Pepperoni Pizza and Squash Butter

Oh what a day!! I went to the grocery store after work, and it took waaaaaay longer than I really had hoped. I didn’t get home until 5:15, which, when you’re a teacher like me and used to being home by 3:30, is a LATE day! I bought lots of ingredients for lots of dinners, but the energy level today just screamed FROZEN PIZZA!!!!

We tried a pepperoni Lean Cuisine full-sized pizza tonight, and we were not disappointed! The pepperoni was spicy and flavorful, and the sauce was delicious. I love that this hits my pizza craving without derailing my eating plan. After dinner, I still had the desire to cook something, so I decided it was the night for Mi’s Butternut Squash Butter from over at Whole Foods Whole Me.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

1 whole butternut squash

1 cup applesauce

cinnamon

ground ginger

2 TBSP light brown sugar

1 TBSP maple syrup

recipe:

1. preheat oven to 200C/400F. cut the butternut squash in half, spoon out the seeds/pulp, and place skin-side up on baking sheet. bake for about 30-35mins.

2. once done, scoop out the flesh into a bowl. it should automatically be a pureed texture.

3. next, put 425g/15oz into a saucepan, with the applesauce, maple syrup (you could use honey/agave in place of this, to your liking), a generous sprinkling of cinnamon, and a dash ginger. you can add any spices you want at this point (cloves, allspice, etc.). you can keep the remaiining squash puree for something else, like…. squash oatmeal?! (NB. you could use a 15oz can of squash puree if you can get it. but it’s not available here, and anyway – fresher the better!) (NB2. also, if you want a really smooth texture for this, i suggest you puree this in a food processor.)

4. this is where you have to be patient. mix all this well, place on low-medium heat, and reduce like crazy! it took me about 40mins to get to the extremely thick, buttery consistency that i wanted. but toally worth it. i stirred it quite often, but i think as long as it doesn’t burn, and the heat isn’t too high, you don’t have to be that watchful over it.

once textured as you want it (in my opnion, thicker the better), it’s done! cool, then place in jar or container and keep in fridge.

OH MY GOODNESS!!! This was quite possibly one of the most decadent, rich, robust thing I’ve ever cooked in our kitchen. I magically got the spice balance just right, and added more squash instead of half the applesauce, mostly so I could use the whole squash. I ate some of this amazing concoction on an Arnold’s Sandwich Thin and absolutely cannot wait for my oats in the morning, so I can have some more of it!

Now, if I could only learn how to can properly so I can make holiday gifts of this stuff… can any of you help me??

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I cheated.

I guess technically I did cook dinner tonight, and by cooking, I mean I turned on the oven.

When I went to Woodman’s on Monday, they had a “featured new item” that was very intriguing. Apparently, Lean Cuisine has started making full-sized frozen pizzas. Since Adam’s favorite food in the world is pizza, I couldn’t turn down a $5 healthier frozen pizza, especially since it was 12 Points® for half of the pizza. Most frozen pizzas run something like 20! I figured: worst case, it tastes like a Lean Cuisine pizza, best case, its better.

So I turned on the oven to 400 degrees, waited for the beep, and then Adam put the pizza in the oven. Wait, i guess that means Adam cooked dinner! Anyway, 14 minutes later, the house smelled like pizza, and the pizza looked delicious! I waited the 2 minutes they suggested to wait before cutting it up, and I used my kitchen shears to cut it into 6 slices.

Let me just say, if I hadn’t opened the Lean Cuisine box myself, I would NOT have known it was a “healthy” pizza! The cheese was gooey, the sauce was just right, and most importantly: the crust was crispy and delicious!

If you can find these pizzas, I HIGHLY recommend them!