Stuffed Acorn Squash

I don’t know about you but for me the month of January spells eating lots of leftover Christmas candy while trying to keep warm and not gain any more weight! No simple feat!

This recipe for Stuffed Acorn Squash is a warm, winter dinner that’s low on calories and high on taste that hopefully helps you fulfill that goal!

I was a little dubious about stuffed acorn squash at first – it seems like quite a lot of effort for very little result and it all seems a little too healthy for me 😉 However, I was surprised by the delicious result and how simple it was to make!

You could probably use any large squash for this dish – but Captain America and I picked up this massive Acorn squash at Apple Hill and I decided to use it for a main dish rather than a smaller side dish. If you can only find smaller acorn squash at your grocery store or Farmer’s market then it would make a great side dish, or maybe use a whole squash per person for a main dish.

While researching “How to cook squash” I found this excellent post from one of my favorite cooking website The Kitchn – check this out for some basic tips on How to make stuffed roasted squash

Ingredients

1 acorn squash (or equivalent)
4 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1lb ground turkey
1 carrot, grated
1 tbsp garlic salt
1 tsp onion salt
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 C breadcrumbs
1 C Grated Italian cheese
3/4 C pine nuts (optional)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut the Acorn squash in half and remove the seeds and stringy bits. Place the squash halves cut-side-down in a baking dish and pour in enough hot water to fill the pan by about 1/4 inch. Cover the dish loosely with foil and place the dish in the oven.
  2. Roast the squash at 375F until very soft and tender when poked with a fork or paring knife, 30 to 50 minutes. Exact roasting time will depend on the size and variety of your squash.
  3. While the squash is roasting cook the ground turkey, onion, garlic, bell pepper, carrot and seasonings in a pan until the turkey is fully cooked. When it is cooked remove the filling from the heat until the squash has finished roasting
  4. Flip the cooked squash halves so they form bowls. Rub the inside with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the breadcrumbs, cheese and pine nuts to the filling.
  6. Divide the filling between the halves — it’s fine to really stuff the wells and also to mound the filling on top.
  7. Bake the stuffed squash halves until bubbly: Re-cover the pan with the foil and bake the halves for another 15 to 20 minutes until both are hot and bubbly. Top with extra cheese and serve immediately.

Cataldo Family Christmas Ravioli

The Cataldo Family has a wonderful family tradition at Christmas – homemade Ravioli!

They are so delicious and made from scratch!

A few months ago we all got together for a family gathering to make the ravioli ready for the holidays. I must admit that most of them did not make it to the holidays as we ate them all well before – but more will be made in time for Christmas Day where we serve them alongside Prime Rib and many other delights!

I will admit they are not a fast or simple dish to make – which is why we all made a HUGE batch of them to freeze and eat over time. The results are well worth the effort and time!

I have never made pasta or ravioli before – however the rest of the family had made it many times before! I am delighted to tell you that I passed the test, my Mother-in-Law said I did a great job and she should know she has been making them for decades!

Here’s me with my rolled out ravioli!!

I was very nervous to get started but I had excellent supervision and tutoring! Rolling out the dough is easier than it looks although I did have buff arms after a few batches!!

The family has a cool ravioli rolling pin that really makes the job easier! These gadgets come in all different sizes but we prefer the smaller ones.

After you roll out the dough you put filling in a very thin layer on one half of the dough and then fold the dough over the top and then roll it out using the fancy rolling pin!

Here’s the recipe: 

Ingredients

To make the dough:
28 C flour
6-8 eggs (depending on size and moisture)
a little oil
warm water
To make the stuffing:
3 medium onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3lbs ground beef
1lb ground pork, ground black forest ham or ground Italian sausage
4 bunches spinach or swiss chard (we prefer swiss chard)
3 carrots
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
4 C finely ground breadcrumbs
1 C grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
6 eggs
1 tbsp poultry seasoning
2 tbsp basil
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp allspice
salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. To make the dough: Mix together the ingredients, kneed well (use a machine to help with this stage!) Roll out thinly – so it looks like paper
  2. To make the filling: Chop onions and garlic very finely and saute in a large skillet. Add the ground beef and pork to to the onion mixture and brown. Set aside.
  3. Boil the carrots and and swiss chard/spinach in salted water. When tender, chop coarsely and add to the skillet mixture.
  4. Reserve spinach water in case you need to add any to alter the consistency of the filling.
  5. Add breadcrumbs. grated cheese and eggs to the skillet.
  6. Pour into the food processor and blend until mixed well.
  7. Add the spices and taste! Adjust seasonings to taste.
  8. To assemble the ravioli: Roll out dough very thinly on a well floured surface into a rectangle shape. Brush the entire top surface of the rolled dough with a lightly beaten egg.
  9. Spread ravioli stuffing very thinly onto one half of the rectangle. Fold the uncovered half of the dough on top of the filling and press down lightly.
  10. Using a ravioli rolling pin roll over the dough and PRESS DOWN HARD. Then cut between the ravioli using a ravioli cutter.
  11. If you are not cooking and eating the ravioli immediately:
  12. Place each ravioli on a baking tray covered in parchment paper and freeze. When fully frozen you can transfer them to a freezer proof bag and store until you are ready to eat them.

From our family to yours – we hope you have a fantastic time celebrating the birth of Jesus with your loved ones.

Merry Christmas from Captain America & His English Rose!

We are taking a little blogging break over the holidays and we will be back in the New Year!

Simple Chicken & Shrimp Tom Yum Soup

A friend of ours recently gave us a few Asian ingredients as she is moving house and needs to downsize!

She knew we loved to cook and would make good use of them! She was right! Our recipe for Simple Chicken & Shrimp Tom Yum Soup was created.

I started googling some of the ingredients she had given us to see how best I could put them to use. I found a few options, but nothing that was jumping out at me. I decided to take the high risk approach and create my own Asian soup recipe! Being the least Asian person I know (!) it was literal guess work and while the result was exceptionally good (even if i do say so myself!) it may not be the most genuine Tom Yum Soup recipe ever created and for that I apologize!

 

Every recipe I read told me how to make my own tom yum soup base….but I already had that, so I used that as a base and added to it as it was pretty bland. I wanted to make sure the chicken was thin enough and cooked in the same way I as I had eaten in other Asian soups. I turns out the method is to essentially boil the chicken – which I would never think to do usually – but it worked! The chicken absorbed all the delicious flavors of the soup base while it cooked!

This recipe for chicken & shrimp tom yum soup was a huge fluke and yet a real success – that’s the best kind!

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Simple Chicken & Shrimp Tom Yum Soup

Ingredients:

Serves 6-8

3 quarts water

22 oz (3 packets) Udon noodles (do not use any seasoning packets that may come with the noodles)

1 can baby corn, chopped

2 C finely sliced chicken, uncooked

1 C tail-on shrimp

1 red onion, slivered

1 bell pepper, slivered

2 C mushrooms, sliced

4 tbsp Tom Yum Soup Paste

1 tbsp hot pepper paste

2 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsp thai fish sauce

1 x 14 oz can chicken broth

2 tbsp garlic salt

2 tbsp garlic powder

2 tbsp fresh cilantro

Directions:

Add the water to a large pan, add the tom yum soup paste, hot pepper paste, lime juice, fish sauce, chicken broth, garlic salt & garlic powder to the pan and bring to the boil.

Add the chicken, onion and bell pepper, stir and reduce the heat to an active simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the shrimp, mushrooms and baby corn and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the noodles and fresh cilantro and stir well to break up the noodles as they cook. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until the noodles are cooked through and serve

 

Mozzarella Stuffed Burgers with all the trimmings!

We are kicking of this new season with one of our favorite dishes of the summer – and what better day to celebrate our return but with Mozzarella Stuffed Burgers with all the trimmings this Labor Day!

Traditionally, Labor Day marks the end of the summer with the last BBQ before the Fall weather begins…..but here in California we will probably be grilling for a few more months this year and today the weather is just shy of 100°F!

This year we are praying in some rain and Fall-like weather – I long for some cozy Fall afternoons snuggled on a couch drinking a pumpkin spice latte while the rain pours outside! Please God let this be the year!

In the meantime I wanted to share this recipe for Mozzarella Stuffed Burgers with all the trimmings – this has been a regular visitor in our house this summer! We always like to find new uses for freezer staples such as ground beef and ground turkey and this was one of those perfect solutions.

Ingredients:

Makes 2 extra-large (or 4 regular) burger patties

1lb ground beef

2 tbsp garlic salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 1/2 tbsp basil

1/2 tsp ground mustard

2 thick slices mozzarella cheese

Trimmings:

Bread rolls or Iceberg lettuce leaves

2 oz sliced mushrooms

1/2 red onion, sliced

1 avocado, sliced

mustard/mayo/ketchup – optional

Directions:

In a bowl add the ground beef and seasonings and mix well.

Divide the ground beef into 2 or 4 balls and form burger patties using your hands.

Make a small indent in the center of the burger making sure not to go all the way through the patty.

Insert the mozzarella slice into the indent (you may need to cut the cheese into smaller pieces)

Cover over the indent with the ground beef making sure the cheese is completely covered in a think layer of meat.

Place in a hot pan and cook for a few minutes and then turn over, repeat this step until cooked thoroughly.

In a separate pan, cook the onions and mushrooms until soft and set aside.

To assemble the burgers:

For a burger in a bun:

Place the cooked patty on the bread, add the onions, mushrooms, lettuce, avocado and any additional garnishes.

For a protein style burger (no bread):

Place 3 iceberg lettuce leaves on a plate so that they are overlapping, place the patty on top of the center leaf and then add the onions, mushrooms and avocado, and any additional garnishes. Wrap the patty in the lettuce and secure (if necessary) with a toothpick.

 

30 Sensational Summer Salads

Summer is in full swing, kids are on vacation, days are long, time is short and meals are aplenty!

Check out this round-up of 30 Sensational Summer Salads for all occasions to get your tastebuds and inspiration flowing!

Whether you need a salad for lunch or dinner, a side salad, or some great ideas for salads to serve at a summer BBQ or picnic there is one here for every occasion and every palate!

Here are some inspirational recipes so let’s get cooking!!

Entree Salad Dishes (Meat Free)

 

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Kale Salad with Pear, Berries & Walnuts by Simply Fresh Dinners

Almond, Mango, Kale, Pasta, Green Bean Chopped Salad by Kitchen Chopper

 

Entree Salad Dishes with Meat/Poultry

 

Cobb Salad

Taco Salad

Warm Spinach Salad

Chicken Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Dressing

Tuna Nicoise Salad

Crab, Tangerine & Fresh Herb Salad by Simply Fresh Dinners

Southwestern Cornbread Salad by Recipes For Our Daily Bread

 

Side Salads

 

Traditional Coleslaw

Red Cabbage & Broccoli Slaw

Three Bean Salad

Simple Green Salad

Berry Salad by Coffee With Us 3

Roasted Corn Salad with Feta & Tomatoes by Coffee With Us 3

Cranberry Green Salad by Coffee With Us 3

Fresh Tomato & Feta Salad by Eat It & Say Yum

 

Potato & Pasta Salads

 

Cheesy Ranch Potato Salad by From That’s My Home

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad by A Kitchen Hoor

Pasta Salad with Zing! by My Freshly Brewed Life

Healthy Potato Salad by Simply Fresh Dinners

Grandma’s Potato Salad by Coffee With Us 3

Summer Pasta Salad

 

Dessert Salads

 

Simple Fruit Salad by Coffee With Us 3

Pistachio Salad by Thrifty Treasures

Strawberry Pretzel Salad by Thrift Treasures

 

Salad Dressings

 

Greek Style Vinaigrette

Italian Balsamic Dressing

Ranch Dressing Mix

BBQ Teriyaki Chicken

We have a special recipe for you this week for 4th July, BBQ Teriyaki Chicken

This is a delicious recipe created by Captain America and we cannot get enough of it! I am delighted that we have another great opportunity to grill coming this week as we celebrate one of my favorite holidays.

This is an incredibly simple recipe and takes not time to make – it just needs to sit overnight so the chicken can absorb all the wonderful flavors!

This recipe is also great cold, so if you are having a picnic or you need to have pre-prepared food for the holiday then this will work really well

 

We hope you have a fabulous 4th July weekend celebrating with family and friends!

For more 4th July ideas check out these posts:

Decor & Crafts

Food & Recipes

Ingredients:

6.5 lbs chicken pieces (we used legs)

1tsp ginger

4 tbsp soy sauce

1tsp liquid smoke (hickory flavor)

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp yellow mustard

3 tbsp Korean BBQ sauce

2 C Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce

 

Directions:

Mix the marinade ingredients together.

Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces and place them in an airtight container.

Pour the marinade over the chicken and marinade overnight (or for a minimum of 5 hours)

Cook on the grill until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

 

Celebrate 4th July Round-Up: Food

4th July is fast approaching and I wanted to celebrate one of my favorite holidays in style with a Celebrate 4th July Round-Up!

Yesterday I did a decor and crafts round up which you can find HERE

Today it is all about FOOD! You all know how much Captain America & I LOVE food, cooking and recipes so I am really excited by the ones featured here.

I also included a few of our personal favorites and for some more 4th July recipe inspiration check my Celebrate 4th July post from last year!

I am delighted to share these exceptional creations with you! They caught my eye from The Pretty Pintastic Party a link party I co-host every Friday 

Now onto the Round-Up:

Breakfast

 

Spirited Star Waffles by Kenarry

 

Burgers & Hot Dogs

 

1) Oven-Baked Chili Cheese Dogs by Foody Schmoody

2) Blue Cheese Stuffed Burgers by My Family Mealtime

3) Turkey Burgers by Captain America & His English Rose

4) Chipotle Burger by A Mother’s Shadow

 

Meat & Grilling

 

1) Mango BBQ Chicken Skewers by The Housewife In Training Files

2) 3 Ingredient Pulled Pork by Mommy On Demand

3) Fall-Off-The-Bone Ribs by Recipes For Your Daily Bread

4) Deviled Chicken Drumsticks by Living The Gourmet

 

Salads & Sides

 

1) Slow-Cooker Baked Beans

2) Italian Pasta Salad by Memories By The Mile

3) Tri-Color Pasta Salad by My Life Abundant

4) Best Ever Potato Salad by Delightful E Made

5) Red Cabbage & Broccoli Slaw by Captain America & His English Rose

6) Foil Roasted Potatoes by Captain America & His English Rose

7) Roasted Corn Salad by The Housewife In Training Files

 

Sweet Treats

 

1) Fruit Puree Shooters by Little Miss Celebration

2) Banana Cream Pie by Yesterfood

3) Red, White & Blue Cookie Stacks by Coffee With Us 3

4) Banana Nut Butter Soft Serve by Raia’s Recipes

5) Apple & Ginger Pie by Living The Gourmet

6) Malted Banana Ice Cream with Peanut Butter & Chocolate Pretzels by Eat It & Say Yum

7) Red, White & Blueberry Bowl by Meatloaf & Melodrama

8) Marshmallow Treat Fruit Skewers by Melissa’s Cuisine

9) Star Chocolate Cupcakes by Sizzling Eats

 

Drinks

 

Captain America’s Iced Tea by Captain America & His English Rose

Sloppy Sausage Subs

Sloppy Sausage Subs are a fast, simple dinner that’s perfect for kids and adults alike!

These are an incredibly messy, but delicious dinner alternative when you need something quick and simple!

The melted cheese, the sloppy sauce, the spice from the sausages combined makes for a delicious combination that will satisfy many an appetite!

If you want a slightly less messy version serve them open-faced with a knife and fork…..I opted for this option as the sub was huge and too big for me to bite! Either way, it tasted great and hit the spot!

Ingredients:

1 red bell pepper, sliced

5 Italian sausages (hot, mild, sweet)

1/2 red onion, slivered

1/2 white onion, slivered

5 cloves garlic, sliced

6-8 mushrooms, sliced

Any red pasta sauce – we used our Spicy Pasta Sauce recipe

2 tbsp red wine (optional – you could use water instead)

1-2 sub bread rolls per person

sliced cheese

Directions:

Partially cook the sausage, until its a little brown on the outside and firm enough to cut into 8 pieces per sausage

Add the sausage to a large pan on medium-high heat.

Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper and mushrooms and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables are at your desired softness.

Add the red wine (or water) and continue to cook for another minute.

 

Meanwhile, warm up the pasta sauce in a separate pan

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut the bread rolls in half and place on a baking tray.

Add pieces of cheese to the bread and warm in oven for a few minutes until the cheese melts.

 

Add the sausage mixture to the bread

 

Add the sauce on top of the sausage mixture and serve!

 

 

Crab & Vegetable Fried Rice

Crab & Vegetable Fried rice is a fast and delicious alternative to eating out!

It is cheaper, possibly faster and you get to choose exactly what ingredients you put in it.

We love Chinese food, but eating out gets very expensive – so we develop our own recipes so we can eat the same delicious food at home AND we get to share our recipes with you!

This crab & vegetable fried rice doesn’t require fresh crab – and all that time-consuming crab preparation (if you have crab already cooked and prepped then feel free to use it here-otherwise a couple of cans of crab work wonders. Feel free to experiment with vegetables too – there are so many delicious options out there so choose whatever your family likes best!

Ingredients:

Serves 4

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 large carrots, finely diced

3 eggs

1/2 tsp sesame oil

5 tbsp vegetable oil

1 1/2 tsp soy sauce

3 C cooked white rice

1/2 C frozen peas

1/4 C chopped spinach (frozen works best)

1/2 C beansprouts (+ extra for decoration)

4 cloves garlic, crushed

3 green onions, diced

2 x 6oz can crab meat, drain the excess juice

1/2 tsp sesame seeds (+ extra for decoration)

1/4 tsp onion salt

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4tsp cumin

1/4 tsp coriander

1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions:

In a small bowl, add the sesame seeds, all spice, cumin, coriander and black pepper, mix together and set aside

Add a little sesame oil and vegetable oil to a wok and  then add the carrot and onion. Cook on a medium-high heat for 5 minutes.

In a measuring cup, add together the eggs, sesame oil and vegetable oil and 1/2 tsp soy sauce. Whisk together.

 

Pour the egg mixture into the wok and cook.

Add the green onions and garlic to the wok and stir.

 

Move all the ingredients in the wok to one side and add the vegetable oil to the empty side of the wok – then add the rice to that side and fry for a few minutes, stirring regularly.

 

Then mix all the ingredients in the wok together.

 

Add the crab and stir. Add the sesame seed mix and stir well. Cook for 3 minutes.

Add the beansprouts and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Serve immediately

 

Salt & Pepper Beef Skewers

Captain America made us a delicious dinner-Salt & Pepper Beef Skewers.

We had some stewing beef cubes – but with the weather warming up we wanted something other than stew! Captain America came up with this delicious, simple recipe which makes a great alternative for stewing beef.

We added garlic, red bell peppers, purple onions and mushrooms for added flavor and color but you could play around with it and add whatever vegetables your family like the most. Be creative – that’s the fun part of cooking!

I hope you like our Salt & Pepper Beef Skewers as much as we did! Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

1 1/4 lbs cubed beef

For the seasoning:

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp mustard

1 tsp black pepper

2 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp lemon juice

To assemble the skewers:

wooden skewers

purple onion, in cubes

mushrooms, whole

garlic cloves, whole

red bell pepper, cubed

Directions:

Mix the seasoning in a small bowl.

Wash the beef and pat dry with paper towels.

Put the pieces of beef in the seasoning and make sure all the meat is well seasoned.

To assemble the skewers:

Place all the ingredients alternately on the skewers.

Cook on a medium-high grill for about 20 minutes, rotating regularly.

Cook until the beef is fully cooked but still tender.