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    Hey! I'm Beth - a 27 year old foodie living and working in the Washington, DC area who has lost almost 90 pounds through Weight Watchers. I love good food, wine and getting creative in the kitchen, and then balancing that out with running, The Shred, and yoga. Please feel free to browse around and hopefully you'll find some ideas, recipes and motivation!

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Cheesy Kale, Squash, and Pasta Bake

On Sunday evening while we were eating the delicious vegetarian chili, Wil commented (half seriously) on he loved eating in the pumpkin patch. What he was referring to is the ever-growing collection in the middle of our dining table:

PumpkinPatch

Three pumpkins, 4 gourds, plus these two squash:

Squash

They were starting to dominate our table. I had nowhere else to store them, and for some reason just kept pushing off using them time and again. After Wil’s comment, I knew I had to do something to reduce to clutter so I roasted the squash on Sunday night. First, I cut them up.

CutSquash

Cleaned and cut them more.

ReadytoBake

And then baked them at 400º for 40 minutes. Once they were done, I peeled the skins and chopped them up and into the fridge they went.

FinishedSquash

Last night for dinner I wanted to make something with the squash, so I went with a cheesy pasta bake that was healthy too!

PastaBakeIngredients

In addition to the cooked squash, I grabbed:

  • Kale
  • 2 servings pasta
  • RF Mozzarella
  • Panko Crumbs
  • 1/2 a shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 serving ricotta
  • veggie stock
  • dried sage (but any herb will do!)

I took one of the containers of squash and chopped it up, and then blanched some kale that was on its last leg.

SteamedKale

I cooked 2 servings of pasta al dente, and while that was going heated 1/2 a shallot and 2 cloves of garlic, minced. Once those got fragrant (1-2 minutes), I added in 1 serving of ricotta, a sprinkle of dried sage and some veggie stock to make a cheesy sauce.

CheesySauce

I added the cooked pasta, kale, and squash directly into the sauce and mixed it all around.

Everything in the Sauce

And then transferred it into a baking dish.

In the Baking Pan

I sprinkled on a layer of panko crumbs and then 1.5 servings of cheese.

ToppedCheeseandPanko

And then into the oven it went! 20 minutes at 350, and then 10 minutes at 425 to get it browned on top.

BakedPasta

It was soooooooooooo good. The entire dish was so flavorful from the sauce, and some of the pasta got a little crunchy from being baked. The whole thing was cheesy and gooey, and the best part? I got to eat HALF of that dish and still was eating well!
DinnerPortion

The other best part of this type of pasta bake is that its completely changeable based on what you have on hand. Make sure everything that goes into the dish is cooked, but if you want to use squash you can always just sautee or boil it so it goes quicker rather than roasting it. I used whole wheat pasta, but you could easily do this with white pasta or linguini or angel hair, or whatever you have on hand.  The herb/herb combo is totally customizable too, and if you prefer a less cheesy pasta (there’s something wrong with you! :)) you could easily mix marinara sauce into the pasta/veggie and just top it with cheese. Or, you could completely leave the cheese off (shame) and just use panko.

What is your favorite casserole dish? Any special recipes you’d like to share?

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12 Responses

  1. Ohhhhhh that looks great. I love green chile casserole. Love.

  2. Oh wow that looks tasty! I have a recipe for squash, goat cheese and penne. I can’t wait to try it!

  3. I love doing things like this! Saturday I tossed some tomatoes, sauce, pasta, spinach and grilled chicken together and did the same thing. The top got all dark and delish. YUM!

  4. Beth, that looks so yummy! I’m thinking about doing something with butternut squash tonight, but I haven’t decided what yet. It might be something simple like just roasting it with some EVOO.

  5. Casserole in general is a good word for me. But if I had to choose, I’d go for breakfast casserole (sausage and eggs, please!).

  6. This looks delicious! I will probably make this tonight! I don’t usually make casseroles, but I like to take any veggies on hand and make a sauce out of a little cashews, and parm and mix the sauce into the veggies. I will then bake sweet potatoes or yukon potatoes, or pasta on the side.

  7. This looks seriously amazing. I’m not normally a casserole person, but this is totally up my alley!

  8. I love pasta bakes, so easy, especially if you already have some of the ingredients cooked (like squash). I like to use chopped bell peppers and spinach with the pasta (and maybe even some ground turkey) and then bake with cheese on top. It’s also a great dish to make extra of. YUM.

  9. What an interesting combo and it looks delish! I love the panko on top. It makes any meal that much better.

  10. Holy YUUUUUM!
    This dish looks SOO good!
    🙂

  11. This looks amazingly tasty! And perfect for the cold weather season.
    Thanks for another way to incorporate kale into my cooking.

  12. […] delicious, nutritious and super cheap. My three favorite ways to use it are in casseroles (like my cheesy kale, squash pasta bake), kale chips, and massaged kale […]

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