Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

Thanksgiving has passed for us Canadians. American Thanksgiving is coming up very soon. I have been viewing an interview with the president of Butterball who was stating that this year in particular, turkeys would be much larger birds as a result of a shortage of workers to process turkeys during COVID, which resulted in turkeys growing much larger before they were sent to the processors. Small turkeys between 10 and 12 pounds will be extremely hard to find this year! And it definitely is squash season.

If you are not into a traditional Thanksgiving with turkey and all of the trimmings OR if you are not a large family but just a couple, then this could be perfect as a smaller dinner. You could make it vegan using no protein at all!

Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 medium acorn squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing onto the squash
  • 1 yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, small dice
  • 2 stalks celery, small dice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or half a teaspoon dried
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb mild or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 cups torn curly kale
  • ¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Slice a small piece off the top and bottom of the squash so it can sit upright, then slice the acorn squash in half width-wise (not through the stem). This will result in a pretty scalloped edge. Scrape out the seeds.

3. Place the squash halves on the baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Turn upside down (seed side down) and roast for 25 minutes or until the squash is fork tender.

4. Meanwhile, make the filling. Over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery and sauté until onion is softened and turning translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Stir in the chopped fresh thyme, then add the minced garlic and sausage. Continue to sauté for another 8 minutes, or until the sausage is fully cooked.

6. Place the torn kale on top of the sausage mixture and cover the skillet to steam for 1-2 minutes. Stir and re-cover to continue steaming the kale, if necessary. Once the kale is wilted, stir in half the parmesan cheese and remove the pan from heat.

7. Once the squash is done roasting, remove them from the oven and turn the heat up to broil. Flip the squash bowl side up and divide the filling evenly among them (pile it high, they’ll be overfull), then sprinkle on the remaining the parmesan cheese.

8. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted, making sure not to over-brown the squash.

Serve immediately and store any leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Eat within4 days.

Nutrition

Oven Baked Dry Rub Ribs

Time certainly brings out the essence of these ribs, even if you do not follow up with the BBQ sauce. I actually prefer them without the sauce, but that is a personal choice. If you follow the recipe to a T, you cannot go wrong one way or the other. FYI…they were so tasty we ate them all before I remembered a photo. Serve with a great coleslaw…

Oven Baked Dry Rub Ribs

For the dry rub

  • 1/2 a cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

Instructions

Take your ribs and trim off any excess fat, then place them in a baking dish or you could use the disposable foil baking dish.

Preheat your oven to 130°C/266°F

Take your rub mixture and rub it on the pork ribs one by one ensuring that you coat every piece of meat.

Once you have finished rubbing each and every rib, place them in your baking tray and cover it up with aluminium foil and place it into the oven.

OPTIONAL After 2 and 1/2 hours, remove them from the oven, apply your fav BBQ sauce. Coat each rib with the sauce using a spoon or brush then put them back in the oven but this time don’t cover them.

Let them continue cooking for the last 30 minutes brushing them frequently with the sauce.

Spaghetti with Beef and Chorizo

By now you know me well enough that I shop at Costco, which means I always buy bulk. Chorizo (Argentinian sausage) is raw when purchased. It must be cooked! Leftover sausages can be easily frozen, which was the case here. Finding that I had all of the ingredients, this recipe went together quickly. Enjoy!

Spaghetti with Beef and Chorizo

Spaghetti with Chorizo and Beef

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons neutral cooking oil
  • 2 cups white onion, diced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 chorizo sausage, diced
  • 2 cups white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup red or green bell peppers
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 jar passata (tomato puree)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic crema (reduced balsamic vinegar)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 200 grams fresh spaghetti noodles
  • fresh basil leaves, to serve

Method:

Add oil to a large pot on medium heat. Cook onions for 5-7 minutes, until they begin to become translucent. Add salt, garlic and chorizo, and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and bell peppers. Season with dried basil, oregano, parsley and chili flakes.

In a separate pan on medium heat, cook the ground beef. Once cooked through, add to the pot with everything else. Add passata, balsamic crema, water, and combine well. Cover with lid and lower heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add fresh spaghetti noodles, and cook for 2 minutes before draining, reserving a little of the pasta water. Add sauce to the pot, combine well, and serve with fresh basil.

Slow Cooker Sausage and Peppers

Normally, when I do sausage and peppers, it is in the oven. Since I had time this week I found a slow cooker/crockpot recipe on Pinterest for this method. Come to find out, I liked it much better without having to use the oven. The texture of the sausage was so very different and the peppers were great. Served this with a little side of steamed broccoli. Perfect dish!

FYI…the sausages I prefer are Obertal Argentinian Chorizos, but that is your choice.

Crockpot Sausage and Peppers

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg Italian sausages (5) My preference is Obertal Argentinian Chorizo
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup chunky marinara sauce I substituted a small jar of PACE Medium Salsa
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2-3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Instructions

1. Heat a skillet on medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan.

2. Sear the Italian sausages 2-3 mins on each side until starting to brown. You aren’t trying to cook them all the way through, you’re just browning the outside a bit which always increases the flavor while slow cooking.

3. Lay the seared Italian sausages in the bottom of a slow cooker/crockpot.

4. Add the uncooked sliced onions and peppers on top of the sausages.

5. Sprinkle the garlic salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning over the top.

6. Spread the marinara sauce or PACE salsa over the onion and pepper mixture.

7. Cook the crock pot sausage and peppers recipe on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7 hours until the peppers are soft and the Italian sausage is cook through. FYI…mine was done at 4 hours on low!

8. The crockpot Italian sausage and peppers are seriously SO delicious as is, but to take it up a notch, take the sausage and peppers out of the slow cooker and spread into a broiler-safe pan and follow the cheese steps in the optional section.

Optional – Add Cheese

1. Sprinkle 1/2 – 3/4 cups of your favorite shredded white cheese, like mozzarella, Monterey Jack, an Italian blend, or Colby Jack would all be great choices.

2. Broil the Italian sausage and peppers mix for 1-2 minutes 4″ from the heat source until the cheese is melted.

Hot and Sour Soup

Recently bought 2 fresh leeks for potato and leek soup, but had too many leftover from the recipe. They were just sitting in the fridge ready to use up. Coincidentally, I had leftover cooked pork loin. “Alexa, what can I do with leeks and pork?” NOT REALLY…you know by now I am a big fan of Pinterest in these situations. She/he never fails me. This recipe looks long, but only because of the seasonings. It called for sweet corn (unusual for hot and sour soup); I substituted a small can of corn, but I would omit next time…As you can see in the photo, I omitted the Ramen noodles to cut carbs.

P.S. If you have never used fresh leeks they MUST be sliced down the middle first and thoroughly washed as they contain sand or dirt from where they were grown.

Hot and Sour Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Oil
  • 1 leek roughly sliced (after thorough washing)
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet corn (OPTIONAL)
  • 2 mushrooms sliced
  • 4 cups chicken Stock
  • 1/8 Teaspoon nutmeg grated
  • 1/8 Teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 cup chopped pork loin cooked
  • 2.65 ounces Ramen noodles (OPTIONAL)*
  •  Juice of 1 lime
  • Cilantro garnish

1. Heat up a shallow pan, add the oil.

2. Throw in the sliced leeks and fry soft for 2 minutes.

3. Add the sweet corn and mushroom. Stir and mix well.

4. Pour in the broth mixed with water.

5. Season with nutmeg, black pepper, chili flakes, brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar. Add in the chopped cooked pork loin.

6. Mix the whole content well and let it cook covered until the sweet corn is getting soft. This might take 10 minutes.

7. At the end add the noodles and cook those soft for another 5 minutes uncovered.*

8. Remove from heat and pour in the lime juice. Mix the soup well and serve hot.

Pork Chops with Caper Sauce

By now you know me well; I am always searching Pinterest for new recipes to try. In this case, it was to do with pork chops which I had already thawed. This one caught my eye as we both love capers. And no, they are NOT fish! They are berries from a bush. It turned out great or else I would not share it with you. I quickly steamed some cauliflower to accompany the chops. The flavour was really good. You could omit the capers but it really adds to the flavour.

Pork Chops with Caper Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 1-inch thick center-cup, bone-in pork loin chops (allow chops to sit at room temp for 30 mins)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup capers, drained
  • 2 tbsp Sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream

INSTRUCTIONS

Pre-heat oven to 200°F.

Pat chops dry with a paper towel, and then generously sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.

Add the chops and sear on one side for about 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown on the bottoms.  Flip the chops over and sear the other sides for another 4 to 5 minutes. (The chops should be firm to the touch, but still have a little give).

Transfer the chops to the oven to keep warm while preparing the sauce.

Pour all but about 1 teaspoon of oil from pan and reduce the heat to medium.

Add the shallots and garlic and cook until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the capers and cook for 30 seconds

Add the vinegar and cook until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes.

Add the stock, mustard, a pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook until slightly thickened, about 2 – 3 minutes.

Stir in the cream.

German Style Kielbasa and Sauerkraut

This fast approaching traditional Oktoberfest in many German communities, I searched Pinterest for a great Oktoberfest recipe to go with great German beer. Usually I just fry up some kielbasa, throw in the sauerkraut and red wine vinegar and serve. I needed to up my game. This recipe fits the bill! Sorry, no pics as we ate it all up! Indeed, it turned out perfect. (Too bad we dont usually drink beer…LOL)

German Style Kielbasa and Sauerkraut

Ingredients

  • 1-pound Kielbasa, Sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Chopped
  • 1 whole Large Apple, Cored and Diced
  • 1-quart Sauerkraut, Rinsed and Drained
  • 1 cup Apple Juice
  • ½ cups Brown Sugar OPTIONAL (as the juice adds enough sweetness for us)

Preparation

Brown kielbasa in oil in Dutch oven over medium heat.

Add chopped onion and sauté until onion is translucent.

Add apples and sauté for a minute until they start to soften.

Add rinsed and drained sauerkraut, apple juice and brown sugar, stir to combine.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Mustardy Pork Chops with Roasted Red Cabbage (and Potatoes)

Mustard and pork chops + red cabbage = great dinner! Another Pinterest find which turned out really well. I omitted the starchy potatoes since I did not have any. Not sure it would have turned out any better?

Mustard

Mustardy Pork Chops with Roasted Red Cabbage and Potatoes (optional)

Ingredients

  • 4-5 medium potatoes, Yukon Gold, scrubbed clean
  • 1 small head of red cabbage (about 1 pound)
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 bone-in pork chops, thick cut (about 1 pound each)
  • 100 g / 3.5 oz. crème fraiche or sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh, chopped dill, plus some for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp. granulated sugar
  • fine sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 230 C / 450°F. Chop the potatoes into bite-sized pieces, leaving the skins on. Spread the potatoes in a single layer in a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp. oil and toss to coat well. Roast for 20 minutes.
  2. Cut the red cabbage into 2.5 cm / 1-inch slices, remove thick core and discard. Brush with 1 Tbsp. oil and add to the roasting potatoes. Reduce heat to 200 C / 400 F and roast for another 25 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl mix crème fraiche, dill, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the pork chops with salt and cook each side until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  5. Remove the baking pan from the oven. Place the pork chops on top of the potatoes and red cabbage and coat evenly with the mustardy crème fraiche.
  6. Transfer the baking pan back into the oven and roast until the pork chops are tender, this takes about 8 to 10 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers at least 65 C / 145 F.
  7. Sprinkle with dill, salt and fresh ground black pepper before serving.

Egg Roll in a Bowl #2

Second version of this recipe… we both liked the finer chopped vegetables.

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Egg Roll in a Bowl

  • 1-pound ground pork or chicken
  • 4 green onions whites/greens separated
  • 2 teaspoons ginger grated
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1-pound coleslaw mix (Mrt. Lucky Broccoli, Cauliflower and Carrot )
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil or to taste
  • cilantro & sesame seeds for garnish
  1. Brown pork in a pan until no pink remains. Drain fat
  2. Add the whites of the green onions, ginger, garlic, and coleslaw mix.
  3. Cook until slaw is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in soy sauce and sesame oil and stir until coated.
  4. Garnish with cilantro, greens of green onions, and sesame seeds and serve.

Optional additions:

  • Chopped mushrooms, water chestnuts or other vegetables
  • Sriracha or hot sauce to taste

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Egg Roll in a Bowl #1

I made this version of Egg Roll in a Bowl last year and have been using it ever since while we were on the Keto Diet. It is great, but I have recently come across this one which uses a Mr. Lucky Mini Flakes of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. It’s far easier than chopping up all that cabbage…LOL.

The original recipe from Tasha Metcalf with the cabbage is below.

Keto Egg Roll in a Bowl   Tasha Metcalf

Prep Time 5 minutes     Cook Time 15 minutes    Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1-pound ground pork OR chicken
  • 1 head cabbage thinly sliced
  • ½ onion medium, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ¼ cup soy sauce or liquid aminos
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 stalks of green onion

Instructions

Brown ground pork in a large pan or wok over medium heat.

Ensure cabbage and onion is thinly sliced into long strands. Use a spiralizer to cut the vegetables for quickest results.

Add sesame oil and onion to pan with browned ground pork. Mix together and continue cooking over medium heat.

Mix soy sauce, garlic, and ground ginger together in a small bowl. Once onions have browned, add the sauce mixture to the pan.

Immediately add the cabbage mixture to the pan and toss to coat the vegetable and evenly distribute ingredients. Add chicken broth to the pan and mix. Continue cooking over medium heat for three minutes, stirring frequently.

Garnish with salt, pepper, and green onion.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 268
  • % Daily Value*
  • Total Fat 18g 28%
  • Total Carbohydrates 10g 3%
  • Protein 15g 30%
  • * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.