Farro Stuffed Acorn Squash

Fall is here you guys!!! I know, it is sort of hard to tell if you live in Southern California right now. We are in the midst of a serious heat wave. I’m talking so hot, they had recess indoors at my son’s school. Ugh. This is not my jam. At all.

Anyway, last weekend I put up my fall decor in anticipation of this heat wave breaking and the season finally making an appearance.

Today, I braved my oven (with the AC on) and made my first “Fall” dish of the season: Stuffed Acorn Squash. It was so easy and delicious and healthy just very… FALL.

You should be able to find farro at any grocery store, but if you can’t, I’m sure you can substitute brown rice. Same with the garlic herb sausage. I got this at Trader Joe’s and I know I’ve seen similar varieties at regular grocery stores too. You could probably substitute just about any flavor you like.

img_1760

Serves 2 (1/2 squash each. About 360 calories per serving)

1 medium acorn squash
olive oil
salt and pepper
2 chicken sausage links (see note above), cut into small pieces
1/2 leek, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup COOKED farro
2 teaspoons fresh thyme (you can use dried as well, just cut the amount in half)
1 teaspoon dried sage

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the squash in half lengthwise (or, if you are deathly afraid of cutting winter squash and are scared you are going to accidentally stab yourself, enlist someone else to do it). Scoop out the seeds in the middle and coat with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.  Roast for about 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of your squash. Just until slightly fork-tender.

While the squash is roasting, make your farro according to package directions.

Make the rest of the stuffing (you can actually make the stuffing ahead of time, a day or two, and just use it when you are ready).  In a skillet, saute in a little olive oil the leeks, garlic, sausage, thyme, and sage.

img_1761

I don’t know why this picture is upside down, but I’m pretty sure you get it…

 

Drain the farro and add it to the sausage mixture. Then put half in each half of the squash. Put back in the oven for another 20 minutes.

Funny story… When I was coming up with this recipe, I had planned on adding a diced apple to the stuffing (include it in the saute). I even bought the apple. I completely FORGOT!!  If you make it, try it with the apple and let me know how it goes. Next time I will include the apple! (I was going to use a Fuji, but any should work).

This was really yummy and quite easy. Perfect for a fall dinner. Now, someone send me pictures of changing leaves and sipping apple cider because I’m melting over here!

Advertisements

Cajun Cornbread Stuffing 

Like I mentioned before, I try to make a new stuffing every year. For some reason this year I couldn’t decide which stuffing I wanted to make, so I made two. Because I’m crazy and delusional to how much time there is in a day. Thankfully, freezing stuffing works and I was able to prep my two stuffings in advance.

Like I also mentioned before, I don’t really like stuffing, so again, I had the hubby do the taste test. I had to stop him from eating it so there would be enough for the big day! That seems like a good sign to me!

This may not be a traditional stuffing for Thanksgiving, but if it’s delicious, who cares, right?

8 cups of cornbread. Use whatever recipe you want or buy it from the store. I made two 7×11″ pans and it was plenty
1 stick of butter
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 chopped red bell pepper
1/2 chopped green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, off the stem
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup portabello mushrooms, coarsely chopped
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 package Andouille sausage (12oz)
1 egg

In a skillet, melt 1/2 stick of butter. Add the celery, onion, red & green bell pepper, mushrooms, garlic, thyme, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste. Saute until veggies are soft. Add the 3 cups chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat.

Cut your andouille sausage into smaller pieces and brown in a skillet with a little olive oil.

In a large bowl, add your onion/pepper mix, sausage, and 1 beaten egg. After your cornbread is baked, cut it up into chunks and put it back in the oven to dry out. Put those cubes into the mix and stir it all together.

After it’s all mixed up as much as you can, pour it into your baking dish. You can keep stirring it around here too, if you need. Cut up the other 1/2 of your butter into pieces and place sporadically over the top of the stuffing. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes covered, then another 15 uncovered.

TIP: I always make the stuffing at least the day before Thanksgiving. If you do that, you can just put in the fridge before baking it and then bake it the next day.  You can also make it a bit further ahead of time and freeze it. If you do this, put in one of the disposable pans because when it freezes it will expand a bit from the liquid and you don’t want your baking dish to break. The day before Thanksgiving, move it to the fridge to thaw. Thanksgiving day, you can transfer it to your baking dish (or leave it in the disposable, if you want), top it with the butter and bake as per the instructions.

Sausage, Apple & Pear Stuffing

So, funny story: I’ve never really liked stuffing. Growing up, my mom (who also doesn’t like stuffing) would make a different kind of stuffing every year. When I got married 7 years ago and started hosting Thanksgiving at my house, I took over the tradition of making a different kind of stuffing every year.

I’ve been told the stuffings I make are good. And they do smell really great. I just don’t eat them. I think it’s a texture thing for me. But hey, to each his own, right? The rest of my family enjoys them, so I hope you do too.

This stuffing is a pretty traditional stuffing and very simple to make. Stuffings have a lot of steps involved, but they aren’t difficult.

For this one you need:

2 loaves French bread (or any hardy bread)
1 stick of butter
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped shallot
1 red apple, chopped
1 pear, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, off the stem
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 lb sausage
1 egg
handful of dried cranberries

The day before, cut up your bread into cubes and leave out to dry. They need to be really dry. If you forget to do this ahead of time, you can put them in the oven at 375 for about 10-15 minutes, then turn the oven off, but leave the bread in there for another 10-15 minutes. I like to stir them around after I turn off the oven.

You can use any hardy bread you want. I’ve even heard of people saving the ends of their loaves of bread throughout the year (because no one wants a sandwich made out of ends!) and freezing them until Thanksgiving. Truthfully? You could totally buy the boxed stuffing cubes and I doubt anyone would even notice.

In a skillet, melt 1/2 a stick of butter and add your celery, shallot, apple, pear, thyme, sage, salt and pepper. Saute, stirring frequently, until softened. Add 3 cups of chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat.

While the fruit and veggies are sauteing, crumble and brown your sausage. I used just regular pork sausage, but you can use chicken sausage, hot italian sausage, sweet italian sausage, whatever floats your boat.

In the biggest bowl you have (hopefully you have something bigger than I do), add your onion/apple mix, cranberries, sausage, and 1 beaten egg. In batches to make it easier, add your bread cubes and mix in with the wet ingredients so it is all incorporated. I didn’t use all my bread because I thought it was enough. Just eyeball it.

After it’s all mixed up as much as you can, pour it into your baking dish. You can keep stirring it around here too, if you need. Cut up the other 1/2 of your butter into pieces and place sporadically over the top of the stuffing. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes covered, then another 15 uncovered.

TIP: I always make the stuffing at least the day before Thanksgiving. If you do that, you can just put in the fridge before baking it and then bake it the next day.  You can also make it a bit further ahead of time and freeze it. If you do this, put in one of the disposable pans because when it freezes it will expand a bit from the liquid and you don’t want your baking dish to break. The day before Thanksgiving, move it to the fridge to thaw. Thanksgiving day, you can transfer it to your baking dish (or leave it in the disposable, if you want), top it with the butter and bake as per the instructions.

Since it isn’t the big day yet, I haven’t baked mine, but I did have my hubby do a taste test (before adding the egg!) and he said it was delicious.

Enjoy!