Archive | squash RSS feed for this section

Chicken Sausage, Apple, and Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

27 May

Stuffed-Acorn-Squash



Chicken Sausage, Apple, and Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

      • 1 acorn squash
      • half sweet onion, diced
      • 2 cloves garlic, diced
      • 3 links of chicken sausage (I used Sweet Apple from Al Fresco), casing removed & crumbled
      • 1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
      • 1/2 c. quinoa, cooked
      • salt and pepper
      • turmeric, coriander, and smoked paprika

Preheat the oven to 425*F.  Cut the acorn squash in half and remove the seeds.  Trim the intact end down so that you will be able to turn it over and it will sit level, then salt and pepper the flesh of the squash.  Spread a few tablespoons of oil on a sheet pan (I used coconut oil), then place the squash cut sides facing down onto the sheet pan.  Roast the squash for 20-25 minutes or until the squash becomes flexible.  Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your squash obviously!   While the squash is roasting, heat up about a tablespoon of cooking oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  Cook the onions and the garlic for a few minutes until they become translucent.  Remove from the pan and place in a small bowl.  Place crumbled chicken sausage into the pan and cook until browned.  Add the diced apple into the pan, then add the onion and garlic mixture back into the pan.  Stir to combine and let cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add in the quinoa and season to taste with turmeric, coriander, smoked paprika, and salt. Once the acorn squash is ready, turn them over and fill with the sausage mixture.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

These were pretty portable and were easy to take to lunch with me, but fair warning: your coworkers are going to track you down to find out where the delicious smelling food is coming from and ask you what you are eating.  And BONUS: you get to eat the bowl!

Twice Baked Butternut Squash with Quinoa + Pecans

23 Jun

I’m having so much fun trying meatless dishes once a week!!  This week, I made something that tastes a little out of place for the hot months of summer.  Butternut squash was calling my name at the store and I had to answer the calling. 🙂  File this one away for fall – it would make an awesome holiday side dish or a tasty option for meat-free guests.

Twice-Baked-Butternut-Squash-Quinoa-Pecans-Meatless-Monday



Twice Baked Butternut Squash w/ Quinoa & Pecans (original recipe by Inquiring Chef)

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1/3 c. uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 t. chicken stock (or veg stock if meat-free)
  • 1/3 c. pecan halves, chopped roughly
  • 2 t. olive oil
  •  1 small shallot, finely minced
  • 1/2 c. panko
  •  3 T. melted butter
  • 2 T. + 2 T. Parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

The first step is go roast the squash.  To do this, you cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds (just like seeding a pumpkin!).  Place the squash skin-side down on a baking sheet, then sprinkle the squash’s flesh with salt and pepper.  Add about 1/4 inch of water to the pan.  Cover it tightly with tin foil and bake it for 50 minutes at 450*F. butternut-squash

Meanwhile, bring your stock of choice to a boil and then add the quinoa.  Cover, then reduce heat to a simmer and allow quinoa to cook about 15 minutes.  Then, remove it from the heat until the remaining liquid is absorbed. Also,  heat 1 t. of olive oil in a small pan and saute the shallot until browned.  Set aside.  Finally, toast the pecan pieces in a dry pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Mine didn’t take quite that long – when they are nice and fragrant, they are ready!  Set those aside as well. toasted-pecans

Once the squash is finished (Stab it with a fork.  If it’s tender, it’s done.  If not, put it back in until it’s done.), spoon out the butternut squash and reduce the oven to 400*F.  It will be a pureed texture.  Mix it with the quinoa, pecans, shallots, 2 T. of Parmesan cheese, some salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl.

Quinoa-Pecan-Mixture

mixture before squash!

Spoon the mixture back into the squash skin – which is now just a boat for your delicious filling!

Combine the panko, 2 T. Parmesan, and melted butter, then sprinkle on top of the quinoa mixture.  Put the squash back into the oven at 400*F for about 30 minutes or until the bread crumbs are nicely browned.  Simple as that!

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week: The Porch At Schenley

21 Jan

On Saturday, we ventured out to a new-to-us spot for Pittsburgh Restaurant Week 2014, a week-long event which occurs 4 times throughout the year.  During Pittsburgh Restaurant Week (PRW), restaurants around the city offer special fixed-price menus to entice foodies and non-foodies into their establishments.  This season, PRW ran from January 13th-19th so unfortunately by the time you read this it will be too late to take advantage.  But spring is right around the corner, I promise! 🙂

Pittsburgh-Restaurant-Week-Porch-At-Schenley

We chose The Porch at Schenley, located in the heart of Oakland right on Schenley Plaza.  I remember when this restaurant was built and every time we would drive by (which is often!), I would make a mental note that I wanted to try it out.  On Saturday, things kind of fell into place because The Porch is close to home, we didn’t need a reservation even though it was a Saturday night, and they support Buy Fresh Buy Local which is near and dear to my heart.  Why would I spend money at a restaurant which isn’t invested in our region?  Why do you?!

The ambiance was…different.  Sort of an industrial/dairy vibe at times, but they also had these awesome bay doors overlooking the Plaza that open during nicer weather.  The crowd was very collegiate (obviously, Schenley Plaza is nestled between Carnegie Mellon and Pitt with Carlow, Chatham, and Duquesne just beyond), bustling with college students.  Fun fact:  You can use your university meal plan flex funds there.  Basically, we were surrounded by college students ordering delicious looking pizzas and profesh types sitting in larger groups towards the middle of the restaurant.

Since we rarely get a chance to go out anymore, we decided to take advantage of some appetizers! Perhaps my favorite part of the dinner was this sweet potato gnocchi:

Sweet Potato Gnocchi w/ confit pork belly, apples, dates, sage, and a brown butter cream sauce

Sweet Potato Gnocchi w/ confit pork belly, apples, dates, sage, and a brown butter cream sauce

Just wow.  I basically wanted to lick the plate clean.  I mean, the brown butter cream sauce was just heavenly; the whole combo just worked!

Pittsburgh-Restaurant-Week-Porch-At-Schenley-Cornbread

We also ordered this cornbread.  I cut us 2 pieces, but Christina spit hers into her napkin (this somehow doesn’t effect me at all anymore since she is such a picky eater) after the first bite.  Cornbread fail! It was not very good at all!  The server was beyond great about it and took it off of our bill without us even asking.  I don’t really know what was going on with it, but the taste and texture just weren’t for us.

So, onto the PRW-menu with this roasted butternut squash soup:

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup w/ Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Creme Fraiche, & Carmelized Apples

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup w/ Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Creme Fraiche, & Carmelized Apples

You guys, I wasn’t a huge fan of this either but it was edible.  It felt a bit heavy on the nutmeg maybe?  I felt like there was flavor, but not much depth of flavor if that makes sense.  Is it wrong that I was comparing it to the one at Panera Bread?  Do I lose foodie street cred for that? Whatever, that’s ma favorite squash soup.  The caramelized apple settled to the bottom of the bowl, so I tried to get at least one with each bite because they were awesome!  At this point, I was a bit nervous about the main course because the soup was ‘meh’ and the cornbread was ‘blah.’

But, redemption!

Smoked Berkshire Pork Shank w/ Fingerling Potatoes, Heirloom Carrots, Dates, and Mustard Greens

Smoked Berkshire Pork Shank w/ Fingerling Potatoes, Heirloom Carrots, Dates, and Mustard Greens

The mustard greens were mysteriously absent, but no complaints here!  Everything was sooooooooo tasty, the smoked Berkshire  paired so well with the sauce and the dates and the veggies.  Berkshire is a breed of pig, not a style of cooking, if you were wondering.  🙂  The above picture doesn’t even do it justice because it was a HUGE chunk of meat on a HUGE bone!  We totally could’ve shared one.

I wasn’t sharing this at all:

Vanilla Bean Creme Brule w/ Marinated Figs & Mint

Vanilla Bean Creme Brule w/ Marinated Figs & Mint

I don’t really get the mint because it was just a little leaf and obviously I wasn’t going to chew on it, but this was yummy!  The figs were outrageously good!!  Yay figs!!

All-in-all, we found The Porch At Schenley to be nice but next time we will probably hit it up for lunch and order one of those pizzas that everyone was ordering.  That many people couldn’t be wrong!

Past Pittsburgh Restaurant Week posts:

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week Fall 2013:  Habitat

%d bloggers like this: