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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Vegetarian Squash Boats

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On my way home from a Fall weekend with my girlfriends, I found what appeared to be the worlds largest zucchini at a farmer’s stand in Wisconsin .  When I went to cut into it I was surprised to find out it was not a zucchini, but some sort of squash as it was hard and had a pumpkin-ish smell.  I did some research and I think what I had was actually a squash called Mo Qua.  My game plan completely changed with this discovery, I decided to make a roasted stuffed squash instead of grilled zucchini rings.  Usually I stuff squash with meatballs, pretty much the only way to get my husband to eat acorn squash, but I didn’t have any ground meat on hand so I made this veggie mixture instead.  Turned out to be amazing, sliced and served with salmon to complete the meal.  This stuffing will work in any squash, usually I prefer butternut or acorn squash for stuffing.

Stuffing Ingredients:

– 1/2 onion, diced
– 1 green pepper, diced
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, center stem removed
– 1 Tbsp fresh basil, roughly chopped
– 1 large tomato, diced
– 1/8 cup sliced kalamata olives
– 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
– 1/4 cup bread crumbs
– 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
– salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. On a baking sheet roast the squash of choice by cutting in half, removing seeds, spraying with olive oil, and seasoning with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven at 350 for 40-60 minutes, until pierced easily with a fork.  For a harder squash (butternut or spaghetti) , poke it with a fork throughout and put in the microwave for 5-7 minutes to soften up enough to easily cut in half.

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2. Make stuffing by sauteing onion, pepper, garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, salt and pepper in a skillet over medium-high heat with olive oil.  Saute for 10 minutes on medium heat before stirring in the diced tomatoes, olives, and fresh basil.  Stir and cook for 5 minutes before gently folding in the Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.  Mixture should be soft and cohesive, if it is too wet add more bread and Parmesan, don’t over mix.

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3. When your squash are roasted remove from oven and carefully stuff with stuffing.  Return to oven and roast at 350 for 10 minutes or until stuffing looks a little browned.

2013-10-08 21.12.40Enjoy!