Monday, October 28, 2019

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Squash


The fall season comes and goes so quickly here in west Michigan that you really have to soak up every second of it. Seeing the variety of squash and apples that is available at the farmers market right now is amazing. Acorn squash was something I grew up eating and I still love it so much. It's delicious served roasted on it's own with a little butter and salt, but I stepped it up a notch by stuffing it with sausage, apples, some veggies (for added color and nutrition) and Parmesan. A winning combo!

Serve this with wild rice pilaf or a leafy green salad. I like to pair mine with a crisp white wine like Sauvignon blanc or dry Reisling. 



1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. Trim the ends of each squash, then cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes.




3. Meanwhile, brown sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once browned, transfer to a large bowl.


4. Add onion, celery and carrot to the same skillet and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.


5. Add apple and spinach and cook for 1 minute, or until the spinach has wilted. Transfer to the bowl with the sausage and stir to combine.


6. Add sage, egg, breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup Parmesan to the bowl and stir again. Scoop the sausage mixture into each squash well, then sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes longer.








Sausage and Apple Stuffed Squash
Serves 4

All you need:
2 acorn squash
Olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 pound hot (or mild) ground Italian sausage
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 small apple, diced
Handful baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. Trim the ends of each squash, then cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, brown sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once browned, transfer to a large bowl.
4. Add onion, celery and carrot to the same skillet and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.
5. Add apple and spinach and cook for 1 minute, or until the spinach has wilted. Transfer to the bowl with the sausage and stir to combine.
6. Add sage, egg, breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup Parmesan to the bowl and stir again. Scoop the sausage mixture into each squash well, then sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes longer.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Pan-Seared Salmon with Cranberry-Fig Sauce


With the holidays right around the corner, I love coming up with festive dishes that don't take all day to prepare. Cranberries were a big staple in my family growing up. I'm reminded of this every time they go on sale and my dad has around 30 bags in his freezer, haha! But they are delicious so I can't blame him. 

This cranberry sauce in particular is the perfect balance of tart and sweet. The fig jam adds wonderful flavor without making it too sweet. This sauce would also be great on chicken breast or pork tenderloin.

Serve this dish with mashed sweet potato or wild rice.





1. Melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season salmon filets with salt and place in the hot pan. Cook for 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown and flaky. Transfer to a plate.



2. Add onion and cranberries to the same pan and saute until the cranberries start to pop, about 5 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar, orange zest/juice and fig preserves and cook for 2 minutes longer.






3. Finish the sauce with fresh rosemary. Spoon sauce over each salmon filet and serve.






Pan-Seared Salmon with Cranberry-Fig Sauce
Serves 4

All you need:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 (6-8 oz.) salmon filets, skin removed
Salt, to taste
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Zest and juice of 1 orange
2 tablespoons fig preserves
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves

All you do:
1. Melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season salmon filets with salt and place in the hot pan. Cook for 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown and flaky. Transfer to a plate.
2. Add onion and cranberries to the same pan and saute until the cranberries start to pop, about 5 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar, orange zest/juice and fig preserves and cook for 2 minutes longer.
3. Finish the sauce with fresh rosemary. Spoon sauce over each salmon filet and serve.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Beef and Veggie Pot Pie


When you think pot pie, typically you would immediately think chicken. However, beef pot pie may actually be my new favorite. The homemade beef stew is packed with layers of delicious flavor from the beef, veggies and red wine. The Swiss cheese layer pairs perfectly with the mushrooms and the puff pastry topper adds buttery flakiness.

Serve this as-is, or with a side of leafy greens. Pair with a bold red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir.


1. Melt butter and olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add diced steak (in two batches) and cook until browned. Transfer to a plate.




2. Add carrots, celery and onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add Dijon, garlic powder and flour and cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.




3. Add mushrooms, beef broth and red wine and bring to a boil. Add beef back to the pan and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook over low heat for 30 minutes. After the time is up, allow the stew to cool slightly.




4. Preheat oven to 425. Ladle the stew into a 13x9 baking dish and top with Swiss cheese slices and puff pastry. Brush with egg. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.




5. Allow the pot pie to rest for at least 10-15 minutes before serving.



Beef and Veggie Pot Pie
Serves 6-8

All you need:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds sirloin steak, diced
4 carrots, diced
4 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 small onion, diced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup red wine
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
6 Swiss cheese slices
1 1/2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg, beaten

All you do:
1. Melt butter and olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add diced steak (in two batches) and cook until browned. Transfer to a plate.
2. Add carrots, celery and onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add Dijon, garlic powder and flour and cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
3. Add mushrooms, beef broth and red wine and bring to a boil. Add beef back to the pan and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook over low heat for 30 minutes. After the time is up, allow the stew to cool slightly.
4. Preheat oven to 425. Ladle the stew into a 13x9 baking dish and top with Swiss cheese slices and puff pastry. Brush with egg. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
5. Allow the pot pie to rest for at least 10-15 minutes before serving.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Apple Walnut Salad with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette


Today I had the pleasure of visiting a local hydroponic greenhouse (Third Day Produce). The variety of lettuce and the different colors were so beautiful. My clients often ask for salads and it's fun for me to come up with ways to make them exciting. Since it's fall and apples are amazing right now, I decided to top my greens with Honeycrisp apple as well as sweet dried cherries, toasty walnuts and earthy goat cheese. The maple mustard vinaigrette ties everything together with it's lightly sweet and tangy flavor.

For added protein, simply serve pan-seared chicken breasts or salmon on top.



1. Combine vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Place leafy greens in a large mixing bowl and toss with half of the dressing. Transfer to a large serving bowl.


3. Top the salad with sliced apple, walnuts, cherries and goat cheese. Serve the remaining vinaigrette on the side.



Apple Walnut Salad with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette
Serves 4

All you need:
Vinaigrette
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard (or Dijon)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

8 cups leafy greens
1 Honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced
1/2 cup toasted walnut halves
1/3 cup dried cherries
2 oz. plain goat cheese, crumbled

All you do:
1. Combine vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl.
2. Place leafy greens in a large mixing bowl and toss with half of the dressing. Transfer to a large serving bowl.
3. Top the salad with sliced apple, walnuts, cherries and goat cheese. Serve the remaining vinaigrette on the side.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Butternut Squash Curry


I love curries - especially ones that are chock-full of veggies. This dish is perfect to make at the beginning of the week and enjoy for lunch because it will keep you full until dinner time. And it's a great meal to make for any of your vegan friends or those with food allergies since it's naturally gluten-free and dairy-free.

For added protein, simply add one can of drained chickpeas or 1 block of drained extra-firm or fried tofu (diced).



1. Melt coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add butternut squash and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring often, until lightly softened.

2. Add spices and curry paste and stir to combine.


3. Add coconut milk, lime juice and honey and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is tender.


4. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Taste the sauce and season with salt as needed.

5. Scoop rice into serving bowls and ladle curry over. Garnish with a generous amount of crushed peanuts.



Butternut Squash Curry
Serves 6

All you need:
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons yellow curry paste (or red curry paste)
2 (13.5 oz.) cans full-fat coconut milk
Juice of 2 limes
2 teaspoons honey (or agave nectar)
4 cups baby spinach
Salt, to taste

Jasmine rice, for serving
Crushed dry roasted peanuts, for garnish

All you do:
1. Melt coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add butternut squash and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring often, until lightly softened.
2. Add spices and curry paste and stir to combine.
3. Add coconut milk, lime juice and honey and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
4. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Taste the sauce and season with salt as needed.
5. Scoop rice into serving bowls and ladle curry over. Garnish with a generous amount of crushed peanuts.