Archive for October, 2014

Bacon & Butternut Squash with Rice

We’re wrapping up one of the most gorgeous fall weekends in Wisconsin – end of October is always up for grabs, and I am thankful that I got to spend this time on my cousins farm, looking at the view of Vernon County. My cousins all farm, and boy, did I reap the benefits – I brought home a car full of beef (not all for my freezer!), beautiful canned pickles, tomatoes, sauces, and beef tips, and end-of-season butternut squash, fall squash, apples and onions from Tucker & Becky’s Pumpkin Patch.

I was pretty tired when I got home, but decided to start roasting some butternut squash and see if I could figure out a recipe for lunch this week. One episode of “Chopped” later, I remembered that I had bacon in the fridge and maple balsamic vinegar had been pushed to the back of the cupboard waiting for inspiration.

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And inspired I was! This fall dish indicates that my palate is changing a bit, too – I can’t think of a better comfort food, and for some reason the mild squash and rice combo is agreeing with my constitution, helping me feel good physically.

Bacon Butternut Squash & Rice

2 small to medium butternut squash
1 pkg. bacon (I used Neuske’s smoked bacon)
1.5 c. Jasmine rice, cooked
3 tbsp. maple balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. honey

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Poke your squash with a knife and roast for one hour. Remove from oven and let cool until you can handle. Slice open and remove seeds and stringy innards. Cube squash and put in bowl.

While your rice is cooking, chop bacon into 1/4″ slices and cook until crispy.

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Do not drain your bacon! Put it into the bowl with your squash and add rice. Add honey and vinegar; mix well. If you need a little more oil, use your bacon drippings.

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Serve warm and enjoy! Would it be too untraditional to make this for thanksgiving? I think it would taste great as a side dish to my turkey!

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Fall Pheasant Flatbread

I had an unexpectedly quiet weekend, which was awesome, and for me meant roasting everything in sight and playing at one of the last farmers markets of the season. I happened to have a pheasant taking up space in the freezer, so this recipe is my little ode to a beautiful fall day.

Give yourself a little time on this one (like all day Sunday) if you’re starting from square one and actually roasting your pheasant. You could also brine the bird overnight, but I didn’t.

1 whole pheasant
1 apple
1 onion
Handful of herbs – your choice, fresh is best
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 acorn squash
2 pints mushrooms – your choice
2 tbsp. butter
1 Molly’s Gluten Free Bakery flatbread
3 tbsp. pesto
4 oz. LaClare Farms cheddar goat cheese

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First things first, preheat your oven to 500 degrees, then chop up an onion and an apple into big chunks, and grab some of those end of season herbs (that I can never keep alive inside over the winter, so I might as well use up) – I used sage and rosemary. Stuff that bird and if you have too much filling, just put the pieces around it. Drizzle olive oil over it and rub in to all of the crevasses and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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Roast for 15 minutes at this hot temperature, the take out of the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees – you can leave the door open to cool it down, which is so great on a cool fall day! Cut your acorn squash in half and remove the seeds while the oven is cooling. Put your pheasant back in and have the squash join it for about 45 minutes at the lower temperature, and let it sit for at least 15 minutes when you take it out of the oven. (The squash might need an additional 15-20 minutes after the pheasant is done – just poke it with a fork to see if it’s soft).

Remove the meat from the pheasant and set aside to use. Throw the bones, apples and onions in a pot and make broth. Seriously, fill it up with water and boil for a couple hours. It’s so flavorful!

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Heat butter in a pan over medium high heat. Chop up mushrooms and add to pan. Sauté until soft – about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

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Heat the oven back up to 450 degrees. Put your flatbread on a baking stone and spread the pesto over it out to edges. Top with pieces of pheasant, chunks of squash, and sautéed mushrooms. Shred the cheese over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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Bake for 8 minutes. You are going to love this. Enjoy hot out of the oven!

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Life comes together with Roasted Squash

It’s been too long since I posted! Life has been busy, and for a while, I lost a bit of my cooking passion. This summer and early fall I’ve been working hard to get my health on track and cleaning up my diet is a big part of that. I’ve learned a lot about my own body and how it reacts to different foods, and how I can nourish not only my body but my mind and soul through cooking.

Right now, the best things for me seems to be beans and fall vegetables. I adapted this recipe from a salad that I pinned a while back. Raw roughage has been a challenge for me, so I made this into a tasty sauté.

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Butternut squash is a fall gem! I can’t stop roasting things right now.

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Fresh organic kale came in my Brewers Organics box this week – perfect timing.

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It seems decadent – even though it’s full of great, healthy stuff!

Butternut Squash Sauté – 4 servings

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded & cubed
3 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1 sm. sweet onion, chopped
1 can black beans
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh kale, chopped
2 tbsp. spicy mustard
2 tbsp. honey
4 tbsp. goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place cubed squash on a baking dish; drizzle with 1 tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 40 minutes, tossing after 20.

In a large sauté pan or wok, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onion and garlic about 4 minutes or until soft. Add beans and kale and sauté until kale is wilted. Add roasted squash, mustard and honey; mix well and remove from heat.

Garnish with a sprinkle of goat cheese and eat warm.

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