It is that time of year that we all love (or at least I do) – squash season! Squash is by far the easiest vegetable to cook. It can be daunting but believe me, it couldn’t be easier. Especially acorn squash. I usually like to pair spiced items like apples, cinnamon, wild rice, and ground beef with acorn squash and savory things like Parmesan cheese, sage, and spinach with butternut squash, but that’s just me. This dish was just using what we had on hand that sounded like a good combination. J just started a new job and took this for lunch during his 2nd week. He got so many, “what is that?!?” comments. Most of them where shocked that you could use squash as a bowl. Oh men, where is your creativity?
Stuffed Acorn Squash
(Each squash makes 2 servings. Increase the ingredients as needed for more servings)
- 1 acorn squash
- 1/2 cup cooked rice
- 6 ounces ground beef (lean)
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 tbsp silvered almonds
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg (if you are feeling adventurous) to taste
- Prepare the acorn squash
Oven Option: Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Slice the squash in half and scoop out the center contents. Place face-down on the foil-lined pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the flesh of the squash can be easily pierced with a fork.
Microwave Option: With a sharp knife or fork, carefully poke all over the squash. You need to get deep enough that the holes go to the center/open portion of the squash. Place the poked squash in a microwave-safe glass dish. Place a tiny bit of water in the base of the dish and cover the dish with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 7-10 minutes. Let stand in the microwave for 3-5 minutes and then remove. Test doneness by trying to pierce the skin with a fork. Cut the squash in half.
- Prepare the filling while the squash cooks.
Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Add the onion and beef. Saute for 5 minutes. Add the chopped carrot, almonds and saute for 5 more minutes. Mix in the cooked rice. Season to taste.
- Fill each half with the prepared filling. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate if you aren’t eating it right away.
- To reheat, keep the squash wrapped in plastic wrap and microwave on high for 3 minutes.
This is a simple, delicious and colorful meal. The local Aldi had colored fingerling potatoes for $1/pound – what a deal! I added parsley I had dried from our CSA to make J’s favorite potatoes. I was listening to a segment on WPR about braising potatoes using a “reverse braising” method. Normally, when you braise meat, you sear each side and then add some water to the pan, cover, and simmer for an hour or so. This makes a deliciously tender meat. The chef on the radio show decided to venture down a similar path with potatoes. The problem with the normal braising method, you won’t get the crunchy finish you want with parsley potatoes, because the water would soften everything (including that deliciousness you seared on first). Read more below on the reverse braising method I used for these potatoes. We had some green beans in the freezer from our CSA and we severe them with steak from our grass fed cow.
Braised Fingerling Potatoes with Sautéed Green Beans and Almonds
- 2-3 pounds multicolored fingerling potatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
(you could also just use red potatoes, but baking potatoes won’t work well)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound green beans
- 1/4 cup silvered almonds
- 1-2 tbsp Butter
- Parsley (dry or fresh, amount to your personal liking)
- Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and place all the potatoes cut-side down in the pan. Add 1″ of water. Cover the skillet and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the water is all absorbed and the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. If the water is absorbed but the potatoes are still tough, add more water.
- While the potatoes are cooking, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in another skillet. Add the almonds and green beans and saute for 8-10 minutes. Set aside.
- Once the water is absorbed in the potatoes, add the butter to the pan. and let the cut sides sear. Be careful not the burn them. Add parsley and remove from heat.
- Serve fresh, as refrigeration will remove the crunch you worked so hard for!
This summer I had more eggplant than I knew what to do with. Usually I made baba ghanouj or I roasted the eggplant and froze it for later. One morning I stumbled across a roasted tomato and eggplant soup that sounded absolutely amazing – I had to try it. While it was a little more work than I usually like to put into things (yes, I’m a lazy cook), it was absolutely worth it. I modified the recipe a bit to finish it off in the crock pot, as an lazy cook would do :). I was living in Madison at the time, so unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the final product before leaving for school. I’m sure I’ll be making it again, so I will update the post with more pictures.
Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup
adapted from Martha Stewart
- About a dozen plum tomatoes, cored and halved
- 1 large onion, diced
- 10 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large eggplant, halved
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 large bunch of basil
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Line 1 rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil-lined pan and 1 unlined pain with cooking spray. Place the eggplant on the lined pan, face down. Poke holes in the top with a sharp knife. Place the tomatoes, onions, oil, and garlic on the unlined pan
(in the picture you can see I put the basil, but it came close to burning, so I wouldn’t do that again)
- Roast both pans for 45 minutes, mixing every 15 minutes to prevent burning.
- If possible, peel the tomatoes (as I mentioned above, I’m a lazy cook, so I wasn’t too picky about this). Pour tomatoes into a food processor and blend well. Pour into a 4 or 6 qt crock pot.
- Remove the skins from the eggplant and pour into the food processor. Puree and thin with some water.
- Add to the crock pot and combine well. Add the chickpeas and basil to the crockpot. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
This is it – the last CSA box of the year. Where did the past 18 weeks ago? This CSA has been a great experience. It had it’s ups and downs along the way (delicious food but not enough time to prep it all), and living away from home for over half of it didn’t make it any easier. We tried some new foods and I cooked more than ever in the last 4 months. I hope you enjoyed seeing our weekly share and were inspired to try some new recipes. If you too have more veggies than you know what to do with, here’s an AWESOME website on how to “preserve the harvest“
Here’s what is in the box this week:
- Brussel Sprouts
- Roast in the oven with a little olive oil and salt at 350F x 30 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes
- Bell Peppers
- Satuee with carrots, green beans, and onion
- Peel and slice. Roast in the oven with a little olive oil and salt at 350F x 30 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes
- Kraut? I stil haven’t started last week’s yet, so if there isn’t too much I may just do the 2 heads to make a large batch of kraut
- Satuee with peppers, green beans, and onion
- Dry for later or use with green salsa (see below)
- Green Beans
- Sautee with peppers, carrots, and onion
- Honeysuckle Apples
- Hot peppers (various)
- Roast and preserve in oil in the refrigerator
- Kakai Pumpkin
- Kale chips (1/2 the bunch and you can use cooking spray instead of avocado oil in the recipe)
- Chop the other half and add to the soup
- Finish drying and then pop in the air popper or on the stove with a little oil
- Potatoes (various)
The kitchen counter doesn’t look much different this morning than it did 4 days ago when we picked up the CSA box. My days have been so long that I haven’t had a chance to look at the produce, let alone do something about it. I have been leaving the house at 4:50am and getting home at 8pm – just enough time to shower, do some reading for the morning, and go to bed. They feed us at the hospital, so I haven’t been very motivated to cook this week either. But today will be different; this morning I have house chores, food prep, cooking, freezing, and canning to do. I thought the weekends were for rest and relaxation…
Anyway, here is a recipe I made a few weeks ago. The weather has turned and it is now crock pot season. As I’ve mentioned before, we bought 1/2 a grass-fed cow from a local farm last winter, so we have a lot of beef to eat. We’ve made a surprisingly huge dent in the stored and the basement just has 1 milk crate full of meat left. Thank goodness, because we just purchased another 1/2 (but this time we will share it with a few other people).
Crock pot beef is a simple meal to throw together in the morning before work. You can really add any vegetables to the mix; This recipe has cabbage, onions, green peppers, and carrots. I plan to use some of the frozen vegetables from our CSA when I make this again during the fall/winter.
Slow Cooker Beef Roast
- cooking spray
- 3-4 pound beef roast
- 1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
- Black pepper
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 large green peppers, diced
- 1 pound carrots, chopped
- 1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
- Spray a 6qt crock pot with cooking spray.
- Place roast in crock pot. Pour vinegar over the top. Season with pepper. Cover with vegetables. I like to put the cabbage in last.
- Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Check after 6 hours – if there is no liquid, add water. There should be plenty of liquid from the vegetables cooking down.
This week is another crazy week which in turn means a short post. I started OB/GYN up in Green Bay and it is full steam ahead. Tomorrow I am in Labor and Delivery, so I should be delivering my first babies in the next 24 hours
This week’s box was HUGE! Here is what is in the box and what I plan to do with it all:
- Acorn Squash – save for later
- Butternut Squash – save for later
- Beets (w/ tops) – not sure yet
- Bell Peppers – sautee with onions
- Cabbage (green OR purple) – my first attempt at kraut!
- Carrots – cut off tops, wash, and eat as a snack with hummus
- Green and Yellow Beans – sautee in garlic and eat with steak and potatoes
- Honey – save for later
- Hot peppers (various) – roast and store in oil in the refrigerator with other hot peppers
- Honeycrisp Apples – eat
- Leeks – I plan to make sausage and leek soup this weekend
- Onions – sautee with bell peppers
- Pumpkins – carve this weekend!
- Radish- “Watermelon” and ”Black Spanish” – not sure yet
- Tomatillos – not sure yet
- Tomatoes – roast with garlic at 425F x 25 minutes (stir intermittently) and serve over pasta
UPDATE 10/5/13 - I ended up roasting the radishes in the oven with olive oil and salt for 40 minutes. They turned out great. Jason said they remind him of potatoes, so they would be a good option for people who are trying to cut back on carbs. I also ended up making a leek and sausage soup with peppers. I added a few too many hot peppers, so I’ll need to come up with a remedy for that.
What a wonderful week. Squash season is definitely here! I made some roasted butternut squash with sage last weekend – delicious! I forgot how much I missed fall. The food and weather are by far my favorite of the year. Our CSA is full of squash this week and our backyard garden is growing well (despite the leaves being taken over by these guys). This week also marks my last week of living away from home for the next 6 months – the longest stretch in the last 2 years! I am thoroughly enjoying neurology and have decided to keep it on my list of possible specialties. The shelf exam is this Friday – wish me luck!
Back to the food. This week there is quite the variety! Here is what is in the box:
- Buttercup Squash (green)
- Bell Peppers
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Green Beans
- HoneyCrisp Apples
- Radish- “Watermelon” & ”Black Spanish”
- Red Kuri Squash (orange)
- Sugar Snap Peas
Unfortunately my inspiration for food prep is at zero now. It took more effort than usual just to put this post together. For that reason, here is the simple food prep planned (for now):
- Roasted carrot and beet salad
- Pasta salad with peppers, cucumbers, radishes, snap peas, and cherry tomatoes
- Saute green beans with garlic and onions.
- Cut-up watermelon for snacking.
- Store all squash in the basement for later.
Tomatoes are in full swing and my dad’s heirlooms are especially sweet now. Here is a quick and easy lunch recipe I threw together last weekend. I love tomatoes and pesto, so I had eyed this recipe up since it was posted in early in August. The original recipe (here) has how to make crust from scratch. I was lazy and had pizza dough on hand, so I just used that to make two galettes.
Tomato Pesto Galette
Original recipe – Two Peas and Their Pod
- 2-3 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick
- premade whole wheat pizza dough (or see link above for dough from scratch)
- 1/3 cup basil pesto (I used this recipe from earlier in the summer)
- [optional] fresh Parmesan, feta, or mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a cookie sheet and/or pie tin. I made one in a pie tin and one on a cookie sheet.
- Roll out dough to desired size. Spread a generous amount of pesto and top with tomato slices.
- Fold edges over the tomatoes (see picture)
- Top with cheese, if desired.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
This week’s box is minimal prep. This is great for J because I won’t be home next until the 27th. While it is a long stretch, once I am home I get to stay there for 6 months!!!! That is the longest in 2 years, so I am pretty excited This will be a brief post and I am may be a little MIA the next few weeks as I prep for my neuro shelf exam. When I’m done, apples will be in full swing and I can’t wait! Fall is by far my favorite time of the year. Here’s what J will be up to this week.
What’s in the box this week:
- Butternut Squash
- Roast and slice; eat on salads this week
- Bell Peppers
- Sautee up for tacos this week
- Green Beans
- Roast with leeks; serve with roast, and parsley bread
- Herbs-Parsley & Thyme
- hang thyme to dry
- Parsley bread (similiar to this recipe)
- HoneyCrisp Apples
- Roast with green beans; serve with roast and parsley bread
- Purple Cabbage
- Sauerkraut (or at least attempt to make it….)
- Sugarsnap Peas
- Serve with tacos this week and on salads
- Cut up and eat as a snack
Snacking foods (just wash and cut as needed):
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Green beans with leeks
Ahh I am so behind on posts! I promise I have been cooking and have a slew of tasty recipes to share over the next few weeks. I am finishing up my 2nd week of neurology in Madison and am loving it. While I have always thought I would go into family medicine, neurology has been a lingering interest since I’ve started medical school. This week is the end of my outpatient part of neurology and next week I will start with inpatient stroke – exactly what I’m interested in. I am really excited to see how it goes!
Anyway, on to the food (since that is why you visit). This is a recipe I made last month with carrots from the CSA. The roasted carrots and walnuts paired with crunchy barley and sharp feta is amazing. I am a bland girl, so I actually ate this without the dressing in the original recipe. If you are more normal than me and like a little more flavor, I recommend you visit Joanne’s website (linked below) and try out the dressing as well.
Roasted Carrot and Chickpea Salad by Joanne Eats Well with Others
- 1 cup dried barley, prepared as directed on package
- 2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 lb carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/3-inch slices
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled, and diced
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 2 cups walnut halves
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
- Prepare barley as directed on the package (simmer for 1 hour).
- Preheat the oven to 425F and spray a baking pan with cooking spray.
- Add carrots, garlic, cumin, and oil in a large bowl and toss well. Roast for 15 minutes and stir. Add walnuts and roast for an extra 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from roasting pan and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a large bowl and add barley, chickpeas, and feta cheese. Season to taste with salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.