Butternut Squash Tart

butternut squash, butternut squash recipes, healthy christmas sides, healthy holiday sides, healthy side dishes, healthy thanksgiving sides

This rich tart is traditionally made with ricotta cheese and butter, so I decided to replace the ricotta with cottage cheese, reduce the butter and use egg whites and it’s turned out really well!  I have made it twice now with both thyme and fresh sage, and it’s great either way.  The first time that I made it was for a girls’ night out, and it was actually used as a dip ~ but the second time I made it, I used a pie dish and cut it into 6 pieces.  I ate a piece for breakfast the other day.

3 cups cubed butternut squash (I used 1 medium sized squash).  You can buy pre-cut butternut squash in the produce section of some grocery stores, like Trader Joe’s.IMG_8630

1/4 cup Almond Meal or bread crumbs
1 Egg & 1 Egg White, beaten
2 cups of 2% cottage cheese
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Tbsp fresh sage or thyme
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel and cube squash and steam until tender and let it cool.  Remove all excess water from squash by wrapping it in a clean kitchen towel and squeezing all of the water out, this might take a while!  Spray a 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray and sprinkle with almond meal to coat.


In a large bowl, whisk together the whole egg, egg white and cottage cheese.  Stir in the grated parmesan cheese, sage or thyme, and nutmeg. In another bowl, smash the drained butternut squash with salt, and then incorporate into the cottage cheese mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the pie plate, and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle a light coating of almond flour over the top and dot with pieces of butter (1 tbsp, cut into small cubes). Bake until set, about 45 – 50 minutes. Allow to cool, and cut into 6 slices. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Basil & Cottage Cheese Pesto

pesto, sauces

This low-fat pesto is an amazing addition to pasta, fish or poultry!

2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup basil
1 cup 2% cottage cheese
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tbsp olive oil1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender.

Nutritional Information:
1 serving is 2 tablespoons
Calories: 38 Carbs: 1 Fat: 2 Protein: 3 Sodium: 145 Sugar: 0IMG_8412


Versatile Roasted Garlic & Red Pepper Sauce

healthy sauces, red pepper cream sauce, sauces

This versatile sauce is great over pasta, grilled chicken and steamed veggies, or even as a dip for a steamed artichoke. You’ll need: 1 red pepper, diced 1 sweet onion, diced 2 cloves roasted garlic1 cup 2 % cottage cheese 1/4 tsp kosher salt Olive Oil Cooking Spray In a non-stick skillet and over medium heat, sauté the diced onion and diced red pepper in cooking spray. Add the salt. When the onion is translucent, let it cool and place in blending machine. Add cottage cheese and roasted garlic to the onion mixture and blend until smooth. artichokes with red pepper sauce Red pepper cream sauce

Turkey Stroganoff with Cashew Cream Sauce over Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles)

healthy beef stroganoff, healthy noodles, zoodles, zucchini noodels

When I was growing up, my parents frequently made an inexpensive dish for dinner that we called, “Stuff”.  I later realized that the dish was really called “Beef Stroganoff”.  They used ground beef and egg noodles with a cream sauce, it was quite good and a great way to stretch a meal to feed 4 people.  I had totally forgotten about “Stuff” until I recently started experimenting with cashew cream sauce ~ this is one of the results!

Here is what you’ll need:
2 medium zucchini
1 cup cooked ground turkey (I make this in advance when I’m food prepping)
1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 cup mushrooms
1 cup cashew cream (Made in advance while food prepping)
2 cups chicken stock

Saute diced onion and cubed mushrooms in butter and oilive oil until onion is translucent.  While it’s sauteing, slice zucchini into ribbons with vegetable peeler or spiralizer.  Bring a small pot of water to a boil so you can blanch the zucchini a little later.

Add 1 cup of chicken stock and 1 cup of turkey meat to the onion and mushroom mixture and let everything simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup of the cashew cream and 1/2 tsp salt and stir until combined ~ if you find that the mixture seems thick, add more chicken stock 1/2 cup at a time.

Place zucchini ribbons into boiling water for 1 minute, and then place directly into an ice bath.  Once cooled, drain the zucchini and place over paper towels and pat dry.

Place zucchini noodles in bowl and spoon the creamy mixture over top.     IMG_8710


Smashed Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic and Chives


IMG_8318 IMG_8343Smashed cauliflower is a great side that takes the place of butter-filled mashed potatoes, not to mention, the cauliflower is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidents and other phytochemicals.

You’ll need:
1 Large Head of Cauliflower
1/2 Block of Cream Cheese
2 Cloves Roasted Garlic
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
2 tbs chopped chives, or other herbs of your choice

Cut and steam cauliflower until it’s very tender. Drain any extra liquid and place in a bowl with cream cheese, roasted garlic and salt. Use a potato masher to mash all ingredients together. Once you’ve reached desired consistency, mix in chives. Serve as a side or even top stew, chicken or beef.

One head of cauliflower serves 4:
Calories: 186 Carbs: 3 Fat: 9 Protein: 2 Sodium: 225 Sugar: 1

Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Turkey Bacon & Walnuts

brussel sprouts, brussels sprouts, healthy christmas sides, healthy holiday sides, healthy side dishes, healthy thanksgiving sides

This recipe can turn anyone into a fan of Brussels Sprouts.  It’s the one time I’m ok with my children fighting; when they’re fighting over these.  🙂  I’ll be making 2 huge batches of these for our 2 Thanksgiving celebrations.

10 Cups Brussels Sprouts, cut in half (one stalk)
8 slices Turkey Bacon, diced
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/4 chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until coated with balsamic vinegar. Spread on a sheet pan and bake at 400 for 40 minutes, turning them at about 20 minutes, or until sprouts are brown and bacon is crispy.


Nutritional Info:

1 serving is 2 cups
Calories: 161 Carbs: 19 Fat: 7 Protein: 10 Sodium: 431 Sugar: 6

Cashew Cream


I’ve been experimenting with cashew cream sauce this year and have had great success with some savory dishes.  Cashew cream is a non-dairy, vegan alternative for cream sauces ~ and you can use it in both savory and sweet dishes.

To make your own cashew cream, simply cover whole, raw cashews in a container with water and let soak for anywhere from a few hours to overnight in the refrigerator.  To make the cream sauce, drain and rinse the cashews and place in blender with water.  The pictured cashews were soaked in water for about 3 hours before being blended in the Ninja ~ 2 cups of cashews were blended in 2 cups of water.  To make a thicker cashew cream, you can use less water.


Here is a link to a site with more information about cashew cream:  http://talronnen.ca/recipes/cashew-cream/