Butternut Squash, Poblano, and Bacon Skillet

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Heather says

I admit it, I fell off the menu planning wagon last week, the produce piled up, and around time to make dinner I stared into the depths of the refrigerator trying to pair flavors.

Finally I turned to Google and found an Emeril Lagasse recipe that looked like a good starting place. The following is my interpretation. This butternut and poblano skillet works well as a main dish, with only a few strips of bacon. I served the recipe over rice, but I could see serving this over sauteed spinach or kale. The kids and I agreed that if there had been leftovers, they would have been fantastic for breakfast with a fried egg.

If you’re avoiding carbs, keep looking, but if you’re gluten free, you’re safe with this recipe.

Bacon Butternut Poblano Skillet


: Butternut Squash, Poblano Pepper and Bacon Skillet

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 4 poblano peppers
  • 1 tsp chili powder*
  • 1/2 tsp salt

 *If you need gluten free, be sure to check the brand you use.

  • Make sure your skillet is oven safe has a lid, you’ll need it in the second half. If your skillet isn’t oven safe, use a baking sheet to broil the peppers.
  • Check that your oven’s rack a few inches from the broiler and turn the broiler on high.
  • Wash your poblano peppers, dry them, place them in your skillet and drizzle them with the olive oil. Turn the peppers so they are coated with the oil. Broil the peppers until the skin begins to blister, turn them and do the same for the other side.
  • Remove the peppers from the oven and place them in a plastic bag or small container and zip or close tightly. (The steam will make the skin loosen). Set aside to cool. Turn off the broiler, you’re done with the oven.
  • Cook the bacon over low – medium heat until done, but still tender. The goal isn’t to have crispy bacon that crumbles into dust, but to have tender, flavorful pieces in your finished dish.
  • While the bacon is cooking peel and dice your butternut squash. You’ll want cubes that are smaller than 1/2″ on each side to ensure they cook fully.
  • Set the bacon aside on paper towels.
  • Drain all but a thin coating of bacon grease from the skillet.
  • Return the skillet to the stove, turn the heat to medium-high and add the sliced onion. Cook until the onion just begins to soften and add the butternut squash, chili powder, and salt. Stir to ensure everything is coated evenly and cover tightly.
  • Stir occasionally for the next 15 minutes or until the squash is tender. (Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the pan and to prevent scorching)
  • While the squash is cooking remove the peppers from their container and peel the tough outer layer. Remove the stems and seeds and slice into strips.
  • Chop your bacon.
  • When the squash is tender, stir in the bacon and peppers. Cook for an additional 2 – 3 minutes to let the flavors combine and serve.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4


Menu Monday #35

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Heather says:

It’s. Hot.

We’re having record setting temperatures which means we pretty much do our best imitation of lizards by the neighborhood pool in the afternoons. We tried walking around Target once to just enjoy their cooler AC, but that ended up fairly expensive, so we won’t be doing that any more. (Nothing was truly an impulse buy, it was just all of the little we’ve been meaning to gets added up)

The good news is the spaghetti squash will keep a little longer in the refrigerator. I’m hoping until after this heatwave breaks.


I made this year’s first Tomato Pie. I’m still finessing the gluten free crust. Well, to be more accurate I’m finessing how to get the gluten-free crust from the pastry mat to the pie.  Hopefully we’ll have a morning or evening cool enough to turn the oven on to make a more photogenic tomato pie. Looking at the forecast though, it’s an if wishes were horses dream.

I’m trying to be a little better about turning off my computer when I’m “off” work. I’m not good at that, but last week helped a bit with perspective.

We’ll see if it sticks.

If you are just getting started with menu planning, feel free to ask questions, I love playing virtual Iron Chef. If you have a couple of items you are comfortable cooking, I can help you come up with a more varied menu based on that skillset.

Send me a challenge: helpme@home-ec101.com and put Menu Help in the subject line. It could be fun. . . I will need to know if you have any allergies you’re adjusting for and any strong aversions. I’m not going to try to make you like cilantro if it tastes like soap, but I might nudge you a little if you tell me all vegetables are evil.

Menu Plan Monday

What are you cooking? Have you been affected by this heat or are you in a region still hoping for summer to show up?

Do you need a printable menu planner?

  • Monday – Grilled Eggplant over Wilted Spinach Salad – I won’t be candying the bacon, but the dressing remains the same.
  • Tueseday – Stuffed Poblanos, I’ll stuff a couple of bell peppers for the fussier two, refried beans
  • Wednesday – Andouille Sausage, Peppers, and Onions over Dirty Rice – putting a Cajun spin on the normally Italian fare – the sausage and vegetables will be done on the grill.
  • Thursday – Lentil Burgers – hoping to get the wheat free version on the site this week – and grilled vegetables
  • Friday – Oven Fried Monkfish (or grilled if it’s too hot), cabbage slaw, Chipotle Sour Cream, and tortillas
  • Saturday – Grilled Shrimp with Cilantro Garlic Sauce Salads-oh we’ll be kidless however did you guess
  • Peppered Pork Tenderloin with Sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese over salad


This post is linked up at OrgJunkie.com for Menu Plan Monday. The link-up host, Laura, is also the author of the book Clutter Rehab: 101 Tips and Tricks to Become an Organization Junkie and Love It!

Tomato Pie

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Heather says:

Two years ago I stumbled upon the deliciousness that is tomato pie. The framework for this recipe can be credited to Paula Deen, but it has been played with enough, to call it my own.

Before giving this pie a shot, make sure you have fully ripe tomatoes. I know, I know it’s tempting, what with the bacon and basil, but just sit tight and wait. Don’t ruin this with a tomato that has seen the inside of a refrigerator. Fine, you won’t ruin it, but. . . it’ll be worth it.

Some people get very persnickety about the bottom crust. You have three options:

  1. Blind bake -pre-bake the bottom crust-  but know that you will absolutely have to protect the edge of your pie during the real baking and I hate putzing around with foil like that
  2. Instead of draining the seeded tomato slices in a colander you can do so on a clean flour sack towel -it doesn’t have to be that particular one, you just don’t want to end up with linty tomatoes. Bleh.
  3. Suck it up and deal with it because it’s delicious.


Double Crust Tomato, Onion, and Bacon Pie Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 recipe pie crust (9″ pie) – feel free to cheat and use refrigerated pie crust if you’re in a hurry and sometimes I am
  • 4 very ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 3 slices bacon crumbled
  • 3 TBSP cream cheese or mayonnaise*
  • 1 tsp dried basil, divided -If you have fresh, use a small handfull and cut into a chiffonade -fancy word meaning thin raggy strips
  • salt/pepper to taste

*It absolutely must be mayonnaise, not low-fat and for the love of all that is holy not miracle whip

Tomato Pie Recipe Instructions

Core each tomato. This is simply a matter of removing the hard area around the stem. Cut each tomato in half through the equator. Use your finger to scoop the seeds out and into the trash or sink. Then slice each tomato. Place the sliced tomatoes in a colander over a large bowl or the sink, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Allow this to sit while preparing the other ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 425F. Slice the onion very thinly. No, thinner. No, thinner still, we want the Calista Flockhart of onions.

In a bowl combine the cheese, bacon, and 3TBSP mayo. Mix thoroughly.

tomato layerCarefully lay the bottom pie crust in a 9″ pie plate. Arrange a layer of tomatoes, sprinkle with half the sliced onion and 1/2 tsp dried basil.

Repeat the first layer with the remaining tomatoes, onion, and basil.

Top with cheese mixture. Add the second crust, seal the edges, and cut slits in the top.

Use water to glue on any decorative touches.

Use water to glue on any decorative touches.

Tomato PieBake for 45 minutes, checking after 30. Use the foil trick from the pie crust recipe to protect the edges of the crust.

Allow the pie to cool for 10 minutes (at least) on a wire rack. If you can wait longer to slice the pie, the cheese won’t be as runny.

We look at each other and say, but we LIKE the cheese to be runny.


***Submitted to: Mouthwatering Mondays***

Menu Monday #34 – Nary a Cute Title or Pun in Sight

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Last week I had a 50 : 50 success rate with following the menu plan. We did have bolognese, but it was over a half-hearted ratatouille that I nearly ruined because I was sneaking an episode of Orange is the New Black on my tablet.

Hot weather is here for the duration and we’ve got near triple digits and high humidity until further notice. I’m going to try to work more salads into the rotation, but I hate making salads. That’s a first world problem if you’ve ever heard one, right?

There’s a place around here called Verde, thankfully neither location is on my regular routine or I’d be in a lot of financial trouble. I think I’ll be working my way through their menu over the next few weeks. Their salads are amazing and they use this nifty tool that looks like a couple of conjoined pizza cutters to speed up the chopped salad process. I’ve heard the version they use is at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, so I’ll hold off on ordering the OXO version until I confirm this.

I also know it sounds crazy to put a soup on the menu when the temperature is high, but you have to try it. (I’ll get it posted later this week). We’ve been dealing with some sinus stuff around here and there’s nothing quite like hot peppers to clear your head, at least temporarily.

What are you making this week? Do you need a menu planning printable to get started?

Menu Plan Monday

  • Monday –  Tuna Patties – I’m still searching for exactly how to make this wheat-free. Everything is either paleo (read that as way too involved or on the opposite end of the spectrum just tear up a piece of white bread – also not an option) and BLT salads
  • Tuesday – Roasted Butternut and Squash with Soba noodles (buckwheat noodles work just fine, testing a recipe that caught my eye)
  • Wednesday – Jalapeno Corn Chowder
  • Thursday – Bulgogi, rice, whatever vegetables are suitable for stir frying from the CSA
  • Friday – Grilled Chicken over a Southwestern Chopped Salad
  • Saturday – Marinated and Grilled Flank Steak  over grilled vegetables or salad – this will depend on the CSA contents
  • Sunday – We’ll be taking full advantage of the neighborhood pool all. day. long. Hotdogs or brats with sweet potato fries or zucchini / squash fries.

I have a couple of reader questions in my inbox this weekend, so it won’t be all food all the time this week.


Menu Monday – Summer Break Style

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Heather says:

I didn’t get around to posting last week’s menu, but I assure you we ate, several times a day even.

We are definitely using the grill much more often and the foil wrapped vegetable packs are an incredibly handy way to use up the CSA’s bounty without putting in a ton of work. I just adjust the seasonings to match the protein we’re going to have. If you like blue cheese try a splash of balsamic vinegar and top with the cheese after the veg are done. If you are serving fish, a squeeze of lemon and some rosemary or basil would be fantastic. If you want shish ka bob flavor without the effort some teriyaki, soy sauce, and ginger. Don’t be scared to experiment, the worst thing that will happen is you’ll know better next time. (You can even just try your experimental seasoning on a mini packet before trying it on the whole batch)

This week promises more squash and if we get any more cabbage, I’ll have to try my hand at sauerkraut. Theoretically it’s not hard, finding the room to make a batch is an issue all in itself.

This week I do hope to finally take pictures and share how we do fish tacos.

I’m also glad that I finally nailed down a version of gluten-free zucchini bread that I’m proud to share.

What are you serving this week?

Menu Plan Monday