Squash! 16 Delicious Recipes

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To say I like squash would be an understatement.  I love it and cook it any chance I get.  Butternut, acorn, kuri, I love them all.  There are so many ways to enjoy squash and this post will tempt you to try it stuffed, roasted in wedges, in stews, in pasta, in couscous, in cake, in a quiche, in a fall panzanella salad and even as a mini tureen for soup!  The first recipe is new and inspired by Julie at Hostess at Heart. It is a maple-bacon stuffed acorn squash,  oven roasted to golden perfection.  The maple syrup glazing on the cut surface transforms into a wonderful caramelized texture.  The salty-sweet combination is a winner.  Totally simple but irresistible as a main or as a side dish.  The rest of the recipes are from the archives.  Just click on the highlighted titles to be taken to the recipes.

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Sesame-Crusted Salmon with Orange-Tahini Sauce

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Years ago Gourmet Magazine had a recipe for a sesame-crusted salmon appetizer with an orange-miso dipping sauce that was my go to party appetizer.  This recipe was inspired by that dish but as a main course and making the sauce with tahini and pomegranate molasses instead of miso.  It was a colorful and delicious change from the usual salmon.  You can substitute honey for the pomegranate molasses.  I added some saffron to the sauce for an additional layer of Middle-Eastern flavor but that is totally optional.

Sesame-Crusted Salmon with Orange-Tahini Sauce

  • 1 salmon fillet, about 2 pounds
  • 4 tablespoons of black or white sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil(use a citrus infused one if you have it)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons of orange muscat champagne vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses or honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon of saffron threads (optional)
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
  1. Heat your BBQ grill to high.  Place the salmon skin side down, on a presoaked cedar plank.  Rub the salmon with the olive oil.  Give it a few grinds of the pepper and sea salt mill. Sprinkle evenly with the sesame seeds.  Place on the hot grill and cook about 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness of fillet, lid closed. The salmon is done when it easily flakes with a fork. No need to flip fish over while cooking. Discard plank after use.
  2. To make the sauce:  whisk together the tahini, orange juice, vinegar, salt, molasses and saffron if using.  Set aside. Can be made a day in advance and brought to room temperature.
  3. When the salmon is done, sprinkle with the pomegranate arils and serve with the sauce on the side.

Fall Stuffed Cornish Game Hens

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Although Cornish game hens seem made for company, they are a favorite weeknight dinner for our family.  They practically cook themselves and fill the house with tantalizing aroma. Thanksgiving has come and gone in Canada and is still a month away in the US, but these little hens had all the flavors of Thanksgiving packed into each one.  Stuffed with a whole grain rice mix studded with pecans, cranberries, orange and pomegranate, they were simply delicious!  I used a Uncle Ben’s Ready Whole Grain Medley with quinoa, brown rice and garlic, straight out of the package, uncooked.  This type of rice is precooked. Any combination of rice/grains can be substituted but it should be almost fully cooked before stuffing.  Served with a side of butternut squash, it was sublime!

Fall Stuffed Cornish Game Hens

  • 4 Cornish Game Hens, patted dry inside and out with paper towels
  • salt and pepper
  • Poultry seasoning mix(I used a Montreal chicken spice mix)
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 8.5-once package of Uncle Ben’s Ready Whole Grain Medley with quinoa, garlic and brown rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup of red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup of pecans, chopped
  • Arils from half of a pomegranate(about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 orange, peeled, seeds removed and diced in chunks(I used a tangerine)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. Salt and pepper the inside cavity of the hens.
  3. Combine the grain medley with the cranberries, red onion, pecans, orange and pomegranate arils.  Fill each bird cavity with the stuffing.  Tie each bird with kitchen twine or a skewer to prevent the stuffing from falling out during roasting. Dab the butter between each wing and breast and a bit more above the stuffing where the legs are trussed.
  4. Place the hens evenly spaced on a shallow baking sheet. Sprinkle each bird with some of the poultry seasoning.
  5. Bake at 450 F for 45 minutes.
  6. Serve with a side of fall vegetables such a butternut squash and/or brussel sprouts.

There’s a lot of optimism in changing scenery, in seeing what’s down the road.” Conor Oberst. Photo credit MZ

Upside Down Honey Walnut Pear Cake

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“And all at once summer collapsed into fall.” Oscar Wilde

The dynamic combination of in-season pears with honey, warming spices, yogurt and walnuts come together in this simple but elegant cake.  Instead of the usual brown sugar on the bottom of the pan, a honey-orange-vanilla syrup is poured over the pears before adding the batter.   Flavor-packed in every delectable bite, it is sure to become a fall favorite.  Serve with a dollop of  yogurt if you’re being good, or ice cream or whipped cream if not!

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Sheet Pan Bay Leaf-Orange Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

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When I read The New York Times’ recipe for Bay Leaf Chicken I was intrigued.  Most recipes calling for bay leaf only use 1.  This was meant to use up a lot of fresh bay leaves from the garden in a marinade for chicken thighs.  I wanted to try the recipe in spite of not growing bay leaves in my garden and I easily substituted dried bay leaves.   The marinade is absolutely fantastic.  It is more of a thick wet-rub with bay leaf, Worchestershire sauce, orange zest and the warming spices  of cumin and  coriander.  The original recipe asked for mustard seeds which I did not have so I substituted some grainy mustard and added some cumin seeds. The chicken thighs can marinade for as little as an hour or up to overnight.  Mine marinaded about 4 hours.  I modified the recipe completely from this point on.  I roasted the chicken in a sheet pan alongside sweet potatoes and shallots.  This dish smelled absolutely divine while cooking.  Instead of a parsley salad, I made a wilted spinach salad to accompany the chicken.  To serve, I spread a layer of baby spinach on a serving platter. I placed the hot chicken and sweet potatoes/shallots over the spinach to wilt it.  I drizzled the whole dish with a simple mustard vinaigrette then added the orange chunks and toasted sunflower seeds.  Sublime! So colorful and pretty, too.   Continue reading

French Almond-Pear Cake

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“It is, in my view, the duty of an apple to be crisp and crunchable, but a pear should have such a texture as leads to silent consumption.”
Edward Bunyard, ‘The Anatomy of Dessert’

More pear than cake, this cake is just bursting with fruit. Choose pears that are ripe yet still firm.  The pears do not need to be peeled, so this cake is super quick to make.   French in style, there is only enough batter to hold the fruit together. As far as cakes go, it is pretty guilt-free.  The almonds on top give it another layer of almond flavor and make it gorgeous to serve. Oh là là, délicieux!

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Turkey Cauliflower Mushroom Bake

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“We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage.  We will welcome summer’s ghost.”  Henry Rollins

Even though my children are grown and flown the coop, I still feel like it’s Back to School every September.  And that means baking wholesome one dish meals that fill the house with enticing aroma.   This healthy casserole is one of those perfect fall dishes, chock full of vegetables, low in carbs and fat.  Kids will think they’re having a fabulous Italian meal and won’t suspect you have an entire head of cauliflower hiding in there!  Roasted cauliflower is combined with ground turkey, mushrooms and spinach, topped with marinara and a sprinkling of parmesan.  It is baked to a pipping hot,  delectable 1-dish meal in just 15 minutes.  It can be made ahead a day.    I modified the original recipe from Cookin’ Canuck by adding spinach and shallots to the mix.  It made for a delicious weeknight low-carb meal.  To save time, you can use bottled marinara.  You can serve it over pasta, but then…there goes the low carb!  Enjoy!

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