Tag Archives: acorn squash

Comfort Foods for the Holiday Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and it’s my favorite time of the year too! One of the aspects of the holiday season I love the most is simply having wholesome meals with my friends and family. For me, every meal with people I love during the holiday season is a celebration. I cook something warming and comforting, I turn on the Christmas lights, I play the Christmas tunes, and we have ourselves a merry time. So I wanted to share with you some of the comforting dishes I like to make around this time of year. Explore below!

Easy Bolognese

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As an Italian-American, I find few dishes more comforting than pasta with a chunky red sauce. Bolognese is a classic sauce you can use for pasta, gnocchi, polenta, spaghetti squash, or by itself with crusty bread. My recipe for Bolognese is simple and warms from the soul outward.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

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This is the one to make when you are looking to impress your guests. Sweet, savory, and spicy, Stuffed Acorn Squash is an indulgent, gourmet-style dish that has everything going for it. Get the recipe here.

Butternut, Brussels, and Bacon Pizza

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I love making seasonal artisan pizzas. For Fall and Winter, my go-to pizza is this Butternut, Brussels, and Bacon Pizza. Truly, this is one of the best pizzas ever. This is great for a weekend night in with friends while watching a Christmas movie. Get the dough here. 

Honey Roasted Carrot and Parsnip Soup

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This soup is a great easy weeknight meal served with salad and bread or can be used as an appetizer course. Both sweet and savory, this soup feels very seasonal and like something you would have in a Christmasy cottage somewhere in a fairy-tale. Learn to make it here. 

Johnny’s Tomato Soup

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Sometimes, tomato soup just cannot be beat. While tomato soup isn’t the fanciest of dishes, it is often a great choice on a busy weeknight or when your guests are wanting to still eat healthy while also eating cozy. My Tomato Soup is warming, earthy, and slightly spicy and is completely vegan. I will serve this with a nice winter salad and some crusty bread and before you know it you have a full holiday meal. Get the recipe here. 

Christmas Biscotti

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I am not much of a baker, but once a year I get in the kitchen and whip up a batch of my Christmas Biscotti. These biscotti have the flavors and colors of the season with cranberries, pistachios, orange zest, vanilla, Amaretto, and dark chocolate. These are an incredibly festive dessert and are also a great baked good to bring to potlucks or even present as a food based gift. Learn to make them here. 

Whatever you decide to cook for your loved ones this year, I hope that you have a very merry and tasty holiday season!

Stuffed Acorn Squash

A few years ago, my best friend Kayleigh had me and a few of our other friends over for dinner during the Fall season. She was cooking up a storm in the kitchen with all sorts of ingredients: onions, apples, sausage, sage – all things I love. I asked, “What are you making?” Her response was very in character; nonchalantly she answered, “I’m not sure. Some sort of stuffed acorn squash. We’ll see what happens.” I laughed because this was very like her to just whip something up and go with the flow with confidence that all would be well; and all was well indeed! The Stuffed Acorn Squash turned out truly and utterly phenomenal and from that point on it became a traditional Fall and Winter dish between us and our families.

I have since made this dish many times throughout the Fall and Winter seasons because it is truly these seasons in one exquisite meal. The sweet squash is stuffed and balanced by spicy Italian chicken sausage, savory onions, tart green apple, fresh celery, woodsy sage, and pungent garlic; each component balancing and complimenting the other perfectly. A bit of bread crumbs provides a nice crunch to contrast the softness of the squash and sausage, and melted Havarti cheese seals and completes with a buttery finish. Honestly, this is one of my favorite meals to make during the cooler seasons. It is relatively simple to prepare, decently inexpensive, festive, comforting, and downright delicious. I truly hope you enjoy this recipe in your own home with loved ones.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 2 acorn squashes
  • 1 pound hot Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large celery stick, chopped
  • 1 large granny smith apple, diced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 4 sage leaves, julienned
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 block Havarti cheese, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425̊F.

Cut the acorn squash down the center length wise. With a spoon, remove the seeds and dig the cavity till it would be able to hold ¾ cup of water. Drizzle the insides with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with about ¼ teaspoon of salt and pepper each. Place on a greased baking sheet with the inside facing down. Drizzle the skin with an additional tablespoon of olive oil and season with an additional pinch of salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes until the skin is easily pierced with a knife.

In the meantime, heat the remaining olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and green apple. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for 5-7 minutes until tender. Add the sausage and break into small chunks using the back of a wooden spoon. Cook until the sausage is browned. Add the garlic, sage, and red pepper flakes. Add the wine and continue cooking until the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs until well mixed. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the acorn squash from the oven and flip over so that the cavity side facing up. Stuff each cavity with the mixture from the pan until filled and slightly doming over. Top completely with the cheese slices. Place back in the oven for 5-10 more minutes until the cheese is melted, bubbling, and browned.

Remove, allow to cool a few minutes, and serve – 1 half of a squash per person! This is best served with a simple green salad and some wine. Hope you enjoy!

Note: The images below are from when I cut the recipe in half to just serve 2, but the steps are the same.

What’s your favorite Fall/Winter dish to make at home?