The more the merrier is my food philosophy. I love hosting and I really get my jollies by sharing dinner with as many friends and loved ones as I can. That, to me, is the soul in food.
I never like to serve the same thing twice. Who would ever want to come over when they know it’s Chicken Something again? But when the menu is always a little unexpected, it makes the invitation that much more enticing.
Pork tenderloin has been an easy go-to for my menu planning for some time now. It seems strange to say I’m obsessed with this tender cut of meat — but really, I am. I’ve grilled it and served as medallions, shredded for pulled pork sandwiches, sauteed with veggies for fajitas, cubed for pork and veggie stew, and so much more. The question is — what haven’t I used pork tenderloin for? (more…)
Some (huge) part of me loves hunkering down for the cooler months. This season mean more time by the fire, with a book, wearing cozy sweaters, and playing board games. Maybe this means I’m secretly an 85-year-old woman living in a millennial’s body, but maybe I’m OK with that.
One of my favorite parts of fall and winter is spending time in the kitchen creating wholesome, seasonal recipes. I love all of the winter vegetables and making “comfort food” that won’t ruin my wellness goals — like these fall comfort foods for vegetarians. My household tries to avoid excessive grain consumption, and increased veggies, the result being my favorite format of dinners: stuffed anything. Stuffed zucchini, butternut squash, these stuffed kale and bean sweet potatoes — name the veggie and I’ve packed it with goodies and served it as a meal.
So then I tried to include the much less popular cousin of the beloved butternut or spaghetti squash, and experimented with acorn squash. It is perfect for a foggy fall night and lasts forever to make GREAT leftovers — even served cold! Plus, acorn squash is more nutrient-dense than any of its other summer squash relatives. Score!
Acorn squash is loaded with vitamin C to boost the immune system, vitamin A for healthy vision and skin, and has more than 9 grams of dietary fiber! This is more than one-third of the daily requirement and helps to regulate blood sugar, diabetes, and digestion. Plus, hello, isn’t she so pretty?
To choose a ripe acorn squash, look for one with a dark green color, with a small patch of yellow or orange. The skin should be hard and the stem slightly withered.
For this recipe, slice the squash lengthwise, brush with olive oil and dust with nutmeg. Remember a little bit of this powerful autumnal spice goes a long way!
I chose to stuff the squash with ground turkey, as it is leaner than red meat and the subtler flavor lets the squash taste take center stage! Like all of my recipes, this is extremely forgiving in what you choose to throw in to the stuffing mixture. Consider adding red and green bell peppers, chopped onions, or sun-dried tomatoes. Those are some of my favorite bonus additions when I have them lying around the house.
But for the purposes of guiding you on a ready-to-follow recipes with little improvisation needed, I’ve literally stuffed this recipe with some of the best natural flavor agents around. Minced garlic and onion, sweet raisins, and a trio of fresh herbs like parsley, basil, and thyme. The aroma before you even start roasting will fill your senses and boost your anticipation of this meal.
As always, I’d suggest tossing any almost-moldy greens into the mixture right at the very end so they wilt slightly and blend in with the other flavors. I’m always looking for ways to hide any extra veggies!
If your tummy and nutritional choices allow, you may even want to top with crumbled feta cheese before drizzling with balsamic vinegar and serving for an extra flavor boost!
And one more favorite preparation tip? I’ve made this with sweet potato flesh combined with the turkey mixture. Having both acorn and sweet potato together makes it extra yummy!
Turkey and Herb Stuffed Acorn Squash
1 lb. ground turkey
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
16 oz. baby spinach
3 celery stalks, chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp. parsley, chopped
1 tsp. thyme, chopped
1/2 tsp. basil, chopped
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2+ tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter or coconut oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and adjust rack to middle position. While it warms, brush the squash lightly with olive oil and dust with nutmeg. Place squash, cut-side up, on a baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Brown the ground turkey. Add the diced onion, garlic, and celery, stirring frequently for 5-7 minutes until soft.
3. Stir in herbs, spices, and raisins. Add spinach and wilt 2-3 minutes. Add in butter or coconut oil and combine over medium heat.
4. Spoon filling into acorn squash and roast for 20 minutes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.
ALSO TRY THESE PERFECT FALL MEALS
Recipe by Katie McGrath; Photos by Kacy Meinecke for DietsInReview.com
My favorite dessert started as something I didn’t even think I’d like. Friends presented a bowl with vanilla ice cream and strawberries and a dark, seemingly chocolate glaze poured over the top. But it didn’t smell like chocolate, and I knew the move was far too pedestrian for these foodies. They said it was a balsamic vinegar syrup. I loved balsamic — I mean, I could seriously drink the stuff! — but I wasn’t sure how that was going to go with dessert.
Well, I’m here to tell you it was like sky rockets in flight, after dinner delight all up in my mouth! It’s become my go-to dessert for dinner guests when I want something that appears super fancy but takes less than five minutes to prep and assemble.
Yes, fancy and five minutes in the same sentence!
This summer, I’ve decided to make my favorite dessert a bit more portable. You can’t really bob around in the pool with a big bowl of ice cream, but you can certainly float with a Strawberry Balsamic Drizzle Milkshake in your hand. Or at least I will. I won’t tell you how to spend your swim. (more…)
The biggest draw of brunch is the possibility of creating that perfect marriage of savory and sweet, as breakfast tends to be sweeter and lunch much more savory. It’s also a perfectly good excuse to get a little fancy in the kitchen for no reason at all. All of that comes together in these crepes that are just as beautiful to admire as they are to devour!
My mother-in-law is somewhat of a crepe connoisseur. A self-proclaimed “Army brat,” she grew up in Europe where the world’s best crepes were a regular part of her family meals. I knew if I could win her over with these Mediterranean-inspired homemade crepes that we were on to something. It’s safe to say they got the MIL seal of approval!
We used a whole wheat flour and white flour mixture to give us the nutrition and the texture we wanted in these super-simple crepes. Then, we stuffed them full of some of the best ingredients we know: a handful of spring’s first asparagus, tender and salty prosciutto, creamy and sweet goat cheese, and a little bit of tart lemon zest. (more…)
Today, I’m not just giving you the entree, I’m giving you the side to go with it. Because otherwise, this meal would be like giving you the macaroni without the cheese, or the Thanksgiving turkey without the stuffing; they are just meant to be together!
No where near as complicated as it may sound, after this Rosemary and Balsamic Grilled Pork Tenderloin you aren’t going to want to eat anything else ever again. But when you pair a bite of the tenderloin with a bite of the Honey Thyme Mashed Sweet Potatoes, you will reach a level of mouth-feel, flavor euphoria you didn’t even know possible. Food shouldn’t make us happy, but this will.
I love cooking with pork tenderloins. This cut of meat cooks quickly, has tons of flavor, and makes plenty of leftovers. At least in our house with a family of three, one tenderloin will cover dinner and a few lunches, too! One added bonus, the tenderloin is leaner than a skinless chicken breast! For real. A three-ounce serving of pork tenderloin has 120 calories compared to 139 calories in the same serving of chicken breast. The chicken has .1 grams more fat than the pork, and 11 grams more cholesterol than the pork.
And tender. Oh me, oh my, oh mama. It’s right there in the name, and it’s not a misnomer. (more…)