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Stuffed Acorn Squash: The Perfect Fall Meal

This is one of my all time favorite fall recipes. It’s really easy and pretty cheap. It’s easy to make double it or make it for one.  I love winter squash. It’s so versatile. You can bake it, saute it, puree it, fry it put it in muffins or pies. Can you tell I love it?  I should grow more of it. I only got 5 butternut squash this year. One year I grew only acorn squash in a small little garden I had. That’s it, just squash, and the one plant produced over 50 acorn squash!! Yea, I’ve never had a crop like that, actually after that I couldn’t look at another acorn squash for years.  I’m back to loving it again.  My kids love this recipe as well. I will try to remember to take a great picture of it to post here at a later date.  I’m really not good at photography and don’t intend to learn how to get better at it as I have enough on my plate.  Oh well, there is my big confession for the day.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ingredients

  • acorn squash
  • 24 oz ground pork or turkey
  • 1 c chopped celery
  • 1 c onion chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 c applesauce
  • 4 slices whole wheat bread cubed (3 cups)

Halve squash; discard seeds. Place cut side down, in baking dish or on a cookie sheet. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, for stuffing, in a skillet cook pork, celery, & onion till meat is no longer pink and veggies are tender. Stir in salt, curry powder, and cinnamon; cook 1 min more. Stir in applesauce and bread cubes.
Turn squash cut side up in dish. Place stuffing in squash halves. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes more.

This works great to cook the squash early in day while prepping lunch and make the stuffing, then place in fridge. Then assemble and bake when ready to eat dinner. This feeds my family of 6 nicely.

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Chicken Fricasse

I thought I took a picture of this but I can’t find it. Oh well, it didn’t look really pretty anyway.  This is an old family favorite that we made with evaporated milk and cream of mushroom soup. We no longer eat those things since they are processed and full of unnatural ingredients. I have really missed this comfort food so I finally tried it with whole foods and adding some veggies to make it more nutritious. I think it’s wonderful. My kids loved it. It doesn’t taste exactly like mom’s but it was good  and reminded me of home. Close enough!

Chicken Fricasse

1 onion, chopped
2 very small zucchini, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
3 T butter
2 T Dry Onion Soup mix (recipe from here)
6 c chicken broth
1 1/2 c shredded chicken
2 1/2 c short grained brown rice
1 1/2-2 c heavy cream (not ultra pasteurized)

Saute the veggies in the butter  till slightly browned in a large stock pot over high heat. Sprinkle the soup mix  & rice over the veggies. Pour the chicken broth in and reduce heat to medium to medium low.  Cover and simmer for about 40 minutes or until most of the broth is absorbed.  Add the chicken and cream right at the end and serve with green peas at the table.

This looked a little yellow because of the turmeric in the soup mix. If you don’t like that or are a member of my family and want to fool your kids that it’s the same old recipe, leave out the turmeric.

Cheddar Broccoli Soup

This is a soup that I have made for years and years! It’s always my go to soup to take to parties or for company because everyone loves it. I made a few additions this time for the heck of it and it turned out even better! You can leave out the ham & chard or add other veggies that you have. This was just a yummy addition that I really liked.  It also freezes well if you have extras.

Cheddar Broccoli Soup

6 c whole milk
6 T flour (I use soft white wheat and I can’t tell the difference over white)
6 T butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 c cheddar cheese
1 T dijon mustard
2 c shredded carrots (I really didn’t measure I just threw in what I had)
1-1 1/2 c chopped ham
2 c chard, chopped small ( threw in what I had again, so it could have been less)
2-3 bunches broccoli, chopped small

Throw chopped veggies into a large stock pot and barely cover with water. Cook till barely tender about 10 minutes.  While veggies are cooking blend the butter, flour, milk, salt & pepper in a blender. When veggies are ready add the blender contents to the pan and stir with a wisk until the butter melts.  Cook until thickened over medium heat. Add the mustard and cheese and cook until cheese is melted. Serve!

Marinara Sauce

English: Ravioli Marinara (Mangia Trattoria)

English: Ravioli Marinara (Mangia Trattoria) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oh I just have to share that I don’t like spaghetti and sauce. I am extremely picky when it comes to red sauces. I’ve made one with meat and canned it even for years. But it never seems to be sweet enough for me.  I even learned a trick of sticking a whole carrot into the sauce as it cooks and it soaks up acidity.  Yesterday I wanted to make a quick dinner. I had bought some premade tortellini from Costco thinking it would be fast. Well I just didn’t want to open a can of red sauce I decided to make my own and try a different simple recipe.  I even made a white sauce to go with it thinking I would at least be able to mix the two and I would like it better. Well I have to say the red sauce was fantastic. I’m so excited about it!! By the way it’s super easy!

Marinara Sauce (Meatless)

Brown 1 med. onion in 1 T olive oil
Add:
3 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cans water
1 can pumpkin (this is what sweetens it and adds another veggie for picky kids)
3-4 cloves garlic
3 tsp Italian spices
salt & pepper to taste

Simmer as long as you can. I only had 1 hour and it was still great.  This made a large batch. Enough for 2-3 meals. Freeze the leftovers.

Hamburger Buns

Hamburger buns are one of those things that intimidate people to make from scratch, I think. The buns in the store all have HFCS and other additives in them.  If you find one that is semi decent they are ridiculously expensive. These buns are easier than making bread.

I love these whole wheat hamburger buns. Been making them for years and I always forget how fast and easy they are for being a bread.  They are so fabulous warm that I can’t stop eating them but they freeze wonderfully as well.  My kids cut them in half and make mini pizzas out of them for lunch too.  Hope you like them as much as my family.

Quick Hamburger Buns

3 1/2 c warm water
6 T yeast
1 c oil or butter ( I use coconut oil but have used butter)
3/4 c sugar or sucanat or 1/2 c. honey
Mix the above ingredients and rest 15 min. It will make lots of bubbles.
Add:
1 T salt
3 eggs
10 1/2 c whole wheat flour
Mix well. Sometimes I let it knead for 2-3 min. but I’m usually in a hurry and they are great if I don’t knead. Roll out thick (1/2″ or  more). Cut into circles and put on cookies sheets that are greased or with parchment paper. Raise 10 min. Bake @ 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes til lightly golden brown. Makes 40 buns. 

White Veggie Lasagna

This is a fabulous healthy white sauce lasagna that you can add chicken too or not! It’s great either way.  My friend, Amy, and I made it up to freeze and our families loved it. So we made 8 of them yesterday!  Amy’s family has to eat gluten free. We do not, so we use whole wheat noodles and they use brown rice noodles.  Great way to get more freezer meals in your freezer is to quadruple a recipe instead of doing 4 different recipes.  Next week we plan on doing a red lasagna or Shepherd’s Pie.

Below is amounts for one or 8 lasagnas.

White Veggie Lasagna

1 pan       8 pans

9-12            64       whole wheat or brown rice lasagna noodles (This was 2.5 (13 oz) boxes)
1/2 c            1 c       butter
1                   8        onions chopped
1                   8        minced garlic
1  tsp           6 tsp  Real salt or sea salt
2 c                18 c    Chicken broth
1 1/2 c          6c      whole milk (we used less milk cause it was plenty runny)
4 c               16 c     shredded mozzarella cheese
1 c               4+c      parmesan cheese (we used less cause we didn’t have any more)
1 tsp           8 tsp    basil
1 tsp            8 tsp   oregano
1/2 tsp        4 tsp   black pepper
2 c                16 c    cottage cheese (preferably organic, regular has nasty stuff in it)
1/2 c             4 c     shredded chicken (approximately 1/2 of a whole chicken) This was for 4 pans.
3 c                10 c    fresh spinach (can use frozen as well)
1                    6         small zucchini shredded (3/4c each pan)
2                   16        carrots shredded
1                   4          packages of mushrooms chopped fine
1c                  4  c     Ultra gel (you can use arrowroot, cornstarch or flour for thickening)

Cook butter, garlic, & onions till softened in a pan on the stove over med-high heat.  Add all the veggies except the spinach. (If using frozen spinach throw it in now.) Add spices, salt, & pepper, chicken broth, & milk.  Then wisk in the ultra gel slowly and don’t let it boil.  Then layer in a 13×9 pan 1/2 c sauce, uncooked noodles, cottage cheese, more sauce, spinach, cheeses then repeat ending with mozzarella cheese. Cover with tinfoil and freeze.  Or if eating immediately bake in a 350 degree oven for about an hour covered with an inverted cookie sheet.  If baking from frozen take directly from freezer and place in 350 oven for 2 hours.

It’s Leap Day!! & Salmon Chowder

I made a goal for our family when we were first married that every leap year day we would eat a special meal and use our china. So even if we never did during the year (which we do) we would have a chance to teach our children about manners and make it a special day at least every four years. I thought it was a cool idea.

Well it’s our 3rd leap day and I am on the couch with a cold and my horrible back that I’ve been down with for 2 months and I wondered how I was going to pull off a nice dinner when we’ve been surviving on freezer meals for weeks.  Well first I had to really lower my expectations and realize my children ages 11, 8, & 4 probably don’t remember the last leap year day. So I settled on a salmon chowder and I even used canned salmon!! Heaven forbid! I just couldn’t pull myself off the couch to thaw and then cook the salmon.  I already had celery and onions chopped and frozen in the freezer so all I really had to do for prep was chop 2 potatoes and make the white sauce. And I have to say that this will be a staple in our house. It turned out fantastic. I even took a picture we’ll see if i can get it uploaded. I still don’t know how. Anyone out there know?

Salmon Chowder

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 2 cups diced potatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans salmon
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 2 c. whole milk

Directions

  1. Melt 2 T butter in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion, celery, and garlic  until onions are tender. Stir in potatoes,water salt, pepper, dill & the salmon juice in the cans. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat. Cover, and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are barely tender.
  2. Meanwhile put 6 T butter, the flour, milk and heavy cream in a blender and blend till butter is chopped and incorporated about 10 seconds. This is your white sauce.
  3. Stir in salmon, white sauce, corn, and cheese. Cook until thickened & heated through stirring constantly.