Make the most of your summer vegetables with these stuffed zucchini boats. The stuffing is made up of tangy tomatoes lightly cooked in olive oil with garlic and thyme, mixed with sourdough bread cubes and Parmesan cheese. The zucchini slices make the perfect vessel to hold the savory stuffing, and everything is baked with a generous topping of shredded cheese, which of course melts deliciously, making a tasty appetizer, snack, or side dish.
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!
Treat your body to an infusion of nutrients. This quick salad is rich in vitamins and minerals, with dark leafy greens, dried apricots, walnuts, and roasted pumpkin seeds, topped off with a homemade orange zest vinaigrette. The recipe for this salad is so simple, it’s not as much of a recipe as it is a remembrance of how easy it can be to make a really good salad that’s really good for us. Sometimes all we need is a nudge in a certain direction, or a simple reminder, and we have a really delicious salad in front of us that came mostly from foods we have in our own pantry.
If you live in a northern climate like I do, spring takes her sweet time to truly settle in, and winter does not give up without a few fights. We are in such a situation right now, where it is cold, gray, and wet. The only indication that it really is springtime is that the birds are singing loudly and beautifully, and the crocuses are proudly carrying on, despite the cold rain. And I am really grateful for that! However, during this time of year, I often feel depleted of energy and nutrients. The longing for spring and all that it brings is strong, yet we are not quite there yet.
So to remedy the situation, I have been eating this salad for lunch for the past few days, and it is really helping my energy level and my overall feeling of health. Even if greens are not growing in my own garden yet, they are growing somewhere nearby, and fresh greens are appearing at the grocery store more and more as this month progresses. And mandarin oranges have been on sale at the grocery store lately, so the orange zest salad dressing seemed like a good idea. There are so many nutrients in leafy greens and they are so well known, that I don’t feel the need to list them all. The rest of the salad is from staples I like to keep on hand, and though I sometimes take them for granted, these ingredients are full of really good stuff. Dried apricots are known for their potassium and iron content, walnuts for their omega 3s and vitamin E, and roasted pumpkin seeds for their zinc, manganese, and magnesium. And that’s just mentioning a few of the minerals found in these foods.
For me, it can be easy to get sidetracked and just graze on some pretzels and cheese for lunch, so eating this salad has been a boost to my nutrient intake, which helps my energy level and outlook on life. The recipe below is for two servings–feel free to double it or whatever, depending on how many you are making. And just a note–in my photos, the dried apricots look like bacon! (Not that bacon would be bad in this salad–it would probably taste really good!) They are actually organic dried apricots, so they aren’t the bright orange that some of the dried apricots are when they have preservatives to retain their color.
With the events going on in the world the past few days, we need all the energy and nutrients we can get to keep a hopeful attitude. I usually don’t like to talk about politics or world affairs much in this blog, and I don’t want to say much, except that I am saddened by the events and words that are tearing people apart lately, and I hope that we can each do our small part to help try to put love and healing toward the hatred. There is no easy answer, and I don’t pretend that there is, nor do I pretend to know the answer. I do know that I want to take care of the people I love, and if we all try to take care of one another, it will help. Food is a way for me to do that.
On a much lighter note, even if the weather doesn’t feel like spring today, I did see 6 mallard ducks waddling down our road this morning. I’m not sure where they were going, but I hope they got there safely. And if you celebrate Easter, I hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend! If you don’t, I hope you have a wonderful weekend! I managed to get some photos of the crocuses when it was sunny a few days ago, and they look to me like rays of hope.
a large handful of leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, or lettuces
a handful of dried apricots, chopped
a handful of walnuts, chopped
a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds
feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
For the dressing:
1/2 teaspoon of orange zest
1/4 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of honey
6 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
For the dressing, first grate an orange peel for the orange zest (and eat the orange!). In a glass jar, combine the orange zest, mustard, wine vinegar, and honey. Add the olive oil, and shake or whisk till combined. Add the salt and pepper to taste.
For the salad, arrange the greens on two plates. Sprinkle on the desired amount of chopped apricots, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle on some feta cheese, if desired. Pour the dressing over the salads. If you like a lot of dressing on your salad, you may want to double the dressing recipe. Enjoy!