Butternut Squash and Arugula Pasta

Amanda's Plate butternut squash pasta

One of my favorite things about fall are all the different varieties of squash. Growing up, my family ran a small produce market and I absolutely loved when we got in the first pumpkins of the season. All those gourds, inspired this butternut squash and arugula pasta! 

My sister, Deana and I would help arrange the vibrant, orange squash on hay stacks. We would carefully place heirloom Indian corn in between the pumpkins and then stand back and admire our work. 

I created this butternut squash and arugula pasta recipe last year. It makes a filling and satisfying dinner.

How To Cut Your Squash

The most time consuming aspect is peeling, cubing and roasting the butternut squash which takes about 15 minutes. I learned a tip while watching The Chew. If you first prick the squash with a fork and place in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, it will help loosen the skin and the squash will roasted just a little bit faster.

butternut squash, how to cook butternut squash, how to peel butternut squash IMG_4099 IMG_4106 IMG_4108 

Butternut Squash and Arugula Pasta
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
A delicious pasta dish with beautiful, sweet, oven roasted butternut squash
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, cubed about 5 cups
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 pound spaghetti noodles
  • 6 cups fresh baby arugula
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup pine nuts (or almond slivers), toasted
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
For the butternut squash
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Toss cubed butternut squash with olive oil, kosher salt, pepper and fresh sage
  3. Spread onto a sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes, stirring once, until squash is tender and golden. Set aside
  4. Cook pasta until al dente. Reserve ¼ cup pasta water.
  5. In a large pan, heat olive oil and add in garlic and onions. Mix in the arugula until wilted and stir in the cooked spaghetti noodles. Add ¼ cup reserved pasta water.
  6. Add the butternut squash, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese
  7. Toss until all noodles are evenly coated
  8. Sprinkle on more Parmesan, if desired
  9. Place in serving dish and enjoy!

Butternut squash arugula pasta

Make this recipe? I’d love to see! Tag me using #CreateAmandasPlate @AmandasPlate.












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Game Day Bites

spinach artichoke dip, dip, spinach dip, football game food, game day bites, tailgating, seahawks

I grew up watching football, college and professional. Sundays, Monday’s and Thursday nights from September until the Superbowl in February, were spent watching football.
My mom a Dallas Cowboys fan. My dad a Detroit Lions fan. My sisters and I, didn’t have strong opinions until years later when Deana became an Indianapolis Colts fan, Mona a Lions fan and myself a Seahawks fan.

Yes, I was a fan of the Seahawks before I moved to Seattle, met Russel Wilson and they won the Superbowl!

It was in 2007 when the Superbowl was hosted in Detroit, when I really became a Seahawks fan. I bought an oversized Seahawks sweat shirt and wore it in Downtown Detroit where the Steelers fans growled and booed at me!

Fast forward a few years and I was living in Seattle with my husband, Hussein. My sister Mona came to visit and we went to the mall and I casually said “Oh, hey!” to Russell Wilson as he walked past. My sister asked “who is that?”. “Russell Wilson” I responded. She quickly turned to follow him, grabbing my arm as she hurried towards him. She asked for a picture with him and to our delight he agreed! This was just a few weeks before the Seahawks Super Bowl win!

russell wilson with seattle fans, seahawks, 12th man

As I reflect on football and my family, I can’t help but think about all the amazing food we would snack on while watching the game! The Superbowl always had the most elaborate menu, as it usually falls on my birthday!

Game Day spread

Some of my favorite Game Day Bites include:

Turkey Burger Sliders

Eggplant and Jalapeno Toast

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Key Lime Cupcakes

And my spinach artichoke dip:

Spinach Artichoke Dip
Serves 6
A rich and creamy spinach artichoke
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
312 calories
7 g
90 g
29 g
8 g
16 g
121 g
586 g
3 g
0 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 312
Calories from Fat 253
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 29g
Saturated Fat 16g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 90mg
Sodium 586mg
Total Carbohydrates 7g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 3g
Protein 8g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 2 eight ounce packages of cream cheese
  2. 1 ten ounce frozen package of shredded spinach, defrosted
  3. 1 cup artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  4. 2 tablespoons sour cream
  5. 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese + more for topping, if desired
  6. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  7. 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  8. 1/4 teaspoon ground Cayenne, optional
  9. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  10. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit
  2. Strain spinach and squeeze out all water
  3. In a medium size bowl, combine all ingredients until well incorporated
  4. Spread mixture into an oven safe dish and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown
  5. Top with additional Parmesan cheese and brown the top under the broiler for 2 minutes
  6. Serve with slices of baguette or your favorite chips!
  7. Enjoy 🙂
Amanda's Plate http://amandasplate.com/
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Homemade Candy Corn Marshmallows

homemade marshmallows, marshmallows

I’ve never known how much I loved homemade marshmallows until I made homemade marshmallows.

There’s really never been a reason to make them from scratch, but I looked up a recipe from Ina Garten on FoodNetwork.com and had everything I needed to make them in my pantry.

To be honest, it was National S’mores Day and I wanted to impress my husband, Hussein. I knew making marshmallows from scratch would do just that 😀

And to my surprise, it was so easy! I was blown away. It was like the first time I baked a cake with my mom; completely magical.

I decided that I did not want to share the basic marshmallow recipe because there are already thousands on the web.

I had been thinking about layering different colored marshmallow fluff and to my delight it worked! I decided on candy corn as it is fitting for the crisp, colorful, festive, fall season. And thus, my homemade candy corn marshmallows were born!

I made three layers and used the colors to mimic candy corn. Orange, yellow and white. But feel free to use any colors you like! Or just keep them white 😀
I cut them into triangles so they became even more like candy corn and substituted some of the corn syrup for honey!

homemade marshmallows, candy corn dessert, halloween dessert, easy dessert But they also look cute when cute into squares. I would use a ruler to help ensure they are equal in size! I made them in a 9×13 inch pan, but an 8×8 would probably work better, as it will be easier to cut even sized marshmallows 🙂 You do need a candy thermomater but there are plenty of reasonably priced ones on the market! 🙂


Homemade Candy Corn Marshmallows
Yields 40
Fluffy, colorful, easy to make marshmallows!
Write a review
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
2 hr
69 calories
18 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
30 g
19 g
14 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 69
Calories from Fat 0
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 19mg
Total Carbohydrates 18g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 14g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 3 tablespoons gelatin
  2. 1 1/2 cups sugar
  3. 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  4. 1/4 cup honey
  5. 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  6. 1 tablespoon good quality vanilla
  7. 1 cup cold water, divided
  8. 1 cup powdered sugar
  9. orange and yellow food coloring
  10. sprinkles, optional
  1. Place gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment; this allows the gelatin to bloom.
  2. In a heavy bottom sauce pan, mix together sugar, salt, corn syrup, honey and 1/2 cup water.
  3. Stir the mixture and heat to a temperature of 240 degrees.
  4. Begin whisking gelatin and slowly stream in sugar mixture.
  5. Add in vanilla extract
  6. Continue whisking until light and fluffy; about 15 minutes.
  7. Once the mixture resembles marshmallow fluff, divide into 3 equal portions.
  8. Add food coloring and whisking until color is evenly distributed. Repeat with remaining colors.
  9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dust it with powdered sugar.
  10. Evenly spread your first color of marshmallow. Allow it to set for 10 minutes.
  11. Layer on the next color and repeat until all three colors are layered.
  12. Allow to set for a minimum of an hour.
  13. Remove from pan and cut into desired shape.
  14. Dust with more powdered sugar and sprinkles, if desired.
  15. Enjoy!
Amanda's Plate http://amandasplate.com/


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International Food Blogger Conference Overview

IFBC, International Food Blogger Conference

Sadly, the International Food Blogger Conference has come to an end. It was an exciting, and energizing weekend of food, friends, photography and technology. I enjoyed some aspects far more than others and I’m feeling most excited about the new blogger friends I’ve made.

The highlight of day two was hearing and meeting Kim Severson. She is incredible talented (she’s received several awards for her writing), absolutely hilarious and completely relatable.

Kim Severson, Amanda Saab, International Food Bloggers Conference Key Note

After Kim’s fun talk, I attended the Krusteaz Cookie Swap session! You can’t really go wrong with crafts and cookies, can you?

I met a great group of fellow food bloggers, made some cute vessels for sharing cookies in a fun way and got to taste a variety of Krusteaz cookies!

IFBC, International Food Blogger Conference

I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical that a cookie mix would taste like a bakery quality cookie but these did. My favorite was the butter cookie.. I had two.

IFBC Krusteaz cookies

Day three was short and the most exciting part was hearing the incredible Christopher Testani.

You’ve probably seen his work on the covers of Bon Appetit, Martha Stewart Living, GQ, Women’s Health and more.

Christopher showed a slide show of his work and I was in complete awe. From the markets of Peru, to a studio in New York, every photo told its own story; the food is always the star.

At the closing of the conference, it was announced that next years conference will be held in Sacramento, CA at the end of July. I am not sure if I will be able to make it, but encourage those who can to take advantage of such a great conference!





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MasterChef Season 6 Finale

Wow! I cannot believe this season is over! It has been an incredible summer of watching the best cooking competition on TV!

Before I continue, if you have not watched the finale, please stop here! Go watch the finale and come back and read this 🙂


The finale was incredible. The top 20 of us were brought back to watch Derrick and Claudia battle it out for the title of Masterchef, the trophy, $250,000 and their very own cook book!

Claudia and Derrick are both incredible home cooks turned chefs! They have very different culinary points of view, both bring their own flare and style!

The battle began with the appetizer round. Claudia created a beautiful, truly elevated tamale and Derrick a pork belly with watermelon three ways. From my view point (on the balcony and later my couch), both dishes were elegant, beautifully plated and something I could imagine seeing come out of a restaurant kitchen.

Their creativity, flare, refinement, technique and personalities continued to the entree course! I remember being completely blown away by Derricks puff pastry cage!

Dessert is where things got most interesting. Claudia made a beautiful hibiscus poached pear that was the most beautiful shade of red! She then initialed the plate! 😀

Derricks matcha cake gave him some trouble and I remember thinking “that’s it, there’s no way he can do it” and he did!

After a neck to neck battle, Claudia brought home the win. I couldn’t be more happy for her, her daughter and her family. I know what this win means for her and what a difference it will make in her and her daughters life.

Masterchef contestants, amanda and clauda, Claudia winner of Masterchef

Claudia won the title, but she is not the only winner. Each and every contestant is a winner. Derrick,  Stephen, Nick, KatrinaHetal, TommyOliviaShelly, ChristopherSara, Kerry, Charlie, Jesse, Veronica, Ailsa, Dan, JustinDarah, BrianaMateo and every one else who battled for an apron, who made it to the top 100, and who auditioned; you took a risk, put yourself in unfamiliar territory, followed your passion and tried something new.. for that you win!

Life is about taking chances, making sacrifices and embracing every part of the journey on your way to fulfilling your dreams! I truly believe that with God, patience and a strong support system, you can do ANYTHING!

So go do it! 😀



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Lebanese Lentil Soup

There is nothing that offers more comfort in the fall than a hearty, hot cup of soup!

My favorite is my mom’s Lebanese Lentil Soup. A delicious blend of lentils, vegetables and spices, that simmer together perfectly to create a beautiful, yellow soup. 

This is a highly requested recipe, so I hope you enjoy it! Be sure to tag me in your posts @amandasplate or use #CreateAmandasPlate 🙂


amandas plate lentil soup recipe

I keep this soup recipe vegetarian, but you can use chicken stock. Just be sure to taste and season, as the chicken stock salt content will vary.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Lebanese Lentil Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • ¾ cup finely shredded carrots
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • 1-2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1½ cups red lentils (they look orange :D)
  • 3 tablespoons short grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper (black pepper works well too)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 cups low sodium vegetable stock (or water; taste and adjust seasoning)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice + more for serving
  1. Rinse lentils and rice under cold water until water runs clear.
  2. Place lentils and rice in a stock pot with 2 cups of the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and place the lid on the pot.
  3. In a skillet, heat extra virgin olive oil and saute onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Add in the cumin, turmeric, white pepper and salt. (Heating the spices draws out more of the flavor!)
  4. Add the vegetables and spices to the pot of lentils.
  5. Once vegetable stock has been absorbed, add the remaining 6 cups and continue to simmer for 35-40 minutes, or until lentils are tender.
  6. Squeeze in fresh lemon juice.
  7. Taste and season if needed.
  8. Enjoy 🙂

Lebanese Lentil Soup, lentil soup, fall soup, vegetarian lentil soup

Some prefer the texture to be smooth and will blend the soup. Others like to enjoy as is. Both are delicious! If you decide to blend, simply use your immersion blender or food processor. 


Make this recipe? I’d love to see! Please tag me using #CreateAmandasPlate or @AmandasPlate








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International Food Blogger Conference

Internationl Food Bloggers Conference

I am so excited for my very first International Food Blogger Conference

As a fairly new blogger, I am always looking for ways to improve my blog, connect with other food bloggers and learn more about the industry. I was on Twitter when I came across a tweet about an International Food Blogger Conference.

Before I even opened the link, I was thinking it would be held in LA or NY (because that’s where a ton of cool conferences are held). To my surprise and delight, I learned it would be held in SEATTLE! Wohoo!

I immediately registered and connected with the IFBC Facebook Page. I had some many questions and the group has been able to answer them all!


I have heard so many amazing things about this conference that is dedicated tor food bloggers! Some advice that I have received from IFBC veterans are as follows:

  • Wear comfortable clothes

*Yes, I love casual conferences!

  • Sign up for an excursion

*I signed up for the Chef’n excursion!

  • Bring space for all the swag you will receive

*Wait! Aside from learning from the best in the industry, networking and connecting with other food bloggers, we get more kitchen/food goodies?

  • Be prepared to be exhausted!

*Luckily the IFBC is held in Seattle, where we have the BEST coffee.. I plan to caffeinate so I do not miss a beat!


Will you be attending the conference? What are you most excited about?

For me, I am most excited about connecting with like minded people who “get it” and learning how to improve my blog, to make this an even better place for us to share 🙂




DISCLAIMER: I attended the conference at a discounted rate in exchange for 3 blog posts about the conference. All opinions are my own.

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Homemade Fruit Roll Ups

fruit roll ups, fruit leather, healthy snack

With all the kids returning to school, it is time to begin thinking about their lunches! These homemade fruit roll ups are the perfect lunch box treat! By making them at home, you are controlling the sugar content and can ensure they have no chemicals or preservatives 😀

These take a while to make, but almost all the time is inactive; its 5 hours in the oven. know that is a lot of time. Make a large batch on a weekend and you’ll be good to go!

I was really surprised by how much my husband and I enjoyed these! A truly guilt free treat and they are just as fun for adults as they are for kids 😀

I decided to make peach raspberry fruit roll ups, but you can use any fruit you have on hand (nectarines, strawberries, blueberries, plums, apples, pears, mango, pineapple ect). Get creative with the flavor combinations! The possibilities are endless 🙂

I added turbinado sugar to my puree, but if your fruit is sweet enough, you can use less or omit the sugar entirely!


Here is my recipe:



2 1/2 cups ripe peaches, quartered

1 cup ripe raspberries

1/4 cup turbinado sugar



  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Puree fruit in food processor until smooth. Add in sugar and blend well. *You may wish to strain the mixture to remove the raspberry seeds, but I kept them in for texture 🙂puree
  3. Spread puree evenly on a silpat lined baking sheet. spread evenly
  4. Place in oven for 5 hours or until no longer tacky.
  5. Allow to cool. Using kitchen sheers, cut into long strips. *You may choose to roll in parchment.
  6. Enjoy 🙂

fruit leather yummy fruit roll ups

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Mini Turkey Burgers and Blue Cheese Sauce

turkey burgers, easy turkey burgers, blue cheese sauce

I love burgers.

How could one resist a juicy, flavorful, messy, cheesy, greasy burger?

My husband requested a lean burger and I decided on turkey. I added onions and bell pepper to the patties for added flavor and crunch and it worked beautifully.

I decided on a blue cheese sauce, after I had some fun at the cheese counter at Whole Foods. The sauce can be used on just about anything and is a perfect blend of flavors!

I made these indoors, in a skillet, so don’t worry about grilling 🙂 I picked up some delicious brioche slider buns at Macrina Bakery.

BunsYou can use any burger buns you like 🙂 I decided to make slider sized burgers but feel free to make regular size!

Also; you should be warned… the blue cheese sauce is ah-mazing!



1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/6 teaspoon ground Cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
–Blue Cheese sauce
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch of Cayenne pepper (optional)
Tomatoes, sliced
your favorite burger buns



Blue Cheese Sauce
In a medium size bowl, mix together blue cheese, buttermilk, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic powder, kosher salt, Cayenne, and black pepper.

blue cheese sauce
Allow to sit in the refrigerator while you make the burgers. This allows the flavors to blend.
In a large bowl, mix together ground turkey, bread crumbs, diced bell pepper, onion, garlic powder, Cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt.

burger mix
Form into 6 or 12 patties. For slider size, use 1/4 cup mixture. For regular size use 1/2 cup mixture per patty.

burger patties
In a skillet, heat olive oil. Place patties into the oil and allow to cook until golden brown on each side; about 3 minutes a side.

Toast your favorite buns and add your favorite veggies. I choose butter lettuce and heirloom tomatoes.
Spread blue cheese sauce onto burger buns
Enjoy 🙂

burgers with blue cheese sauce

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Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

I love a good cookie. Chocolate chip, Reese’s Smores Cookies, white chocolate macadamia nut, sugar cookies, Birthday Cake Cookies, Snikerdoodle, double chocolate chunk, Mint Chocolate Chip; the list is never ending.

But one of my new favorites is this; my Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies.

I found the peanut butter M&M’s and knew immediately that I needed to make a new cookie. It was feeling like fall (way too early in my opinion, but I can’t argue with mother nature), so I decided on a peanut butter cookie.

But peanut butter cookies are basic. Yes, I said it.

So, I decided to add some oats! Because texture, flavor, health. 😉

I was so pleasantly surprised by the outcome! A soft, chewy cookie and an added crunch and burst of peanut butter with the M&Ms. YUM!


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To start you want to cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

creamed sugar and butter

Add in the eggs, one at a time. Mixing really well in between each addition.

Next, mix in the vanilla extract and peanut butter.

peanut butter added to wet ingredients Add in the dry ingredients: oats, flour, salt and baking soda. Mix well.

add dry ingredients

Stir in the M&Ms.

peanut butter M&Ms

Use a small ice cream scoop to drop cookie dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. You may want to press some M&Ms into the tops of the cookies.

cookie doughBake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown!

Enjoy 🙂




1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup quick oats
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 (11.4 ounce) bag of peanut butter M&Ms



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, use a mixer to cream together butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. This will take a few minutes.
Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing well in between each addition.
Mix in vanilla extract and peanut butter.
Add oats, flour, baking soda and salt to wet ingredients and mix until combined.
Stir in M&Ms. You may wish to reserve some of the M&Ms to top the cookies with.
Scoop cookie dough onto baking sheet, leaving space in between each cookie.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
Allow to cool
Enjoy 🙂


Oatmeal peanut butter cookies

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