Everyone’s Talking About Squash!

What’s so good about winter squash? Everything! It’s super sweet in the most natural way and it’s simple to prepare…many varieties do not even require peeling.

squashroast

One of my favorites is delicata. It’s not always available but if you look for it in your grocery store right now you might find it. Trader Joes had it last week for 99 ¢.  The fool-proof universal root vegetable recipe calls for olive oil, sea salt and pepper. It’s pretty hard to mess up! You can always brush on a bit of melted butter and/or maple syrup for a richer taste. Delicata is so sweet the oil and salt will do the trick.

Delicata Squash

Preheat oven to 425 º. Wash and dry the squash. Cut in half length-wise and scrape out seeds. Then cut each section into 1/2″ half-moon pieces. Toss in a bowl with about 1 tablespoon olive oil (don’t use too much) and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spread squash pieces in a single layer. Bake for 30 minutes. Try this for a tasty vegetarian dish: Place baby spinach (one bag) on a large platter and top with 1 cup of cooked quinoa or millet. Layer with thin red onion slices, sprinkle with a handful of dried cranberries and the roasted squash. Drizzle warm balsamic vinaigrette over everything.

Butternut Squash
butnutsquashsalad

Butternut squash is a little more labor intensive because it requires peeling and it’s more difficult to chop. But the end result is always delicious. Assemble a  salad topped with roasted butternut squash, red onion and  avocado and serve along with grilled chicken or pork tenderloin.

 
Have you tried butternut squash noodles? If you have a spiralizer you can easily turn your squash into “pasta”. Toss the noodles with a small amount of olive oil to coat–1 tablespoon or so–and cook at 400° for 10 minutes. Top with your favorite tomato gravy or eat plain as a side dish with a little salt and pepper.

butsquashnoodles 1
As long as we have these wonderful squashes…..we can make it through the winter!

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One-Pot Meals Martha Stewart Style

If you’re anything like me you’re on a constant search for easy, healthy meals. It’s not the cooking or preparing that’s difficult, it’s the coming up with new ideas that most of us find challenging. Last week I made two Martha Stewart dishes. Both included a concise list of easy-to-find ingredients and a very brief set of instructions! I made only a few minor adjustments. I’m sure you and your loved ones will enjoy these deliciously satisfying fall meals!

Beef Stew 

2 pounds lean beef cut into 1 1/2 -inch cubes

1/3 cup tomato paste

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt plus several twist of the pepper mill

2 medium onions, cut into 1-inch chunks

4-5 small red or white potatoes halved or quartered if large

1 pound bag of carrots cut into 1- inch lengths

2 cups green beans cut into 1- inch pieces

6 garlic cloves, smashed

2 bay leaves

beef stew

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a Dutch oven (5-quart) with a tight-fitting lid, combine beef, tomato paste, vinegar, flour, salt and pepper. Add onions, potatoes, carrots, green beans, garlic, bay leaves and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil. Cover, transfer to oven and cook until meat is fork-tender–about 2 to 2  1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves and if desired, season with salt and pepper before serving. Serve with wilted greens or a warm salad.

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Sweet Potato-Sausage Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper

3/4 pound organic sausages, casings removed*

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced medium

2-3 carrots cut into 1/2- inch chunks

4 cups chicken broth

4 cups roughly chopped mixed greens, such as kale, spinach, swiss chard

optional: 3/4 cups pasta such as linguine broken into 1 1/2 inch pieces or small shells

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add sausage and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes, carrots, broth and 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Add pasta (if using) and cook 3 minutes less than package instructions. Reduce to a simmer, add greens, and cook until pasta is tender and greens are wilted.

* I used chicken apple sausage and the soup was almost too sweet–so I added a few spicy ones to even out the flavor. sweetpotatosausagesoup

Delicious Fish Stew

One of my favorite ways to prepare white fish–other than the always delicious lemon-butter-parsley method–is to combine it with tomatoes. This recipe uses shiitake mushrooms which give the dish a nice rich flavor. Try this easy  one-pot meal to warm you up on a cool fall evening!

codstew

 

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 container (about 5) shiitake mushrooms, sliced

4 cups chopped kale (I used baby kale)

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock or more if needed

1 large, 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1-2  Tablespoons fresh thyme

4 thick pieces cod or haddock fillets

Paprika to sprinkle on fish

Brown or wild rice, optional

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or high-sided skillet. (If using rice begin cooking now) Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, cook for 3 more minutes then add the garlic and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Add the kale and toss to wilt then season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Pour in the tomatoes; add the stock and thyme.

Season the fish with paprika and salt and pepper to taste then add the fish to the pot and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to  low and cover. Cook the stew for at least 20-30 minutes.

Serve over wild rice if desired. Enjoy!