Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Healthy Sausage & Apple Stuffed Acron Squash with a Secret

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash- and healthy dinner with loads of flavor and a secret sausage. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

Are squash and Fall exclusive in your neck of the woods?  I think I used to be that way, until I realized how healthy squash is for you, and there are so many things you can do with squash.  Now, I eat it every chance I get aka every time it is on sale.  

Personally, I think you should change your mind about squash being a seasonal Fall food.    

You can substitute squash for pasta, like I did here.  You can roast the squash for an easy delicious side dish as well.  There are too many squash options to limit yourself to eating it only during one season.   

I used to be a simple oven roasted acorn squash with butter kind of girl..  It's delicious!  

However, after this Sausage & Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash dish I'm rethinking my acorn squash ways.  

At the store last week they had all of their squashes on sale.  I was ecstatic; it wasn't Fall, but there were still awesome prices on squash.  So I snatched some up (not the kind of swiping like the lady with the t-shirts:)).  I got a butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and a couple acorn squashes.  Yummy!

In that same glorious shopping trip I picked up some Vegan Sausage; it was on sale 1 lb for $1.50.  I figured for such a good deal I might as well give it a shot and get out of the virgin vegan sausage club. 

This Vegan Sausage was my little secret for this stuffed acorn squash.  I decided I would use this sausage in stuffed acorn squash and not tell my husband until after he enjoyed all of its deliciousness.  I didn't want him swaying his opinion of dinner just b/c it wasn't real meat.  
Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash- and healthy dinner with loads of flavor and a secret sausage. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

The consistency of the vegan sausage is a tad different, but there was no grease which I absolutely loved.  

The taste of the vegan sausage was pretty darn good, and I feel if used in a recipe like a quiche or this stuffed acorn squash and you can't even tell the difference.

My husband had no idea it was vegan; he was pleasantly surprised and open to future vegan sausage.  

My husband wasn't the only one to love this dinner.  My toddlers, my friend Abbie, and myself were all fans.  

I liked using this sausage b/c it made the dish that much healthier, vegetarian, and yet my husband felt like he was enjoying a yummy sausage stuffing from Thanksgiving. He actually said, this meal was delicious and reminded him of Thanksgiving.

Now, you don't have to use vegan sausage, but I wanted to let you know it is a viable option. 

Even though it isn't Fall or Thanksgiving, you should make this Sausage & Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash next time you can get some squash on sale.  It's a great way to have acorn squash as the main course rather than side dish; plus, everyone enjoys getting their own little squash bowl.

The apples in this recipe give a delicious crunch and flavor that is absolutely perfect.  The breadcrumbs make it taste like stuffing, and the sausage and spices are flavored perfectly.  It may not be Fall, but squash is healthy and should be taken advantage of when on sale.  
Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash- and healthy dinner with loads of flavor and a secret sausage. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

Sausage & Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
Recipe: Alohamora slightly adapted from Food.com
Active Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 1 hr 15 minutes
Servings: 6-8


3-4 acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 lb sausage (any kind, vegan or whatnot, just regular seasoning)
1 tsp olive oil
1/3 c. onion, diced
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1/2 c. shredded carrots
2 apples, cored and diced (the tarter the apple the better)
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp ground thyme
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c. cheddar cheese (or cheese of your choice)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or a baking mat.
  2. Place the halved and seeded acorn squashes cut side up onto the baking sheet.  You can use just 2-3 squash and then cook the rest of the stuffing in an oven safe bowl: it just depends on your family,  situation, and how many squash bowls.
  3. Bake for 45 mins to 1 hour until squash is tender but the sides can still hold it's shape.  Basically, you don't want it too soft b/c it'll cook for a little longer still. 
  4. In a large pan with the oil (you could get away with just spraying the pan with a cooking spray if you were using regular sausage) over medium heat fry the sausage until cooked through and light brown. . 
  5. You may need to drain the grease if you used a fattier pork sausage.  
  6. Remove the cooked sausage from the pan and place it in a large bowl.  Set it aside.    
  7. Add onion, celery, and carrots to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Stir in the diced apple and 
  8. In a large bowl combine the sausage and vegetables.  Add the breadcrumbs, seasonings (rosemary, thyme, and parsley) and finally the beaten egg.  Then stir to combine everything.  I found using a fork to combine and stir everything worked perfectly.   
  9. Finally, fill the previously prepared and partially cooked squash halves until slightly rounded or mounded with the stuffing mixture.  Top the stuffing mounds with cheddar cheese.
  10. We had plenty of stuffing leftover.  Fill an oven safe bowl with any leftover stuffing and top it with cheese.  My kids loved eating just the stuffing!  
  11. Place your baking sheet with stuffed acorn squash and bowls of stuffing in the oven and cook it for 25 minutes at 350. 
  12. Enjoy!    
  13. If you want to make this recipe ahead of time you have two options.  Either make it up until the stage of cooking it the last time.  You can then place it in your fridge to cook later that night (for 25-30 minutes) or wrap it with saran wrap, or in a sealed tupperware container and freeze it.  Then when you are ready take it out of the freezer and let it defrost while the oven heats up.  Finally, cook it at 350 for 40-50 minutes.

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