Sausage, Apple, & Cranberry Stuffed Butternut Squash

Ingredients

  • 2 med/large butternut squash
  • 3 Tbsp avocado oil or olive oil, divided
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 3 cups kale chopped
  • 1 medium apple, chopped (honeycrisp or pink lady)
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425° degrees F and prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut open each butternut squash lengthwise so you have 4 long halves. Scoop out the seeds and strings, then drizzle with 2 Tbsp of the oil and sprinkle generously with sea salt and pepper.
  3. Place halves face down on the baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until softened (check at 30 minutes).
  4. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Cook sausage into the skillet until almost done.
  5. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes until soft and fragrant.
  6. Add in the fresh herbs and continue to cook for another minute.
  7. Stir in the kale, apples, and pecans, and cook for another minute or two until just softened.
  8. Remove from heat, stir in the cranberries, and season the mixture to taste with sea salt and black pepper.
  9. Once the squash is done, allow it to cool until you are able to scoop out the squash, leaving about 3/4” border around the sides and bottom.
  10. Stir the scooped out squash into the sausage mixture.
  11. Generously fill the sausage mixture into the squash boats.
  12. Place filled squash boats onto the the baking sheet and broil on high until the top of the stuffing and squash are golden brown, 2-4 minutes or so.  
  13. Garnish with additional fresh herbs, salt, and pepper to taste.

Thanks to the original recipe found here.

Cinnamon Apple Rose Pastries

Ingredients

  • 3 apples
  • 2 sheets of puffed pastries thawed
  • 6 tablespoons of apricot preserves
  • 4 tablespoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice and peel shavings
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Instructions

  1. Allow puffed pastries to thaw (according to package directions).
  2. Prepare 12 muffin tins with cooking spray and a light dusting of flour.
  3. Slice apples in half from top to bottom and remove cores.
  4. Slice apples into very thin slices.
  5. Fill a large bowl halfway with water.
  6. Squeeze lemon juice into the bowl of water.
  7. Place slices of apples into the water. Microwave uncovered for 5 minutes.
  8. Drain apples.
  9. Set oven to 375F and prepare a floured surface for pastries. Lay thawed pastries flat on floured surface. Slightly roll the pastries out further with a rolling pin.
  10. Cut each pastry into 6 equal slices.
  11. One at a time, spoon apricot preserve mixture onto a slice of pastry. Place 7-9 apple slices on one half of the pastry. Apple slices should be peel side facing out.
  12. Fold the pastry in half, overtop of the apples.
  13. Starting on one end, roll the pastry and apples and then place each pastry into the prepared muffin tin.
  14. Continue with the other pieces of pastries until you have 12 apple roses.
  15. Stir cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl. Sprinkle mixture over pastries.
  16. Shave half of a lemon rind onto pastries.
  17. Place a pan of water on the bottom rack of oven so the bottom of pastries do not burn.
  18. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Top with powdered sugar. 

Thanks to the original recipe found here.

The Story Behind the Recipe

In 2018 I was lucky enough to go to the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea. My husband and I were gifted tickets to see the snowboarding competition at Phoenix Snow Park and were able to see Shaun White win gold on the men’s halfpipe.

The night before the competition we arrived and wanted to visit the olympic village. With below temperatures and icy sidewalks, we shivered our way throughout the streets looking for a local restaurant to warm up.

We ended up in a little coffee shop where we had a beer and delicious pastry.

I was so inspired by the pastry, that I set out to find a similar recipe to make at home. While it takes a little time and delicate execution, the pastry really is pretty simple and they turn out beautiful. Serve it with a bit of vanilla ice cream for an extra special treat!

Sausage Stuffed Shells in Roasted Butternut Squash

Makes 3-4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 pound sausage
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound jumbo shells, cooked al dente
  • 15 ounces ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, shredded
  • Additional parmesan, shredded
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Arrange onion and butternut squash in an even layer on a lined baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Roast for 40 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook sausage over medium heat. When sausage is mostly browned, add spinach and garlic. Cook until spinach is wilted and remove from heat. 
  5. Place roasted butternut squash and onion in a food processor or large bowl. Puree with processor or immersion blender.
  6. Stir in milk and vegetable broth.
  7. Pour butternut squash sauce into base of a 9×13 baking dish.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, stir together ricotta, parmesan, and egg. Add sausage and spinach into ricotta and stir until evenly distributed.
  9. Fill cooked pasta shells with 3-4 tablespoons of filling.
  10. Arrange shells in butternut squash sauce in the 9×13 baking dish.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes covered with aluminum foil followed by 15 minutes uncovered.
  12. Option to serve with additional parmesan.

Thanks to the original recipe found here.

Bacon and Butternut Squash Pasta

Ingredients

  • 3 cups peeled butternut squash, cubed into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 6 strips of turkey or regular bacon
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 8oz pasta, any type
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups reduced-fat milk
  • 3/4 cup provolone, shredded
  • 1/3 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

Instructions

Squash, Bacon, & Onions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Prepare two oven safe cooking trays with foil. 
  3. Spray one pan with cooking spray and spread cubed butternut squash evenly over pan. Top with garlic powder, rosemary, salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Meanwhile, place bacon onto the second prepared pan and set a second timer for 10 minutes. 
  6. After 10 minutes check the bacon. Continue cooking bacon in 5 minute increments until bacon is brown and crisp, but not burnt. 
  7. Allow bacon to cool on paper towels and then crumble.
  8. While bacon cools, spray a medium sized pan with cooking spray (or coat pan with bacon grease) and cook onions on medium low until translucent.
Pasta & Sauce
  1. When squash is browned and done baking, increase oven temperature to 450F.
  2. Cook pasta according to directions until al dente, drain.  
  3. Meanwhile combine flour and a pinch of salt in a dutch oven, over medium high heat. 
  4. Slowly add milk while constantly whisking. Continue stirring until sauce comes to a low boil, cooking an additional minute until slightly thickened. 
  5. Remove sauce from heat and stir in provolone cheese until melted. 
  6. Add cooked squash, bacon, and onions to pasta and sauce mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan and bake for 10 minutes. 

Thanks to Cooking Light Comfort Food  for the original recipe! (p. 212)

Fall Chicken Dinner

Makes 5 Servings

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, sage, and rosemary, minced
  • 5 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large sweet potato, chopped into 3/4″ cubes (skin on)
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 medium fuji apples, cored and sliced into 3/4″ pieces
  • 2 shallot bulbs, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 4 slices hickory smoked bacon, chopped 1″ pieces
  • Garnish with 2 Tbsp parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 
  2. Pour 2 Tbsp olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic and herbs into a gallon size resealable bag. 
  3. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper then seal bag and massage mixture over chicken while working to evenly distribute herbs. Set aside and let rest while chopping veggies.
  4. Place sweet potato, brussels sprouts, apples and shallot on a rimmed extra large baking sheet. 
  5. Drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil then toss to evenly coat, season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread into an even layer.
  6. Set chicken thighs over veggie/apple layer.
  7. Sprinkle bacon on top. 
  8. Roast in preheated oven until chicken and veggies are golden brown, about 30 – 35 minutes (chicken should reach 165 degree F). Option: Broil during last few minutes for a more golden brown crispy skin.
  9. Garnish with parsley if desired and serve warm.

Thanks to the original recipe found here.

The Story Behind the Recipe

I became enlightened about one pan meals with this recipe. I had tried several one pan meals before, but none had compared to this one. This is literally fall on a plate.

Not only was it simple to cut everything up, but it’s all on one pan (which makes for easy clean up) and quick! Exactly what you need when the kids are heading back to school and new activities are starting to take up any time you may have had to prep for dinner.

The start of every fall, I kick things off with this meal. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Lasagne Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 lb hot sausage, ground
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 32 oz container chicken broth
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 6 whole-wheat lasagna noodles, broken into small pieces
  • 6 teaspoons dried basil
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the sausage, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Stir occasionally, until the sausage is crumbled and browned, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. 
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. 
  4. Add the noodles and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring to break up the noodles for 10-12 minutes. Check to make sure noodles are cooked.
  5. Remove from the heat. Stir in mozzarella, basil, and Parmesan.

Serve With

Italian Salad and/or Garlic Bread

Thanks to the original recipe found here.

The Story Behind the Recipe

There are a lot of things I could say about this recipe, but mainly I would like to share that it is a hit with everyone. When I was watching my calories and still craving Italian food, this was one of my favorite dishes. I still make this recipe at least twice a month in the cooler months because it is quick and warms the soul.

During a period of time when my husband and I were transitioning out of the military, we stayed with my family. I made this meal for them and it became a family favorite. My father requested it often and my younger sister asked me to teach her how to make it.

Feel free to add your own spin to the recipe or make it as is and hopefully it will become a family staple.