Butternut Squash Mac n Cheeze

Post Punk Kitchen recently posted their top 100 foodie things of 2011. This recipe from Oh She Glows made the list: Butternut Squash Mac n’ Cheeze.

I’m no stranger to vegan cheeze substitutes. Most, well, don’t taste like cheese (except for my beloved Daiya!). I happened to have a butternut squash laying around, though, so I decided to give this one a go.

Butternut Squash Mac n Cheeze

Butternut Squash Mac n Cheeze

This recipe made a nice, creamy sauce, and it was tasty – but it didn’t really taste like cheese. It was more like squash and garlic. Still, it made for a good side dish, and fit the bill for warm, winter-time comfort food. I’d probably like it better if it didn’t claim to resemble cheeze. I understand the need for a more whole-foods version of the ol’ mac and cheese recipe, though, so this works.

Note that the recipe makes a TON of sauce, so you will have extra sauce to put on veggies or other things throughout the week. You could almost fill a swimming pool with it.

Egg Puffs with Stealth Ninja Squash

I’m back! Sorry for the absence – I spent 8 days in New Mexico attending a photography workshop. It was the hardest working “vacation” I’ve ever had! And after a week of struggling to eat well, I’m back home and back at the vegetables! Hallelujah!

So let’s get to it!

It was slim pickings for dinner tonight, as my cupboards are nearly bare – but I did have enough to pull together another recipe from Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious cookbook. With that, I bring you Baked Egg Puffs with Stealth Ninja Squash! Sadly, there will be no pictures this evening, as I’ve spent so much time with my camera over the last week that we need a couple days apart. (I still have over 1,800 photos to go through from the trip!)

This recipe was super easy to make, and was quite delicious! Whisk together a few ingredients and throw it into the oven. As for its stealth ninja qualities, I think kids (or adults!) could be easily fooled with this one. It’s almost not necessary though, as the squash tastes really good with the eggs! I’ve learned from this stealth ninja vegetable experiment that I actually like squash (butternut squash, in this case). I had my egg puff with a side of veggie sausage patties – a wonderful breakfast-for-dinner!

The recipe suggests making the puffs in ramekins or small coffee cups. I, unfortunately, had neither, so I used larger coffee cups. Be aware that you might need to add a few minutes to the bake time with larger cups – I had to tack on 5 extra minutes. My puffs looked nothing like the picture in the cookbook, but I also used too much squash, so that might have affected it. Handsome puffs or not, they tasted great! I could even see throwing in some chopped peppers or onions (but that would defeat the stealth-ninja purpose).

[recipe-show recipe=egg-puffs]

Mac & Cheese with Stealth Ninja Squash

The very first time I flipped through the Deceptively Delicious cook book, I knew it was love at first sight. There was not one, but TWO recipes for mac and cheese! Oh, how I love me some cheese. Tonight, I cooked up a batch of Mac and Cheese with Stealth Ninja Butternut Squash. Let’s see how it went, shall we?

First, the ingredients (minus the ones I forgot in the fridge – the milk, the squash puree…):

Mac & Chz ingredients

Please forgive the Blackberry-quality pictures. They are pretty terrible, but my G9 and my 50D were both out of commission with charging batteries, and I figured this was better than whipping out the film beast and spending the evening in the garage darkroom!

Note the organic ingredients 🙂

Mac and cheese sauceI put the pasta on boil and started mixing up the cheesy goodness. I was a little short on cheddar cheese, so my combo was about 3 parts cheddar to 1 part mozzarella. I used low fat cream cheese, though fat free can also be used.

The cheese sauce smelled really good as I mixed it up. It was very thick.

Once the macaroni was done, I drained it and dumped it into the cheese pot.

Stirred it up, and omg who wants?

Mac and cheeseThe verdict: This mac and cheese was delicious and very filling. The sauce was super thick – like, stick-to-your-ribs thick. To get 4 servings out of this recipe as described, the servings seemed a bit small, but the density definitely made up for it. Very filling. I think it might be possible that the serving sizes indicated in the cook book are for kids.

One thing I did differently in this recipe was to add a bit of Nutritional Yeast Flakes. They’re yellow flakes that dissolve into just about anything with very little to no effect on flavor. They’re described as having a nutty, roasted taste, but I don’t really notice them in anything I’ve tried. They give a great nutrition boost, with some high quality protein, and a slew of vitamins (including big doses of the B’s). Why not?

Much like the quesadillas from this cook book, I cannot wait to eat these leftovers! Warm, gooey, cheesy goodness – and successfully stealthy vegetables! A big thumbs-up to Mac and Cheese with Stealth Ninja Butternut Squash.

[recipe-show recipe=mac-cheese-squash]


Quesadillas with Stealth Ninja Squash

Another smashing success in the Stealth Ninja Vegetable Experiment!

I made 2 more recipes out of the cookbook, Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food: Chicken Quesadillas (with Stealth Ninja Butternut Squash), and Guacamole (with Stealth Ninja… well, I guess the avocados are pretty Out There with their Green Flags Flying… hmmm).

In addition to butternut squash, the quesadillas also had stealth ninja white beans! What a crazy amount of ninja going on in there!

I did not have my camera nearby, so alas, I have no photos, but the prep was super easy (and therefore not worthy of Adventure status here at Epic Organic). All I can say is – these quesadillas were wonderful and the guacamole was heavenly! I used all organic ingredients and can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Insanely delicious, and again – not a single sign of odd vegetable tastes anywhere (aside from the flamboyant avocados). If you’re a fan of chicken quesadillas, these are gooey-delicious and filling (and a great source of vitamin A!)

Here are the recipes as I prepared them, along with approximate nutrition info at the bottom of each one:

[recipe-show recipe=quesadillas-squash]

[recipe-show recipe=stealth-ninja-guacamole]


Stealth Ninja Vegetable Experiment: Prep

*queue Mission Impossible music*

Actually, I think this mission is quite possible! I am embarking upon what I call the Stealth Ninja Vegetable Experiment. You are about to bear witness to Phase 1: Prep.

It all started when my sister in law Amanda suggested that I check out this book: Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food by Jessica Seinfeld (yes, Jerry’s wife). Since I was already sold on the possibility of hiding veggies in my smoothies, I thought this book might hold some promise (though I’d be attempting to deceive myself, not kids). I picked it up at my local library (Homer Township Library ftw!) and decided to give it a test-drive.Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld

The basic premise of the book is that you puree a variety of vegetables and store them in 1/2 cup portions in little ziplock baggies, then sneak them into recipes as needed. Sounds good to me!