BUTTERNUT SQUASH + SAUSAGE SKILLET

I have to give credit, where credit is due, and this recipe is all thanks to Nathan. He put this together in the crockpot one night, and I swear when I came into the kitchen the following morning I was greeted with the best aroma ever. It was so good, I contemplated having some for breakfast! Ha! The ingredients may be simple, but the flavor is bold and its a great way to incorporate those end-of-summer vegetables at the local market or in your own garden. The savory sausage combined with the hearty and sweet butternut squash creates a dish that is perfect for fall. We enjoyed this dish over white rice because it really soaks up all the flavorful juice, but it could also be served over zucchini noodles, tofu noodles, or on its own for a low-carb option. Also, it should be noted, that Nathan prepared this entire dish in our crockpot because it has a non-stick aluminum insert with a browning feature (seriously, this crockpot is awesome and is one of our most used wedding gifts!!) . If you do not have a browning crockpot, you will need to cook your sausage in a skillet and then add to crockpot once browned. Either way, this recipe is super easy and full of fall flavor!

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WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil

  • 2 Lbs. Italian sweet sausage

  • 4 Tbsp. sage

  • 1 Tsp. fennel seed

  • 1/4 Tsp. ground cloves or ground allspice

  • Coarsely ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 Tsp. crushed red pepper

  • 1/4 Tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

  • Salt

  • 1/2 Cup chicken stock

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Heat olive oil in your crock pot (this can only be done if you have THIS crock pot) if not, use a skillet

  2. Once hot, add the sausage, breaking into large pieces

  3. Add in sage, fennel seed and ground cloves

  4. Cook sausage until browned

  5. Add the squash, bell pepper, onion, garlic, crushed red pepper nutmeg, and salt & pepper to taste

  6. Cook until vegetables soften, about 2-3 minutes

  7. Add chicken stock and cover

  8. Cook on low 2-3 hours, or until squash is tender

PESTO + RICOTTA ZUCCHINI ROLLUPS

If you’re anything like me, I’m always searching for new recipes to use fresh, in-season produce. This Pesto + Ricotta Zucchini Rollup recipe is not only super easy, but also incorporates extra summer produce you may have in your own personal garden or what you can easily find at end-of-summer vegetable stands. I like to make this recipe as a meal-prep dish for the week because its easy to pack for work lunches, but you could also prepare this for a dinner party as well since it makes a large portion. This dish is keto friendly/low-carb when served on its own, but is also quite tasty with a side of your favorite pasta or served over white rice. You can also make this recipe vegetarian by omitting the meat. When I have the time, I like to make my own pasta sauce and pesto for this dish, but feel free to use your favorite store-bought versions to cut back on time for a quick weeknight meal!

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WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 2 TBSP. extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 lb. spicy Italian ground sausage (or mild if you prefer)

  • 1/2 lb. ground chicken (ground turkey or ground beef will also work)

  • 2 cups tomato sauce, homemade or store bought

  • 3-4 zucchini or yellow summer squash

  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

  • 1/2 cup Parmesean cheese

  • 1/2 cup basil pesto, homemade or store bought

  • 1/2 mozzarella cheese

  • fresh basil, for serving

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9X13 baking dish

  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and ground chicken, cook until browned. Drain if needed. Once cooked, reduce heat to low and add the tomato sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly.

  3. While meat sauce is cooking, use a mandolin to slice the zucchini into 1/4 inch thick strips. Depending on the size of the zucchini, you should have around 30 strips. Lay zucchini strips flat on a paper towel lined counter and sprinkle with salt

  4. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, parmesean and pesto

  5. Evenly spread a little over half of the meat sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Take 2 zucchini strips and lay them side by side lenghtwise, slightly overlapping. Spoon about 1 tbsp. of cheese mixture onto center of zucchini. Roll and place seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat until baking dish is full or you have used all the zucchini strips.

  6. If there is any cheese mixture leftover, you can evenly spread on top of rollups

  7. Spoon the remaining meat sauce over the zucchini. Top with mozzarella cheese

  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese has melted and is lightly browned.

  9. Cool before serving and enjoy!

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