Squash, Pancetta, and Kale Stuffed Rolls

Notes to self:

1.  When you have hard a day eat grilled cheese and hang out with your bf and an old friend.  Laughter and full tummies are inevitable.

2.  Annie’s bunnies are dangerous.  Just because the box says “made with organic wheat” does not mean that they are calorie free.  Drop that second handful and let those bunnies live another day.

3.  Your Iphone is not essential for living.  You don’t have to check it every five minutes and its okay to just to sit (sometimes awkwardly) at a table by yourself without reaching for your phone.  No one posted a new picture on instagram.

4.  Remember this… “Gospel-humility is not needing to think about myself … true gospel-humility means I stop connecting every experience, every conversation with myself.  In fact, I stop thinking about myself.  The freedom of self-forgetfulness. … The truly gospel-humble person is a self-forgetful person whose ego is just like his or her toes.  It just works.  It does not draw attention to itself.”  (The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller)

5.  When you are questioning what you are doing in life, job, relationships, etc. keep asking questions and keep seeking answers.

6. Stuffing delicious things inside of another delicious thing is always a good idea.

 Lets begin with something that makes everything better… carbs.

The roll part of this recipe is super simple.  Flour and salt make a small “well” in which the water, yeast, and sugar to mingle in.   Oil is added just before the ingredients are combined together.

  This is the dough after about 7 minutes of kneading.  It comes together nicely, although it will be a bit sticky.. thats normal though!  The dough gets placed in a well oiled bowl and covered with plastic wrap.  It sits for about an hour so that it can double in size.
 Acorn squash was cut in half, de-seeded, and roasted with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.  After is comes out of the oven use a spoon to scoop out the filling.

Let if cool first.  Or if your impatient you can burn your fingers like I did.
Other filling ingredients are onion, garlic, pancetta, kale, and ricotta cheese.

Its a good balance of good for your guts and good for your (taste) buds.    This all started with the pancetta.  Pancetta is basically the Italian form of bacon.  Its not as smoky as bacon so if you like that smoky get your bacon on.

The rest of the ingredients are sauteed in the pancetta grease.  Recycling at it finest.

 Here is the dough post.

I hadn’t made bread in a while so I forgot the dreamy, silky texture of risen dough… so fantastic

I bet this is what Jesus’ skin felt like after he came out of the tomb… you know, bread of life and all.
  This is the semi-tricky part.  A dollop of filling goes onto eat square of dough.  Then you take opposite corners of the dough and pinch them together, making sure there are no holes in the dough.

Pro-tip:  To get the rolls round, make a C around the ball of dough while its sitting on the counter.  Make a circular motion with your hand, while spinning the roll within that C shape part of your hand.  This should help make the roll round and seal seams in the bottom.
Each roll takes its place in line all bunched up next to the other.  Egg wash is a must if you want that deep golden brown color after the rolls are baked.

Just whisk an egg with a fork and use a pastry brush, or even your fingers, to paint the top of the rolls with a coat of egg wash.

Next, these beauties are baked and eaten.  An unsuspecting dinner roll surprises the unknowing when they bite into bread and find nutty acorn squash, salty pancetta, savory onion, flecks of green kale.

My boyfriend intended to eat 1 then had 3 and finished with 5… I’ll take that as a good sign.

Squash, Pancetta, and Kale Stuffed Rolls

Inspired by Baker and Spice Bakery; dough recipe from Girl versus Dough



  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water (~115 degrees F)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil


  • 1 acorn squash, cut in half and deseeded
  • 4 oz pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion
  • 11/2 cups dino kale, chopped or torn into small pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Dash of thyme and rosemary


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a silpat silicone liner.
  2. Brush both halves of the acorn squash with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for about 30 minutes, until squash is tender when poked with a fork.  Let cool for about 10 minutes.  Use a spoon to remove the meat of the squash from the skin.  Cut squash meat into small cubes and set aside.
  3. Dough:  In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.  Pour water, yeast, and sugar into the flour well.  Let stand until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes.  Add olive oil and mix until just combined.
  4. On a lightly floured surface knead dough, adding flour when necessary, until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  Alternatively, place dough into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  5. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and coat with a bit of olive oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm room for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
  6. Meanwhile make the filling:  Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add pancetta and cook until just starting to brown.  Add onion and continue to cook until onion is translucent.  Add kale and garlic and cook until kale has wilted down.  Add cubed squash and stir to combine ingredients.  Using the back of a fork, smash some of the squash while leaving other pieces whole.  Stir in the ricotta until combined.  Add thyme and rosemary.  Salt and pepper filling to taste.
  7. Prepare a baking 9×13 in baking dish by lightly greasing it.  When dough has doubled in size, punch down, remove from bowl and roll out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12×15 inches.
  8. Cut the rectangle of dough into 15 squares.  Spoon filling onto the center of each square.  Make sure to use up all the filling.  Lift up the four corners of the dough and pinch to seal.  Seal any remaining openings.  Place roll seam side down in prepared baking dish.  Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
  9. Brush rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake rolls until they are a deep golden brown about 15-20 minutes.  Remove rolls from oven and let cool slightly.  Serve warm.

Italian Herb Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese

The holidays may seem long gone but winter is still here for a while.  While the sun’s been making a special appearance today, clouds and rain have mostly been gracing the skies here in Portland.

Once the 3rd or 4th day of clouds rolls around I am really ready to snuggle up in a blanket, watch a movie, and sip on something warm.  Coffee will always be my warm beverage of choice, but for health sake I try to limit my consumption…  I guess too much caffeine isn’t good for you or something.  Daaang it.

Too many veggies is never bad for you though.  Ever. I don’t think.

Too much of this tomato soup is definitely not possible.  Not with roasted garlic, onion, celery, bell pepper, sweet potatoes, and tomato.

Healthy?  Yes.  Tasty?  Definitely.  Warm and satisfying on a winter day?  You betcha!

The onion, celery, bell pepper, and sweet potatoes are sauteed in some olive oil then are combined with the tomatoes, vegetable stock, and an array of spices to simmer for a bit.  After simmering, the soup takes a trip to the blender to be pureed and then its back to the hot tub to let flavors meld a bit more.  Thats it!

Well, for the soup at least.

Now its time for cheese.  And bread.  Who doesn’t like that?

Actually, I have a confession.  I’m not a huge fan of most grilled cheese sandwiches (gasp!).  Its a texture thing.  Too much melted cheese and I just can’t handle it.  It gets all gummy and weird.  Gross.

I like a thin layer of cheese.  And I like when it melts out and gets crispy on the pan.  Thats my favorite part.  My other favorite part is the bread (the only other part).  Dave’s Killer Bread is amazing.  This loaf is whole wheat and loaded with seeds.  Great flavor and lots of texture.

I used a touch of olive oil on either side of the sandwich to get the bread nice and toasty.  You could use butter.  Whatever.  You choose!

Soup and sandwich combos are a perfect lunch or light dinner for those cold, rainy winter days.  Carve some time out for yourself this week.  Make a batch of soup (and a grilled cheese!).  Bury yourself under a blanket.   And enjoy the winter cold.

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Recipe from Jess White

Tomato Soup


  • 3-4 garlic cloves, roasted
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, for sautéing
  • 1 medium onion, chopped coarsely
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped (I used two small ribs)
  • 1 lb sweet potatoes (about 3 medium sized), peeled and cut into 1-in cubes
  • 2- 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 32 oz low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper

Roasted Garlic: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Separate a head of garlic into individual cloves, but don’t peel the cloves.  Cut the tip of each garlic clove off at the stem.  Put cloves in the center of a piece of aluminum foil.  Sprinkle with a little olive oil and place in the oven for about 7 minutes or until garlic is very soft.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Peel skin from garlic and set aside.

Tomato Soup: In a large stock pot, saute onion, celery, bell pepper, and sweet potatoes in olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Add roasted garlic and continue to saute for another 3-4 minutes.  Add tomatoes, vegetable stock, water, spices and salt and pepper to pot.  Stir together, bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer until sweet potatoes are tender.  Use an immersion blender if you have one,  or in batches use regular blender to puree the entire pot of soup.  Return pureed soup back to pot, taste and season as necessary. Continue to simmer for at least 15 minutes.  The longer the soup simmers, the better it will taste.  Serve hot or let cool completely, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze up to 2-3 months.  Makes about 3.5 quarts…lots of leftovers!

Grilled Cheese


  • 1-2 slices of bread
  • Cheese, however many slices you like and whatever kind taste buds love
  • Olive Oil, just a little bit

Cut your desired slices of cheese.  Place on bread.  Heat saute pan on medium-low heat. Brush one side of sandwich with olive oil and place in heated pan.  While the first side is cooking, brush other side of sandwich with oil.  Continue to cook on first side until cheese starts melting and bread is toasty and brown.  Flip sandwich and cook until other side is toasted.  Remove, cut in half, dip in soup.  Love it.