Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How to Make Baked Acorn Squash with Stuffing

I saw an advertisement this week for a book for "cheap meals". The book was supposedly filled with recipes for meals under $10.  I thought, "What kind of people are splurging on $10 meals!"  Here is a delicious dish you can make cheaply:  Baked Acorn Squash with Stuffing.

Brown sausage

First, brown a package of sausage, hopefully some of that 98 cent Farmland sausage that was on sale at Apple Market a couple of weeks ago. Add about a half a chopped onion...more of less, depending on how much you like onion.

Add Some Spice to Your Life

Add salt and pepper to taste.  I also added two cloves of garlic and some fresh sage out of my herb garden.  If you don't have fresh sage, just use the store bought kind, maybe a teaspoon or so.

Halve and remove seeds

Halve an acorn and scoop out the seeds.  I like to save seeds to plant in my garden next year.   Remove all the gunk around the seeds and lay them out flat to dry.  This is an old baby plate I bought at a garage sale years ago.  It is the perfect size to fit on many of my cooking pots and often gets used as a lid because I am too lazy to lean over and get out the real lid from under the counter.

Dry the seeds for a week or so.  When the seeds are completely dry, store in a dry, cool place until spring.  Be sure and label the pack of seeds unless you are planning a surprise garden. I had several surprises in my garden this year due to my lack of diligence in labeling.

A little trick is to cut off the end of the squash so it will sit flat and not roll around.  If you don't like acorn squash, use a green pepper. Green pepper is even cheaper than Acorn Squash. Then pre-cook the acorn squash in the microwave for about 5-7 minutes. 

Add Stuffing Mix

Buy a box of cheap stuffing mix.  I use the kind they sell at Wal-Mart which I think is around a dollar.  Follow the directions on the box.  Add the amount of water and butter specified on the box directly to the sausage/spice mixture. Add the bread crumb mix. You do not have to make the stuffing seperately. Here's something else I do, I don't drain the sausage.  Fat is just another word for flavor.  It looks a little gross when cooking but makes for a very rich stuffing.  If you just can't the fat, then by all means go ahead and drain it off, you skinny, bland little people.

Add curry or whatever spices you like

I decided to spice it up a little more and added some curry.  I love curry. Sage, garlic and curry--you can't go wrong.  How much curry?  You decide. Add a little and taste.  Not enough?  Then add more. It's best to start with a small amount then add more if needed.  I recently added a whole teaspoon of red pepper to a dish and regretted it. I had to double the recipe to fix my mistake.  Just experiment.  If you mess up a dish, don't worry, the recipe police are very lax.

I rarely measure anything.  I learned most of my cooking skills from my Grandmother.  I remember once I really wanted to learn how to make noodles.  I was trying to write down the recipe (she always made them from memory) as she made the dish.  She scooped some flour on a wooden board, hollowed out a hole and cracked an egg into the center.

"Wait!  How much flour?" I asked frantically, waving my floury pen.

"Well, let's see, I guess about a cup the size of this brown teacup," she would respond. "Now, add a pinch of salt," she continured.

"How much is a pinch?" I would query.

"A pinch is a pinch" she would say laughingly.

I still don't make very good noodles. 

But now I cook the same way.  People sometimes ask me how I made something.   I can't give you measurements.  I cook by taste.

So back to our stuffed squash.  Take the stuffing mixture and scoop into the hollowed out squash.  Bake at 350 degrees until done, about 45 minutes or so.  I served with a little Naan bread.

Beautiful. Cheap, gourmet food.
 So this meal ran about $5.00.  Here's the breakdown:

Acorn Squash.............................................................  $3.00
Onion, Garlic & Spices, little butter around.................   $1.00
Stuffing mix................................................................   $1.00

Bread is optional but a roll or piece of bread really makes a complete meal.  Splurge, add bread for another buck.  You still have a complete meal for uner $6.  Give the kids some leftover mac and cheese, they probably don't appreciate gourmet food.  Or better yet, take some of the stuffing and put inside a pita or some Naan.  It makes a delicious bread on bread sandwich.

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