Stuffed Carnival Squash

I picked up a grapefruit sized carnival squash yesterday while at Trader Joe’s. I’ve never cooked or even had a carnival squash before but, it is a winter squash and similar shape and size to acorn squash so I figured it would be similar in texture and taste as well…and it is. I’m already crazy Thanksgiving food and knew I wanted to bake and stuff this little carnival squash (it was about the size of a very large grapefruit) so I picked up some ground turkey, dried cranberries, and a big bag of kale to go with ingredients I already had back at the Annex.

This is a really simple recipe that can be adapted to whatever your diet restriction might be – dairy free, gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian, low sodium, etc. It is very customizable, you just have to be creative in your stuffing fillings. My stuffing was pretty simple, but so delicious. There was no added salt to this either (except what small amount is in the spice blend I used). The flavors are that of Thanksgiving and perfect to make with leftovers, or if you are just craving a little bit of Thanksgiving throughout the year.

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Stuffed Carnival Squash

Ingredients

  • 2 medium carnival squash – cut in half and seeds removed/discarded (you can roast these as well!)
  • 1/2 cup short grain brown rice
  • 1 cup chicken stock (low sodium, or no sodium added)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup diced baby portabella mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons Spiceologist Greek Freak Seasoning, divided
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped kale
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup shredded Cabot Cheese – Alpine Cheddar

Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. Place cut and cleaned squash face down in a baking dish, add about 1/4 inch of water and cover with aluminum foil
  3. Roast squash for 30-45 minutes until fork tender, remove from oven and drain water
  4. In a small pot, bring brown rice and chicken stock to a boil, and cook according to rice specifications
  5. In a saute pan, add 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil, add kale and cover for five minutes until kale is tender.
  6. Drain water, and place kale on a paper towel to drain (you want to remove as much excess water that you can)
  7. In the same saute pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and heat pan to medium heat
  8. Add mushrooms, green onions, and 1 tablespoon of the seasoning mixture, saute until mushrooms are lightly browned and tender
  9. Add mushrooms and green onions to the kale that has been set aside
  10. In the same saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat pan to medium heat
  11. Add ground turkey and remaining 1 tablespoon of seasoning mixture
  12. Brown turkey and add in pine nuts to toast during the last few minutes of cooking
  13. Once the turkey is cooked throughout, add in the cooked brown rice, dried cranberries, kale, mushrooms, and green onions, stir to combine
  14. Remove from heat and stuff cooked squash halves (you may have a little extra filling, but you can use that for another meal or snack)
  15. Top stuffed squash halves with shredded cheese and return to the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes
  16. Remove from oven, and enjoy!

 

Bread Stuffing {Gluten, Dairy, & Onion Free} & Giveaway from Rudi’s!

IMG_3193One of my favorite holidays is quickly approaching and I am already starting to plan the menu. Last year it was Just Bryan, Penny, and I and I tried my hardest to scale down a “traditional” Thanksgiving dinner, but who doesn’t love Thanksgiving leftovers? I did cut out some of the extra items, and many of the desserts but there are a few things that I just can’t scale down, or not make at all; turkey, my grandmother’s homemade cranberry sauce, sweet potato souffle, green beans, and of course stuffing!

I have always loved stuffing…but not so much when it is in the bird. Stuffing made in a baking dish has both the crunchy and soft textures that I love. Since going gluten-free I have struggled a bit in the stuffing department. I have used pre-packaged mixes and even attempted my own, but mastering the spices, herbs, and meeting both mine and Bryan’s dietary needs is always tricky. Bryan has a whole list of intolerance and allergies in addition to my Celiac, but two of the biggest ones are lactose intolerance and onion allergy. Onion is found is more items than you may think it is. We have recently learned that he can not tolerate honey, high fructose corn syrup, agave, and a few other items as well. These are all in addition to his oral allergy syndrome!

When people learn of all these restrictions the first question that is asked is, “what do you eat?”, and often followed by “oh I could never do that!”. When it comes to either being healthy or being ill all the time, we choose being healthy. Yes, things don’t always go as planned and he will get sick, but thankfully it is not life or death, it is more bloating and uncomfortable. As for what do we eat…a lot. A lot of real foods: meats, vegetables, fruits, grains, etc. We have learned to limit more processed foods to the best of our abilities and make adjustments when needed. Granted it is much easier for him to avoid these items when I am around and able to cook but he does what he can when I am here in NYC.

When I was asked by Rudi’s Gluten Free last week if I would like to be part of a recipe creation project with them using their new Gluten-Free Ciabatta Rolls, I immediately said yes. Rudi’s has yet to disappoint us with their products and they are both gluten & dairy free, and to top it off…ONION Free. I knew right then and there that I would try to make stuffing out of them for Thanksgiving. I did think of making an appetizer with them, but slicing the rolls about 1/4 inch toasting them up and then topping them with a delicious treat but, stuffing kept coming back to me.

The stuffing is pretty simple to make. You can do the first few steps the night before and then assemble and bake the stuffing the next day. It is a traditional bread stuffing (or gravy, however you wish to call it), with carrots and celery in place of the onions, and loaded with flavor!

As I mentioned above, I have made gluten-free stuffing from scratch before, but the ciabatta rolls have hands down the best texture to them for making stuffing. Both Bryan and I agreed on this. He is not 100% gluten-free because he doesn’t have to be, so I value his opinion greatly and take his feedback to heart. For someone who isn’t gluten-free to say that something that is gluten-free is delicious means a lot to me.

The ciabatta rolls are delicious on their on and ready for your family dinner table in about 8-10 minutes, these crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside rolls are a great side dish to any entrée or holiday meal. They are available in two flavors, Plain and in Rosemary Olive Oil, these bake – at – home rolls will make your kitchen smell awesome!

Keep reading below the recipe for your chance to win the same package Rudi’s Sent me and more chances to win on Rudi’s Gluten Free’s Facebook Page!!

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Onion-Free Traditional Bread Stuffing

IMG_3201(*please see note to include onions)

  • 1 package of Rudi’s Gluten Free Plain Ciabatta Rolls (sliced and cut into 1/4 inch cubes)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon Oregano
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Bells Seasoning
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons Earth Balance Spread (I used the stick version)
  • 1 Cup sliced Celery
  • 1 Cup Diced Carrots
  • 1 – 1/2 Cups Chicken Stock (Homemade if preparing this onion free)
  • Non-Stick Cooking Spray

Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Line a large baking sheet with either aluminum foil pr parchment paper
  3. In a large bowl combine the bread crumbs, olive oil, parsley, oregano, bells seasoning, salt, and pepper, toss well to combine.
  4. Transfer seasoned bread crumbs to the baking sheet and bake for about 10 – 15 minutes checking often, and tossing as needed. Make sure that these cubes do not burn. You want them to be nice and crunchy like a crouton though.
  5. Remove from oven, let cool and transfer to a large bowl.
  6. Reduce oven temp to 350°
  7. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the earth balance, celery and carrots – season as needed with salt and pepper.
  8. Cook vegetables for 5-8 minutes until soft.
  9. Transfer cooked vegetables to bowl with seasoned bread cubes.
  10. Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.
  11. Starting with 1 cup of the stock, slowly add it to the bowl of seasoned bread cubes and stir until seasoned bread cubes or moistened.
  12. Transfer stuffing mixture to the prepared baking dish. Baked covered for 30 minutes, remove cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

*Note: if you wish to make this with onions, simply add 1/2 cup small diced onion to the celery and carrot mixture and use store bought or homemade stock with onion. IMG_3200GIVEAWAY!

  • Giveaway is open from 8:00 am EST Tuesday November 4th and ends at 11:59 pm EST on Friday November 14th, 2014.
  • Leave a separate comment for each entry to receive the max entries.
  • Giveaway and prize pack open to US residents 18 years and older.
  • Winner will be chosen using random.org
  • Winner will be notified via e-mail and will have 24 hours to respond. If no response is received, a new winner will be chosen.

As mentioned above Rudi’s has offered to give one lucky reader the same gift pack that they sent me which includes the following items:

  • One bag of Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery Rosemary Olive Oil Ciabatta Roll
  • One bag of Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery Plain Ciabatta Rolls
  • Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery Apron
  • John Boos 18-by-12-Inch Reversible Maple Cutting Board
  • Spectrum Organic Mediterranean Olive Oil
  • Spectrum Organic Balsamic Vinegar
  • Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery Oven Mitt

Ways to Enter – enter by just doing one, or by doing them all, but make sure to leave a separate comment for each one:

Want other ways to win prizes from Rudi’s Gluten Free??

From November 4th-10th, Rudi’s will be celebrating the launch of their new Gluten-Free Ciabatta Rolls through a giveaway on their Facebook page, in which they will be giving away 100 oven mitts every day! To enter visit: http://www.rudisbakery.com/ciabatta-promo/

 

Rudi’s provided me with product to create a recipe using their new cibatta rolls. The recipe and opinions are 100% my own.

Turkey, Apple, and Cheddar Fritters {Good Cook}

IMG_8420_7995I hope you guys were able to attend the Good Cook Twitter Party that happened last Monday evening! There were so awesome prizes given out. The wonderful people behind Good Cook came up with an idea to share Thanksgiving leftover recipes (101+ recipes! Check them out HERE) with all of you, and I am excited to take part in this. I traveled this year for Thanksgiving but still made a delicious meal for Bryan and I. The sad part is, I wasn’t able to travel with any of my awesome goodies from Good Cook so I made sure to bring home some leftovers in order to make this recipe.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love cooking a huge meal for family and friends. Someday when I have a house, my door will be open to those in need. It make me upset to think of those without, especially on days like Thanksgiving. Growing up my family wasn’t rich by any means, but we always had each other. My grandfather was a member of the Knights of Columbus and I remember getting a Thanksgiving meal from them every year. It had the works…a turkey, stuffing, canned goods, etc. They even gave us Christmas presents every year. I will forever be grateful to my grandfather and the KoC for their charity.

Last year for my internship at school, instead of opting to take the traditional route and work in a kitchen, I chose to work with the community service department on campus and spent my days cooking for people in need. My favorite days were those where I got to cook at the Providence Ronald McDonald House and a local soup kitchen in Providence. Food makes people happy and everyone deserves food. In addition to that the community service department each year puts on a Thanksgiving dinner for those in need at the school – it was amazing being part of something like that and was sad I wasn’t able to help out this year.

I was trying to hard to figure out what to make with my leftovers – trying to be creative isn’t easy I tell ya. I finally came up with an idea to do fritters. I had taken home turkey and cranberry sauce (all I could really fit in my carry on). I had some extra sharp cheddar cheese, and an apple so thought I would throw those in as well. These little fritters are mighty tasty and awesome fall flavor to them. Check out the recipe below:

Turkey, Apple, and Cheddar Fritters

1/2 cup diced Turkey Meat

1/4 cup shredded or diced Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1/4 cup diced Apple (granny smith, fuji, etc.)

1 cup Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour or Pancake batter (both work great)
1/2  teaspoon Xantan Gum (only if your mix does not already have it in there)
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder (only if your mix does not already have it in there)
2  Eggs (or 1/2 cup Eggbeaters)
6  tablespoons Milk (Cow, Soy, Nut, or Hemp)
1  tablespoon Feiny’s Veggie Rub
1/2 teaspoon Salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon Fresh Cracked Pepper

Cranberry Sauce – homemade, canned, etc.

Directions

  1. Preheat fryer to 350•F or in a medium skillet add 1/4-1/2 cup oil and heat over medium heat to shallow fry instead of deep frying.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together all of the wet ingredients until well combined.
  4. Slowly add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Drop batter by the spoonful and cook until golden brown on all sides.
  6. Check for seasoning and adjust if needed.
  7. Do not over crowed the fryer or pan.
  8. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel lined dish.
  9. Repeat process with remaining batter.
  10. Serve warm.
  11. Hold in a warm oven in a Good Cook Brownie Pan or Cookie Sheet at about 200•F if needed.
  12. Serve in a Good Cook Pie Pan lined with parchment paper.
  13. Serve with cranberry sauce.

Ginger-Spiced Roasted Pumpkin & A Good Cook Twitter Party!

I am loving being a kitchen expert and blogger for Good Cook. I have the pleasure of playing with lots of great items and reviewing them. Recently we were sent a box filled with all of these amazing tools to help us get through the Thanksgiving holiday with items like a roasting pan, turkey platter, turkey injector, brine bag, and SO much more! Are you interested in winning this and more? If so keep on reading.

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Come Join Me, Good Cook, TheFrugalMom and other Good Cook Kitchen Experts! The Ultimate Thanksgiving Twitter Party, Monday, November 25, 2013 at 6:00 pm to 7:00pm EST On Twitter with hashtag #Thanksgivingtips.

Join in as we talk about everything Thanksgiving from turkey prep to decorating the table.  Plus get a chance to win a special gift and one of three $200 Thanksgiving Baskets that will arrive in time for your dinner. Be among the first 500 to RSVP by November 23, 2013 and receive a free set of Turkey Lifters. Click here RSVP.

All of the experts were asked to create a delicious pumpkin dish to share with everyone. I’m not the biggest sweets fan so I went for a savory dish and really…it could be two dishes in one.  I work at a natural foods store here in Rhode Island – it is an awesome little shop owned by and amazing couple who have become like family. All produce is organic – and as often as it can be, local. There are no artificial colors, sweeteners, HFCS, or GMO’s anywhere in the store! We also have (in my opinion) the best selection of gluten-free and allergen friendly items on the island. Needless to say I get a bit spoiled working here, and I hope wherever I end up next I can find a place like this. One of the items that we brought in for the holiday season was ginger curd. When walking past it yesterday I knew I had to incorporate it some how…I could have easily done a pie with this but again, I wanted savory. So I bought that and a pumpkin and headed home after my shift to create a delicious side dish that is suitable for vegetarians as well. I cut up the pumpkin using the Pumpkin Scoop (available at walmart) and the Good Cook Brownie Pan roasted it off with a delicious glaze made from the ginger curd, and the house smelt amazing! Best part is – you can puree this up with a little bit of stock (vegetable or chicken) and it makes a delicious soup as well…like I said, two recipes in one!

The Pumpkin Scoop is awesome – Its round with one edge being smooth and another edge that is serrated, and the handle has a serrated knife it in. The scoop is also great for removing the seeds and cleaning out other various squashes as well, and of course for pumpkin carving. The Brownie Pan is non stick and is just wonderful…nothing and I mean nothing stuck to this thing (as with most non-stick items wash by hand, it is not dishwasher safe. This helps maintain the quality and longevity of the pan).  Check out the recipe below

Ginger-Spiced Roasted Pumpkin

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Ingredients
  • 1 2-3 pound Pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup Ginger Curd
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (all depends on your spice level)
Method of Preparation
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Cut pumpkin in half
  3. Using the pumpkin scoop, remove the seeds (roast or discard)
  4. Cut pumpkin into quarters and peel skin off and discard
  5. Dice pumpkin into 1 inch cubes and set aside
  6. In a large bowl mix together the ginger curd, olive oil, slat, cumin, and cayenne pepper (adjust seasoning to taste), mix until well combined
  7. Add diced pumpkin and toss to evenly coat.
  8. Add the pumpkin to the brownie pan and roast for 25 minutes
  9. Remove from oven and gently toss pumpkin
  10. Return to oven and roast for an additional 20-25 minutes or until browned.
  11. Serve warm and enjoy!
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored review – I was provided products for review from Good Cook. Please note that the opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced by outside sources of any kind.