BUTTERNUT SQUASH & BACON STUFFED SHELLS

Hello Lovely,

Let me start this post by saying, I really hate making stuffed shells. They are by far one of the most tedious recipes I can think of. Having to cradle al dente pasta shells, while stuffing them without tearing them is just not my idea of fun. That’s why there’s only one other stuffed shell recipe on this blog. I made this recipe about two weeks ago during the week for lunch. The original calls for sausage, but I had more bacon and wanted to quickly use it before it went bad in the fridge. This recipe has a lot of steps so I would recommend saving it for a Sunday dinner.

Despite the hassle, it’s very delicious and filling. Other than the carbs in the pasta, it’s still a relatively healthy dish that is sure to give everyone perfect Autumn feelings.

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BUTTERNUT SQUASH & BACON STUFFED SHELLS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed

  • 1 onion, sliced

  • ¾ cup milk

  • ¾ cup vegetable broth

  • 1 pound bacon

  • 2 cups spinach

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1 pound jumbo shells, cooked al dente

  • 15 ounces ricotta

  • 1 egg

  • ¼ cup parmesan, shredded

  • Additional parmesan, shredded

  • Olive oil

  • Salt & pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Arrange onion and butternut squash in an even layer on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Roast for 40 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, cook bacon over medium heat. When bacon is mostly browned, add spinach and garlic. Cook until spinach is wilted and remove from heat.

  4. Place roasted butternut squash and onion in a food processor.

  5. Pulse until a smooth puree forms. Allow to cool. Stir in milk and vegetable broth. Pour butternut squash sauce into base of a 9x13 baking dish.

  6. In a large mixing bowl, stir together ricotta, parmesan, and egg. Add bacon and spinach into ricotta and stir until evenly distributed.

  7. Fill cooked pasta shells with 3-4 tablespoons of filling. Arrange shells in butternut squash sauce in the 9x13 baking dish.

  8. Bake for 30 minutes covered with aluminum foil followed by 15 minutes uncovered. Top with additional parmesan.

Baked Egg Bread Pudding with Spinach Cheese & Bacon

Hello Lovely,

I’ve been putting this recipe off for months! I was supposed to do this from August, but here we are in November. I don’t know what happened or why this lost it’s appeal for me. Maybe it’s the fact that it uses so much bread that made me keep putting it off because I’ve cut bread out of my diet since going Keto. And the last bread pudding recipe I tried from Joanna’s cookbook was a little underwhelming, so I think all of that is what contributed to me not trying this recipe for so long.

One day I decided to stop putting it off and just do it! I ran to the store for some French bread and the test of the ingredients were already in the fridge. The recipe originally calls for Boursin cheese, but that's not practical for me to obtain so I had to find a substitute. I had crumbled Gorgonzola in the fridge, so I used that. I had just gotten new ramekins on sale from JoAnn’s so I was excited to use those. The recipe gives 50-55 minutes cooking time and trust me, that’s a little modest. It took me an hour just to get it in the oven before the 15 minute baking time. Egg bread puddings are a lot of work, because you need the bread to absorb most of the egg moisture and I also had to cook the bacon first (the recipe also originally called for sausage but I had more bacon than sausage and went with that).

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I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but what came out of that oven was a gift from heaven! This is by far THE best breakfast recipe from the Magnolia Cookbook. I know I had given that title to the Eggs Benedict Casserole, but this was just SOOOOOOO good! Mum loved it, and so did bae (I’m still waiting on my dish back). There’s nothing Keto about this, but it packs a punch in flavour and it’s satisfyingly fulling!

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Baked Egg Bread Pudding with Spinach Cheese & Bacon

  • Prep: 15 minutes

  • Cook: 50 - 55 minutes

  • Cool: None

Ingredients

  • Butter, for ramekins

  • 1 cup half-and-half

  • 6 large eggs

  • 4 ounces French bread (torn into bite sized pieces about 4 cups)

  • 4 ounces bacon, coarsely chopped

  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)

  • 3 ounces baby spinach

  • 3 ounces Gorgonzola cheese

  • 2 teaspoons minced chives

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

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Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter four 10-ounce ramekins and set them on a rimmed baking sheet for ease of handling.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the half-and-half and 2 of the eggs. Add the bread and stir to coat. Let stand until needed, stirring occasionally to help the bread absorb the liquid.

  3. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a medium bowl. Pour off all but about 2 teaspoons of the fat and reduce the heat to medium-low.

  4. Stir the shallot into the skillet and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 2 minutes.

  5. Add the spinach and cook, stirring often, until lightly wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir into the bread mixture.

  6. Add the cheese, chives 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and reserved bacon to the bread mixture and mix well. It's fine if some of the cheese is in marble-sized pieces.

  7. Divide the mixture among the ramekins and bake for 15 minutes.

  8. Remove the ramekins from the and crack an egg on top of each one. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue baking until the egg whites are set, 20-25 minutes more. Serve at once.

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If you want to buy the book to try more of these recipes for yourself, check out this link below. If you do try this recipe, let me know in the comment section below and share your photos with me on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag, #LifeByOlivia.

Irish Cheese and Bacon Popcorn

Hello Lovely,

St. Patrick's Day is this Saturday but I'm not that excited about it. I think I'm saving all of my enthusiasm for beach weather. When I think about St. Patrick's Day an explosion of all things green comes to mind. But green was never really my colour so I always try to think of different ways to celebrate all things Irish without painting myself green or drinking a dreaded Guinness. Enter this super easy snack recipe. This popcorn is best eaten the day it’s made. If you want to serve it at a party, have your ingredients measured ahead of time then assemble right before serving. It really doesn't get any easier than this, but I guarantee this will impress all of your guests!

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Irish Cheese and Bacon Popcorn

Ingredients

  • 7 cups salted popcorn (roughly 1/3 cup unpopped kernels)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup crumbled bacon
  • 1 cup finely grated Irish cheese*
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Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, toss together the popcorn, butter, bacon, and cheese. Popcorn is best eaten the day it's made.
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FLATBREAD WITH IRISH CHEDDAR, APPLES, AND BACON

Hello Lovely,

I'm so excited to share this new recipe with you. I was looking for ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day but I was tired of everything green and wanted something more original. Then I discovered this recipe from Kerrygold and I knew I had to try it.

This is hands down one of my favourite all time recipes! It's so simple, healthy and delicious I could eat this all the time! It's vegetarian and you can even make it vegan by swapping out the cheese for vegan cheese and using a vegan flatbread. I love naan bread and I love making flatbread pizzas with it (it's the only time thin crust is acceptable).

Naan bread is something you should always have on hand for party snacks and quick & easy meals. In this recipe, I piled Kerrygold Aged Cheddar, crisp, salty bacon and sweet apple slices high on the naan bread and pop it in the oven until the cheese becomes melty and gooey. A quick sprinkle of crunchy green onions is all this Flatbread with Irish Cheddar and Bacon needs before it’s ready to eat. Is your mouth watering yet? It should be. This recipe has all the great flavors you want in a flatbread without being overly rich. And who can say no to anything with bacon?

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FLATBREAD WITH IRISH CHEDDAR, APPLES, AND BACON

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 ounces grated Kerrygold
  • Aged Cheddar Cheese
  • 3 pieces of bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
  • ¼ of an apple, thinly sliced
  • 2 green onions, sliced

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Top the naan crust with the grated cheese. Sprinkle the bacon on top of cheese and add the apple slices. Bake in preheated oven for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Sprinkle green onions on top of flatbread. Slice and serve.

Bacon, Egg & Cheddar Cups

Hello Lovely,

With Breakfast being the most important meal of the day, you really have to choose what you eat wisely. I'm the kind of person that can't eat the same thing more than twice per week. I like to mix it up and try new things. Even if it's pancakes, I'll mix it up. Chocolare Hazelnut pancakes one day, Banana pancakes the next. And don't get me started on waffles!

They say the size of your breakfast will determine your appetite for the rest of the day. My routine is usually a small breakfast, light snack on the slow work days, heavy lunch, and then a light dinner (since dinner time always fluctuate).

This recipe that I'm sharing today is actually adapted from one of the Weight Watchers cookbooks that I got from the Greek Festival on my birthday. This is so easy to make, and so tasty! I was genuinely full from one cup. I used a disposable foil  4 oz. cup, but your muffin/cupcake pan will also work for this recipe. And for anyone on Weight Watchers, this recipe is worth 3 points (maybe 2 because of the smaller sized dish that I used).

NOTE: Fresh fruit slices make a delicious and attractive accompaniment to the eggs.

Bacon, Egg & Cheddar Cups

Ingredients

  • 4 slices Canadian bacon, turkey bacon, or turkey salami
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes (feel free to use cherry or grape tomatoes if you have it)
  • 1/4 cup fat-free croutons, crumbled (these make a great seasoning)
  • 2 tablespoons shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
  • 1 sprig parsley or chervil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place 1 slice bacon or salami in each of four custard cups. (I used a 4 oz. but feel free to use an 8 or 10 ounce cup). Pour eggs evenly into cups. Top evenly with tomatoes, croutons and Cheddar.
  3. Place cups on baking sheet and bake until eggs are just set, about 20 minutes (it seems excessive, but trust me it takes 20 minutes). Garnish with parsley, serve and enjoy!

Nutrition facts:

Per Serving (1 dish): 140 g, 129 Cal, 7 g Total Fat, 2 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 229 mg Chol, 460 mg Sod, 3 g Total Carb, 0 g Total Sugar, 0 g Fibre, 13 g Protein, 40 mg Calcium.

Pumpkin and Carrot Soup with Crispy Bacon and Rosemary

Pumpkin and Carrot Soup with Crispy Bacon and Rosemary

Pumpkin soup. Perhaps the quintessential fall/winter food. That and casseroles. But soup warms you from the inside out, like only tea does. Especially on days where the winter wind chills you to the bone. 
Not that we have experienced particularly low temperatures at my latitude so far. To the contrary, it has been a fairly mild fall/winter (sometimes even mostly summer). Truth is, you don’t need to be under the blankets to enjoy pumpkin soup. This pumpkin soup is yummy, creamy, and so velvety-smooth. There’s nothing quite like pumpkin soup to warm up wet or cold days.

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