Stuffed Acorn Squash (Fall Perfection!!)

Stuffed Acorn Squash 4

I try new recipes at least three times a week, and love them 90% of the time. However, it is very rare that I declare them perfection.  Here it is…I’m gonna do it.  This recipe is PERFECTION!!!  I mean…how often is it that you have been eating the leftovers for three days straight, and you are still disappointed when they run out?!  My husband agrees completely…it has officially been added to the Rodgers Family Favorites 🙂  Weirdest thing is…tomatoes make me want to vomit a little…and this has tomatoes in it…and I didn’t even notice them I loved it so much.  That’s how you know its REAAALLLLLYYYY good! And great thing is…if you watch your labels carefully, this can be totally gluten free 🙂

Recipe adapted from eatingwell.com

What you need:

  • 3 Acorn Squash
  • 1/2 Roll of Pork Sausage (I used Sage Sausage)  Note: original called for 5 oz of bulk turkey sausage, if you want to make it a little liter
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder (or more if you want a kick)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 Carton cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Several dashes hot red pepper sauce
  • 1 Cup Cheddar cheese, shredded (or cheese of choice)

And here’s how you do it!

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut the squash in half horizontally.  Take a spoon and scoop out the seeds.
  3. Bake squash cut side down in a greased dish for 45 minutes, or until nice and tender.
  4. While your squash is baking, heat and grease a large skillet or pot over medium heat.  Brown your sausage.  You can drain if there is extra grease but I didn’t feel the need to 🙂
  5. Add onion and bell pepper to the pan and cook until softened, stirring occasionally. (3-5 minutes).  Add garlic, chili powder, and cumin and cook for 30 seconds.  Stir in tomatoes, beans, salt, and hot sauce and stir, scraping up any yummy bits off the bottom of the pan.  Turn down the heat, cover, and simmer until the tomatoes “break down,” about 12 minutes.
  6. When your squash are ready, take them out and reduce the heat to 325 degrees.  Fill the squash halves generously with your sausage filling and top with cheese.  Put them back into the oven until your cheese is melty, about 10 minutes.
  7. Eat, be shocked…add to your list of favorites 🙂

Stuffed Acorn Squash 2

Warm gooey cheesy goodness, and pretty stinkin healthy too!!

Stuffed Acorn Squash 3 Stuffed Acorn Squash 1

Clean Out the Crisper Muffins! (Carrot Zucchini Muffins)

Oh my! These carrot zucchini muffins are quite delicious! Though I more fondly like to call them “clean out the crisper” muffins 🙂

I realized the other day that I still had a very large zucchini from my little garden…and it was just begging me to use it before it went bad! I was looking up zucchini bread recipes when I realized…I don’t have a loaf pan! When I switched to looking for a muffin recipe, I was IMMEDIATELY surprised by and drawn to a recipe that used both zucchini AND carrot!! I had accidentally bought carrots when I already had a bag in the crisper.  PERFECT! Clean out the crisper muffins.  And I took it a step further and decided to use up some left over chocolate chips…so I guess now they are clean out the crisper and the cupboard muffins.  And they’re delicious.  I saw my husband eating one and asked if he liked them.  He smiled and informed me that it was his fifth one 🙂  Husbands are fun.

This is what I did, and it made me 24 muffins. Most of which are gone…and it was just last night 😉

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Large Eggs (if your eggs are smaller, use 3)
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 Cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 Cup shredded carrot
  • 1-2 Cups chocolate chips
  • Cinnamon Sugar for topping.
  • Chopped nuts (optional). I chopped some walnuts up and sprinkled them on top of half of them…I usually hate nuts in baked goods but the flavor complemented it SO good I highly recommend you do so as well!)

How it’s done:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour (or use liners) 24 muffin cups.
  3. Beat oil, eggs, sugars, and vanilla.
  4. In a separate, large bowl stir together flour, soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  5. Stir dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  You wanna use a spoon, or add it gradual with the mixer or you will have a flour explosion in your face.
  6. Fold in the shredded zucchini and carrots, and chocolate chips 🙂
  7. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and/or nuts 🙂  Please don’t skip the cinnamon sugar…it was my favorite part.  It made a nice crisp, sweet layer on top!
  8. Check at 22 minutes.  The middle is sneaky and stays soft for a while, so check in two-minute increments after that 🙂  You can do the ol’ toothpick in the center of the fattest one trick 🙂  If they are a little soft in the middle after you take them out, don’t panic! They will set up a small amount as they cool 🙂 If you leave them in the pan longer, they will cook longer even out of the oven.

Yummmm!

Can you see the little carrot shreds?  So moist and mildly sweet!