Roasted Acorn Squash with kale, bacon, balsamic reduction, and creme fraiche

Acorn squash roasted with just a bit of olive oil and salt is delicious on its own, but it works equally well as the foundation for complementary flavors. This recipe juxtaposes the rich, earthy backdrop of roasted squash against salty bacon, bitter kale, sweet balsamic reduction, and slightly sour creme fraiche. 

My love of winter squash has a lot to do with how easily it can be prepared. Acorn squash requires nothing more than to be chopped in half and to have the seeds removed. Then, the two halves can be brushed with oil and roasted cut-side down for slightly less than an hour.  While the squash is roasting, there is plenty of time to prepare other foods.

While I made the recipe with creme fraiche, it could be replaced with sour cream or plain greek yogurt if you have either of those on hand.

Easy Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

These easy pumpkin cinnamon rolls came together from scratch in under an hour.  They are topped with a creamy marscapone icing and make a wonderful fall weekend breakfast.

Before making these, I had only ever made cinnamon rolls by whacking open a canister from Pilsbury.  Most of my past attempts at made-from-scratch breads have resulted in dense bricks of carbohydrates, but this recipe turned out on my first try!  (Maybe I'll eventually figure out the secret behind homemade bread).  This recipe handily avoids all the waiting and delayed gratification of traditional recipes that use yeast by instead using creamy ricotta cheese.  

Butternut Squash Oven Fries with Sage and Garlic

Now that fall is here I can rekindle my love for winter squash.  For a fun twist on roasted butternut squash, might I suggest these butternut squash oven fries with sage and garlic?  By cutting the squash into french-fry sized pieces and roasting at a high temperature with a bit of oil, this recipe achieves a crispy outside and warm inside.  I definitely had better luck with the squash than I have had with making sweet potato oven fries, which always seem to turn out a little too limp.  After roasting, I tossed the fries in a mixture of sage, minced garlic, sea salt, and black pepper for a savory snack.  They can be eaten on their own, but if you'd like something to dip them in, I found a creamy aioli to work best.

Spicy Sweet Potato Cakes with Chipotle Dressing

These spicy sweet potato cakes strike a balance between sweet and savory.  They are wonderfully crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  Finally, they are finished off with a tangy chipotle dressing.  I served them as an appetizer, but with a smaller diameter, they would make a tasty hors d'ouvre.  They would also taste great on a bed of greens with the chipotle dressing and some goat cheese.

Farfalle with Sundried Tomatoes, Pesto, and Goat Cheese

Tart sundried tomatoes, garlicky pesto, and creamy, tangy goat cheese come together to make a very flavorful pasta dish in this effortless recipe.  

Simple, hearty chili

This is seriously thick chili, which is great as the temperatures begin to drop.  To achieve a uniform texture, the ground beef is stirred while browning.  Feel free to adjust the seasoning as desired.

Pesto Revisited

I posted a basic pesto recipe here, but I decided to revisit the recipe to improve upon it.  Pesto is delicious, but shelling out major money for pine nuts detracts from its appeal.  Walnuts can be used in pesto, too, but those are also pricey.  

This time around, I substituted sunflower seeds for pine nuts. I purchased a pound of sunflower seeds from the bulk bins at a nearby health foods store, and they were about one-sixth the price of pine nuts.