What does fall mean to you? To me, fall means using pumpkins, squash, cranberries, cinnamon and the like as much as possible. Since our family dinner club has started back up again (yay!), I happily dove into my recipe box for recipes I’ve been meaning to try and found a winner. The recipe that got the honor of kicking off dinner club was for roasted acorn squash with sausage stuffing. And I thought that since I made those cutie-pie individual pear and apple crisps the other day, I thought I’d continue on my road to individuality with these great little single serving squashes. I had to make a side dish to balance out the fall extravaganza: cauliflower gratin (which totally ended up tasting like mac and cheese…seriously awesome). Here’s what I did:
5 acorn squashes, halved and seeded
1 pound (about 4 links) sausage, diced (I used this awesome smoked chicken and apple sausage)
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup craisins
1/4 walnuts, chopped
1 cup fresh spinach
1 cup breadcrumbs or 2 cups bread chunks
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
First off, I halved and seeded the squashed, splashed a little olive oil and s&p over them, and roasted them for half an hour at 400 degrees.
In the meantime, I sautéed the onion in olive oil for about 5 minutes and then added the diced chicken sausage and let that cook for another 5 minutes. Once everything has some nice brown marks, add the craisins, spinach, walnuts and the breadcrumbs and stir it up until combined. Take the stuffing off the heat to let cool for about 10 minutes. Once the mixture has cooled a bit, add the beaten eggs and mix. The eggs will help bind the stuffing together.
Once the squashes have roasted, fill them with the stuffing mixture and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and return to the oven (at 350 degrees) for about 15 minutes.
Can I tell you how good this was? The smoked chicken sausage was amazing first off, but the sweet/tartness of the craisins lightened everything up a bit. The added crunch of the walnuts gave great texture too! And I can’t forget to mention the great side dish I made: the cauliflower gratin! This was a total after thought to the meal, but it definitely rivaled it. Here’s what I did:
3 T butter
2 cups milk
1 cup gruyere cheese
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
First, you want to make a roux by melting the butter in a saucepan and adding the flour. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes, to make sure the raw flour taste is cooked off, then whisk in the milk. The mixture will now start thickening as it heats. Add the gruyere cheese a dash of s&p. Once the cheese sauce is thick, pour it over the cauliflower florets in a baking dish and toss the breadcrumbs over the top for an awesome crunchy topping. Pop it in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes and you will have a carb-haters fantasy on the table. It totally tasted like mac and cheese…amazing! Even my cheese hating sister loved it (I still think she’s lying about hating cheese, but that topic is for another time).
These two recipes were definitely a success. I’m going to have to dive into all my old recipes to see what other gems there might be in there!