Well, now that I’m no longer pregnant I am past all the food cravings and constant hunger… NOT! I tell ya, I am more hungry now than I ever was when pregnant! It’s that darn breastfeeding. I could eat all day long and never feel full.
Rather than let this fact control me, I am running with it! I am making a huge effort to fill my house with healthy food options. I have been trying to have easy to grab snacks ready for the week, and have been planning my menu according to more of a “lean and green” way of eating. Thats not to say that I don’t eat carbohydrates anymore… I do, just in a very moderate fashion. I am trying to steer clear of sugars in abundance at the moment too. If I am going to be a breastfeeding mama, I want to at least be in control of my diet. On that happy note, I would like to introduce you to this bomb-diggity delicious (and HEALTHY) meal, Italian Stuffed Acorn Squash!
My mom made a version of this for me a while ago, and it was so so delicious! We made a few tweaks to her recipe and came up with this lovely gem. It is going in the “must make again soon” pile for sure. We all absolutely loved it! It is so filling and full of rich fall flavors! One great thing about this recipe is its versatility! We roasted the acorn squash in halves for the pretty presentation, but if you are going for an easy to eat, super duper kid friendly version of this you could always cube your squash first and roast it that way so that your kiddies don’t have to figure out how to get the squash out of the skins. In my adult opinion, that is part of the fun of this dish though… You could also substitute the acorn squash for whatever squash suits your fancy. Butternut squash planks would be awesome too.
First of all, aren’t these acorn squash beautiful? Oh la la. I am such a fan. I seriously LOVE roasting squash in all varieties for fall. It always tastes amazing. Acorn squash is a great replacement for your carbs in a meal. It’s very filling and super good for you. Boo-yeah!
First off, preheat your oven to 400 degrees (or if you are using convect bake, 375 degrees). Next, get your squash washed and halved. For the sides with a pointier end, just give it a lil shave and you’ll have a nice flat surface to balance them on cut side up. Scoop out all the seeds and pith.
Brush the inside and cut surface of the acorn squash with olive oil and season with freshly cracked salt and pepper. Then sprinkle a little italian seasoning blend and brown sugar over the squash. Mmm.
Bake in the oven at 400 degrees (conventional bake) for 1 hour, or at 375 degrees (convection bake) for 40-50 minutes. When squash is done it will be fork tender. While your acorn squash is cooking, brown the italian sausage and throw together the sauce.
Once the squash is done, fill each squash bowl with browned italian sausage.
Top that off with a heaping pile of the glorious fall veggie tomato sauce. I tell ya, that sauce is magic! My mama taught me a great trick when making this sauce. We added my secret tomato sauce ingredient with her secret tomato sauce ingredient, and boom. Our minds were blown. It is the definition of awesome-sauce.
Shred up some good old pepper jack cheese and get to melting! Return your filled and cheesy topped squash back to the oven to broil for a minute or two.
Mmm mmm mmm. Finger licking good.
We served these with a nice, simple side salad. But if you want to serve these on their own I would say an adult could eat 1 to 1 1/2 of these babies for a meal.
I’m so excited to share this recipe with you!!! It really is one of my favorite things Ive made in a while. It is always so great when you find a recipe that you love that just so happens to be really good for you! Win-win!
Enjoy my friends! And thanks for visiting with me today. I wish you the best of luck on you’re cooking adventures!
Here is the recipe:
For Roasted Acorn Squash
- 3 acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
For Tomato Veggie Sauce
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup yellow onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 zucchini, cubed (about 1 ½ cups)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 roma tomatoes, diced
- ½ cup milk
- 1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar, or more to taste
- 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ tablespoons Italian seasoning blend
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
For Acorn Squash filling & topping
- 3 cups ground Italian sausage, browned
- 2 cups, jalapeño white cheddar cheese (or pepper jack), shredded
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees (or if you are using convect bake, 375 degrees). Wash, halve and remove seeds of acorn squash. Place on a baking sheet cut side up. Brush the cut side and inside of squash with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning blend and a light sprinkle of brown sugar. Bake in oven at 400 degrees (conventional bake) for 1 hour, or at 375 degrees (convection bake) for 40-50 minutes. When squash is done it will be fork tender.
- In a large sauce-pot melt better. Add olive oil, diced onions, minced garlic, cubed zucchini and grated carrots. Sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes or until garlic starts to brown lightly, and onions are slightly translucent.
- Add can crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes. Bring to a slow boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add milk, brown sugar, soy sauce, cinnamon, Italian seasoning
- Blend, salt, pepper and chili powder. (Make sure to season well with salt to taste.) Allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
- While sauce is simmering and squash is roasting in the oven, brown the ground Italian sausage. Drain excess grease, and set browned meat aside.
- When squash is done roasting, remove from oven. Fill the hollow bowl of the acorn squash with 1⁄2 cup browned Italian sausage. Top with 1⁄2 cup vegetable tomato sauce and some shredded cheese. Return to oven and change oven temperature to broil. Remove from oven when cheese is melted. Serve hot!