Are you looking for an appetizer that is as colorful as it is flavorful? With roasted kabocha squash, ricotta cheese, and onions cooked in a maple syrup-apple cider vinegar reduction, these kabocha squash toasts are so tangy and so delicious! The maple syrup-cider vinegar reduction is what makes these toasts so special to me. As the sautéed onions simmer in the sweet/sour mixture, they take on a soft, jammy texture and a smoky flavor that blends beautifully with the slightly nutty flavor of the kabocha squash. Add that lusciousness to ricotta cheese, and you have a wonderful meeting of flavors and textures.
Fill roasted acorn squash “bowls” with sautéed mushrooms, chopped walnuts, couscous, and fresh thyme, and you have a festive and nourishing meal. A bit of melted butter and Parmesan cheese make it even better. The tender squash goes beautifully with the savory flavors of the filling, and the protein-rich mushrooms and walnuts are satisfying without making you feel over-full.
Roasted acorn squash halves make beautiful and tasty bowls for both sweet and savory fillings. I love apple-filled roasted squash, but I was recently looking for a way to use my acorn squash more as a main dish. Then I read a post titled Loaded Tofu, Basmati Rice & Apple Roasted Pumpkin on Amanda’s lovely blog, What’s Cooking. The title meal itself sounds delicious, and in this post, Amanda goes on to write about the versatility of the fillings as well as the squashes that can be used for stuffing, and she mentions brown rice, mushrooms, and walnuts as a possible filling. A little lightbulb went off in my head when I read this, because I had mushrooms, walnuts, and couscous on hand, and a pretty acorn squash sitting on my kitchen counter.
A suggestion turned into a delicious meal. Thank you, Amanda! The tender squash is a delicious, edible bowl for the savory mushrooms, couscous, walnuts, and thyme. You can really mix and match your filling ingredients, and prepare them while the squash is roasting. I happened to have leftover garlic-seasoned couscous in the refrigerator, but rice or quinoa would be good too. And if you wanted to add more protein, you could add some cooked shredded chicken or other ingredients. The possibilities are endless, so this recipe is merely one option, though a very delicious one! The recipe below is for one squash, which feeds about two people, but it can easily be doubled or more, if you are feeding a few people, and the amounts are estimates, because some of it depends on the size of the squash you are filling.
Using a roasted squash for a bowl is fun and seasonal. And if you are like me, sometimes you may need a little urging to use that squash. I end up with them sitting on my counter with the best of intentions, and though they look decorative on the counter, they need to be used! This is a relatively easy, lovely, healthy, and tasty way to use it. Rustic elegance on your table in a little over an hour, and much of that is oven time.
The fall color here continues to amaze me with its beauty. Everywhere I look there are beautiful trees. I am really hoping to get out into the woods this weekend. The natural luxury and bounty of this season is always inspiring to me. Nature is so generous with its display of sumptuous colors and textures, and looking around, I can see every shade of yellow, brown, red, and green. I hope you all have a beautiful weekend! I will be sharing this recipe over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Margy @ La Petite Casserole and Suzanne @ apuginthekitchen.
1/2 to 1 cup of cooked couscous (rice or quinoa can also be used)
1 cup of sliced mushrooms, sautéed
1/4 cup of raw walnuts, finely chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves, removed from the stems
1/4 to 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
2 to 3 tablespoons of butter
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to base. Spoon out the seeds. Place the halves cut-sides down in a buttered baking dish. Roast in your 375 degree oven for 35 to 50 minutes, or until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork or knife. (The roasting time will depend on the size of the squash).
While the squash is roasting, prepare your filling. Cook the couscous and sauté the mushrooms. Chop the walnuts and remove the thyme leaves from the stems. Mix the filling together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper and anything else you like.
When the squash is tender, pull it out of the oven and flip it over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and rub with a couple tablespoons or so of butter. Spoon the filling into the squash “bowls”, packing the filling as high as you want it. Put the filled squash back into the oven and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the filling is warmed all the way through. In the last five minutes or so, top with Parmesan cheese. Serve warm. Enjoy!
Capture the feeling and flavor of fall with these rich, moist apple cider muffins. Full of good ingredients, like chopped apples, cinnamon, ground rolled oats, and apple cider, these muffins are as nourishing as they are delicious! They taste kind of like a healthier version of those delicious apple cider doughnuts you can get at your favorite cider mill. Grab one for breakfast or pack one in your lunch and enjoy! And don’t forget how good your kitchen will smell as they are baking!
I adapted this recipe from a blueberry muffin recipe I found years ago in Real Simple Magazine. Over the years I have changed and substituted things, as our tastes and choices have evolved. The original recipe calls for orange juice and blueberries, but since we are currently in the midst of a beautiful fall, I wanted to reflect the season. Adding chopped apples instead of blueberries and the apple cider instead of the orange juice takes these muffins to a new level of deliciousness. And what are baked apples without cinnamon? Of course I had to add cinnamon.
The fall color around here is so beautiful, and I’m not sure we have even reached the peak of the color yet, since there is still quite a bit of green out there. I hope you all have a great weekend, and hope you get a chance to get out and enjoy the glorious colors. My son has two soccer games and we have out-of-town friends and my ex-pat cousin and her sons coming into town, so we will have lots of chances to savor the season. I am so looking forward to all of it! But now I must clean my neglected house! At least it smells really good in here, like apples and cinnamon. These muffins are wonderful. I hope you give them a try! I am sharing a plate over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Elaine @ foodbod and Michelle @ O Blog Off.
1 cup of plain Greek yogurt (if you don’t have plain, flavored Greek yogurt works too!)
1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup of fresh apple cider
1 large egg
1 and 1/2 cups of apple, peeled and finely chopped (about 2 medium apples)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line it with paper baking cups.
In a blender or food processor, combine the flour, rolled oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Pulse until the oats are finely ground and everything is combined.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, brown sugar, melted butter, apple cider, and egg. Stir until well combined. Gradually add the flour/oat mixture to the wet ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until well incorporated and a batter forms (do not overmix). Fold in the chopped apples.
Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cups. Bake in your 375 degree oven for 22 to 25 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before removing the muffins from the tin. Enjoy!