Bison Stuffed Acorn Squash

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As a kid my mom used to stuff squash with meatballs and bake them to make a complete meal in one self contained dish.  She was really onto something.  I have been making these little numbers for years, using my mom’s meatball recipe.  You can use any squash of your choosing, butternut, acorn, spaghetti, etc.  I decided to mix the meatball recipe up a bit when I found some good looking ground bison at the grocery store.  To enhance the fall flavor of the squash the bison was perfect.  I used rounded out the meatball with leeks and fennel.  The result was delicious!  I used 2 pounds of meat and was able to stuff 2 full acorn squash (4 halves) and 2 green peppers.  I don’t like to use bread crumbs in my meatballs, so these are paleo friendly.

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Ingredients:

-2 Acorn squash, halved and seeded.
-2 Green bell peppers, stem and core removed
-1 lb sausage (I used a spicy sausage)
-1 lb ground bison meat (you can use ground beef or turkey if bison isn’t your thing)
-1/2 tsp ground black pepper, heaping
-1/2 tsp celery salt
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp dried thyme, heaping
-1 tsp dried sage, heaping
-1/4 tsp red pepper flake
-1 leek quartered and sliced
-1/2 fennel bulb, diced

Directions:

1. Wash and prepare the squash and green peppers.

2. Mix together the meatballs by adding sausage, bison, seasonings, leeks, and fennel.

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3. Stuff meat mixture into center of squash and green peppers, arrange on a baking sheet.

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4. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour (more or less, until meatball is cooked through).  Half way through cooking time I brushed some of the drippings around the top of squash to prevent drying.  You can also rub with oil or butter.

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With this dish I eat the skin of the squash as it gets soft with baking.  If you want you can serve with a small salad for a very healthy and delicious dinner!  A thick piece of toasted bread with goat cheese is also nice with this dish.

Don’t throw away the seeds from the squash, you can season and bake these as well to eat alone or toss onto a salad.  I seasoned mine with salt, pepper, and garlic.

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Bake at 350 for 15 minutes (more or less for desired browning/crisp)

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Enjoy!

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes

2014-09-23 20.10.04Sweet potatoes are a nutritious fall treat.  Rich in dietary fiber, vitamins A, B, and C it makes for a great side dish to any meal.  The starchy goodness is complimented by subtle sweetness that really takes off when highlighted the right way.  I got 3 pretty big sweet potatoes in our CSA this week that I knew I couldn’t eat all by myself, so I had to find a way to disguise them into something my husband would eat.  Roasting the potatoes is an easy way to cook them, and it brings out the natural sweetness in the vegetables.   I also learned that baking sweet potatoes increases the Vitamin C content, go figure.  To sweeten I debated between using my traditional go-to brown sugar or maple syrup.  I went the maple syrup route as I keep hearing it is the new “healthy sugar” of choice.

I am not a fan of going full-sweet when making dinner sides, so to keep the savory touch I roasted with leeks and put a few sprigs of thyme on top. Usually, I remove thyme from the stem and stir it into my dishes, but I so often see in recipes that the thyme is used whole to add flavor then removed.  Sometimes the small leaves become bitter while roasting, so I kept the stems attached and removed the sprigs just prior to eating.  I was surprised at how the flavor incorporated so well without actually remaining in the finished product.  To round out the flavors I mixed in a few dashes of ground ginger.  This side smelt like thanksgiving while roasting, maybe it will make an appearance on the thanksgiving table this year.

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Ingredients:

-2 Large Sweet Potatoes, washed and diced with skin on
-1 large leek, diced into 1/2-1″ pieces
-2 Tbsp of oil (I used grape seed oil, you can use whatever you prefer)
-salt and pepper to taste
-2-3 dashes of ground ginger
-2-3 Tbsp of high quality maple syrup
-3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme

Directions:

  1. Prepare potatoes and leeks and place into oven safe dish.  Drizzle with olive oilthen season with salt, pepper, and ground ginger.
  2. Mix well then place sprigs of thyme on top, drizzle with maple syrup and an additional dash of salt.
  3. Roast in the oven at 400F for 45 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender, stir once during roasting.
  4. Remove thyme sprigs after cooking.

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Enjoy!