Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Sausage and Brown Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

I was a bit sad to pick up my CSA today, as it was the last bag for the season.  I love getting my fresh-from-the-farm veggies, and though I felt it was a bit of a challenge to figure out what to do with everything when I first started to get the CSA, now that I have a number of go-to recipes to use, I love having the produce dictate my menu.  Our CSA had an awesome crop of squash this year, so I have been working on a number of recipes to use them.  One great thing about squash is that it has a shelf life that is way longer than typical produce; if I don't use them right away, they are still great.  I love all of the flavors in this recipe, and I love that when I made it, my kids said, "You know, I really like squash!" As if they wouldn't. ;)

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 acorn squash 
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage (bulk if you can find it, otherwise remove casings)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves (fresh) (or use 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (I use the microwavable bags)
  • Shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese
DIRECTIONS: 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Halve squash and remove seeds. Place squash halves, cut side up, on the baking sheet and roast for 40-45 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook rice.
  3. Brown sausage over medium heat, adding the onion, garlic, and pepper just when the sausage begins to brown.  Saute until sausage is browned and veggies are tender, add the rice and thyme.
  4. Once squash is roasted, spoon the sausage mixture into the halves until they are overflowing.  Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over each half.  Return squash to oven and roast for another 15-20 minutes or until the cheese begins to brown slightly.

Difficulty: Easy
Time: a bit more than an hour, total
Source: adapted from http://www.thebusybaker.ca/


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

I am both happy and dismayed to have found this recipe early this summer. Happy because it was a huge hit at every get together that I took it to; Dismayed because I had NO self-control when it came to eating it. I am a person that posted on Facebook years ago that there should be Reece's Peanut Butter Cup flavored gum. I would buy it by the case. This recipe has just the right combo of ingredients to strip away all of my will power.  Don't let that discourage you, though.  You DEFINITELY want to make this for your next get together.  (Just make sure you have some people to share it with.)

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup peanut butter, smooth
  • 2 cups (about 1 pack or 9 grahams) graham crackers, broken/crushed
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups chocolate chips plus 2 tbsp vegetable oil to help melt the chips
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Spray or line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper or tin foil.
  2. Break or crush the graham crackers into smaller pieces. (I put the crackers in a plastic bag and rolled them with a rolling pin to make a fine crumble.  You may like yours more chunky.  You really can't go wrong here.)
  3. In a saucepan, melt the butter and peanut butter together, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the crushed graham crackers and powdered sugar. Once mixed, add in the peanut butter mixture, and mix to combine.
  5. Spread the peanut butter graham cracker mixture evenly into the pan.
  6. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and oil.  Microwave on medium for a minute at a time, stirring in between, until melted.
  7. Pour the chocolate over the peanut butter layer.
  8. Cover the pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until they are set.
  9. Cut into bars and enjoy!

Difficulty: easy
Time: about 1 hour, including cooling time
Source: adapted from http://thefirstyearblog.com