Thursday, October 18, 2007

Stuffed squash with a healthy crisp salad...

There are times when we are left with just a little bit of this or that from different recipes hanging out in the refrigerator that I don't know what to do with. Usually we end up snacking on them or sometimes they hang out a little too long and we end up tossing them. We had a couple stalks of celery and a handful of grapes leftover that were almost to that point, so it seemed like it was a good time to toss together this Apple, Grape and Celery Salad.

The celery stalks are thinly sliced on the diagonal while the grapes are just sliced in half. To add a tart contrast to the sweet grapes, a juicy Granny Smith apple (woo - another apple off the shelf!) is then thinly sliced as well - try not to go paper thin as you want the salad to have a crisp texture. The mixture is then simply dressed with a splash of white-wine vinegar, a glug of your best extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and fresh ground pepper. Good as is, the salad is given another layer of texture with a scattering of nutty toasted pecans on top.

Apple, Grape and Celery SaladIt didn't really sound like much at first when I was glancing over the recipe, but I'm glad we gave this crunchy salad a try anyway! Hitting lots of texture and flavor points, this clean, fresh and colorful salad turned out to be a great healthy way to use up those leftover ingredients we had. Also, if you have some little helpers around that like to join you in the kitchen, this might be a nice recipe to keep them occupied!

Tonight's dinner has us trying to branch out again... can you believe we've never had acorn squash? We've both tried butternut squash a couple times and while I liked it, Jeff was less than impressed. I figured enough time had passed now that he should have probably forgotten about that - I approached him with the idea of making this Acorn Squash with Brown Rice and Turkey Sausage dish and he thought it sounded good, so tonight was the night!

To make this go a little quicker, the acorn squash is first zapped in the microwave, after halving and cleaning out the guts, to soften the light-orange flesh inside. While waiting, we cooked and crumbled a couple links of hot Italian turkey sausage until lightly browned. Once they were done, we removed the spicy bits of meat and then sautéed chopped onions, red bell peppers and a garlic clove in the same pan.

Acorn Squash with Brown Rice and Turkey SausageWhen the squash has cooled down enough to handle, most of the tender flesh is scooped out, leaving about a 1/4" border around the edges. The meat of the squash is then mixed with the sausage, cooked vegetables, chopped fresh parsley and a couple scoops of cooked brown jasmine rice. The empty acorn halves are then stuffed with the hearty sausage mixture and baked in the oven until completely heated through. Who knew squash could be so good? It really is too bad we waited this long to give it a try! We (Jeff especially!) loved the smooth texture and mildness of the squash - it was a great backdrop to the heat from the Italian sausage chunks and fragrant rice. Serving in the tidy little shells made for a great presentation and a fun way to enjoy the dish! This has me excited to try out other squash recipes I've been moving towards the bottom of the to-try pile for the longest time - I've already got one picked out for next week!


  1. What a freshly, appealing salad with varying textures and flavours. Thanks, Joe.

  2. That squash sounds fantastic. I have a big ol' spaghetti squash in the fridge for this week, but I might have to get an acorn squash the next time I'm out.

  3. Cynthia - Thank you!

    Jen - I have plans for one myself next week!

  4. this sounds great; thanks!

  5. I just made the acorn squash dish for dinner tonight, and it was quite tasty! Easy to make, so I'm sure I will do so again.

  6. Katherine - Fantastic, thanks for the feedback!