Matthew: I’ve been accumulating squash from my CSA for the past few weeks and I finally had a break in more perishable vegetables and was able to use some of them. My friend Beth, who is a genius in the kitchen, sent me a recipe for Stuffed Spaghetti Squash with glowing reviews. I instead used acorn squash, but it still turned out great. The recipe also calls for marinara sauce. It would have been great to use homemade sauce, but since I didn’t have any on hand, I found some good quality canned sauce. As Beth said, this is really a great recipe for using up random vegetables. I actually used so many vegetables that they didn’t all fit back in the acorn squash halves, so I had to use another baking dish for the extra. This is definitely a d0-over! Here’s the recipe:
Italian Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
Prep: ~ 45 minutes total time, 20 active prep. chop/saute all the veggies while the squash is cooking and it’ll be quick.
– 1 spaghetti squash
– 1/2 T. olive oil
– 1/2 chopped:
(or anything you need to get rid of)
– 2 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 cup spinach
– 1/4 tsp salt and pepper
– 1/2 c. bread crumbs or almond meal if you’re going gluten free
– your fav marinara sauce (~ 1 cup)
– 2 oz. shredded mozzarella
– 1 oz. parmesan
Preheat oven to 400F. Halve the squash length-wise and scrape out the seeds. Place the halves of the squash in a large pot of boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool. (I roasted my squash which worked fine.)
In a large skillet, sauté the garlic and onion in olive oil. Add celery, carrots, peppers, salt and pepper and cook veggies until softened. Add zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and spinach and cook an additional 5 minutes.
Scrape the meat out of the squash and place in a large bowl. Add the sauteed veggies, breadcrumbs, and marinara sauce. Mix everything together, then return the mixture to the empty squash halves. Top with extra marinara, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. Bake until the top is bubbling and melted.
Posted in Dinner
Tagged acorn squash, carrots, celery, cheese, garlic, marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, onions, spaghetti squash, spinach, squash, tomatoes, zucchini
Katie: While I was home sick last week and didn’t have enough energy to move from the couch, I wasn’t feeling too great, but I was at least able to catch up on looking for some new recipes to try. One that caught my eye was this recipe for Greek Baked Beans from Closet Cooking. It looked really good, and I had never tried cooking with dried beans before, so I added it to my list of recipe ideas.
Once I was feeling better again, I decided to give Greek baked beans a try, using this recipe for Baked Gigantes in Tomato Sauce from Cooking Light. First, I soaked the beans overnight, and then cooked them the next day in water. I then prepared the tomato sauce, which was really flavorful and included carrots, onions, celery, a few different herbs, and honey. It smelled really good! Then, I mixed the beans and sauce together and baked them in the oven. I had read a few comments warning not to overcook beans or they would fall apart, so I tried not to cook them too long. Unfortunately, I think I overreacted, since the beans could have been softer. The sauce was very delicious, so I would still recommend this recipe, but with the tip of making sure that the beans are soft enough before combining them with the sauce. I served the beans with Italian bread.
To go along with the beans and bread, I decided to make chicken. I remembered hearing Mom talking about a good recipe for stuffed chicken, and I think it may have been the same one that I decided to make. This recipe for Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes from Cooking Light was surprisingly simple to prepare and definitely lived up to the rave reviews. Even though it wasn’t perfect, this was still a very tasty meal!
Posted in Appetizers, Dinner
Tagged balsamic vinegar, basil, beans, carrots, celery, chicken, Greek, onions, shallots, sun-dried tomatoes, tomatoes
Katie: After our raclette dinner on New Year’s Eve, I had some leftover vegetables to use up. I remembered how good the shepherd’s pie was that I made a few weeks ago, but unfortunately I didn’t have any more sweet potatoes. I didn’t let that stop me, and decided to improvise a little. I still had 3 hokaido pumpkins I had been saving. I roasted one of them, producing enough puree to make some delicious and filling Pumpkin Oatmeal in the morning, pumpkin biscuits to top the pot pie, and Pumpkin Carrot Muffins the next day. Lots of pumpkin deliciousness to enjoy! I based the recipe for the pumpkin biscuits on a couple of different recipes from Cooking Light. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but it turned out really good! I would definitely make this comforting winter meal again. Even without pumpkin, regular drop biscuits would probably also work well. Here’s the recipe I used for the biscuits:
Pumpkin Drop Biscuits
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ – ¾ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 ½ Tbsp. melted butter
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ – 1 Cup milk (I mixed a little at a time, until the batter was wet and thick, not runny, about ¾ cup)
- Mix dry ingredients with a whisk in a large bowl.
- Add wet ingredients until just mixed.
- Drop the batter into about 10-12 mounds on the pot pie vegetable base.
- Bake at 400 degrees F (200 C) for about 30 minutes, or until biscuits are light brown.
Katie: Now that pumpkin season is sadly coming to an end, I’ve moved on to another source of Vitamin A: sweet potatoes. We bought a bunch of sweet potatoes when we saw them on sale at the grocery store, and I’ve been looking for different ways of using them. I don’t think I’ve ever had shepherd’s pie before, but this recipe for Winter Vegetable Pot Pie sounded interesting. It’s basically a pot pie base made with roasted vegetables and topped with mashed sweet potatoes. I wasn’t quite sure how the apple juice would work with the other flavors, but it turned out really good! The base would probably also be good topped with a more typical pot pie biscuit topping. Here’s how I made it:
Sweet Potato Winter Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie (adapted from the McCormick website)
- 1 pound sweet potatoes (I used 3)
- 1 cup apple juice, divided
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 6-7 cups cubed winter vegetables (I used orange carrots, yellow carrots, parsnips, red potatoes, and celery), cut into 3/4 inch pieces
- olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped onions
- 1/2 pound brown mushrooms, sliced
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. garlic salt
- 1 tsp. ground mustard
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork and bake on a cooking sheet lined with parchment paper for an hour or until they are tender when pierced with a fork and are caramelizing. Remove from oven and cool. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F.
- Toss chopped vegetables (excluding mushrooms and onions) with 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large bowl. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with black pepper. Roast for 25 minutes or until vegetables begin to brown.
- Peel sweet potatoes and mash with 1/4 cup apple juice, butter, and nutmeg until smooth. Set aside and keep warm.
- Heat 1 tsp. olive oil over medium heat and saute the chopped onions and sliced mushrooms in a skillet until soft. Set aside.
- Mix vegetable broth, remaining 3/4 cup apple juice, cornstarch, garlic salt, mustard, thyme and in large skillet with wire whisk until well blended. Bring to boil on medium heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer 2 minutes. Add roasted vegetables, onions, and mushrooms; stir gently. Pour into a glass casserole dish. Top with mashed sweet potatoes.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes or until sweet potato topping starts to brown.