Learning to Cook – Butternut Squash Alfredo

Up until I got married, I had basically cooked twice in my life (unless you include cereal) and neither time went very well. When I had to survive two weeks with my mom in Africa and my husband in Alaska, my kiddo and I ate take out and lots of snacks every day. At one point during those two weeks, I decided to try to make us pasta, and something under the burner caught on fire while I was boiling the water. As the house filled with smoke and the fire alarm was going off, I decided cooking just wasn’t for me.

When my husband and I got married and moved into our own place a few months ago, I realized we needed to start eating real food though. Eating out is really expensive and I’m trying to pay off my debts, so making food at home is an easy way for us to save money each month. Unfortunately, I’m a really picky eater and I don’t trust my husband to cook things that I’ll eat yet, so I decided to start cooking on the nights that we’re both home. He’s agreed to do all of the clean up, so if he’s not home, I eat cereal for dinner so I can just throw my bowl and spoon in the dishwasher and call it done… I wish I were kidding.

I started with somewhat easy things, like frozen salmon burgers from Costco (one of my FAVORITE easy dinners!!) with asparagus one night and green beans another night. When I dreaded eating salmon another night, I ventured into chicken. I baked a couple of chicken breasts with a honey mustard glaze, and served them with greens beans and cous cous. I always kept low expectations for my cooking (and made sure my husband did the same), but so far so good.

Then I saw one of those recipe videos on Facebook that I actually wanted to try. My husband was already going to the store, so I gave him the list of things in the recipe. The main ingredient was spaghetti squash, which he said he had bought when we were at the pumpkin patch a week prior, so he opted not to get one from the grocery store. I was excited to use a spaghetti squash from a friend’s local farm, until I started preparing the ingredients and found out that apparently my husband knows nothing about squash. He had definitely bought a butternut squash, and not a spaghetti squash. At this point my whole plan of following the recipe seemed impossible so I sat on the kitchen floor crying for ten minutes before deciding to just wing it.

I ended up making a super great pasta, and it was fairly easy, and I was impressed enough that I wrote down the recipe… It ended up being a butternut squash alfredo sauce on top of a vegetable medley pasta. Here is the final result:

Pasta.jpg

Here is my list of ingredients:

  • Butternut Squash
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini
  • Mushrooms
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Milk
  • Alfredo Sauce
  • Pasta
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

I started by preparing all of the ingredients, which just meant I washed and chopped all of the veggies. The trickiest part of this whole thing was the squash because I had never eaten one and I didn’t know how to cut it. I ended up peeling it with a potato peeler and cutting it into cubes – I don’t know if this is the RIGHT way, but it worked. I tossed the cubed squash in a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper and put it in the preheated oven at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

While the squash was baking, I combined all of the other veggies in a soup pot with a little bit of olive oil and heated them, stirring occasionally, until they were the right texture. Once the squash was almost done in the oven, I added a splash of milk and a small container of shredded parmesan cheese to the veggies and continued to cook them until the parmesan was melted. I also started cooking the pasta noodles, and warming some alfredo sauce in a separate pot. I just used a jar of sauce, because I was already doing enough cooking, and I didn’t need to add in a layer of homemade alfredo sauce also.

Once the squash was done in the oven, I added it to the soup pot and stirred it in. The squash was cooked through enough that it became a really smooth texture while stirring, which was perfect. Then I added in the noodles and the warmed afredo sauce and stirred until it was all nicely mixed together. The end result was really tasty and I’m already looking forward to making it again!

Have you ever accidentally created a fab recipe? Let me know in the comments… I may just have to give it a try!

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