You know I have zero will power around roasted vegetables.
I had no business roasting an entire butternut squash all at once on Sunday.
Usually I roast a serving at a time because I have been known to polish roasted vegetables off as if they are a big bag of m&m’s on an extreme craving day.
Those pieces which look burned are not burned, they are perfect. You can’t imagine how perfect this batch was…too bad it’s gone.
I mean, butternut squash isn’t exactly a one pound bag of peanut butter or crispy m&m’s (Hi, my name is Meredith and I a former m&m by the pound addict) but the last thing I need is a squash-bloated stomach or a week’s worth of produce finished in one day.
Not exactly comfortable or cheap.
For some reason I did roast the entire butternut squash, with just a spritz of coconut oil cooking spray and a tiny drizzle of pure maple syrup.
I didn’t actually add the butternut squash to my breakfast oatmeal in a jar mix but I am sure that if I did, it would have been good.
As easy as it would have been to eat all of the squash straight from the pan while standing by the oven, I controlled myself by throwing some in a bowl and actually preparing lunch.
Roasted butternut squash with roasted cauliflower, asparagus, Cruciferous Crunch mix, romaine lettuce, plum tomatoes and chick peas mashed with avocado.
Then I mashed up several chunks of the roasted butternut squash to add to a baked ziti I was preparing for dinner which you may have seen on instagram.
I was asked for the recipe but this baked ziti is just another one of those nonrecipes which occur in my kitchen.
Roast some squash, mash it up in a bowl, add it to an unmeasured amount of already cooked whole grain pasta and then mix it all together with spoonfuls of fat-free ricotta cheese, a quality tomato sauce (Vincent’s!) and top it off with shredded light mozzarella cheese.
Is that a recipe?
I would have liked to include more vegetables (spinach, yellow squash, eggplant, mushrooms…) but my son is my main baked ziti consumer and he can be real finicky.
What I love about how I make this dish is that I roast the butternut squash sweet rather than savory. That drop of pure maple syrup brings out the sweet and then when you add it to the tomato sauce, it combines oh so well with the savory.
I never really measure any of my ingredients, including the amount of pasta. You can make as much or as little as you want, using more/less sauce and more/less cheese depending upon how you like it.
You can also prepare it ahead of time and then bake it when you are ready. Just cover it and store in the refrigerator until ready for the oven.
Baked Ziti is super freezer-friendly and perfect a quick weeknight meal.
- Butternut squash - roasted and cut into cubes ready to be mashed up
- Whole Grain pasta - I use Barilla Whole Grain penne or rotini
- Tomato Sauce
- Fat Free Ricotta Cheese - you can use regular but I happen to like Trader Joe's fat free version
- Shredded Light Mozzarella Cheese
- *Optional-Parmesan Cheese/Nutritional Yeast
- *Feel free to add more vegetables - spinach, mushrooms, eggplant, yellow squash, peppers...
- Roast butternut squash in a 450 degree oven with a drizzle of coconut oil cooking spray and pure maple syrup.
- While squash is cooking boil water and cook pasta until al dente.
- Drain water from pasta.
- Mix pasta with ricotta cheese and tomato sauce.
- When butternut squash is ready, mash in a bowl and then add to the pasta. Mix well.
- Place pasta in an oven-safe casserole dish.
- Top with more sauce and then cover with shredded cheese.
- If you using parmesan cheese/nutritional yeast, sprinkle on top along with the shredded cheese.
- Bake covered (with foil) in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until it gets all bubbly.
- Broil uncovered for a few minutes or until the cheese on top is lightly brown.
My usual nighttime snack of an apple with peanut butter has a new addition this week in place of chocolate chips for something different.
It goes really well with peanut butter, especially when spread on top of apple slices. I also love it sprinkled in oatmeal, yogurt and straight from the bag.
The ingredients list is really nice and when I say nice I mean simple, whole and nothing artificial.
I think the hemp seed is about to over take the chia seed for hottest healthiest seed of the moment. I am hearing about the hemp seed all of the time lately.
Better late than never. Thanks girls for the link-ups!
Do you have a roasted vegetable problem?
Which do you like better – baked ziti, lasagna or ravioli?
Favorite nighttime snack of the moment?