Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

This recipe is one of my favorites of the fall and winter season.  You can use almost anything to stuff it with; get creative. I am sharing my own recipe, which has American Italian flavor notes with ingredients from around the globe.

Serves 4


2 acorn squash, bisected and de-seeded
1 small butternut squash or acorn squash, peeled and cut into 12 inch cubes
1 cup of cooked quinoa, per package instructions (or other grain or rice of your choice)
1 cup of rye berries (or another grain of your choosing)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 celery stalks, diced
1 large Spanish onion, diced
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of basil leaves, torn
1 tsp. sage divided in halves, dried
1 tsp. thyme divided in halves, dried
1/2 cup of sherry or other dry, high proof alcohol (optional)
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

1. Toss the cubed squash with oil, salt, pepper, and half of the spice mixture and pour into a sheet pan; Rub the halved squash with oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper, and place them skin side down on another sheet pan.
2. Bake both whole and cubed squash.  The cubed squash will be done in about 15- 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and place in a bowl to cool; The whole squash will be done in about 15-20 minutes more, or until a knife can be easlily inserted through the squash, but it has not lost its shape.  Remove and drain liquid.
3. In the bowl with the squash pieces, add the cooked grains and set aside.
4. Saute on high the celery and onion with a bit of oil, when translucent remove from pan to bowl with the mixed grains.
5. Return pan to the fire.  When the pan begins to smoke, add the tomatoes, step back as they may sputter; stir. Once the tomatoes are heavily browned add the garlic, turn the heat off and stir until it smells fragrant; add to mixed grains bowl.  Place the bowl in the refrigerator to cool, stir every once in a while to help it cool properly.
6. Stir mixture; add alcohol, cheese and remaining spices; tasted for correct seasoning
7. Portion mixture into squash and top with a sprinkle more cheese if you desire.
8. Cover each squash with tin foil and bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes or until the interior of the squash reaches 165 degrees

To change it up, you could remove the Italian spices and add cranberries, walnuts, sauteed onion, fennel (spice) and fontina cheese; you could even use some low-fat chicken sausage for extra protein; use what you have in your fridge and get frugal!


Holiday Cranberry Stuffing

This recipe is somewhat of an experiment; typically when making a true stuffing there is always cream, eggs, and some type of fatty pork product mixed together with seasoned crusty bread, onion, and celery for good measure.  How do we get so many heavy rich flavors without using heavy rich ingredients? Try this recipe out!

Serves 4


For the custard
1 small butternut squash cut into bite sized cubes (any kind of squash or pumpkin will do)
1 tsp. of thyme, ground fennel seed, salt, pepper, sage, rosemary or marjoram
1 cup soy or almond milk
1 cup or more of maple syrup
1 cup of sherry
3 eggs
Oil for greasing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Toss the butternut squash with oil and spice mixture.  Roast until they are soft.  Allow to cool slightly.  Reserve half the squash for later.  Put half the squash in a food processor, be careful of splashing.  On medium speed, slowly add the liquid ingredients and then the eggs.  Blend until silky and smooth.  If it comes out as a paste, slowly add more milk product until it resembles a thin milkshake.  Set aside in a large bowl in the refrigerator.

Stuffing Mix:

2 celery ribs, cut into bite sized cubes
1 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into bite sized cubes
4 cloves of garlic smashed and sliced
1 large loaf of whole grain bread, or bread of your choice, cut into half inch cubes
Fresh sage, rosemary, and marjoram
1/4 cup of raisins
1/4 cup of real cranberries
1/4 cup of apricots, cut into small chunks
1 cup of toasted walnuts
Reserved roasted squash
Salt & Pepper

1.If the bread is fresh, you may want to toast it slightly or once it is cut, put it in the freezer for a half an hour to suck out the moisture.  It is better to use stale bread.
2. Saute onion, celery and garlic until translucent. Toss everything in the bowl with the custard until it's covered.  Allow the custard to sit for at least 2 hours, or over night.
3. Put mixture into a lightly greased casserole dish & cover and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the stuffing has an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Serve & enjoy!
4.  Conversely, if you like a crunchier stuffing, you may spread it on a sheet pan and cook for 20 minutes or less at 350 degrees.

Sweet Potato Casserole

This recipe is made without refined sugars or gluten!

First of all, this isn't quite your Grandma's recipe.  No butter, no flour and this time no walnuts (just in case).  But we've added maple syrup, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and our secret weapon; toasted oats.  With a sweet nuttiness, they'll make you forget about all that butter and brown sugar.  With the addition of eggs and a bit more maple syrup we have a dessert on our hands.

I should note that though oats are gluten free, they are often harvested on shared equipment that process wheat products.  Oats processed on dedicated equipment are 100% gluten free

This recipe serves 4, but I'd multiply it by 1.5 for late night guilt free snacking!


4 large sweet potatoes, washed and cut into large cubes (don't peel them, that's the good stuff)
1/2 cup of real maple syrup, divided in half.
1 cup of oats, gently toasted in a pan (stir gently until you smell a sweet, nutty aroma that unlocks from the grain)
1/4 cup of canola or other healthy oil.
1/4 cup of rice flour
1/8th tsp. of ground cloves
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Salt & Pepper

1. Steam the sweet potatoes until fork tender or boil them gently (though you loose more nutrients this way). In a standing mixer on medium stir, until they are nearly smooth.  Add half the maple syrup, spices and salt, pepper until they taste yummy.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Lightly oil a baking dish of your choosing, pour sweet potatoes into it.  If baking them now, keep them out.  If baking them later, cover and refrigerate.
4. In a separate bowl, take the rest of the ingredients and mix together.  If it's too dry, add a bit more maple syrup and oil.  Don't add too much, as it may break and be unpleasant.
5. Pour the mixture over the top of the top of the sweet potatoes and spread it out with a wooden spoon.
6. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until done and the top is crispy and lightly browned.  Enjoy!

Pasta Genovese


Cavatappi pasta, or any small pasta-1 box
1 lb. Yukon potatoes
1 bunch basil (washed & chopped)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 lb. green beans or your favorite vegetable

1. Cook your pasta in salted, boiling water.  Lightly coat with oil and set aside.
2. Blanch cubed potatoes in salted water for 10 minutes or just until you can pierce with a fork; set aside.
3. To make pesto; in a food processor, pulse toasted pine nuts, add parmesan cheese, basil leaves, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice.  Pulse several time until combined.
4. Boil green beans for 3 minutes.
5. In a seperate bowl combine, hot pasta, potato, green beans, and pesto until incorporated, season with salt, pepper and garnish with more parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
6.  Enjoy!

Easy Beans


We usually make our own beans, but you can substitue 1 large can of B & M beans
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 can chopped tomato
1/2 cup rendered bacon, chopped

1. Add beans, chopped tomato, onion powder, garlic powder, ketchup and rendered bacon together in your crock pot and slowly heat it up.  Enjoy!

House Recipes

Kale Chips


1 bunch of Lacinato kale
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. kosher salt

1. Stripkale off the stem, and tear into bite size pieces.
2. In a bowl, combine kale, and just enough olive oil to coat the leaves and kosher salt.
3. Spread evenly over a cookie sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Kale will look crispy when done.

Golden Beet Chips


6 golden beets (peeled)
1 quart canola oil
2 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. minced rosemary (optional)

1. With a mandolin, slice beets 1/8th thin and set aside.
2. Heat up canola oil in a dutch oven or pot to 350 degrees.
3. Drop beet chips in a few at a time for 2 minutes or until golden brown.
4. Remove and drain on a paper towel, repeating this until they are all cooked.
5. Toss in a bowl with the salt & rosemary.

Pickled Gherkin Cucumbers


3 lbs. Gherkin or pickling cucumbers
2 cups white vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. black peppercorn
1 tsp. allspice berries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. salt

1. Slice the pickling cucumber into a 1/2 slice.
2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a pot over high heat, and bring it to a boil.
3. Add the sliced cucumbers, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
4. Remove from heat, and refrigerate without covering.

This is a quick pickle recipe which requires no canning!

Root Slaw


2 purple top turips
1 bulb kohlrabi (peeled)
2 peeled carrots

Sauce Ingredients:

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. salt

1. With a mandolin, cut turnip, kohlrabi, and carrots into thin strips and set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, combine mayo, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and salt.
3. Fold the mixture into the vegetable mix and toss.  Enjoy!


Kohlrabi-Kale Dip


1 bulb kohlrabi
4 leaves of Lacinato kale
2 cups ricotta
1 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 lemon (squeezed and zested)
1/4 granulated garlic
salt & pepper to taste

1. Dice kohlrabi and peel the kale off the stem and rough chop.  Boil for at least 30 minutes, until tender; drain and set aside.
2. With a food processor, puree the kale and kohlrabi; push it through a strainer.
3. In a seperate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and whip with a stand mixer or hand mixer.
4. Fold in the kohlrabi and kale.
5. Serve hot, bake for 25 minutes and serve with crackers.

This also makes a great base sauce for vegetable lasagna!

Chicken Stock

4 lbs. of chicken carcasses, necks and backs too
1 large onion, quartered
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
4 ribs of celery, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 bay leaves
8 to 10 peppercorns
2 gallons of cold water
1 leek, (white parts only) cut into 1/2 inch lengthwise
10 sprigs fresh thyme
10 sprigs fresh parsley, with stems
2 whole cloves of garlic, peeled

1. Place chicken, vegetables, herbs and spices in a 12 quart stockpot, add water.  Cook on high heat until it begins to bubble.  Turn heat down to medium low to achieve a gentle simmer.  Simmer for 6-8 hours adding water to keep the bones submerged.  Skim off the scum, (which are the impurities) with a fine mesh sieve.
2. When the stock is ready, the bones will be brittle.  Pour the solids through a fine mesh sieve into another pot surrounded by ice water.  The stock needs to cool to at least 40 degrees in two hours.

Your stock will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, but will begin to loose flavor within 3 days.  Keeps frozen for up to 1 month.

House Brown Stock

(Made with beef, veal, or a combination)

7 lbs. of beef or veal bones, sawed into 2 inch chunks
1-6oz. can of tomato paste
2 large onions, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
4 carrots, peeled & cut into 1/2 chunks
5 bay leaves
20 peppercorns
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 cups good red wine
2 gallons of cold water

10 sprigs fresh parsley, with the stems
5 whole cloves garlic, peeled

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Roast the bones in the oven for 1 hour.  Remove them from the oven, and brush them with tomato paste.  Pour the vegetables over the roasted bones and roast for 30 minutes.  Remove the roasting pan from the oven, and pour the cup of wine over the pan while scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to release the fond.
3. Pour the mixture into a stock pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. 
4. Add spices, and reduce to a simmer and cook for at least 6 hours, adding hot water as needed.
5. Remove from heat and strain.
6. Cool the stock quickly to 40 degrees.

Keep for up to 7 days.  For optimum flavor, use within 3 days.  Will keep for up to a month in the freezer.

Honey Mustard Dressing


1 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1. Whisk all of the ingredients together and enjoy!

Cranberry Apple Sauce


3 lbs. apples, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices (you can use whatever apples you have on hand)
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cinnamon stick
2-4 tbsp. sugar
3/4 cup water
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. In a large saucepan, combine the apples, cranberries, cinnamon stick, sugar, and water; bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, and cover.  Simmer, and stir occasionally until the apples are tender.  (30-35 minutes)
2.If the sauce begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, add 2-4 tbsp. of water.
3.Remove from heat; discard the cinnamon stick & stir in the lemon juice.



Apple Pie

Ingredients for the filling:

3 lbs. mixed apples (6-8 apples)
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1. Prepare the filling: Peel, halve and core the apples.  Cut each half into 6 wedges and toss with sugar and lemon juice in a bowl.  Sprinkle with flour, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.  Toss until the juices incorporate.  Leave for 10 minutes, or while making the dough.

Ingredients for the dough:

2  1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 tsp. salt
1/4 lb. cold, unsalted butter (cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
Up to 1/2 cup of ice water

1. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt.  Using pastry cutter or fingers, add cubed butter and work into the flour quickly until it resembles coarse meal.  Slowly add ice water just until the dough comes together, adding more flour if needed.  Divide dough in half.  Roll one half of dough into a 12 inch round and ease in baking shell; add filling
2. Roll second dough into a 12 inch round and lay over the filling and press the 2 crusts together around the edges.  Fold the overhanging dough under itself and crimp with your fingers.  Brush top with cream and sprinkle with sugar.  Pierce the top with a knife a few times to let the steam escape.  Chill for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place the pie on a baking sheet; bake until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly, 55-60 minutes. (Cover the edges with foil if they brown too quickly)  Transfer to a rack and cool until set, about 2 hours.
4. Roll out to a 12 inch diameter, put in 9 inch pie pan.  Add filling and top with remaining dough; pinch and crimp the edges, brush with egg wash and bake at 350 degrees for up to one hour.

Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies


1  1/4 cups chickpeas (canned will work just fine, just dry them off first between paper towels.
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup honey
Drizzle of olive oil (about 2 tbsp. spoons)
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch or two of salt
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with olive oil.
2. Measure out your chickpeas, and make sure to dry them off first.
3. Puree in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  Scrape down the edges, and pulse again a few times until the "dough" is completely smooth. 
4. Add all of the remaining ingredients (except the dark chocolate chips) and puree!
5. Pour the cookie dough into a bowl, and add in the chocolate chips.  The dough will be super sticky.  Don't worry, this is normal!
6.Scoop out heaping spoonfuls of dough and drop them onto the parchment paper. 
7. Bake for about 13 minutes and enjoy!!


Tomato Soup


2 large cans of Italian plum tomatoes
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves
1 tbsp. dried thyme
2 carrots, fine diced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup red wine

1. Saute the onion, thyme, and garlic in olive oil until translucent, about 3-5 minutes over medium heat.  Add the carrots and cook for another 3-5 minutes.  Add red wine and let it simmer for a couple of minutes, then add the cans of tomato.  Drop the heat down to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste and season with salt as needed.  Transfer the soup to your blender or use an immersion stick blender to puree.  Season once again to taste, then enjoy!


Special Diets
Gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg free

Gluten & Dairy Free Chocolate Cupcakes & Frosting

Ingredients for the cupcake:

3 eggs
5 oz. sugar
1 cup cocoa powder or more if you desire
5 oz. gluten-free rice flour
1 tbsp. gelatin (powdered)
2 tsp. baking powder
5 oz. canola oil
1/2 cup water

1. Blend all of the ingredients together until well combined.
2. Scoop into muffin cups or a generously greased cake or loaf pan.
3. Bake @ 360 degrees until the tops spring back up.

Ingredients for the frosting:

1 cup shortening
Confectioner's sugar (to your taste, but add enough to make a thick paste)
Cocoa powder (to your taste, but add enough to make a thick paste)
2 cups fluff
Dash of salt
1 tbsp. vanilla
Water (use enough for your desired consistency, more for thinner, less for thicker)

1. Beat shortening until smooth, add fluff, and beat until well combined.
2. Add sugar and cocoa powder until you reach your desired sweetness and flavor.
3. Add vanilla and salt, blend well.
4. Add water slowly while mixing, until you reach the consistencey you want.

You are now able to frosting the cupcakes and enjoy!