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My Own Hearty Stuffed, Baked Winter Squash Recipe

Posted by LeAnn Kurtz on

I grow many different kinds of Winter Squash in my garden that keep all year so it's fun to experiment with cooking them in different ways. I had some surprises come up this year, I don't know where they came from, but they weren't the seeds I planted. They were Carnival Squash, and Kabocha. Both are medium large and round and resemble small pumpkins. They turned out to be nice surprises! They climbed the trellis beautifully and produced lots of yummy squash! Most Winter Squash are interchangeable, so use whatever you have on hand for my squash recipes. They're all rich and delicious. And this one was a huge hit with my husband, who's not as enthusiastic about veggies as I am!! 

 

I found a similar recipe from the UK, and changed some ingredients to better suit what was in my pantry. It turned out wonderful! 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large, or 2 smaller Winter Squash, whatever variety you choose
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • Fresh or dried rosemary, thyme, or italian blend. (about 1 tbsp)
  • 1 med red onion, chopped
  • Handful of walnuts, coarsly chopped
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, or half and half (both work fine)
  • 1 cup cheese (whatever kind you like! I used mozzarella and parmesan blended)

Make sure the outside of the squash is scrubbed clean. Cut the squash in half length ways and scoop out the seeds and soft fibers. Put in a roasting dish, add the chopped garlic, a pat of butter and 1/2 the chopped herbs of your choice to each cavity, then brush with a little oil, salt and pepper. (I use my hand and squish all the ingredients around the cavity so the whole squash is coated.)

Place in an oven preheated to 375 F and bake for about 1 hour, checking after 45 minutes, until the flesh feels very tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.

While the squash are roasting heat the rest of the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, add onion and remaining herbs then gently cook for 10 -15 minutes until soft, add the cream and reduce by half until the whole mixture is thickened. 

Scoop the soft flesh and all the buttery, garlicky juices out of the squash and put into a bowl, leaving a thin layer of flesh still attached to the skin, so the squash holds its shape.

Roughly mash the flesh with the creamy mixture and cheese, then stir in the walnuts, and season a little more with salt and pepper. Leave a little cheese to sprinkle on top!

Spoon the filling back into the empty squash halves and scatter on the reserved cheese. To finish return the squash to the oven and bake for about 7 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling. 

Try these variations:  I steamed and chopped broccoli and added that to the mixture. You can add kale, spinach, whatever you choose.  Also, you can have a complete meal in a bowl if you want to add some chicken, sausage (sausage works excellent with this), or any meat. Get creative! It's hard to ruin such a tasty treat!

 

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LeAnn's Slow-Cooker Lentil Stew

Posted by LeAnn Kurtz on


Well, the cold weather is here, and nothing sounds better this time of year than a warm, rich stew. This recipe makes enough for several people, it's easy and makes the house smell so good. Just throw it all in, and go read your favorite book!
Ingredients
2 cups green lentils, rinsed
4 cups chicken broth (of vegetable broth)
1 med yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced into large pieces
1 med yam or sweet potato, diced into large pieces
1, 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander (or, you can use Tandori Spice in place of the tumeric and coriander if you happen to have some)
1-2 large jalapenos, diced (To your taste. You can leave these out if you don't like it spicy)
Instructions
  1. Rinse the lentils thoroughly (1-2 times).
  2. Add all ingredients to a crockpot, turn on low and cook for 5-6 hours. Below is a picture of the slow cooker ingredients, ready to go!
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Roasted Winter Squash Soup

Posted by LeAnn Kurtz on

I love this recipe because unlike most squash soups, you roast your squash first, which adds a lot of depth and richness to the flavor. Also, there is no cream, so it's very low in fat and calories, yet super creamy to the pallet. You can even make it Vegan without compromising any of its rich flavor. The perfect Wintertime soup!
Makes 4 Bowls, or about 6 Cups
INGREDIENTS
  • About 3 pounds of Winter squash. Skin peeled with a veggie peeler, then seeded and cubed in 1-2 inch cubes. (you can use butternut, kabocha, acorn, delicata, whatever you like!) As you can see, I have many to choose from!
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • ½ cup chopped shallot or onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Up to 4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter, to taste (substitute olive oil for dairy free/vegan soup

  

INSTRUCTIONS                          

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and use a little olive oil on a sheet pan to keep it from sticking. Place the squash in a bowl and toss with about 1 tbsp of olive oil,  salt and pepper. 
  2. Place squash on baking sheet and roast until it is tender and completely cooked through, about 30-35 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet (or large soup pot, if you’ll be serving soup from that pot), warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chopped onion and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened and is starting to turn golden on the edges, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
  4. If you have a high performance blender like a Vitamix (if you are using an immersion blender, as I do, see notes at bottom), transfer the cooked shallot and garlic to your blender. Add the reserved butternut, maple syrup, nutmeg and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Pour in 3 cups vegetable broth, being careful not to fill the container past the maximum fill line (you can stir in any remaining broth later). Secure the lid and select the soup preset. The blender will stop running once the soup is super creamy and hot. 
  5. If you would like to thin out your soup a bit more, add the remaining cup of broth (I used the full 4 cups, but if you used a small squash, you might want to leave it as is). Add 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil, to taste, and blend well. Taste and blend in more salt and pepper, if necessary.
  6. Serve immediately (I like to top each bowl with a little more black pepper). Let leftover soup cool completely before transferring it to a proper storage container and refrigerating it for up to 4 days (leftovers taste even better the next day!). Or, freeze this soup for up to 3 months.
NOTES
IF YOU ARE WORKING WITH AN IMMERSION BLENDER, add the reserved squash to the pot, then add the broth, maple syrup, nutmeg and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes so the flavors have a chance to meld. Carefully use your immersion blender to blend the soup completely, then add 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil, to taste, and blend again. Taste and blend in more salt and pepper, if necessary.
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Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Posted by LeAnn Kurtz on

I served this salad about 4 years ago with Christmas dinner and it has become a family favorite!  It has the same tart lemony-garlic flavors of a caesar salad, covered in Pecorino cheese, for a rich, satisfying side, or main dish option.

This makes a huge salad. You can easily cut the recipe in half and it comes out great.

Instead of slicing the kale and brussels sprouts by hand, you can save a lot of time and work by using the slicing blade on your food processor. Also, last time I made this I didn't have a shallot and it turned out just fine.

Ingredients

8 TO 10 SERVINGS
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 small garlic clove, pressed
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large bunches of Tuscan kale (about 1 1/2 lb. total), center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large bunches of Tuscan kale (about 1 1/2 lb. total), center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino

Preparation

Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper in a small bowl. Stir to blend; set aside to let flavors meld. Mix thinly sliced kale and shredded brussels sprouts in a large bowl.

Measure 1/2 cup oil into a cup. Spoon 1 Tbsp. oil from cup into a small skillet; heat oil over medium-high heat. Add almonds to skillet and stir frequently until golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer nuts to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle almonds lightly with salt.

Slowly whisk remaining olive oil in cup into lemon-juice mixture. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

DO AHEAD: Dressing, kale mixture, and toasted almonds can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover dressing and kale mixture separately and chill. Cover almonds and let stand at room temperature.

Add dressing and cheese to kale mixture; toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Garnish with almonds. 

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Carnitas Empanadas

Posted by LeAnn Kurtz on

Ingredients:

Slow cooker Carnitas (about 2-3 cups, shredded)

2 cups shredded cheddar or combo cheddar and jack cheese

1/2 onion, finely chopped 

2 hot chili peppers of your choice (jalapenos are good!)

1 cup cooked white or brown rice

2 packages refrigerated pie dough (4 rounds)

1 cup of salsa verde

 Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper, set aside.
  2. Roughly chop or shred carnitas, add to a large bowl.
  3. Sautee onions and chilis, add to bowl.
  4. Mix in rice, cheese and salsa, stir to combine. Set aside.
  5. In a small bowl whisk egg with 1 tablespoon water, set aside.
  6. Roll pie crust out on a lightly floured surface. Use a 4 inch biscuit cutter or bottom of a glass to cut 5-6 dough rounds. Evenly space dough on baking trays. Repeat with remaining pie crusts.
  7. Spoon desired amount of filling onto a round. Brush edge with egg wash. Fold round in half over filling, pinch edges to seal.
  8. Repeat with remaining dough rounds. Brush with egg wash.
  9. Bake 12-14 minutes until golden brown.
  10. Makes roughly 20 empanadas

 

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