Tag Archives: dinner

Hoisin Pork with Napa Cabbage

Fine Cooking has always been a reliable source of good recipes. I used to get the magazine but, as a tactic to tame my outlandish food magazine library, I stopped subscribing. Plus, I knew I could get more recipes than I’d ever need online.

When I lived in Virginia, a tall Ikea shelving unit in my bedroom was full of cooking magazines dating back to the 80s – yup, that many. I culled that collection when I moved to California and then again when I moved here to North Carolina. I sometimes mourn the loss of those old Gourmets – should I have saved some of the covers to frame? Wanting to downsize, I let them go, but only after going through all of them to clip my favorite, proven recipes. You can imagine how much time that took – the things we do for our obsessions!

I found this recipe on the web, not in my clippings – honestly, I hardly ever look in that file box, although I should – treasures lie within! One week in November, our CSA share included a head of Napa cabbage so I searched within my pins to see if I had a recipe. I love using Pinterest as an online recipe box. I’m a sucker for anything hoisin, so I seized upon this recipe.

This dish takes less than 30 minutes to prepare so it’s a great option for a week night. I served it with cauliflower faux fried rice instead of regular rice.

Hoisin Pork Tenderloin Stir-Fry with Napa Cabbage recipe from Grabbing the Gusto

Hoisin Pork with Napa Cabbage

You’ll need a large bowl, small bowl and large skillet or sauté pan.

  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/4-inch thick strips about 3 inches long
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 6 cups Napa cabbage (about 3/4 pounds), sliced crosswise into 1-1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, thinly sliced, and cut into 2 to 3 inch lengths
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives (or scallions)

In a large bowl, season the pork with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. In a small bowl, mix the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, red pepper flakes and vinegar.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in the pan over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the pork and cook, stirring, until it browns and loses most of its raw appearance, about 2 minutes. Don’t crowd the pork or it will not brown. Instead, sauté in stages, if necessary. Transfer pork to a plate.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the garlic, and once it begins to sizzle (don’t let it darken), add the cabbage and pepper. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until the cabbage starts to wilt, about 2 minutes.

Add the hoisin mixture, pork and half of the chives and cook, tossing, until heated through, about 1 minute. Let sit for 2 minutes off the heat. The cabbage will release liquid and form a rich broth. Toss again and garnish with the remaining chives.

Original recipe: Hoisin Pork with Napa Cabbage, Fine Cooking

Chicken Parmesan Muffins

Chicken Parmesan is one of our favorite comfort food meals. On a cold night, our tummies and brains are always pleased by a crispy, tender chicken cutlet covered with cheese and red sauce with a heaping pile of spaghetti, sautéed or roasted green veggie and glass of red on the side. Sounds fabulous, right?

One night, I decided to mix it up and make these chicken parmesan muffins instead. It’s basically a chicken meatloaf recipe baked in muffin tins. I was dubious – wouldn’t they be too dry? But they weren’t. And besides, if they were, I’d just smother them in more cheese and sauce.

I made a few changes to the original Chow recipe. I added red bell pepper to it and took the extra step of sautéing the pepper with the onion and garlic – in the original recipe, the onion and garlic are added raw to the muffin mixture. I also substituted basil pesto for fresh basil since I have a freezer full of pesto cubes. And I added fresh parsley and red pepper flakes to the mix for extra flavor.

According to Chow, the muffins will be drier and less flavorful if you use ground white-meat chicken. I took their advice. Luckily, my local supermarket sells ground dark-meat chicken from one of the national brands.

These muffins would be a good choice for a potluck feast. You could heat them up in the oven when you get there and serve some warm tomato sauce on the side. Now I’m wondering what they’d be like cooked in mini-muffin pans – an even better portion for a party. You could still try to smoosh a cube of mozzarella in them, but you’d have to keep an eye on them so they don’t overcook and dry out.

Chicken Parmesan Muffins recipe from Grabbing the Gusto

Chicken Parmesan Muffins

You’ll need a sheet pan, 6-well muffin pan, small sauté pan, large bowl and wire cooling rack.

  • Cooking spray or olive oil
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for sautéing
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/3 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 pounds ground dark-meat chicken
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto (or 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley (or 1/2 dried parsley)
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, diced
  • 1-1/2 cups marinara sauce

Preheat the oven to 400 with a rack in the middle. Line a sheet pan with foil. Place a 6-well muffin pan on the pan and coat the muffin wells and the top of the muffin pan with cooking spray or olive oil to coat the pan.

Combine 1/3 cup of the panko, 1/3 cup of the Parmesan and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small bowl until evenly moistened.

Sauté onion and red bell pepper in olive oil until starting to soften. Add garlic and sauté one minute. Take off heat and let cool.

Place the beaten egg in a large bowl. Add the remaining 1/3 cup panko and 1/3 cup Parmesan, chicken, pesto, oregano, parsley, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and onion/pepper mixture. Mix everything with your hands until it’s combined – take care not to squeeze or overwork the mixture or the muffins will be tough.

Divide the mixture among the wells of the muffin pan. Evenly divide the mozzarella pieces among the wells, pushing them into the center of the chicken mixture and enclosing them. Smooth out the tops of the “muffins.”

Optional – add some of the marinara to the tops of the muffins before baking.

Sprinkle the reserved panko-Parmesan mixture evenly over the tops of the meatloaf muffins and gently press to adhere.

Place the sheet pan with the muffin pan on it into the oven and bake until the muffins are cooked through, about 25-30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the tomato or marinara sauce and keep it warm.

When the meatloaf muffins are done cooking, set the oven to broil and broil until the panko topping is golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Run a small knife around the outside of each muffin to loosen and remove it. Serve with the marinara sauce.

Original recipe: Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf Muffins, Chow

Ina Garten’s Bay Scallop Gratin

Scallops are a weekend-only night meal for us. I like to think of them as too special for weeknights. When I see fresh-looking ones from the U.S. (not Mexico or Asia) at the fish counter, and the price isn’t too crazy, scallops end up on our menu.

I grew up eating a lot of scallops. New Bedford, the scallop capital, is just down the road from my hometown. I still love them so I’ve featured scallop dishes here before.

You can’t go wrong with an Ina Garten (aka the Barefoot Contessa) recipe. This is an easy dish to whip up. Just try to remember to take the butter out to soften before you get started. If you don’t, and I haven’t many a time, you can prep other things while you wait.

I’ve adapted her recipe to use the ingredients I have on hand. If I have fennel, I add it to the sautéed shallot and garlic, and skip the tarragon later — or vice versa. I use whatever herbs I have around – could be parsley, basil or even basil pesto. Because I’m adding sautéed shallots and garlic to the butter mixture, I don’t usually add additional olive oil unless I think the mixture needs some loosening up to spread evenly. I also don’t weigh the prosciutto; I use two to four pieces, or more if I feel like it.

The sides are up to you of course. When I made this last week, I served roasted carrots and butternut squash with thyme and garlic, alongside some simple sautéed (with garlic) spinach. Yes, it was a garlic-heavy evening — that happens a lot around here.

This dish would make a good Christmas Eve dinner. Even though I’m not Italian (except in the kitchen), I love seafood on Christmas Eve. Of course, one seafood dish isn’t enough. A small portion of these scallops as one of the starter courses followed up by a pasta dish (maybe shrimp al diavolo) and a shrimp and/or crab stuffed salmon or flounder, mmm, getting ideas here!

Bay Scallop Gratin with Prosciutto recipe from Grabbing the Gusto

Ina Garten’s Bay Scallop Gratin

You’ll need a small sauté pan, medium bowl and a baking dish large enough to hold the scallops in a single (or close to single, no need to be that fussy) layer.

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ounce (or more) sliced prosciutto, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, basil or pesto, plus extra minced herbs for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon or minced fennel bulb
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine/dry vermouth
  • 1 pound fresh bay scallops
  • Lemon

First, if you haven’t already softened your butter, take it out of the refrigerator, cut it in pieces and get it softening. You can sauté the shallot and garlic while you’re waiting. You can also prep the scallops while you’re waiting too – see below.

Preheat the oven to 425. Sauté shallot (and fennel, if using) in olive oil for a few minutes until softened. Add garlic for a minute. Remove from heat.

To make the topping, you can use a mixer or do it by hand. Mix the softened butter with the garlic, shallot, prosciutto, parsley/basil/pesto, lemon juice, tarragon/fennel, salt, and pepper and mix until combined. You can let this sit for a while to meld the flavors.

Whisk or beat in the olive oil until combined. Fold in the panko and set aside.

Preheat the broiler, if it’s separate from your oven.

Place wine/vermouth in the bottom of the baking dish. With a small sharp knife, remove the white muscle from the side of each scallop and discard. If you don’t do this, the dish will probably not suffer. But if you have the time, why not – I like having these little bits for our compost pile.

Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and spread in the bottom of the dish. Spread the garlic butter mixture evenly over the top of the scallops. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the topping is golden and sizzling and the scallops are barely done. If you want a crustier top, place the dish under the broiler for 2 minutes, until browned to your liking.

Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkling of chopped parsley (or basil) and serve immediately.

Ina likes serving it with crusty French bread.

Original recipe: Bay Scallop Gratin, Ina Garten, Food Network 

Sweet Potato and Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

Last weekend, my hometown in Massachusetts got about three feet of snow. Yesterday it was our turn, except we only got an inch, if that. Big fluffy flakes fell throughout the morning and afternoon, but it took a while for them to stick. Today, you’d hardly know we were living in a winter wonderland yesterday. A few shrubs in the shade are still dusted with white, and parts of our deck are still covered, but most of the snow is gone. So sad.

It was still snowing when I went to the supermarket. The street and store were strangely quiet for a Saturday afternoon. The Girl Scouts were packing up their cookie stand when I arrived, so I dodged yet another box. I made a promise that I would buy a box each time I saw them. I don’t mind getting a break from that promise.

Yesterday morning, one of my friends posted a recipe for shepherd’s pie on Facebook. I remembered I had pinned a shepherd’s pie recipe that used sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes — a Skinny Taste recipe. I’ve made a few of her recipes – Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy is one of my favorites – and knew that shepherd’s pie would be perfect cozy food for a cold night.

I only made a slight change to the recipe: I used frozen corn and peas, and added carrots to the onion mixture. I also used smoked paprika instead of regular paprika. The shepherd’s pie was delicious. I’m looking forward to having the leftovers for dinner on Tuesday, my next night to cook.

Sweet Potato Turkey Shepherd's Pie recipe from Grabbing the Gusto

Sweet Potato and Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

You’ll need a large pot, colander, large skillet and casserole dish.

For the potatoes:

  • 1-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, smooshed
  • 1/2 cup 1% or 2% milk
  • 1/4 cup fat free low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons reduced fat sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the filling:

  • 1 pound 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 parsnip, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, diced
  • 10 ounces frozen peas and corn 
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paprika or smoked paprika

Boil sweet potatoes and garlic in a pot of salted water until cooked and soft. Drain and mash with milk, chicken broth, sour cream, salt and pepper.  

While the sweet potatoes are boiling, brown the turkey in a large pan. Season with salt and pepper. When cooked, remove to a plate. Add olive oil to the pan. Add the onion, celery, parsnip, carrot, salt and pepper, cook about 12 minutes, until vegetables are slightly softened.

Add garlic and mushrooms, and sauté another 3-4 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper and mix well. Add peas, corn, chicken broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, cooked turkey, and mix well. Simmer on low about 5-10 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F.

Spread meat mixture on the bottom of a casserole. Top with mashed sweet potatoes. Use a fork to scrape the top of the potatoes to make ridges. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake 20 minutes or until potatoes turn golden. Remove from oven and let it cool 10 minutes before serving.

Original recipe: Sweet Potato Turkey Shepard’s Pie, Skinny Taste

Chipotle Sloppy Joe’s

What are your mandatory kitchen ingredients? I can’t imagine not having onions, garlic, eggs, parmesan, and pasta in mine. I can create enough meals out of those five ingredients, plus olive oil and a well-stocked spice and herb collection, to keep me going for days.

Chipotle has to be on that list too. I have at least one can of chipotle en adobo in the cupboard at all times. As soon as I open one can, I buy another, just in case. So, I always have my eye out for recipes to use up the leftover chipotle in the refrigerator.

I found a recipe for 15-minute Chipotle Sloppy Joe’s on the Slow Roasted Italian blog. To boost the flavor, I added onion, poblano pepper, garlic and dark beer to the recipe. Jim said he wasn’t a big fan of sloppy Joe’s because they’re usually too sweet, so I substituted molasses for half of the brown sugar.

They were no longer 15 minute Sloppy Joe’s but, holy moly, they were delicious. Too bad I didn’t find this recipe before the Super Bowl because it would be a great dish for a crowd if the recipe was doubled or tripled. I would still cook it on the stove, but then transfer it to a slow cooker to keep warm.

My side dish, vegetables al pesto (made with zucchini, mushrooms, onion, poblano, corn, and grape tomatoes), was a perfect accompaniment. I was going to serve sweet potato fries as a side, but after having a salad to start, I didn’t think we needed them. That’s another ingredient that’s always good to have on hand – frozen sweet potato fries.

Chipotle Sloppy Joes recipe from Grabbing the Gusto

Chipotle Sloppy Joe’s 

You’ll need a large skillet and medium bowl.

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 pound 93% lean beef 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup (or more) stout or porter
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from chipotle peppers)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Hamburger buns
  • Bread and butter pickle slices
  • Sweet onion slices
  • Thin slices of cheddar cheese

In a skillet over medium heat, add oil and beef.  Cook beef until browned, using a heat safe spatula to break it apart as it cooks. When nearly done, add onion, pepper and garlic. Cook until onion is softened. Add beer and cook until evaporated.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine tomato sauce, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, brown sugar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, and spices.  Whisk to combine well.

Add chipotle sauce to beef mixture.  Stir to combine.  Cook 4-5 minutes, until sauce is thick.  Remove from heat.

Serve on toasted hamburger bun with pickle and onion slices and cheese.

Original inspiration: Smoky Chipotle Sloppy Joe’s in 15 Minutes, Slow Roasted Italian


I don’t know how other bloggers do it. When I make a good meal, the last thing on my mind is taking photos and writing about it. By the time I’m done cooking, I’m ready to sit down with my guy and eat, not take photos. But every now and then I feel the call of the blog, whip the phone out and take a crappy photo. My motivation: I get lots of great ideas from other cooking blogs, so someone out there might get a great idea from mine.

What do you do while you’re cooking? If Chopped is on, I like watching that. But usually I’m making a protein, veg and side, and sometimes it can get a little crazy trying to get them all ready at once. I’m stirring and chopping and I hear Ted say, “Two minutes!” All of a sudden, I’m in turbo mode.

And then, I’m done. Already? I’ve got time to spare. I feel like I was just involved in some kind of athletic event. Am I sweating? It’s time for a glass of wine. I stand there sipping, leaning against the counter, and feel victorious. Because I just cooked a five star meal.

That happens to you too, right?

Here’s one of those five star meals. I know ground lamb is pricey, but this dish will last a few meals so it works out. I made this for Sunday dinner, we had it again Tuesday, and there was plenty left over for lunches too. Now that I sit here thinking about it in retrospect, I bet spinach would be a fantastic addition to this dish. Next time, I’m adding it.

This dish does take time – about 2-1/2 hours if it’s a lazy Sunday and you’re not watching Chopped. I broke up the recipe below so the ingredients are listed just above their part of the preparation. 

Wait for a cold day, and take the time to make this. It’s not much to look at (photographer’s fault) but it’s sooooo good. The meat sauce is incredibly flavorful and the bechamel on top puffs up, thanks to those egg yolks, into something like a light custard. Opa!


Moussaka recipe from Grabbing the Gusto

You’ll need a small bowl, 6-1/2-quart pot or Dutch oven, strainer, two sheet pans, 2-quart saucepan, whisk, and a 3-quart baking dish.

Allow 2-1/2 hours to prep/cook.

  • 1⁄4 cup dried currants

Preheat oven to 400. Put currants into a small bowl and cover with boiling water; let soften for 30 minutes. Drain currants and set aside.

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, cored, and finely chopped
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes 

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 6-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Add the lamb, cayenne, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, salt and pepper and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer lamb to a large strainer set over a bowl and drain; discard any liquid left in the pot.

Return pot to the heat and add the remaining olive oil along with the garlic, onions and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost evaporated, 10-15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, currants and lamb and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and set meat sauce aside.

  • Cooking spray
  • 1-1⁄2 pounds eggplant, cut crosswise into 1⁄4″-thick slices
  • 1 large russet potato (about 1 lb.), cut crosswise into 1⁄4″-thick slices

Spray two sheet pans with cooking spray. Spread the eggplant and potato slices on the pans and spray the tops with cooking spray. Roast until tender, turning over after about 10 minutes.

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter and/or margarine
  • 1⁄2 cup flour
  • 2-1⁄4 cups milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 1⁄2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan

Make a béchamel sauce: Melt butter in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until pale and smooth, 2 minutes. Whisking constantly, add the milk in a steady stream until incorporated; add the bay leaf and cook, whisking often, until reduced to 2 cups, about 15 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and discard the bay leaf. Let sauce cool for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt and egg yolks, temper it with some of the bechamel and then whisk it into the sauce until smooth.

Reheat oven to 400. Place the reserved potato slices in the bottom of an oval 3-qt. baking dish (or two 1 1⁄2-qt. baking dishes) and season with salt and pepper. Put the eggplant slices on top, season with salt and pepper, and then cover with the meat sauce. Pour the béchamel over the top of the meat sauce and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle Parmesan evenly over the top and bake until browned and bubbly, 35-45 minutes. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.  

Original recipe: Moussaka, Saveur 

Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

Most of us here on the east coast, even those of us who didn’t suffer from the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, are more than ready for comfort food. The temperatures have dipped, the wind is gusting, cozy slipper weather is here. I found a dish on The Lemon Bowl blog that’s a little different than the usual meat, pasta or potato version of comfort: acorn squash stuffed with a mixture of Italian sausage, eggplant, tomatoes and herbs.

I bought two squash thinking we would have two halves each. Well, that was silly, and not at all what the recipe said, if I had bothered to read it carefully. I made four halves, but we only ate one each for dinner and had the other two later in the week. I served green beans and a brown rice mix on the side.

Even though I overfilled the squash cavities, I still had filling left over. Strangely enough, it disappeared from the refrigerator some time during the next day. I guess somebody really liked it.

I will make this again. You can get creative with the filling ingredients. We loved the combination of Italian sausage and eggplant, but I can imagine all kinds of substitutions.

Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

You’ll need a glass microwaveable and oven-safe baking dish for the squash (or another dish that’s safe for one or the other) and a large deep skillet.

  • 2 acorn squash
  • Olive oil
  • 1-1/2 medium onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme or 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary or 2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1 pound Italian turkey or pork sausage (sweet or hot, bulk or casing)
  • 4 cups eggplant, diced (about 1/2 large eggplant)
  • One 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup some panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 thin sliver of butter or drizzle of olive oil for each squash cup

 Cut each squash horizontally to form two cups. Shave off the bottom of each “cup” to create a flat surface. Scoop out the seeds. If you’re like me, you toss the seeds with olive oil, salt and spices and roast them later.

Place squash pieces in a glass container with 1/2 inch of water, face down, and microwave until tender. The original recipe said it would take 6-8 minutes, but mine took about twice that, probably because I had more than one in there.

Meanwhile, heat up the olive oil and sauté the onion in a skillet over medium high heat for 5-6 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and dried herbs (basil, thyme and rosemary) and cook for an additional 60 seconds. If you’re using fresh herbs, add them later with the eggplant and tomatoes.

Add the sausage from its casing to the pan. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to it up sausage into bite sized pieces. Brown the sausage for 4-5 minutes, continually breaking it up with the spoon. Add the eggplant and tomatoes (and fresh herbs, if using) plus a pinch of salt and pepper to release juices. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking until the juices cook down, about 8-10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, turn the oven to broil and place the squash cups in a glass baking dish. Fill both cups, I mean, overfill them, with equal parts sausage stuffing. Mix together the parmesan and breadcrumbs. Top each squash with 2 tablespoons of the cheese/crumb topping and a drizzle of olive oil or sliver of butter. Broil for 2 minutes or until the topping is browned.

Original recipe: Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash, The Lemon Bowl

Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash from Grabbing the Gusto