Pumpkin Mac & Cheese with Pepita Crust



  • 3 tablespoons butter 
  • 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour 
  • 2 cups of milk, room temperature 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard 
  • 1/4 ground black pepper 
  • 1/3 teaspoon of salt 
  • 8 oz box of elbow macaroni 
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz of canned pumpkin 
  • Pinch of nutmeg 
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper 
  • 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs 
  • 1/2 cup of shelled roasted + salted pepita's


  1. In a large pot, boil water and cook macaroni according to box directions. 
  2. Start by making a roux. In a medium sauce pan melt 2 tablespoons of butter and slowly add flour while constantly stirring. Then slowly add milk, while continuing to stir.  
  3. When milk, flour and butter begins to thicken add dry mustard, nutmeg, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. 
  4. Reduce heat to low, add cheddar cheese and pumpkin puree. Stir well. 
  5. Remove from heat. Mix in cooked and well drained macaroni pasta.
  6. Pour into a greased baking dish. 
  7. Melt one tablespoon of butter. Place pepita's in a ziplock bag, sealed tightly. Using a rolling pin, crush pepita's into fine pieces.
  8. In a small bowl, mix melted butter, pepitas and panko bread crumbs. 
  9. Sprinkle panko and pepita mixture evenly on top of mac and cheese. 
  10. Bake in a 350° oven for 25 minutes, covered. Uncover and bake an additional 5-7 mins and allow crumb topping to get slightly golden. 

serves 8





  • 1 cup of wild rice 
  • 1 loaf of french bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 6 cups)
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter 
  • 1 cup of onion, diced
  • 1 cup of celery, diced
  • 1 cup of apple, diced
  • 1 lb pork sausage 
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of parsley, finely chopped  
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme  
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries 
  • 1 cup of chicken/turkey stock
  • 1 egg, beaten 
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Cook wild rice according to package directions. Set aside. 
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Spread cubed breadcrumbs on parchment lined baking sheet. 
  4. Lightly toast for about 5 - 7 minutes (watch carefully). Remove from oven when lightly toasted.
  5. Brown pork sausage in a sautee pan until cooked through. Drain well on a plate with paper towels and to remove most of the grease.  
  6. Melt butter in a large sautéed pan, add celery, onion, apples- sautéed until tender about 5-7 minutes.
  7. Stir in fresh herbs seasoning and salt & pepper. 
  8. In a large bowl add rice, bread, celery mixture, sausage, cranberries, stock and egg. Mix together well.
  9. Pour into a greased 9 X 13 baking dish. Cover tightly with foil.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake and additional 10 minutes. 

serves 8



I carved out mini white pumpkins to use and serve individually to my guest. I thought it would be fun and they turned out perfectly. Bake the same as directed above. They are sure to get a kick out of these. I mean, who doesn't love a mini? Am I right.




I am pulling a recipe out of the Hutchinson family vault to share with you guys today.  My mother-in-law Sandi, has made this recipe for as long as I can remember.  It is one of Steve's absolute favorites, in fact it is even in the NFL wives cookbook, it's that good. Sandi calls these potatoes "funeral potatoes", but that felt a little depressing, but I guess appropriate based on the occasion. Whatever you want to call them, I can guarantee that they will become a regular on your family's holiday table.  Hope you all enjoy them as much as we do!



  • 32 oz bag Diced Hash Brown Potatoes, frozen
  • 12 oz carton/can Cream of Chicken condensed soup
  • 6 oz bag shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz bag Monterey Jack shredded cheese
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 single serve size (1.5 oz) Potato Chips, crushed


  1. In a medium sauté pan, cook down onions and butter until onions are translucent. Be careful not to brown the onions. 
  2. Meanwhile in a large bowl, mix together frozen hash browns,  both cheeses, sour cream and cream of chicken, stir well. 
  3. Add sautéed onions and butter and mix again. 
  4. Spread into a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  5. Sprinkle crush potato chips on top. 
  6. Bake in a 350° oven uncovered for 1 hour, or until bubbly. 

Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 8-10 depending on how many helpings. They'll be going back for seconds. 


scallions + sweet potato + baby red potatoes + portabella mushroom + lemon + baby carrots 

scallions + sweet potato + baby red potatoes + portabella mushroom + lemon + baby carrots 


So you've got the main course. But, the question still remains.....what shall I serve with it? Often times this may feel like the hardest part. It's not. It's simple really and healthy too. I started doing this many years ago and now there's really not a week that I don't. I love that it's so customizable and there's something on the pan for everyone. Even the those hard to feed kiddos. Yes, I have one of those. Allowing everyone to pick off the tray what they like. 

They require little effort and not much prep. Which for a weeknight dinner, that's a must. All you'll need is a large sheet pan + parchment paper and an oven. The rest will be up to you and a little inspiration from me. Here are a few questions before you plan your SPS. {sheet pan side} What's your favorite color? What's in season? What do you have leftover in the fridge? 


There are a million and one combinations you could throw together. It really is about what your family loves, what's on SALE, what you have left over in the fridge or what colors jump out at you in the produce section. Have fun with it! The only thing you need to add is a drizzle of olive oil, kosher salt + cracked pepper. And a little sprinkle of parmesan cheese if you like.  Roast 425° for 35 to 40 minutes. Turning them about the halfway point, making sure then are evenly golden brown. It's quite possibly the most delicious way to eat your veggies. Roasting brings out all the flavor, and is good for your waistline. 


brussel sprouts + acorn squash + onion + zucchini + yellow pepper 

brussel sprouts + acorn squash + onion + zucchini + yellow pepper 

red pepper + mushroom + purple onion + butternut squash 

red pepper + mushroom + purple onion + butternut squash 

fennel + purple onion + scallions + celery 

fennel + purple onion + scallions + celery 

kale + red pepper + purple onion + mushroom + butternut squash + mushroom + garlic 

kale + red pepper + purple onion + mushroom + butternut squash + mushroom + garlic 


  • 1 bottle of Badia Mojo Marinade
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 4 chicken legs
  • 1 small bag red potatoes
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 large sweet potato 
  • portabella mushroom slices
  • carrot slices 
  • scallions 


  1. In a ziploc bag, place chicken and pour marinade over top, seal and refridgerate for 2-6 hours.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 450° on ROAST setting.
  3. Cut vegetables and place in a single layer onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  4.  Add chicken to sheet pan, discard marinade. 
  5. Roast uncovered for 20 minutes.
  6. Reduce oven temp to 350° and continue cooking for another 15 minutes or until veggies are tender and chicken is cooked through. 

Serve with spinach pasta + rice or couscous. 


  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken tenderloins 
  • 3 carrots, peeled into ribbons or cut
  • 9 oz bag broccoli florets 
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter 
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup cashews 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp chili paste
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp sriracha sauce


  1. Preheat oven to Roast setting at 425°
  2. microwave peanut butter in a medium size bowl for 30 seconds or until melted down a bit. 
  3. Add ginger powder, browns sugar, sesame oil, chili paste, sriracha and coconut milk, stir well. Set aside and allow to cool.
  4. Place chicken tenderloins in a ziploc bag and add 1/2 of peanut sauce mixture.
  5. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for 1-4 hours. 
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  7. Use a vegetable peeler to make carrot ribbons or cut into 1/4 strips.
  8. Arrange veggies in a single layer. 
  9. Sprinkle cashews over veggies. 
  10. Add chicken to veggie filled sheet pan.
  11. Roast for 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked and veggies are tender. 

Serve with remaining sauce + a squeeze of lime. Delicious over brown rice or rice noodles. 



This is my grandmother's best friend, sweet Ms. Beverly B's recipe and my family has been enjoying it for over 50 years. It's so good, and it's no wonder it's stuck around this long. It has always been a staple in our home during the holidays and will continue to be. So, if you're looking for a new side, this should be it! And if you're still needing a few more ideas on what will pair well with your main dish, look no further. Sweet Corn Soufflé, Roasted Asparagus, Marscapone Mashed Potatoes, Spiced Cranberry Sauce and Savory Sausage Stuffing. All of these go well, whether it's prime rib or turkey again. 


  • 3 cups mashed sweet potato or 42 oz can yams, drained 
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla


  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 melted butter
  • 1/3 cup self rising flour


  1. Mix together first six ingredients.
  2. Pour into a medium baking dish.
  3. Mix together topping ingredients and spread evenly on top of sweet potato mixture.
  4. Bake at 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until topping begins to lightly brown.

*Can be made ahead and stored in the fridge overnight. Only leave off topping and store in an airtight container. Then add before baking. Adjust baking time by 10 minutes to account for being refrigerated. 



If you're a true Southerner, you'll know this dish at first sight. If not, get on board and find out what all the fuss is about. It's three delectable layers. One salty & sweet, the other creamy and smooth. Topped off with the perfect fruity finish. I know, you're looking at the ingredients and thinking, what on gods green earth? But trust the generations of women before you and make this! 



  •  8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 12 oz cool whip
  • 1 large box raspberry jell-o
  • 3 cups crushed pretzel pieces
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 2  10oz bags frozen raspberries
  • 2 cups boiling water


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. With a hand mixer, blend room temperature cream cheese with cool whip together. 
  3. Place pretzel pieces into a 9x13 baking dish and spread evenly in pan. 
  4. Melt butter and stir in sugar. Pour evenly over pretzels and bake for 10 minutes. 
  5. Remove from over and let cool completely. 
  6. Spread cream cheese + cool whip mixture over baked pretzels. Making sure to seal the edges of the pan very well. You don't want any of the jello seeping through to the pretzels. The goal is to keep them crunchy and the dish in three layers.
  7. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add jello packet and stir well. Add frozen raspberries and stir. 
  8. Carefully pour jello + raspberries over cream cheese mixture. 
  9. Place in the refrigerator and allow to chill for several hours. I usually let it go overnight.