Bacon-Stuffed Acorn Squash

I had two of those pesky, hard-to-peel acorn squash, and, being the lazy glutton that I am, I really didn’t want to cook them.  So I created this cheater’s recipe.

You don’t even need to peel these, because you’ll just scoop out the delicious, bacony filling with a spoon, squash and all!

I cooked some Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower along with the squash, for an easy, one-pan meal. This would also be good with a side of rice, or with rice added into the stuffing. The options are endless, but this combination was low-hassle and very savory!

2 acorn squash
6 pieces of bacon, cut into small pieces
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
olive oil
~1/2 cup finely grated pecorino romano cheese
4 sprigs of rosemary
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Using a bit of butter and/or olive oil, cook your onions and bacon in a skillet until bacon is browned but still soft – not crispy. Drain on a paper towel while you prepare the squash.

2. Grease a medium-sized pan with olive oil or butter. Wash squash under cold running water and dry with paper towels or clean kitchen towels. On a stable surface, cut squash in half with a sharp knife. Other recipes call for cutting an acorn squash from stem to bottom, but I cut across the diameter and removed the stem with no problem. Remove the seeds and pulp from both squash with a spoon (scraping the inside with your knife to remove stringy bits if necessary).

3. Rub squash with a light coating of olive oil and place in the pan, open face up. Strip the rosemary leaves from a couple of your sprigs. Sprinkle them, along with salt and pepper, over the squash. Next, spoon the bacon and onions into the center of each hollowed out squash. If you are roasting any other side vegetables, go ahead and put them in the pan and drizzle with olive oil.* Finish off with a the remaining sprigs of rosemary laid around the pan.

4. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until squash is tender when poked with a fork. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle cheese into each squash, stirring lightly to mix in a little with the bacon and onion. Return to oven and broil for about two minutes, or until cheese melts and is slightly browned. Serve immediately.

Serves 2.


Crispy Baked Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Pictured above with Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

This recipe will work for any pieces of chicken; I used thighs this time just to mix things up a bit. To cook for a larger group, just double or triple the other ingredients as necessary. This is easy and delectable, packing fresh lemon and rosemary flavors into a wonderfully crispy chicken dish.

4 pieces of chicken, bone-in, skin on
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
~4 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 medium lemon
olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 425°. In a mortar and pestle, grind salt and garlic into a paste; set aside. Pour olive oil in a medium roasting tin or oven-safe glass dish until the bottom is covered. You want the olive oil to be about a quarter inch deep in the pan, so that you can roll the chicken in it. Sprinkle rosemary and pepper in pan. Cut lemon in half. Finely slice one half and set aside.

2. Place your chicken in the pan and roll each piece in the olive oil and rosemary until evenly covered. Take the lemon slices and place them under the pieces of chicken, arranged skin up in the pan. Use the other half of the lemon to squeeze fresh juice over the chicken. Finally, take the garlic paste and rub it into the top of each piece with your hands. Bake the chicken for about 30 minutes, depending on the size and cuts you’ve used. If you are unsure whether it’s done, use a meat thermometer.

3. Remove chicken when the pieces are nicely browned. If the meat is done but they are not sufficiently browned, broil them for a minute or two. When serving, spoon a small amount of the juices over each piece (if you make a large batch, you should have enough juices to make a gravy!).

Serves 2.

Stella’s Peach Cobbler

What could be more Texan than peach cobbler?  It’s prime time for Fredericksburg peaches, so I decided it would be worth heating up the oven to make this pan of crunchy, sweet, peachy deliciousness.  And I was right.

This is a simply, straightforward, budget-friendly recipe.  You have no excuse not to buy a bunch of fresh, in-season peaches and make this immediately.

4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar, divided
1 flat Tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup milk
~8 fresh peaches, blanched, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place butter in a large baking pan or Pyrex dish in the oven and allow to just melt, then remove. This will both grease your pan and impart rich flavor.

2. Meanwhile, mix flour, half the sugar, baking powder, and salt, then add milk and stir lightly until the ingredients are evenly mixed and moistened. Pour this batter into your baking dish, on top of the butter.

3. In a stock pot, bring remaining sugar, peaches, and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Once mixture begins to boil, remove from heat and spoon into your baking dish, over the batter. Do not stir them together.

4. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon and bake for 45 minutes or until the batter is nice, crispy, and golden brown.

You can serve the cobbler immediately, or serve it cold. Warm cobbler fresh out of the oven with a big scoop of rich, vanilla ice cream is heavenly. Store the leftovers in the refrigerator, covered with foil – if you have any left!

Makes about 8 servings.

Easy Everyday Cornbread

I happened to have all the ingredients, and I was hungry, so I decided to mix up some quick cornbread.

I used a good deal of sugar here just because I was in an oddly Yankee kind of mood – you can leave it out completely if you want a more savory cornbread, and please forgive me in the meantime. I also chose to use a baking tin instead of my cast iron skillet today just because I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to clean and treat the cast iron after cooking. But if you use one, your cornbread will be tastier thanks to the “seasoning” of the skillet, as well as have a perfect, slightly crisp crust.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can always add different ingredients such as green chiles, cayenne pepper, or grated cheese, too. Cornbread is fairly foolproof, so just have fun with it.

This easy, delicious version can be made from items most people have in their kitchen. It’s fast, it’s filling, it’s fantastic!

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup raw sugar (adjust to taste)
4 Tbsp butter
1 cup milk (or, even better, buttermilk)
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs

1. Preheat your oven to 375° and grease an 8 inch baking pan or cast iron skillet with a little butter, olive oil, or leftover bacon drippings (as I did here – I keep a Mason jar of solid bacon grease in my fridge!).

2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, prepare other ingredients: cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt can be measured in a large two cup measuring cup and set aside.

3. Remove skillet from heat and whisk in eggs. Then add milk and stir. Finally, add the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly until there are few to no lumps (a few small lumps are okay).

4. Pour mixture into pan and bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

5. Cut immediately and serve with generous pats of butter.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Shown here with black beans and butter.

Bacon and Green Chile Frittata


Here’s my Tex-Mex interpretation of the classic frittata.  At my house, we like to garnish it with extra grated cheese and a little Cholula sauce!

6 eggs
1/4 cup finely diced green chiles (poblanos or, for a spicier result, jalapeños)
6 strips of crispy, cooked bacon
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
additional 1 Tbsp butter

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a baking dish with 1 Tbsp butter and set aside.

2. Whisk eggs and milk in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir lightly. Pour into baking dish.

3. Bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the dish comes out clean. The top of your frittata should be only slight browned.

4. Allow to cool for a few minutes and serve in slices.

Serves 4. Delicious reheated or served cold.