Here, Have Some Food

Yes, I’m cheating for posts right now. It is creeping up on my busy season. Long-time readers know I spend October working at Hobb’s Grove, which boasts a trio of haunted attractions. It is fun, exhausting work. Getting my crap together in order to not get behind with writing work during haunt season takes from August through September. So yeah, cheating with posts for a little while.

Cheater Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash

What you’ll need:

A deep glass baking dish (like the one your mom makes tuna casserole in)

2 large bowls

Pot of boiling water

Shallow baking pan

An oven (preheated to 350* F)

1 large butternut squash

1 package medium pasta shells

15 oz Non-fat Ricotta cheese (may be substituted with non-fat cottage cheese)

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

3 cups pasta sauce (I cheated and used stuff from a jar)

3/4 cup Vegetable broth

1 tblspn Oregano

1 tblspn Basil

1/2 tblspn Thyme

1 tblspn Garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

How you make this shit:

Cut the butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and lay it in the shallow baking pan, cut side down. Bake the squash until tender–stick a knife in it, if it feels like you’re stabbing your ex boyfriend’s flabby gut, its ready.

Scoop out the cooked squash and toss in a food processor with 1/2 cup of vegetable stock. Keep the rest of the stock handy. If the squash doesn’t puree well with what stock you’ve added, put in more. Blend the shit out of the squash, especially if you have picky eaters in the house, think canned pumpkin consistency.

Set the squash aside.

Cook your pasta while fighting with the food processor, al dente otherwise it turns into goop once you stir everything together.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, pureed squash, herbs, and salt and pepper.

In the other bowl, dump half of the cooked pasta. Add half of the cheese and squash mixture. Put the remaining pasta in the remaining cheese crap–you’ll have two bowls of pasta and cheese. Yes, there’s a damn reason.

Mix the pasta and cheese in bowl 1. Pour the mixture into the large baking dish.

Spoon enough pasta sauce over the pasta to cover it.

Mix bowl 2 and pour it over the layer of pasta sauce–see what we’re doing? Layers!

Spoon on more pasta sauce, again covering all the pasta.

Sprinkle on the remaining parmesan cheese.

Shove the dish in the oven (still at 350* F) uncovered for about 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese on top is melty and the pan is simmering.

Ta-fucking-da! Dinner.

This isn’t one of my usual quick-and-simple, one-pan dishes. It made a fucking mess of the kitchen. But! It is Good, guys. One large casserole dish of this made about 7 servings. The huge bonus is, the only fat comes from the parmesan cheese. Let me know if you try it.

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