Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sausage & Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

I've been trying to venture out and try new food things in the kitchen; particularly as it relates to fall produce. Squash is in season, so it's EXTRA cheap. If there's anything I love more than good food, it's a good deal!! Can I get an Amen??

Case in point: I was in the store last weekend and saw acorn squash for $0.99 each! I threw two of them into my basket with nary a second thought. I had no idea what I was actually going to DO with them, but it didn't matter--they were 99 cents!! that I think about it, I apply the same principle when shopping for clothes and jewelry... *sigh* That explains a lot.

Questionable shopping habits aside, LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THIS SQUASH. Oh my dang. I've seen it used most often as a dessert, typically drenched in some dreadfully delicious combination of  butter, honey, syrup, cinnamon, or sugar, turning an otherwise healthy vegetable into an artery-clogging calorie bomb!
 I wanted to do a savory version of this squash, and my sweet friend Lee (we met in Hawaii last year!!) gave me the perfect idea!! Brimming with flavorful ingredients like aromatic sausage, crisp apples, and earthy mushrooms, this squash is like a big mouthful of fall. Thanksgiving came early with this one, and it's gorgeous to boot! This is one of the prettiest vegetables I've ever worked with! Don't you LOVE beautiful food? Yeah, me too.
This squash bakes twice; once with a sprinkle of kosher salt, a quick twist of freshly cracked black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil; then again when it's filled to the brim with this *delicious* stuffing! Get excited, people. Oh, and fair warning: acorn squash can be quite a beast to cut, so prep your forearms for a workout!
  • 2 Acorn squash
  • 1 pound sausage
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces Crimini (baby Bella) mushrooms, diced
  • 2 apples, diced (I used Honeycrisp!)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (I didn't really measure this)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • Ground sage and dried basil (to taste; I didn't measure)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400; spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Trim the ends from the acorn squash and cut in half (not lengthwise); remove seeds and pulp. If you've cut it correctly, the halves should look like pretty orange flowers! :) Drizzle halves with a teaspoon (or more if needed) of olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add onion. Saute until translucent--2-5 minutes; then add mushrooms and continue to saute. Add garlic and saute for about one minute, then add sausage and brown until cooked through. Add breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Add apples last (to help them keep their shape and flavor).

Season with sage and basil; add salt and pepper to taste. Fill the prepared squash halves with stuffing; and top with another sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Bake for another 20 minutes at 400; serve hot.
Nutrition Facts- Servings: 4-6 Size: 1/2 stuffed squash Calories: 534 • Fat: 29.1 g Carbs: 46.9 g Fiber5.9 g • Protein: 23.4 g • Sugars: 10.2 g

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