Quinoa, Apple, & Chicken Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

Fall is officially upon us and today’s weather was like jumping right into the deep end of it with the rain and the cold and the wind. So I decided to prep one of my favorite nutritious comfort foods for dinner tonight. This recipe combines a bunch of fall produce and flavors and leaves you feeling satisfied but not guilty.  It also features my favorite seasoning blend: Bell’s Turkey Seasoning. I will put this into almost any recipe and I am of the humble opinion that you can never have too much of it. It’s a New England classic!

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I created this recipe a couple years ago while just messing around in the kitchen with the random things we had in there. It ended up becoming a favorite and my partner requests it regularly in the fall and winter.

A couple notes before I get started on the recipe:

  1. You should alway sharpen your knives before you use them, like every time. If you don’t, I strongly encourage you do it this time because it can be a challenge to cut through the acorn squash.
  2.  You’ll see salt listed in the ingredients list below but not an amount. This is because I salt regularly while I cook to build different layers and complexity in the food, so I don’t actually know how much is in it. I find this particularly important when you’re cooking the quinoa as that can be a tough item to flavor. Just a dash of salt every cooking stage or two and you’ll be really happy with the flavors you evoke. That said, always taste regularly as you cook as well!

Ingredients:

  • 1 acorn squash, halved the long way
  • 1 medium orange or yellow bell pepper, dicedIMG_20170922_190700
  • 1 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1 medium gala apple, diced (about 1 1/4 cup)
  • 1 cup diced portobello mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (3/4 cup dry)
  • 3-4 chicken sausages cut out of the casing
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 1/4 tsp Bell’s turkey seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • cinnamon
  • coconut oil
  • sea salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the halved squash face-up on a foil-lined baking sheet. Spread a very light layer of coconut oil of the cut surfaces and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place in the oven and bake until tender.
  2. While the squash is baking, prepare the quinoa according to the package and set aside.
  3. While the quinoa and squash are cooking, prepare the other ingredients. Warm extra virgin olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the pepper, onion, celery, and mushrooms and sauté until they begin to get tender. Add the chicken sausage until the outside begins to turn gray. Add the apple. Continue to cook until the apple softens and releases its juice but not to the point that it becomes mushy.
  4. Without draining the sauté pan, add the quinoa to the veggies and sausage mixture and mix well to combine. Add the Bell’s Turkey Seasoning and garlic powder and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix to distribute throughout.
  5. Once the squash is tender, remove it from the oven. Fill the middle space with quinoa mixture until heaping. You won’t be able to use all of it in the squash.
  6. Place the squash back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes or so to combine the flavors.
  7. Cut the squash pieces in half and serve with additional filling.

Makes 4-6 servings.

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Butternut Noodles and Mushrooms

I don’t know how it happened, but fall is already right around the corner. I am actually sitting here with a blanket on my legs since the mornings are already getting cool here in MA, so I decided to post one of my favorite warming and satisfying fall recipes.

The mushrooms used in this recipe have a very meaty texture to them so it’s very satisfying without the meat. Depending on your model of spiralizer, making veggie noodles can be pretty labor intensive, so I recommend buying the packages of pre-cut squash to spare yourself the extra effort of cutting, spooning, and peeling a whole squash before spiralizing it.

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, spiralized
  • 1 cup oyster mushrooms, chopped (not too small – you want pieces big enough that allow you to still get the texture)
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (you may need a little more or less depending on how much noodles you end up with)
  • 2 tbsp fresh, finely chopped sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large frying pan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil until it begins to glisten (not smoke). Once it’s reached that temperature, add the oyster mushrooms and sage and sauté until the mushrooms are tender. As you are cooking it, the sage is infusing the olive oil with its flavor.
  2. Once the mushrooms are tender, add the butternut noodles to the pan and toss so that they are all coated with the oil and the mushrooms are distributed throughout. Cook 1-2 minutes to soften the noodles.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

If you want some even bigger fall flavor or are really into the taste of sage, like I am, you can also finish this dish by sprinkling it with a little Bell’s Turkey seasoning before serving it.