Stuffed Acorn Squash

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I love acorn squash.

Absolutely love it.

When it starts to appear in the grocery store in late September, I become obsessed. All I want to do is buy it all, cook it, and dig in. And repeat.

While I love simple baked acorn squash, my friend DK actually gave me a recipe for STUFFED acorn squash a few years ago that took my favorite fall side and turned it into a meal. Needless to say I tried it the same night she gave it to me and have been in love with it ever since.

This dish is the perfect combination of fall flavors – squash, apple, and sausage. Basically, it is October in a meal.

It starts with two acorn squashes that have been washed thoroughly, dried, and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and set the halves cut-side up into a deep-sided baking dish (I used my roasting pan) lined with a silicon baking mat or with some parchment paper.

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I brushed the cut-sides of the squash with melted butter and seasoned it with salt and pepper. I popped the roasting pan into a 400 degree oven for about 1 hour until the squash is just tender.

While the squash is roasting in the oven, you have plenty of time to whip up the stuffing.

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In a large high-sided skillet set over medium-high heat, throw in one pound of sweet Italian sausage – I can only find sweet Italian sausage links at my grocery, so I just slit the casing and peel it off before tossing into the skillet. If you can find bulk Italian sausage though, grab that and use it!

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Cook the sausage until it’s all crumbled and brown. Drain the sausage in a colander to remove the excess grease and transfer them to a plate and drain any excess fat from the skillet.

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Place the skillet back on the heat, turn it down to medium, and add in about 2 teaspoons of olive oil, some finely diced onion, and finely diced celery.

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And I threw in a couple sprigs of fresh thyme – it adds a bit of herby freshness to all the rich fall flavors. I cooked the veggies for a couple minutes until they become tender and start to become golden.

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Then I threw in some finely chopped apple (that has been peeled first) – I used one gala apple and one granny smith, but any firm apple works here! Sauté the apples and veggies for another couple minutes until everything is soft and tender. Then turn off the heat.

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And toss in the cooked sausage and some seasoned bread crumbs to the veggie mixture and stir to combine. Taste the filling and add salt and pepper to taste. Then stir in one beaten egg. Set the filling aside until the squash comes out of the oven.

When the squash is tender, pull it out of the oven.

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Fill up the cavity of the squash with the filling. Lightly pack the filling into the cavity, but don’t pack it down too much – if the filling is too compressed, it becomes too dense and doesn’t cook through (raw egg is not awesome). Pop the squash back into the oven and cook the squash until the filling is cooked through and golden brown.

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All that you need to do is plate up and chow down. This is definitely a fall dinner winner (say that three times fast!). I hope you enjoy this recipe, kiddos.

Your acorn squash obsessed friend,

C

Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • Servings: 4 people
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

For the squash:

2 medium-to-large acorn squashes, cut in half and seeded

1 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Salt and pepper to taste

For the filling:

1 pound sweet Italian sausage

2 teaspoons olive oil

½ cup onion, finely diced

1 celery rib, finely diced

3-4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 apples (I like gala or granny smith), finely chopped

1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

1 egg, beaten

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Steps:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line the bottom of a high-sided roasting pan with a silicon baking mat or with some parchment paper.

For the squash: When the oven is at temperature, place the squash halves in the pan, cut side up. Brush the cut sides of the squash with the melted butter and season them with salt and pepper. Place the pan into the oven and roast the squash for about 1 hour or until the squash just become fork tender.

For the filling:

  1. In a high-sided skillet set over medium-high heat, toss in the sausage and cook until crumbled and browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain the sausage in a colander. Place the sausage on a plate and set aside. Drain the grease from the skillet.
  2. Place the skillet back onto a burner set to medium heat and add in the olive oil. When the oil become hot, add in the onion, celery, and thyme. Cook the veggies for about 2-3 minutes until they are soft and turning slightly golden brown.
  3. Add in the chopped apples and continue to cook for about 2-3 additional minutes until everything is soft and tender. Remove the skillet from the heat.
  4. Add in the sausage and the breadcrumbs. Stir to combine – taste for seasoning, adding in salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the beaten egg. Set aside until the squash is finished roasting.

Assembly:

  1. Remove the squash from the oven. Fill the cavity of the squash with the stuffing. Place the pan back into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until the filling is golden brown and cooked through.

Serve immediately to hungry family and friends!

 

Nutrition Information (1 squash half):

522 calories Ÿ• 58gm carbohydrates •Ÿ 7gm fiber Ÿ• 22gm protein •Ÿ 28gm fat Ÿ• 10gm saturated fat Ÿ• 1281mg sodium Ÿ• 101mg cholesterol Ÿ• 4mg iron •Ÿ 161mg calcium

Turkey Bolognese

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It’s E’s big birthday weekend, so I decided to take the train up and help celebrate with her work friends – they are a fun bunch and it was so nice to meet all of them in person! Yesterday, while E was at work, I decided to do a little studying for my RD exam (which I just scheduled… !!!).

It started out great – I had my study guide, blank note cards, my TWO different colored highlighters (because I’m fancy like that), and a boatload of motivation… until 5:00PM when I decided that my mind needed a break and that I really, really wanted to share this awesome turkey bolognese recipe with you.

Hooray for study breaks!

And hooray for easy, one-pot suppers that are on the table in no time and can feed a crowd.

It all starts with two medium-sized onions and five cloves of garlic.

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I believe that all good tomato-based sauce recipes should have a lot of garlic (and this amount isn’t too much), but if you are sensitive to garlic, you can definitely tone it down.

When the onions are soft and translucent, add in one pound of lean ground turkey.

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Break it up with a spoon and allow it to completely brown – be patient… this can take 5-10 minutes! Note: this is a great base for many dishes… if you want, you can let this mixture cool and then freeze it. Then you have endless possibilities for dinner waiting in the freezer (like this awesome chili!).

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Add some crushed red pepper!

And then the big secret ingredient…

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Good jarred marinara sauce! (yes, I’m cheating!)

I doctored up the sauce with some additional salt, pepper, and dried oregano.

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Let the sauce simmer as you prepare your favorite pasta! I decided to use whole wheat spaghetti, but any shape works here.

When the pasta is cooked, taste the sauce a final time and adjust the seasoning to your liking.

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And add in a bunch of freshly chopped basil – if you add it too soon, the basil becomes brown and limp… no one likes brown, limp basil.

Serve the sauce over the pasta and garnish with some grated cheese and more basil.

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Enjoy, kiddos!

Your pasta obsessed, study break needin’ friend,

C

Turkey Bolognese

  • Servings: 5 people
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 medium-sized onions, chopped

4-5 cloves of garlic, minced finely

1 pound lean ground turkey

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flake

¾ of a jar of good marinara sauce – if you like your bolognese with more liquid, add the whole jar!

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 pound dried pasta, prepared according to package instructions

Grated cheese and fresh basil for garnish (optional)

 

Steps:

1. In a large, high-sided skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in onions and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft and translucent.

2. Add ground turkey to skillet, breaking the meat apart with a spoon. Cook the turkey until browned and cooked through, approximately 5-10 minutes.

3. When the turkey is cooked, sprinkle over the crushed red pepper flakes. Pour in the sauce and add the salt, pepper, and dried oregano. Stir thoroughly to combine. Simmer sauce over medium-low heat until the pasta is ready.

4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add salt and one pound dried pasta – cook according to the package instructions. When the pasta is al dente, drain pasta and set aside until sauce is finished.

5. Taste sauce and adjust seasonings, adding more salt, pepper, or hot pepper flake. Add in chopped basil and stir to combine.

To serve, you two options:

Option 1: Dish out pasta into bowls and ladle sauce on top. Garnish with grated cheese and more fresh basil.

Option 2: Add pasta into the skillet with the sauce and toss to combine. Dish out the pasta and garnish with grated cheese and more fresh basil.

Enjoy!

Nutrition Information (1 serving):

577 calories • 77gm carbohydrates • 7gm fiber • 30gm protein • 16gm fat • 4gm saturated fat • 933mg sodium • 67mg cholesterol • 5mg iron • 90mg calcium

Salad Nicoise

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope everyone is having a good week.

 

My week has been crazy, tiring, and enlightening all at once. The ICU has been an eye-opening learning experience and I have seen and done so much!

But after two weeks of go, go, go, my brain said no, no, no to any more work last night. So I decided that a little dinner in front of the TV would be the perfect break!

I seem to be on a salad kick lately, so I decided that I was going to make the French classic with a simplified twist!

I first had Salad Nicoise at the Rodin Museum in Paris, France. It was the perfect combination of oil-packed tuna fish, crisp haricot vert (French green beans), olives, and hard-boiled egg. It was the perfect combination of flavors and textures and it has become one of my favorite go-to salads on busy nights.

My spin on a salad nicoise starts with a base of arugula.

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I know the traditional salad is only green beans as the base, but I like the fresh, peppery bite that the arugula gives to the salad.

But that doesn’t mean that I totally ditched the green beans! My mom found frozen haricot vert at a local supermarket and I toss them frozen into a skillet and sauté them in a little olive oil until they are nice and crispy.

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Then I place the green beans on the arugula. A pretty burst of spring green on a cold winter night!

Which I follow with some diced up leftover potatoes.

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Roasted, lemon potatoes… yummy!

I layer the tuna fish next.

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It’s starting to look so pretty! I love pretty food, don’t you?

The final row is the hard-boiled egg.

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Sprinkled with a little extra salt, they are the perfect end to this salad.

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Did I mention that I love pretty food?

The final touch is a drizzle of salad dressing.

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I am super particular about dressing this salad (salad dressing on the eggs… no thank you!), so I use a spoon to drizzle it over the salad. But if you are not persnickety like me, go ahead and pour on salad dressing (it’s so much faster!).

Then dig in!

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It is the perfect busy night supper (especially in front of a cheesy Christmas movie!).

 

Enjoy, kiddos!

Your salad makin’ friend,

C