was Tuesday my mind instantly went to tacos!  Taco Pie!  But not just any taco pie, no, no... this particular dish is only disguising as comfort food (which is what it tasted like, oh man).  This hearty but healthy casserole has lean meat, the protein and fiber from beans and the nutrients from a whole lot of squash you won't even know you're eating.  By the way do beans have fiber?  I don't know, it just sounded right to say.

At the last minute I decided to add a frozen package of cooked squash into the meat (the pureed kind).  It melted beautifully, and balanced out the spice of the meat in a sweet and subtle way.  My kids loved it (well, two of them did, not the middle one who would live off of Skittles if she could), and had NO idea I had tricked them into eating something healthy.  And by the way, I ate two slices topped with avocado.  IT WAS SO GOOD.  

Taco Pie with Winter Squash
(Serves 8)

1 T olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 lb. ground turkey
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1/2 cup water
1 12 oz. pkg cooked squash, thawed
1 8oz. bottle taco sauce
3 flour tortillas
1 can refried beans (you probably won't use it all)
2-3 cups Mexican blend grated cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and sauté for a few minutes, until onions begin to soften.  Add ground turkey and sauté until no longer pink.  Add taco seasoning and water and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil, and then lower heat and simmer until sauce begins to thicken.  Add thawed squash, and stir to make sure everything is well incorporated.  Remove from heat.  Spray a 10-inch cake or pie pan with cooking spray.  Add a small amount of the taco sauce and spread with a spatula.  Place a tortilla in the pan, and then spread a layer of refried beans on top with a spatula.  Top with a third of the meat, then a third of the cheese and finally a third of the taco sauce.  Place another tortilla down, and repeat with the beans, meat, cheese and sauce.  Place your last tortilla down, top with beans, the rest of the meat, the rest of the sauce and ending with the rest of your cheese.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and golden.    

The squash disappears!



This cookie is bananas.  Half chocolate chip, half brownie cookie.  Now that I know how easy it is to make two different doughs and roll them together into one perfect cookie, I think the possibilities are endless, don't you?  WHAT UP, CHRISTMAS COOKIES?!  I'M TALKING TO YOU, BOO.  Sorry I don't know what that was.  I used this recipe but I cut the chocolate chip cookie dough in half.  I've written the word "cookie" way too many times in this post.  Cookie.  


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