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 ½ 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)
½ C. grated parmesan cheese (I used vegan cheese here)
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
½ cup of sherry or other dry, high proof alcohol (optional)
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F

  1. Toss the cubed squash with oil, salt and pepper and half the spice mixture and pour into a sheet pan; Rub the halved squash with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, 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 to 20 minutes more, or until a knife can be easily 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 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 bowl in refrigerator to cool, stir every once in awhile to help it cool properly.
  6. Stir mixture; Add alcohol, cheese and remaining spices; Taste 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.
  9. Eat and be merry!

To change it up you could remove 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 “custard”
1 small butternut squash cut into bite sized cubes (any kind of squash or pumpkin will do)
¼ tsp. each of thyme, ground fennel seed, salt and pepper, sage, rosemary or marjoram
½ C of soy or almond milk
¼ C or more of maple syrup
¼ C of sherry
3 eggs
Oil for greasing

Preheat oven to 350. Toss the butternut squash with oil and the spice mixture. Roast until they are soft. Allow to cool slightly. Reserve half the squash for a later. Put half the squash in a food processor, be careful of splashing. On medium speed slowly add the liquid ingredients and then 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, marjoram
¼ cup of raisins
¼ cup of real cranberries
¼ cup of apricots, cut into small chunks
1 C of toasted walnuts
Reserved roasted squash
Salt and 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 covered. Allow 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 to 50 minutes or until the stuffing has an internal temperature of 165. Serve.

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.


Sweet Potato Casserole

This recipe is made without refined sugars or gluten.

First of all this isn't quite Grandmas 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!)
½ cup of real maple syrup, divided in half.
1 cup of oats, gently toasted in a pan (stir gently until you a sweet nutty aroma unlocks from the grain)
¼ cup of canola or other healthy oil.
¼ cup of rice flour
1/8th tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
Salt and Pepper

1. Steam the sweet potatoes until for tender OR boil them gently (though you loose more nutrients this way). In a standing mixer on medium stir them until they are nearly smooth. Add half the maple syrup, spices and salt and pepper until they taste yummy. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Lightly oil a baking dish of your choosing, pour sweet potatoes into bowl. If baking now keep them out & if baking later cover and place in refrigerator.

3. 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.

4. Pour mixture over the top of the sweet potatoes and spread out with a wooden spoon.

5. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until done and the top is crispy and lightly browned. Eat!


Pasta Genovese

Cavatappi Pasta, or any small pasta-1 box
Yukon potato- 1 pound
Basil- 1 bunch, washed and chopped
Garlic- 4 cloves minced
Pine nuts- ¼  cup, toasted
Parmesan cheese- ¼ cup
Olive oil- ¼  cup
Lemon juice-1 tablespoon
Green beans or your favorite vegetable- 1 pound


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


Easy Beans


We usually make our own beans, but you can substitute 1 large can of B&M Beans
1/4 Cup Ketchup
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 Can Chopped Tomato
1/2 Cup Rendered Bacon, Chopped


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

Lacinato kale- 1 bunch
Olive oil- up to ¼ cup
Kosher salt- 1 tablespoon


Strip kale off of stem, and tear into bite size pieces. In a bowl combine kale, just enough olive oil to coat and kosher salt. Put on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Kale will look crispy when done.


Golden Beet Chips


6 golden beets (peeled)
1 quart canola oil
Kosher salt- 2 tablespoons
Rosemary- 1 teaspoon minced (optional)


With a mandolin, slice beets 1/8” thin and set aside. Heat up canola oil in a dutch oven or pot to 350 degrees. Drop beet chips in a few at a time for 2- minutes until golden brown. Take out and drain on a paper towel, repeat until done. Toss in a bowl with salt and optional rosemary.


Pickled Gherkin Cucumbers


Gherkin or pickling cucumbers- 3 pounds
White vinegar-2 cups
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorn
1 teaspoon allspice berries
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons salt


Slice the pickling cucumbers into a 1/2 “. Combine remaining ingredients in a pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Add in sliced cucumbers and cook for 2-3 minutes. Take off heat and refrigerate without covering. This is a quick pickled recipe which requires no canning!


Root Slaw


Purple Top Turnip- 2
Kohlrabi- 1 bulb (peeled)
Carrot-2 (peeled)

For sauce:

Mayonnaise -1/2 cup
Apple cider vinegar- ¼ cup
Maple syrup- 2 tablespoons
Salt-1 tablespoon


With mandolin cut turnip, kohlrabi, and carrots into thin strips, set aside. In a separate bowl, combine mayo, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and salt; fold into vegetable mix and toss


Kohlrabi-Kale Dip


Kohlrabi-1 bulb (peeled)
Lacinato Kale- 4 leaves
Ricotta-2 cups
Cream cheese- 1 cup
Mayonnaise- ¼ cup
Grated Parmesan- 1 cup
1 lemon- (squeezed and zested)
Granulated Garlic- ¼ cup
Salt and pepper to taste


Dice kohlrabi and peel kale off of stem and rough chop. Boil for at least 30 minutes until tender; drain and set aside. With a food processor puree the kale and kohlrabi; push through a strainer. IN a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients and whip with a stand mixer or hand mixer. Fold in kohlrabi and kale. Serve hot, bake for 25 minutes and serve with crackers. Also makes a great base for vegetable lasagna.


Chicken Stock

4 pounds of chicken carcasses, necks and backs too
1 large onion, quartered
4 carrots, peeled and cut into ½ chunks
4 ribs of celery, cut into ½ chunks
2 bay leaves
8 to 10 peppercorns
2 gallons cold water

1 leek, white parts only cut ½ inch lengthwise
10 springs fresh thyme
10 springs fresh parsley, with stems
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled


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 to 8 hours adding water to keep the bones submerged. Skim off the scum, which are impurities with a fine mesh sieve.

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.

Keeps in a refrigerator for up to a week but begins to loose flavor within 3 days. Keeps frozen for up to a month


Brown Stock (Made with beef, veal or a combination)

7 pounds of beef or veal bones, sawed into 2 inch chunks
1- 6oz can tomato paste
2 large onions, cut into ½ inch chunks
4 carrots peeled, cut into ½ chunks
5 bay leaves
20 peppercorns
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 cups good red wine
2 gallons cold water
10 springs fresh parsley, with stems
5 whole cloves garlic, peeled

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roast the bones in the oven for 1 hour. Remove them from oven, and brush them with tomato paste. Pour the vegetables over the roasted bones and roast for 30 minutes. Remove the roasting pan from stove and pour over the cup of wine white scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to release the fond.

Pour the mixture into a stock pot, cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, add spices. Reduce to a simmer and cook for at least 6 hours, adding hot water as needed. Remove from heat and strain. Cool the stock quickly to 40 degrees. Keep for up to 7 days but for optimum flavor use in 3. Will keep for up to a month in your freezer.

Honey Mustard Dressing


1 cup Yellow Mustard
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Whisk all of the ingredients together



Apple Pie

3 pounds mixed apples (6-8 apples)
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg


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

For the Dough:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Up to ½ cup ice water

Make the dough:

Combine flour, sugar, and salt. Using pastry cutter or fingers, add cubed butter and work into 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 the filling.

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 steam escape. Chill 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the pie on a baking sheet; bake until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly, 55 to 60 minutes. (Cover the edges with foil if they brown too quickly.) Transfer to a rack and cool until set, 2 hours.

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.


Chick Pea 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 tble. spoons)
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch or two of salt
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with olive oil

Measure out your chickpeas, and make sure to dry them off first.

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
Add all of the remaining ingredients (except the dark chocolate chips) and Puree!
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!
Scoop out heaping spoonfuls of dough and drop them onto the parchment paper.
Bake for about 13 minutes and enjoy!



Tomato Soup

2 large cans of Italian Plum Tomatoes
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 carrots, fine diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup red wine


Saute; onion, thyme, and garlic in olive oil until translucent, about 3-5 minutes over medium heat. Add the carrots in and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Add red wine and let simmer for a couple of minutes, and 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 soup to 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


3 Eggs
5oz. Sugar
1 Cup Cocoa Powder or more if you desire:)
5oz. Gluten Free Rice Flour
1 Tablespoon Gelatin (powdered)
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
5oz. Canola Oil
1/2 Cup Water


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



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 Tablespoon Vanilla
Water (use enough for your desired consistency...more for thinner, less for thicker)


Beat shortening until smooth, add fluff, beat until well combined.  Add sugar and cocoa powder until desired chocolate sweetness and flavor.  Add vanilla and salt, blend well.  Add water slowly while mixing to desired consistencey.