Category Archives: organic

Stuffed Acorn Squash

With their beautiful presentation, these Acorn squash are hearty enough to be a meal or an impressive side dish.

As the weather begins to cool and the leaves start to turn to their golds and reds, I am so happy to change my recipes from salsa’s and summer salads to the flavors of Autumn. Rich and fragrant foods now begin to emerge from my kitchen, my much ignored oven has once again become a comforting source of heat as the chilly breezes begin to wash around us. Oh the smell of Fall in Michigan. Now, the Acorn Squash are ready in Ma’s garden and she was happy to share.

During her visit the other day, my mom confided to me that she just cannot get Dad interested in eating squash. I’ve been thinking about how to make this perfect food, full of nutritional goodness more appealing to the “non-squash lovers”. I knew I wanted to stuff these naturally pretty packages. My first attempt, was okay, but not recipe worthy. After my second attempt, I knew I had a winner!

Apples, dried cranberries, pecans, fresh sage and thyme are the stars of this dish. Sweet and savory, it’s the perfect side dish or quite frankly, a meal in itself! I hope this can change the opinions of non-squash fans, but it will surely make lovers of our fall produce very happy!

Recipe yields 4 small squash

Ingredients:

4 Small Acorn Squash (about 4-inches in diameter) tops cut off and seeds scooped out.
1 Package Stuffing mix any flavor
1/4 lb butter or margarine (1/2 stick)
1 3/4 cup Apple Cider
1/2 Cup roughly chopped Pecans
1 stalk celery sliced thinly
1/2 cup diced onion
3/4 cup peeled and diced apple ( I recommend Granny smith or other tart apple)
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries (golden raisins could be substituted)
1 Heaping TBS fresh chopped Sage
1 Heaping TBS fresh Thyme removed from woody stems
1 Heaping TBS fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp Cinnamon
Salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the tops of squash off, as if cutting the top of a pumpkin you will be carving, reserve tops. Slice bottom of squash if needed to let it set upright, careful not to cut too deep into cavity, leaving a hole. If this does happen, remove a bit of flesh from the top to fill the bottom. Lightly salt the inside of the squash. Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan, saute in 2 TBS of butter your onions and celery until just beginning to soften. Melt the remaining butter and add Apple cider until cider is warm and butter is melted. Add dried cranberries, diced apples, cinnamon, and fresh herbs. Mix gently, contents of stuffing mix and pecans. When mixture is completely coated, scoop into squash with a spoon. Mixture can be gently packed in to add more. Stuff squash about 1/2 inch over the top and place the tops of the squash to cover stuffing. There should be a small space between the bottom and top of squash exposing a small amount of the stuffing mixture. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until squash is tender.
Remove from oven, let cool for about 5 minutes and enjoy!

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Ma’s Garden

Delivery from Ma's garden, including her fresh picked garlic, basil, thyme, parsley,sage, savory and rosemary. The flowers were nice too!

Goodies from Ma's Garden and the farmer's market

Ma's Garden

Doesn't get any better than this!

My Ma can grow! She can grow everything and anything that Michigan will allow. She taunts me with amazing and homegrown produce…feeding my creative taste buds. She delivers ingredients that would make an experienced chef drool. I am now finding myself challenged to utilize the amazing ingredients she has gifted me so casually! My Super-Gardener has my attention and admiration! In the picture, from upper left to right: Dill, Sweet Basil, Oh so Wonderful Radish, a bowl of Michigan Blend Greens (and a bit o’ radish),
Sweet Basil, Cilantro (I love you mom, as I know how you grew it just for me!), More Michigan Blend Greens, Rosemary, Thyme and Savory…Where does one begin? Fish, Potatoes, poultry, beef, salads, marinades…Know…I have taken a moment to taste each herb and vegetable alone…my tounge danced and my brain raced! Can I cook fast enough to give these perfect ingredients the respect they deserve? Organic labels, watch out! You cannot begin to touch Ma’s Garden!

Perfect Panini

Panini’s are no more than adult grilled cheeses. This one is made with Ham, provolone,red onion slices, spinach and tomato with a few more touches. The bread needs to be the good deli kind, crusty and hearty. Serve with a side salad or your favorite cold pasta salad…perfect picnic food or lunch for company!

Ingredients:

1 Loaf crusty bread cut into 1/2 inch slices. (I used sourdough, feta and spinach bread from family fare, just baked)
Deli shaved ham (Virginia baked was on sale or your favorite)
Deli sliced smoked Provolone cheese
Sliced tomato
Baby spinach (I used the organic on sale prewashed)
Thinly sliced red onion
Fresh ground salt and Pepper
Pinch of dried Oregano
Olive oil

Spray grill pan with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat at med-high. Brush outsides of bread with olive oil. Salt and pepper tomatoes and sprinkle with oregano. Layer on bottom piece of bread, ham, cheese, onion,tomato and baby spinach. Top with 2nd piece of bread. Place Panini on preheated grill pan. Weigh sandwich with a cast iron skillet or a clean brick covered with foil. Cook 3-5 minutes or until grill marks are dark brown. Flip Panini and weigh down with skillet or brick for another 3-5 minutes until done. Let sit 1-2 minutes before cutting in half.

Serve with a side salad or favorite cold potato or pasta salad.

Try this with any flavor bread, cheese, chicken, turkey, peppers, avocado, mushrooms….let your imagination lead your tastbuds!