February 25, 2018

Sausage & Mushroom Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Sage Béchamel

sausage pumpkin shells

Whoo, that’s a long title!  And I’ll be honest – this does take a bit of time to prepare.  But if you have an extra hour on a Sunday night and want to make a delicious dinner with generous portions that you can eat the whole week through and not stop loving – try these Sausage and Mushroom Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Sage Béchamel.

I was going to post my take on this recipe, since I made a few changes for my family, but I didn’t take careful note of my measurements. Food blogger fail!  So I’m just giving you the recipe I found at A Beautiful Bite.  I do want to note that I switched out cottage cheese for ricotta in this recipe, and it worked great.  Just buzz it in the food processor for a few seconds and it’s indistinguishable from the pricier ricotta.  Also, I ran out of sage and I had to garnish with parsley.  In any case, this recipe was a big hit, and it reheats well, so we’ll be seeing this again in our house.

 Sausage and Mushroom Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Sage Béchamel

(Recipe Courtesy of A Beautiful Bite)


  • 1 pound pasta shells, cooked al dente
  • 32-ounce ricotta cheese (or use cottage cheese)
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 1 pound Italian sausage (I used sage breakfast sausage)
  • 2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated for topping (I skipped this)


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  2. Cook shells according to directions on box.  Drain and let cool.
  3. While shells are cooking, brown sausage in a large skillet.  Remove from skillet and place meat on a paper towel to drain.  Reserve 1 tablespoon of the fat to cook the onions in.
  4. Cook onions in fat over medium heat until translucent.  Add garlic and cook for just a minute.  Add mushrooms and sage and cook for another four to five minutes.  Remove from heat and add cooked sausage.   Allow to cool for several minutes.
  5. Stuff shells with ricotta mixture, then top with sausage mixture.  Place shells in a 9×13 baking dish.  Set aside while you prepare béchamel sauce.
  6. In a large heavy pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add flour and cook, stirring, for several minutes.  Add milk, pumpkin, yogurt, Parmesan, and ricotta.  Cook for a few minutes to thicken.  Add sage, salt and pepper.
  7. Pour béchamel over shells.  Top with extra grated Parmesan.  Bake at 350*F for forty minutes.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana

To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Korean-Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Korean Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
Happy Halloween, everyone!  While it’s not my favorite holiday, I like watching my kids get into it.  When we drive down the street, my little one likes to shout out the neighborhood decorations:  “Mommy, I just saw a skeleton!!!”  “Oh no,” I cower, “I’m scaaaaared!”  “Don’t worry Mommy, it’s just pretend!”  And they really love seeing jack-o-lanterns.

Thank you, Rose the Jack-o-Lantern, for your tasty guts!

My Mom always toasted the pumpkin seeds for us when we were kids, and I loved them so much!  I found a recipe at My Retro Kitchen, which, I think, is the way my Mom made them.  Unfortunately, I was all out of Worcestershire sauce!  Frugal Girlmet to the rescue – I decided to keep the technique and use a different flavor.  Innovate, experiment – voila!  Korean Spiced Pumpkin Seeds!

These have everything you want in a snack – crunchy, salty, spicy (but not TOO spicy – unless that’s how you roll, in which case, double the dried chili pepper powder!) and just a bit sweet.  These would be a great bar snack (in the name of science, I had to test my hypothesis, and these are fantastic with a cold beer!)

Korean Spiced Pumpkin Seeds


  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups raw pumpkin seeds, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic (not to be confused with garlic salt!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Korean chili powder (or use Cayenne or sriracha)
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. In a large bowl, mix everything but the pumpkin seeds.  Make sure you have no lumps of garlic or sugar.  Stir in the pumpkin seeds, then scrape it all out onto the baking sheet.  Spread the seeds out on the sheet so they can cook evenly.
  3. Cook for one hour, stirring every ten minutes.  They get a little sticky, so use a silicon spatula.  After an hour, remove from the oven and let cool for about an hour.  Don’t worry, they’re not sticky anymore.  Remove to a bowl and get snacking!

Pumpkin Chia Pudding

Pumpkin Chia Pudding resize

It seems like when we turn the calendar page to October, we all mysteriously start craving PUMPKIN!   I am not immune.   However, I didn’t want to make a big sugar bomb, so I searched around for something to satisfy the pumpkin craving and not spike my insulin.  Bingo:  Pumpkin Chia Pudding!

If you’ve never made chia pudding, now’s your chance.  I love it – the texture is a crazy blend of creamy and crunchy—like tapioca with attitude!  I make it with coconut milk, but you can try another nut milk or soy milk if that’s your thing.  This was ready to eat in an hour, and tastes just like pumpkin pie.  What more can you ask for?!

Pumpkin Chia Pudding


  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 can pumpkin puree (about 1 cup, or use one cup of roasted and mashed pumpkin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or combine cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds


  1. In a blender or food processor, blend the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and honey together.
  2. Pour into a Tupperware container with a tight-fitting lid, or a very large jar with a lid.  Add the chia seeds and Shake!  Shake!  Shake!
  3. Refrigerate.  After another hour, shake again!  If it’s cold, go ahead and eat it!  Garnish with a little whipped cream if you like.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana

To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Chili in a Pumpkin

Here on our Monday installment of At Home w/ GCH, we have been featuring recipes which include Fall in-season fruits and veggies.  This week’s recipe is baked in a pumpkin…I’m thinking that you can’t get much more autumnal than a pumpkin!  This is super easy…and makes for a fabulous presentation.  You can use one pumpkin and serve all of your happy eaters a ‘slice’ of pumpkin.  Or (which I am going to do for our Thanksgiving feast) you could purchase those adorable little ‘Jack Be Little’ pumpkins and serve one per customer!  I wouldn’t suggest too large a pumpkin though; they can be very stringy…not appetizing at all!  Optimally, use a pumpkin that is called ‘pie’ pumpkin; these are approximately 1-3 pounds and are of a size that can easily be held in the palm of your hand. Check out these incredible nutritional facts, too.  Alternately, you could make a Vegetarian Chili to serve in your pumpkin; here is a recipe that you might check out.  Or, of course, your family’s favorite chili recipe!  <3

Chili in a Pumpkin

2013-10-24 20.24.55

1 2#-3# “pie” pumpkin 
1# ground beef
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-sized sweet onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
4-5 ounces Baby Bella mushrooms, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped garlic (I use jarred)
1-28ounce can crushed tomatoes
1-15 ounce can dark red kidney beans, rinsed
1-15 ounce can black beans, rinsed
1 package taco seasoning (or try this)
1-2 cups frozen corn, defrosted
Optional toppings: sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped avocado, salsa



  • Preheat the oven to 375.
  • Carefully slice the “cap” off of the pumpkin. Discard the cap. Clean the seeds thoroughly out.
  • Lightly oil the inside of the pumpkin, and season well with salt&pepper.
  • Place the pumpkin into a baking pan, and bake for 40-45 minutes (depending on the size of your pumpkin, it will be less or more time).  Remove from oven when a sharp knife inserted into the flesh (inside) of the pumpkin is tender but not mushy.


  • While the pumpkin is baking, saute the ground beef ‘til all the pink is cooked out.  Drain away the excess liquid and set the cooked meat aside.
  • In the same pan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil to heat over medium heat; add the chopped onion and mushrooms.  Saute for 5-6 minutes.
  • Add in the chopped bell pepper; stir well.  Saute the veggies for approximately 6-7 minutes ‘til just beginning to get slightly brown.
  • Lower heat and add chopped garlic.  Stir constantly for 1 additional minute.
  • Increase heat to medium-high, pour in the chopped tomatoes and the taco seasoning mix.  Stir.
  • Finally add back the cooked meat as well as the beans; stir well ‘til all is combined.
  • Bring just to a boil; and lower heat so the mixture is gently simmering.
  • Simmer away until the pumpkin is ready.


  • When the pumpkin is tender, remove from oven.
  • Stir the corn into the meat-veggie-bean mixture, and then pour this mixture into the pumpkin.
  • Return to oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes.  (Again, this will depend on the size of your pumpkin.)
  • Remove from oven; slice into serving size pieces.
  • Serve with your choice of toppings.  Enjoy!

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer




Since the website is called Girlfriend’s Coffee Hour, I think we should have a post actually about coffee!  One of the hardest things I’ve ever done for my health was changing how I took my morning coffee.  I was a teaspoon of white sugar plus half and half kind of girl.  I was also a big fan of Coffeemate creamer – you know, Irish Cream, French Vanilla, Hazelnut – the good stuff. Unfortunately, white sugar first thing in the morning creates a huge insulin spike, setting you up for inflammation, sugar cravings, energy crashes – the list goes on.  And I dare you to pick up a bottle of flavored coffee creamer at the store and tell me what half of those ingredients are. Chemical city!  So I decided to surf the web and find something to jazz up my coffee (because a splash of almond milk just isn’t making magic in my cup.)  After some experimentation, I present to you:  Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer!

This recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free, and processed sugar-free.  I used maple syrup for a little sweetness, but you can use honey or stevia if you prefer.  This recipe calls for an egg.  Try to find organic, best-quality eggs – hopefully you can find a farmer’s market that carries local eggs, because that really lowers any salmonella risk.  If it freaks you out, you can skip the egg, but it really does add body and substance to the creamer.  I keep this in a mason jar in my fridge.  I go through it in about a week and that seems to work well.  It may get solid, and that’s fine – just scoop out a ball of creamer with a tablespoon and it will melt immediately in your coffee.  If you want to make a fall treat for the kids, heat up some milk in a pan on the stove, stir in a quarter cup of the Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer, and garnish with whipped cream and a little extra cinnamon!

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

(makes about 16 ounces)


  • 1 can (13.5 ounces) full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or try half vanilla and half almond extract!)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional, but I like it!)


  1. Add all ingredients to the blender and mix for 30 seconds.  That’s it!  Pour into a jar with a lid and store in the fridge for up to one week.




How to Make Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Almost every year, when we carve a pumpkin for Halloween, we make a tasty snack out of the seeds. My oldest son, Tristan, loves to help make these. He thinks they are delicious, too.

 roasted pumpkin seeds

Items Needed:

  • Pumpkin/Seeds
  • Carving Knife
  • 11 x 13 Baking Pan
  • ½ stick of butter
  • Salt


  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Put the butter in the pan, place in oven and let it melt. Remove when melted.
  • Carve your pumpkin by cutting a circle around the top of the stem. Remove.
  • Pull out the insides of the pumpkin, making sure you remove all the seeds.
  • If you wish, carve out a design or face on your pumpkin and use it for an outdoor decoration. I always like to put a tealight candle in mine and set it by my front door.
  • Take the seeds and remove the excess guts, the orange slimy insides, from the seeds.
  • Put the seeds in the baking dish, making sure you coat each one with butter by stirring. Its best to just have one layer of seeds.
  • Salt the seeds.
  • Bake in the oven about 30 – 45 minutes.
  • If you like your seeds extra crispy, you can turn on the broiler, and toast the seeds for about 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Remove from oven.
  • Let cool.
  • Enjoy!

This is an easy healthy snack that you can make at home that has become one of our family traditions. I hope you give it a try.

Have Fun!


GCH: What’s on Your Plate? – Pumpkin Bread

Today I thought I’d share my Grandma Jessee’s recipe for Pumpkin Bread.  My grandma was born in 1902 and died in 1994, which made her 92 years old.  She was the sweetest, God-fearing woman you’d ever want to meet.  For most of my childhood, she lived right next door to us so I’d go over there and hang out with her and help her cook, or watch her “stories” with her.  She always made this recipe around Thanksgiving, so whenever I think of fall recipes, this is my default.  I’ve made a couple of changes to her original recipe to modernize it, such as the Pam Baking Spray and using Self-Rising flour, but the taste is identical.

My Grandma Jessee

Now if you’re like me and have picky eaters in your house or family members with nut allergies, you can choose to omit the raisins and/or pecans.  I made several loafs yesterday – one with raisins and pecans, one with raisins only, one with pecans only, and one without either raisins or pecans.  It’s delicious either way!  I hope you and your family will enjoy this recipe!  Please leave a comment if you make it and let me know how it turned out for you!

PS – a tip for you about eggs… my mother always taught me to crack my eggs into a separate bowl instead of into the bowl with the other ingredients.  This is for two reasons – if you get any shell in there, you can pick it out and also, if you happened to get a bad egg, you won’t ruin your entire mixture by cracking it directly into the bowl! 🙂

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread


3 cups sugar

2 cups pumpkin

4 eggs

1 tsp nutmeg

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

1 cup oil

2/3 cup water

3 1/3 cup self-rising flour

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped pecans


You’ll also need:

Very large bowl

Pam Baking spray

Measuring Cups

Measuring Spoons


2 – 9x5x3 loaf pans




Combine all ingredients except raisins and nuts, mix well.  Then fold in raisins and nuts.  Spray 2 – 9x5x3 loaf pans with baking spray.  Divide batter and pour into each pan.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour.



You can visit Shauna at her personal blog for more recipes, crafting, and other fun stuff!  http://www.workhomeplay.net