Don't you sometimes feel like you are always cooking with the same ingredients? I like to cook & mix it up, but sometimes I run out of energy and ideas- it can be hard when you are sleep deprived and busy..
Anyway, I also find it a struggle to get my 2 and a half year old to eat his veggies. Sometimes, when he is being picky, it can be hard to get him to eat anything. This past week, I saw a recipe that used some things I don't normally cook with & I figured I would give it a try. The recipe I started to follow did not go well at all so I completely modified & added a few things to it ( I don't want to say who's recipe I was trying to follow, as I feel bad..) This is an easy recipe as there is not much cutting, chopping, etc.. I am detailed for those not comfortable with cooking, so this seems long- but it is an easy cook!
Anyway, here is what I made & my husband and two year old loved it. I was going to take a pic, but they got to it before I had a chance. I will try and add a pic from the leftovers tomorrow.
1 butternut squash
2 red (or green or yellow- whatever you prefer or is on sale!) peppers
1 head of garlic
small macaroni pasta- or whatever your favorite is..
1 can of large petit diced tomatoes
Sea Salt (the BEST flavor!! If you have never had it, get some- you will never go back to plain table salt..)
Fresh ground pepper (Again, it makes a difference!!)
Preheat the oven to 450.
Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Clean out the pulp and seeds (like you would a pumpkin). Place face down on a baking sheet and bake 60 minutes- until very soft.
Cut the eggplant lengthwise. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Gring some sea salt and ground fresh pepper. Place face down on a baking sheet or cast iron skillet (I did the skillet) and bake for 45 minutes. To be the most efficient, put this in along with the garlic below when the squash has been in for 15 minutes..
Cut the top off the garlic. (For this, you want to cut enough off the top so you can see the tops of the separate garlic cloves). Place on tin foil and drizzle the top with extra virgin olive oil. Grind fresh sea salt and ground pepper on top. Wrap up garlic head until completely covered and cook with the eggplant for 45 minutes.
While waiting for this to finish, place your large container of petite diced tomatoes in a medium to large cooking pot. Place over low- medium low heat. Add a bit of sugar (no more than a teaspoon), some ground pepper and ground sea salt. I like to add a splash of red wine to my red sauce. You can also throw in a little red pepper or hot sauce if you want it to have some kick. (I like this sometimes, but since this was for my two year old, I only added a splash of wine- the alcohol cooks off..)
Halve the two green peppers length wise (remove seeds & whitish flesh) and cook over medium/high heat in a pan until the skin starts to discolor. Place in a blender and finely chop. Add to sauce. Stir.
When done, take everything out of the oven. Allow to cool a bit so it is safe to handle. Scoop out the innards of the squash & eggplant & blend in a blender. (Both may have a thin black skin from the high cooking temp- just peel this away..) Squeeze the garlic into the blender and blend. Pour everything into the pot of sauce.
Allow the sauce to cook on low for a bit- the more time you have, the better. Keep it on low- slow & steady wins the race!
I used small macaroni noodles as they are the perfect size for a 2 year old and hold the sauce well. When you cook your noodles, be sure to take a ladle and scoop out a cup or two worth of the water near the end of the noodles' cooking time. Add it to your sauce. (Eyeball it to what your thickness preference is for your sauce.)
Drain the noodles and add to the sauce. Scoop into a bowl. Top with high quality shredded Parmesan cheese. Enjoy and feel good that you and your family are getting plenty of veggies!!!