Fall Dinner, delicious, quick and inexpensive!

With the weather finally becoming fall, it is time to think fall menus especially fall dinners, delicious, quick and inexpensive.  What could be more fall than acorn squash?  The markets are brimming with beautiful squash and acorn squash is THE most beautiful of all.  Why not make a fall dinner with this seasonal beauty?  It can make an inexpensive entrée.  It is also heathy with limited fat but filled with fiber and flavor.

Serve the stuffed squash with a salad and maybe a dish of ice cream for dessert. You will win the raves of your family or guests. They don’t need to know the food is healthy, quick to prepare, and inexpensive.  All they want to know is that it is delicious.


Acorn Squash Stuffed with Sausage and Vegetables

1/2 cup water
2 each acorn squash cut in half with seed removed
1 tablespoon olive oil (any vegetable oil may be substituted)
1/2 pound Italian sausage or ground beef, crumbled
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
½ cup water or white dry wine
1/2 cup prunes, chopped
1/4 cup raisins, golden
2 cup brown rice, cooked (dried bread crumbs or croutons are a quick substitute)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon thyme, leaves, dried or fresh
1 tablespoon sage, fresh or dried or 1 teaspoon of ground
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, flaked or grated

1. Put water and squash halves in an oven pan. Cover and place in microwave and bake until squash flesh is barely soft. Remove from microwave.
2. Place oil in a skillet and heat. When skillet is hot, add meat. Sauté until it is no longer raw. Drain the fat by using a strainer. Return the meat to the skillet and add onion and carrots. Sauté until vegetables begin to color. Add mushrooms and garlic. Sauté until mushrooms begin to wilt and lose their water. Place entire contents of skillet in mixing bowl.
3. Add water or wine to the pan to deglaze. Increase the heat and loosen all the flavorful bits at the bottom of the pan. Add to the bowl.
4. Add prunes, raisins, rice (or bread), spices and Mozzarella cheese. Stir to combine.
5. Scoop one quarter of mixture into each squash half. Top with the Parmesan cheese. Can be prepared to this point and refrigerated overnight, if desired.
6. Bake at 350 degrees until acorn squash and stuffing are hot and browned. Usually about 40 minutes.
7. Enjoy!