Stuffed Acorn Squash

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I love going into the grocery store in the fall, I love all the wonderful fall vegetables and adore comfort food – cooking in the fall and winter are my favorite times to cook and to entertain. The other day I was at Sprouts Farmer’s Market and stopped at the meat counter. As I walked away and into the produce department I immediately glanced at the acorn squash. This gave me the idea to head back to the meat counter and ask for Hot Italian Sausages. It came to me that this would be the perfect time to make stuffed acorn squash. From the meat counter, I headed to the aisle selling rice and picked up a package of long grain wild rice and back to produce for a package of fresh spinach leaves and a Macintosh apple. Next, I was off to the cheese aisle for a block of aged white cheddar. My recipe was coming together in the matter of a few minutes spent at Sprouts. I made this dinner last night for my sister-in-law and her husband and they loved it! I even sent Ben home with some of the leftovers for his lunch today.

I started by cutting the ends off the bottom and top of the squash so I’d have two flat edges to sit my squash on. I didn’t want them to teeter on the pan; I needed them to sit steadily.

I then cut the squash in half and removed the seeds.

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Once the seeds were scooped out, I brushed olive oil on the edge and in the cavity of the squash and sprinkled them with kosher salt and pepper. I roasted them, cut side down in a preheated 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.

While they were roasting, I made the stuffing for my squash.

I started with 4 large Hot Italian Sausage Links (this came to 1-3/4 pounds). I removed the sausage from the casings into a large skillet and cooked it until it was brown and crumbly, and there was no visible pink color to the meat. Once the sausage was cooked, I added a 9 ounce package of fresh spinach leaves and let it cook down until it was wilted. Once the spinach had wilted, I added a chopped Macintosh apple and 2 teaspoons of all-spice to the mixture and stirred it all together, letting it cook until the apple had softened a bit, about 5 minutes. (Note: I did not add any onion or garlic to this recipe, but you certainly could. My sister-in-law can not have either, so I did without for this recipe. The flavoring was enough with the sausage, spinach and apple – the onion and garlic were not missed at all.)

While the sausage, spinach and apples were cooking together, I cooked the wild rice, which I added to the sausage mixture as soon as it was done. I added a total of 3 cups of cooked wild rice to the mix.

I then added a cup of shredded, aged white cheddar cheese to the skillet, mixed everything together and stuffed the acorn squash.

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I have found this cheese to have a wonderful, nutty flavor.

I then added a bit more shredded cheese and placed the sheet pan back into the oven for 10 minutes.

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This dish was served with ciabatta bread and sautéd green beans, it was delicious!

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Ingredients

4 large hot Italian sausage links (1-3/4 pound)
3 cups cooked wild rice
9 ounce bag of fresh spinach leaves
1 Macintosh apple, chopped
kosher salt
pepper
olive oil
2 teaspoons all spice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Remove pointed end off bottom of squash and stem off top (making the top and bottom flat so they will sit on the sheet pan evenly). Remove seeds from squash and brush cavity and edges with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.
  3. Turn squash cut side down and roast for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove sausage from casings into a large skillet and cook for 10-12 minutes, until it is browned and no longer pink. Add spinach to skillet and let wilt. Add apples, a pinch of kosher salt and a pinch of pepper, as well as all-spice, and cook for 5 minutes, until apple starts to soften. Add shredded cheese and stir.
  5. Stuff squash with sausage mixture and top with a bit more shredded cheese and place in oven for 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

 

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