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lifestyle + dining in

It's Fall Break at Wake Forest, and I have opted to stay in the Winston-Salem area for the glorified three day weekend (in reality, we just get Friday not really a break). Friday I drove to Charlotte to go to the Southpark Mall. Holy LORD y'all it was the best mall I've ever been to. You would think that Fairfield County and Westchester county had better malls! They pail in comparison to the one in Charlotte. I had the whole shopping trip mapped out and I was surprisingly successful everywhere I went! 

I then met two of my sorority sisters to get pedicures and then the real fun happened. We tried out being adults for the evening and cooked our own dinner! This was mostly because it would be fun...but there's also the fact that all food options on campus are closed until Sunday. Regardless, we chose a recipe via Pinterest and went to Trader Joe's to pick up the ingredients.

We started with an appetizer (#fancy) of bruschetta with mozzerella, heirloom grape tomatoes and balsamic glaze. Let's take a moment of appreciation for all of the foods previously listed. I could live on them alone. 

My friends and I decided to make butternut squash and goat cheese rigatoni. It took forever to make...we literally had to cut the butternut squash with a pizza cutter because we didn't have the right kind of knives and who knew that you had to roast butternut squash for like 40 minutes? Wow. 

Roasted Butternut Squash Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta (via Joyful Healthy Eats)

3-4 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4" cube
1 red onion, cut into ½" cubes
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
¾ cup of pecan pieces
1 lb of mezzi rigatoni {or penne pasta}
10 oz. of goat cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon of dry sage
5 strips of bacon, diced and cooked to crispy
salt & pepper to taste
¾ cup of reserved pasta water


1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Spread out butternut squash and red onion on a baking sheet. Season with olive oil, salt, pepper. Toss to coat and spread out on baking sheet so it is in a single layer.
3. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
4. In the meantime, heat a skillet to medium high heat. Add diced bacon and cook until crispy, stirring occasionally. {about 4-5 minutes}
5. Remove bacon from the pan and place on a plate lining with paper towel to soak up some of the grease.
6. Bring a large pot of water to boiling, add pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente {follow directions on the back of the box, usually 8-10 minutes}
7. Once pasta is done, reserve ¾ cup of the cooking water and set aside. Drain the rest of the water.
8. Add butternut squash, onions, pecans, bacon, goat cheese, cooking water, and sage to pasta pot. Toss to coat everything, season with salt & pepper to taste

Just a note. The picture above is what the pasta was supposed to look like. That's a literal joke. Have y'all seen the parodies of Pinterest crafts that look nothing like the original? Case and point.

Here is what we actually made. Fancy mac and cheese, basically. BUT, it did taste delicious and we were very happy with the end product!

Tomorrow we're going hiking and then to a fancy dinner downtown! Gotta live it up, even when staying in Winston.

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