Easy Stuffed Spaghetti Squash: Lasagna-Style!

This easy stuffed spaghetti squash recipe has all your favorite lasagna ingredients stuffed into handy (and healthy!) spaghetti squash boats. It’s an easy weeknight meal the entire family will love!

An overhead shot of two plates of stuffed spaghetti squash with herbs and a hunk of Parmesan.

I love finding ways to add an extra-healthy touch to a typically indulgent dish. While I’m certainly not against a hearty slab of lasagna every once in a while, putting all of the dish’s typical ingredients into a vessel that also just so happens to be a delicious vegetable ups the nutrition-factor AND presents the dish to the kiddo in a new and unusual way. You may recognize this tactic from my ever-so-popular Papaya Breakfast Boats recipe. Kids get such a kick out of eating out of something other than a plate or bowl.

So, here’s the scoop on this Easy Stuffed Spaghetti Squash: Lasagna-Style!

What You Need to Make Lasagna-Style Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

You don’t need much to make this delicious family meal, mostly all of the typical ingredients you’d use to make a classic lasagna, with spaghetti squash taking the place of the pasta.

You’ll need:
  • Garlic herb butter (Trader Joe’s has a great one!)
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Italian sausage
  • Marinara sauce
  • Ricotta
  • Mozzarella
  • Fresh oregano

And a few other basic things like salt, pepper, onion and garlic.

How to Make It

 Aside from a little bit of cooking time on the front end, this meal is very much “set-it-and-forget-it.” My favorite kind of meal!

A close up shot of lasagna-style stuffed spaghetti squash.

The first thing you’ll need to do is give your spaghetti squash a little head start on cooking. This will take the majority of the cooking time, about 30-45 minutes. You could also do this part in advance when you meal prep for the week!

If you don’t choose to prep your squash in advance, you can start on the filling while they’re cooking.  You’ll be preparing the “lasagna” part of this dish over the stove top, to make sure the meat gets fully cooked and all of the ingredients get nice and integrated.

Once your filling is ready and your squash boats have gotten their cook on, it’s time to stuff ‘em!

Sprinkle on the mozzarella and then it’s time to bake. The stuffed boats will only need to be in the oven for 10-15 minutes, with another 4 minutes or so of broiling to get your cheese nice and bubbly. Everything is already cooked through, we’re just putting on the finishing touches right now.

How to Serve Your Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

 Unless you have some hungry teenagers on your hands, you’re probably going to want to divide your stuffed squash halves in half once again after they’re cooked. Serve them with a little sprinkle of fresh oregano and some fresh bread to scoop up any extra filling, and you have yourself a delicious, well-balanced dinner on your hands!

A giant forkful of a stuffed spaghetti squash.

Other Easy Weeknight Meals Like This One

 You asked, so I’m answering. Many of you have mentioned to me that you need more ideas for weeknight dinners (hence this tasty recipe) so I also want to point you in the right direction of some other great weeknight meals I have here on the site. Here are some of my other favorite weeknight meals, especially for this time of year:

What are your favorite weeknight meals for fall? Let me know in the comments below!

Easy Stuffed Spaghetti Squash: Lasagna-Style!
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 10 mins
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
 

This easy stuffed spaghetti squash recipe has all your
favorite lasagna ingredients stuffed into handy (and healthy!) spaghetti squash
boats. It’s an easy weeknight meal the entire family will love!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: dinner, gluten-free, Italian, lasagna, squash, weeknight
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 552 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved with some of the insides scooped out to form a well Reserve any of the extra insides to stir into the filling.
  • 2 tablespoons garlic herb butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 of a large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 cup marinara sauce See notes for recipe, or use a jarred version.
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 ounces shredded mozzarella
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place spaghetti
    squash halves on a rimmed baking sheet facing up. Brush the garlic herb butter
    evenly over each of the spaghetti squash halves. Roast in the preheated oven
    for 30-45 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender.

  2. While the squash is cooking, prepare the filling. Place a deep skillet on the stove over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is heated, add the onions and sauté for a few minutes, until fragrant and translucent, then add the garlic and stir to combine. Let cook for a minute or two and then add the Italian sausage and cook until browned.

  3. Add in the marinara, ricotta and oregano and stir to combine. Let the mixture heat up and come to a gentle bubble, then turn off the heat.

  4. When your squash is fork-tender and you’ve pulled it out of the oven, lower the oven heat to 350 degrees. Then, carefully scoop the filling into each of the halves and sprinkle with mozzarella.

  5. Return the squash to the 350-degree oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, then turn on the broiler and cook for another 4 or so minutes, until the cheese on top is browned and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before cutting the halves in half and serving.

Recipe Notes

You can find a great recipe for homemade marinara here!

10 Cold-Weather Drink Recipes to Wow All Ages

If there’s one thing that’s synonymous with cooler weather, it’s the fact that the season brings tons of occasions to celebrate with friends and family. Here’s a thoughtfully curated roundup of 10 Cold-Weather Drink Recipes that will satisfy adults and kids alike. Mix one up for your next get-together!

Title image for 10 Cold-Weather Drink Recipes to Wow All Ages.
This post is sponsored by Sonoma Syrup Co.

Am I the only one who starts getting excited about all of the fall and winter holidays in the dead heat of summer? There’s something about the endless celebrations, travel, and loads of family time that just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. Not to mention the FOOD and DRINKS. The cold-weather months are a time for not only comforting, hearty foods, but also belly-warming cocktails and mocktails. They’re a time for connection, celebration, and indulgence in things you only get to partake in once or twice a year. If you ask me, the food and drink we get to consume over these next few months is reason to celebrate in itself!

With all of the family time these holiday months can bring, you’re no doubt looking for a festive beverage or two for one special occasion or another (and – let’s be honest – us big kids often need something with an extra little kick to get us through all the craziness!) These 10 cocktails and mocktails are all festive and incredibly easy to make, especially with the addition of my favorite infused syrups from Sonoma Syrup Co. There’s a little something for everyone, whether you’re a little kid or big kid, a whiskey fan or a vodka fan.

You’ll also find a brand new cocktail recipe I created just for this roundup. My Pumpkin Apple Bourbon Smash features all of my favorite fall flavors (and, yes, that includes bourbon!) in one frosty glass. It’s certainly going to be on repeat in our household this holiday season. Read on for the recipe and nine other great drink ideas!

Spicy Ginger Sangria by Sonoma Syrup Co.

A glass of Spicy Ginger Sangria with glasses, ice and ginger simple syrup in the background.

Sangria is a fantastic drink for entertaining because you can make a big batch of it in advance and let adults serve themselves. This seasonally appropriate version features flavors of ginger, citrus, figs and apples – it’s like winter in a glass! And because the only booze in this recipe is red wine, the sangria isn’t nearly as strong as some of the other batch cocktails I’ve included in this roundup. Use a wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot to really make the sangria full-bodied. It will warm up cold bellies (or stressed out parents) in no time! It’s also a great option to serve for a winter brunch in lieu of mimosas.

Honey Roasted Pear Sparkling Cocktails or Mocktails  by Cotter Crunch

A few glasses and a pitcher of Honey Roasted Pear Sparkling Cocktails.

I love this recipe because there’s both a cocktail and mocktail version, making it a great option when you have guests of all ages to cater to. For a fun spin on the original recipe, try substituting Infused Apple Cider Drinking Vinegar for the balsamic vinegar, or add in some Vanilla Bean Infused Simple Syrup in lieu of the vanilla extract. Roasting fruits before adding them to cocktails gives them a whole other dimension of flavor. It’s a fun way to add an unexpected twist to whatever you’re serving!

Pumpkin Apple Bourbon Smash by CaliGirl Cooking

An overhead shot of two glasses of Pumpkin Apple Bourbon Smash on a wooden platter.

This festive, easy-to-make cocktail features all of my favorite fall flavors – apple, pumpkin and bourbon! Sonoma Syrup Co.’s Pumpkin Pie Latte Syrup is a great way to add real pumpkin flavor to drinks without the extra body of pumpkin purée, and the touch of apple cider makes this drink truly next-level. It comes together in less than 10 minutes and is the perfect libation to sip on after the kids have all gone to bed and it’s time to kick up your feet.

Pay attention to the quality of apple cider you use. I like the cloudy, unfiltered stuff (usually from smaller producers) because it adds so much more flavor than the typically more watery juice.

If you want to make this recipe kid-friendly, simply omit the booze. It would also be just as tasty served warm as it would over ice!

Pumpkin Apple Bourbon Smash
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 

This Pumpkin Apple Bourbon Smash combines the best flavors of fall to make one delicious cocktail. It takes less than 5 minutes to mix up and enjoy in front of a crackling fire.

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple, apple cider, bourbon, cocktails, drinks, fall, pumpkin
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 220 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces bourbon
  • 2 ounces Sonoma Syrup Co. Pumpkin Pie Latte Syrup
  • 4 ounces high-quality apple cider
  • 8 dashes angostura bitters
For garnish:
  • 2 dashes ground cinnamon
  • 2 apple wheels
Instructions
  1. Combine all cocktail ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled 3/4 full with ice. Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.

  2. Fill two rocks glasses with ice and strain shaker contents evenly amongst the two.

  3. Add a dash of ground cinnamon to the top of each cocktail and garnish with apple wheel. Enjoy!

The Lemon Toddy by Sonoma Syrup Co.

A lemon tree with a beehive.

I don’t know about you, but I love me a good hot toddy. This Lemon Toddy can be served as-is (without the booze) or add a healthy glug of whiskey to kick things up a notch. This is the perfect drink for the dead of winter when you’re fending off colds or snuggled up in a cozy cabin with snow falling down outside. With both alcoholic and nonalcoholic options, it’s the perfect family-friendly recipe and a great way to stay healthy in a season that is rife with sickness.

Apple Cider, Cranberry and Ginger Punch  by Martha Stewart

A few glasses of Apple Cider, Cranberry and Ginger Punch.

This is another easy batch cocktail that can easily be made with or without booze. Liven up the entire batch with a healthy glug of gin, or split it up and omit the gin from half so there is some for kids and adults alike. The combination of apple, cranberry and ginger is like winter in a glass. You can even cut down on the ingredient list by subbing in some lemon simple syrup for the fresh lemon juice and sugar. This recipe makes four servings, but feel free to double or triple the recipe for a larger group. It’s so easy to do!

Peppermint Mocha by Sonoma Syrup Co.

A woman holding a warm peppermint mocha.

Call me basic, but I’m a HUGE fan of the peppermint mocha once the cool weather rolls around. In fact, I’ve even been known to order one after the winter holidays have passed and I’m still sporting my leather boots. With this recipe, you can easily make a Peppermint Mocha in the comfort of your own home without having to trek to Starbucks. For the kiddos, just omit the espresso and they’ll have a tasty Peppermint Hot Chocolate on their hands (and hopefully not all over their clothes.) It’s also super-easy to make it dairy-free!

SPICED Vanilla Bean Steamers  by The Kitchn

A Vanilla Bean Steamer on a tables with a jug of milk and vanilla beans in the background.

If you’re not a fan of peppermint or chocolate, this is the warm winter drink for you! This particular recipe uses tea bags, but you can also simply heat or froth up your choice of milk with some delicious Vanilla Bean Infused Simple Syrup. If you do go the tea route, feel free to branch out from just the turmeric tea mentioned here. Peppermint, chamomile and Earl Grey are all great alternatives to try instead. I love a good vanilla steamer right before bed, especially at the end of a stressful day. Think of it as an easy act of self-care when the holiday craziness gets to be too much. I guarantee it will give you a more peaceful night’s sleep, plus, this recipe is great for the kiddos, too!

Vanilla Bean Creamsicle by Sonoma Syrup Co.

A Vanilla Creamsicle cocktail in a martini glass!

While hot drinks are all the rage when the weather outside is less than ideal, this Vanilla Bean Creamsicle cocktail will no doubt warm you up inside as well. Vanilla and orange are two classic winter flavors that compliment each other nicely, and vodka will lend that extra kick you may be looking for when things get a little too hectic or stressful. This is the perfect drink to serve at an adults-only party, or even a winter lunch or brunch with your closest gal pals. Get fancy with martini glasses filled to the rim and a tasty selection of appetizers to go with!

Winter Spiced Vanilla Eggnog by CaliGirl Cooking

Two glasses of Winter Spiced Vanilla Eggnog amid twinkly lights.

A cold-weather drink roundup wouldn’t be complete without a classic homemade eggnog recipe! While homemade eggnog may sound intimidating, it’s really not that hard to make. And the flavor payoff is so worth it! I encourage you to give it a shot. Don’t be shy about using the raw eggs, just pay attention to where you buy them to ensure they’re of the highest quality and, of course, don’t indulge in this while pregnant. Adding plenty of Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup and of-the-season spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves make this eggnog its own party in a glass.

Ginger Grapefruit Bourbon Sour by HGTV.com

A punch bowl of Ginger Grapefruit Bourbon Sour with two filled glasses and sliced grapefruit alongside.

Let’s wrap up this list with one final batch cocktail! This Ginger Grapefruit Bourbon Sour is a true party in a punch bowl. There’s something about serving a punch that automatically ups the festive factor of any get-together, plus it’s easier on the host. I love that this recipe is brimming with fresh citrus and zesty ginger in addition to everyone’s favorite tummy-warmer: bourbon. And here’s a handy shortcut for ya: instead of slaving away over the stove to make your own ginger simple syrup as the recipe calls for, simply swap in Sonoma Syrup’s White Ginger Infused Simple Syrup! Your party prep just got that much easier.

So, what do you think? Out of all of these cocktail and mocktail recipes, is there one you’re just dying to make? I don’t know about you, but I hope I get the chance to give every single one of them a try.  Let me know which one you’re going to try first in the comments below!

The Easiest Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups

These Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups are baby- and toddler-approved, but great for the whole family! Make them in advance and stick them in the freezer to have a healthy, nutritious breakfast ready to go on busy mornings.

A cooling rack of freshly baked Pumpkin Apple Oatmeal Cups.

I don’t know about you, but our toddler always wakes up hungry and ready to eat. It seems like we can barely get a clean diaper on her before she’s begging “Food! Food!” Breakfast also so happens to be her favorite meal of the day, and she eats far more in the morning than she does for lunch and dinner, so we always try to have healthy, quick options on hand for her.

We’ve been big fans of baked oatmeal in our household for a while now. I love that it’s jam-packed with nutrients (especially with the right mix-ins) and that it’s handheld, resulting in much less of a mess than classic or even overnight oats make. While traditional baked oatmeals (in baking pans or dishes) are great, turning your baked oatmeal into single-serving cups ups the convenience factor and makes it really easy to only defrost what you need.

Here’s how this easy and tasty recipe is done!

What You Need

The good news is – not much! Most of the ingredients you’ll be using you’ll already have on hand, especially if you’re making this in the fall.

Rolled oats

I love getting the big bags from Trader Joe’s (these ones also happen to be gluten-free if you need that.)

Pumpkin purée

Buy the can OR make your own with this super simple homemade pumpkin purée recipe!

An apple
Milk

Any kind!

An egg
Maple syrup

And pantry staples like…

Baking powder, salt, vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice

As far as equipment, you’ll just need a cupcake pan (we love these silicone ones *affiliate link*), a couple of bowls, a couple of measuring cups, and a whisk!

An overhead shot of Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups cooling on a rack.

How to Make Baked Oatmeal Cups

Once you get the basic process of these Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups down, you’ll be able to create tons of different variations.

Simply whisk together the dry ingredients, whisk together the wet ingredients, combine the two, and bake. Easy as that!

Other ideas for flavor combinations might be:

Banana and chocolate chip
Sweet potato and orange
Zucchini and raisin
Peanut butter and apple
Cinnamon and berry
Vanilla and peach

The possibilities are endless.

A straight-on look at a freshly baked batch of Pumpkin Apple Oatmeal Cups.

How to Store Baked Oatmeal Cups

Once the cups are baked and cooled, place them in a gallon-size Ziploc and freeze for up to three months.

When you’re ready to serve, simply microwave however many you need for 30 seconds to a minute (maybe more if you’re defrosting a bunch at once.)

Just like my Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins or my Peanut Butter and Banana Breakfast Cookies, these cups are a great on-the-go option for busy mornings, or even a great travel snack when you’re on the road. 

Read on for the recipe and, if you want to learn more of my tips and tricks for feeding toddlers, be sure you’re signed up for my weekly newsletter!

A stack of Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups leaning against a pitcher of milk.

Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

These Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups are baby- and toddler-approved, but great for the whole family! Make them in advance and stick them in the freezer to have a healthy, nutritious breakfast ready to go on busy mornings.

Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: after-school, apple, baby-friendly, baby-led weaning, breakfast, freezer-friendly, meal prep, oatmeal, pumpkin, toddler
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 114 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 cups milk of your choice (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (Use canned or follow the link in the Recipe Notes to make your own)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup diced apple
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray cupcake pan with cooking spray and set aside.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oats, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.

  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together milk, pumpkin purée, maple syrup, egg and vanilla.

  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Whisk in diced apple.

  5. Using your 1/4 cup measure, scoop mixture into prepared cupcake pan.

  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until oatmeal is set.

  7. Let cool at least 10 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely before transferring to Ziploc for freezer storage.

Recipe Notes

Here's the recipe for homemade pumpkin purée!

Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joes That Even Your Little One Will Love!

These Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joes take a classic Sloppy Joe recipe and turn it into something the whole family – even your youngest eaters – will love. Sloppy Joe filling is tucked into fluffy crescent cups for a neater, handheld version of the popular weeknight dinner.

If you have questions about starting solid foods, consult a physician or health care provider.

An overhead shot of Not-So-Sloppy Joes laid out on a cooling rack.

This post is a collaboration with Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. on behalf of the Beef Checkoff. I received compensation, but all opinions are my own.

I hope you’re ready for an easy weeknight dinner that the entire family is going to love, because these Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joes totally fit the bill. They’re quick, easy, and so tasty you won’t even know they’re made specifically for tiny appetites.

That’s right, I’m thrilled to be partnering with Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. to bring you this baby-led weaning-friendly recipe and share all of the amazing benefits of introducing beef as a first food to your babes.

By now you likely know what a huge proponent I am of the baby-led weaning method, which encourages the introduction of ALL foods in their most natural form starting from very early on in a child’s solid food journey. With BLW, it’s recommended that foods like peanut butter, eggs, dairy, and, yes, beef are all introduced before a child turns one in order to expand their palates and set them up for optimal physical and cognitive development.

You can read more about the baby-led weaning method here. In the meantime, let’s dig into some of nutrition benefits of beef, and how it lends itself to these important developmental milestones.

A close-up shot of "Not-So-Sloppy" Joes in their baking pan.

Nutritional Benefits of Beef for Babies

Beef contains high-quality protein, iron and zinc, all of which are essential nutrients for a child’s healthy growth and development. With more than ten essential nutrients, beef can assist in improved recall skills and reasoning abilities, and also support brain health and optimal cognitive development. You can read more about the nutritional benefits of beef as a first food on BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

While beef purées are certainly an option for ensuring your baby receives all of these benefits, I wanted to create a recipe with beef in one of its more natural forms for all of my baby-led weaning fans out there. So how did I create a Sloppy Joe recipe that’s baby-led weaning approved?

A "Not-So-Sloppy" Joe on a kids' plate with zucchini and tomato salad.

 

Let me tell you!

Ground Beef Sloppy Joes That are Baby-Led Weaning Approved

If you’re not too familiar with baby-led weaning, there are a few things to pay special attention to when offering foods to your little one:

CHEWING AND SWALLOWING ABILITY

When presenting food to a babe who’s just starting to eat, you want to make sure it’s appropriate for his or her current chewing and swallowing abilities. Ground beef – which I used for these Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joes – is a great option as it’s already in small pieces and easy to chew. It’s even “gummable” for babies who may not have many (or any) teeth yet.

SALT

Sodium deserves some special attention when it comes to cooking for your little one. While adults can consume between 1,500-2,300 mg of sodium a day, babies and toddlers should be consuming much less, between 400-800 mg per day. That’s why you won’t see any added salt in this recipe, however, if you feel you want more salt in your Sloppy Joe mixture, feel free to set some “joe” mix aside for your baby and then season the rest as you wish.

SUGAR

While many traditional Sloppy Joe recipes use brown sugar as a sweetener, I try to steer away from pure sugar as much as possible when cooking for new eaters. To sweeten up the sauce a little bit, I recommend adding just enough maple syrup to tone down the acidity of the tomatoes.

THE MESS

If there’s one thing anyone who’s already gone through baby-led weaning can attest to, it’s that it makes a huge mess! In BLW, babies are encouraged to practice self-feeding from the very beginning, so things definitely don’t stay neat and tidy. The great thing about this Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joe recipe is that the mess of the Joe filling will be at least somewhat contained by those fluffy crescent cups, and babies won’t even need to wield a fork to get to the good stuff.

"Not-So-Sloppy" Joes cooling on a rack, surrounded by a blue and white checked napkin.

While the nutrients in beef offer an ample amount of benefits, tomatoes and bell peppers give the recipe an extra dose of nutrition. With less mess and babies’ nutritional needs in mind, these “Not-So-Sloppy” Joe’s will be the perfect addition to your weeknight dinner rotation, not to mention they’ll be enjoyed by the whole family!

For more great family recipes and additional information about the health benefits of beef, be sure to check out BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

I’d love to hear all about your BLW adventures with beef in the comments below!

Ground Beef "Not-So-Sloppy" Joes
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
42 mins
 

These Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joes take a classic Sloppy Joe recipe and turn it into something the whole family - even your youngest eaters - will love. Sloppy Joe filling is tucked into fluffy crescent cups for a neater, handheld version of the popular weeknight dinner.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baby-friendly, baby-led weaning, beef, entree, kid-friendly, main course, weeknight
Servings: 24 cups
Calories: 212 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ground mustard
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons coco aminos
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt to taste (for adults)
  • 3 cans refrigerated crescent dough (enough dough for 3 dozen crescents)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven according to crescent dough package directions. Spray cupcake pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

  2. Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until just translucent, about 3 minutes, then add bell peppers. Once bell peppers begin to soften, add Ground Beef. Stir in pan until it begins to brown, then add garlic powder and ground mustard. Continue stirring until most of the meat is browned.

  3. Add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste to pan and stir until combined, then stir in the coconut aminos, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar. If you want to add some salt for the adults and older kids in the family, now’s the time to do it, but go as light as you can. Turn the mixture down to low and let it simmer while you prepare the crescent cups.

  4. Unroll the crescent dough from its package and separate each triangle. Cut the top off of each triangle and then reattach it to the side to make a rectangle (as shown in the photos). Press rectangles one by one into the cupcake molds.

  5. Take a tablespoon measure and scoop 1-2 tablespoons into each crescent cup. Place cupcake pans in preheated oven and bake according to the crescent package directions (typically at around 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes), or until golden. Leave in pan until cool enough to touch, then gently remove, using a butter knife to gently ease them out if necessary.

Recipe Notes

DISH DENSITY: Low

How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Purée

Forget the canned stuff, learn how to make your own homemade pumpkin purée from scratch. It takes just one simple ingredient and less than an hour to make!

Homemade pumpkin puree in a glass dish surrounded by a black spoon, black and white checked napkin and a small bowl of ground cinnamon.

The recent pumpkin spice-everything craze has made it hard to ignore the rows and rows of canned pumpkin that pop up on grocery store shelves once summer starts coming to a close. I’ll be the first to admit that I love pumpkin so much I’ve been known to stock up on it right after the holidays to get me through the better part of a year.

But what if you could easily make your own and store it in the freezer to have ready to go at a moment’s notice? It’s easier than you think, and today I’m going to tell you all about it!

Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Since I’ve become a mom, having some pumpkin purée on hand has become even more important as I love using it as a way of sneaking some extra nutrients into my little one’s diet. It’s super easy to mix into baked goods like pancakes, donuts, muffins and breads to up the healthiness factor. Not only does pumpkin have loads of Vitamin A, it’s also rich in antioxidants and can boost immunity – and it’s tasty to boot!

Pumpkin’s sweeter flavor is often appreciated by tiny eaters so if you have kids, take advantage of it and add some pumpkin to their diet. I’ll give you some great recipe ideas below.

An overhead shot of a glass bowl of pumpkin puree surrounded by a black and white checked napkin, a spoon, cinnamon sticks and a bowl of ground cinnamon.

What You Need to Make Pumpkin Purée

Perhaps the most exciting thing about making your own pumpkin purée (besides having it on hand to use whenever you want) is that you need next to nothing to make it. We’re talking one ingredient and a couple of common kitchen appliances/utensils. That’s my kind of recipe!

Here’s what you’re going to want to gather up before you start cooking:

A baking pumpkin
A knife and cutting board
A jelly roll pan
Aluminum foil
A food processor

That’s it! Well, you’re also going to need an oven, but I’m hoping you’ve already got one of those on hand 😉

How to Make It

The first step in making the perfect homemade pumpkin purée is to cook your pumpkin. To make the process go a bit faster, you’ll go ahead and cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, and wrap each half in aluminum foil to really seal in some steam from the oven.

After just 30 minutes baking away (and a little bit of cooling time) your cooked pumpkin will be scooped into the food processor – sans skin – and puréed until smooth. I mean, could it be any simpler?? No oil, no butter, no liquid, no nothing. Just good ol’ pumpkin to make all your fall baking dreams come true.

An overhead shot of homemade pumpkin puree in a food processor.

How to Use Homemade Pumpkin Purée

Oh let me count the ways! There are so many great uses for homemade pumpkin purée. Here are just a few ideas:

In some super-simple muffins

In a twist on Shepherd’s Pie

In an adults-only latté

In a healthy smoothie

Or a cozy coffee cake

To add some extra sweetness to marinara sauce

Or in ooey-gooey cinnamon rolls.

Even in a spicy curry!

The possibilities are endless.

Get the easy recipe for homemade pumpkin purée below. For more pumpkin inspiration, be sure to check out my Fall Foodie Ideas board on Pinterest (so many delicious recipes I’m dying to try) or sign up for my weekly newsletter where I’ll be sending out all the fun fall content in the coming weeks!

Homemade Pumpkin Purée
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

Forget the canned stuff, learn how to make your own homemade pumpkin purée from scratch. It takes just one simple ingredient and less than an hour to make!

Course: Condiment, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baking, condiment, fall, homemade, pumpkin
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 12 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 baking pumpkin May also be called a Sugar Pie pumpkin
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Cut the pumpkin in half horizontally and scoop out all the seeds.

  3. Tear two pieces of aluminum foil that are each large enough to wrap around one half of the pumpkin. Wrap each pumpkin half, sealing the aluminum foil as much as possible.

  4. Place wrapped pumpkin halves on the jelly roll pan.

  5. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 30 minutes, or until you can easily squeeze the pumpkin halves with tongs. You want the pumpkin to be soft enough that you can scoop it out of the skin.

  6. Let pumpkin halves cool for at least 10 minutes, or until they are cool enough to touch.

  7. Scoop the inside of the pumpkin into the food processor, discard the skin and foil.

  8. Turn the food processor on and process until smooth.

Recipe Notes

Purée can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Use as a substitute in any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin.