My favorite part of the weather cooling down is when the leaves change color. My second favorite part of fall is putting pumpkin in everything. Everything. Mostly baked goods but over the years I've experimented more and more with savory pumpkin dishes. This year I've got a dish that will have you eating pumpkin all fall and probably into the winter. It's an addicting, creamy, comforting dish and it's ridiculously easy to make.
You won't need a ton of time in the kitchen to get this one on the table and it serves an army (6-8), so it's great for dinner parties or meal prep Sunday!
While you're roasting those beautiful brussels sprouts, you can take care of boiling the pasta and making the sauce--it's that easy.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Heat oven to 400
-Wash and quarter 1 lb of brussels sprouts
-toss brussels sprouts in 2 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
-sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste
-roast for 20-25 min, tossing 1/2 way through
While sprouts are roasting, prepare a 12 oz package of Whole Grain Rotini as directed on the package. While waiting for water to boil, you can start the sauce.
The sauce takes the most attention so make sure everything is squared away before starting it. Even though it needs a close eye, it's not difficult and it's done in a flash!
Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
-15 oz can pure pumpkin
Saute butter and shallots over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper, cooking another 2 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Add flour, whisking in with butter and shallot mixture. Let simmer a minute or so until flour is golden brown. Add chicken broth and milk, slowly whisking in to combine thoroughly. Add pumpkin. Whisk until thickened. Remove from heat. Add in cheese, stirring until melted through out. If sauce is too thick, use some of the hot pasta water to thin it. Sauce should cling to spoon when lifted. If you feel your onions weren't diced finely enough and you'd like a smoother sauce, put it through the blender or use an emulsion blender in your pot. I've done both and do prefer the creamier, blended sauce if I don't get my onions minced.
When all of your elements are prepared, toss the pasta and the sauce together. Sauce should be thick enough to cling to the pasta but not too thick--use warm pasta water if you need to thin it a little. Plate tossed pasta. Top with roasted brussels sprouts. Thats.It. Seriously easy. Seriously delicious.
This one will be on weekly rotation until I get my fill of pumpkin...which may be never.
Fall in Sconnie is my favorite. Not just because of the weather but the produce! Apples, squash, pumpkins, root vegetables, brussels sprouts, cranberries, etc. The cooler temps bring in more comforting foods...and fuzzy socks.
BrightFarms grows greens and herbs and have a farm located near me, here in the Midwest. They've given me a gift card to try their greens AND they're also giving one of YOU one too. Head on over to my social media pages to enter the GIVEAWAY!
I've created a recipe using the baby spinach from BrightFarms. These Autumn Stuffed Squash were the perfect way to welcome Fall's cooler temperatures we're having this week. The recipe utilizes apples we got last weekend in Richland Center, brussels sprouts from our local farmer's market, and squash from the farm stand in town.
There are so many benefits to eating locally and seasonally. When your foods travel shorter distances, there is less of an impact on the environment but there are also benefits to the food and your health. Local foods, that travel less or are less processed, are fresher tastier and more nutritious.
Roasting is one of my favorite cooking methods in general, but there's something extra amazing about it in the fall. The way it adds a little char and caramelization brings out such a rich flavor. That's just what I did to make these stuffed squash. I also love leaving the oven open as it cools down to heat the house since my husband won't let me turn the heat on yet.
Autumn Stuff Squash
Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 45-60 min
2 cups BrightFarms Baby Spinach
2 acorn squash, cut in 1/2
8 brussels sprouts, washed and quartered
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1 apple, diced with skin on
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 cups bread (any kind), cubed and toasted
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
2 large fresh sage leaves, chopped finely
salt and pepper to taste
1) Heat oven to 375
2) trim ends of squash so that when halved they lay flat in the pan; halve the squash and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Place cut side down on roasting pan. Pour 1/4" water into the pan and loosely cover squash with aluminum foil. Bake for 30-50 min, depending on size of squash. Squash should be tender.
3) While squash is baking, trim brussels sprouts and quarter, place on roasting pan
4) leaving skin on apple, cut into slices and dice then place on roasting pan.
5) add 1/2 cup walnuts to the roasting pan with apples and brussels sprouts
6) mix 1 Tbsp maple syrup and 1 Tbsp olive oil and drizzle on brussels sprouts and apples, tossing until coated evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 min until caramelized. Set aside.
7) While other items are roasting, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced shallot and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the minced garlic and heat until aromatic. Add the 2 cups BrightFarms spinach and mix in with the onion and garlic. Add the bread crumbs and continue stirring. Add 1/2 c water until bread crumbs are moist but not soggy. Set aside.
8) When squash is cooled, flip over. Brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
9) Combine roasted apple, walnuts, and brussels sprouts to the spinach and breadcrumb mixture and mix until combined.
10) using 1 cup scoop, scoop filling into the open cavity of the squash and lightly press down. Repeat into remaining squash until filling is gone. Filling will be mounded.
11) Put stuffed squash back into the oven for 10-15 minutes to warm through (optional: add 1 small slice of butter onto top of filling before putting into oven, butter will melt onto the filling). Remove from oven and plate.
12) Garnish with chopped sage leaves and salt and pepper to taste
This is where you'll usually find me--in the kitchen. I've been cooking for over 20 years and grew passionate about nutrition and healthy cooking about 14 years ago after having my daughter, Taytum.
I worked in kitchens for years before getting the urge to pursue a career in nutrition. Ten years later (lots of people go to school for 10 years!) I'm a Registered Dietitian with a Master's of Science in Dietetics. I help patients with chronic illnesses change their diets to live longer, however, I want to inspire others to eat healthfully to avoid these chronic illnesses.
I truly believe we control our health with our fork. By being mindful of what we put, and don't put, in our mouths we can add years to our lives.
Follow along with me as I discuss confusing nutrition topics, provide recipes, and make healthy eating easier with tips and tricks. Also, there's pictures of a cute puppy in it for you--I'm sort of obsessed with my dog, Izzy.
Thanks for your interest in healthy living!
Becca Wallschlaeger, MS RDN CD
Foodie since birth. Passionate about nutrition and cooking.