Take advantage of the many varieties of squash when creating a winter menu. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

Raise your hand if herbalicious stuffing served in edible bowls appeals to you as we withstand these weeks of Arctic weather.

I have used all sorts of sausage for the acorn squash stuffing and you can also try ground turkey if you prefer. Just up the amount of herbs to add more flavor.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at iwrite33@comcast.net.

This stuffed delicata squash recipe is for my vegetarian friends. If you have never tried this variety, you must. It has such a wonderful sweetness that I have even served it as dessert sliced into crescents and sprinkled with cinnamon. Either on its own or alongside sautéed apples with a dish of nuts on the side, it’s surprisingly tasty. You can even eat the tender skin.

However, if you want a more traditional dessert, how about trying my grandfather’s favorite pie? Although he departed this Earth over 30 years ago, I still make this fluffy coconut cream pie on his February birthday. I know he would be so pleased to know you are making one, too!

Acorn Squash with Apple Sausage Stuffing

2 small to medium acorn squash
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon thyme
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound bulk sausage
1 apple, chopped
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the very top and bottom of each squash to create a flat base, being careful not to cut through the center cavity. Slice the squash in half and scrape out the seeds to create individual bowls for the stuffing. Brush each half with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.


Place squash cut side down in a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Roast for 30 minutes. Flip over so cut side is up, brush with more olive oil and roast 20 minutes more or until fork-tender. Meanwhile, in a sauté pan over medium heat, heat oil and add onion, celery and seasonings. Cook until onion begins to soften. Add garlic and sausage, cooking until sausage is browned. Add apple and cook until slightly softened. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Mix in panko crumbs, egg and Parmesan cheese.

Fill each squash half with stuffing mixture. Return to oven for 20 minutes, adding another sprinkle of Parmesan over the tops and continuing to bake for the final 5 minutes.

Delicata Squash with Quinoa-Pecan Stuffing

3 medium delicata squash, halved lengthwise
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
3/4 cup mushrooms, diced
1 carrot, shredded
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
2 teaspoons sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove seeds and pulp from squash halves. Place cut side up in a parchment-lined baking dish. In a medium-sized pan over medium heat, combine broth and quinoa and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes without stirring. Fluff with a fork and cool for 5 minutes.

In a sauté pan over medium heat, sauté onion in oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes. Add carrot, bell pepper, garlic and herbs, and sauté for another 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in quinoa, pecans and salt.

Fill squash halves with stuffing and cover the baking dish with foil. Bake for 30 minutes or until squash is tender. Yield: 6 servings


Coconut Cream Pie

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla


3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
Baked pastry for single-crust, 9-inch pie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add milk and stir until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir for 2 minutes longer.

Remove from heat. Stir a small amount of hot filling into egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat; stir in coconut, butter and vanilla. Pour into cooled crust.

For the meringue, in a small bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high speed until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over hot filling, sealing edges to crust. Sprinkle with coconut.

Bake until golden for 17-20 minutes. Cool on a rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate at least 3 hours. Yield: 8 servings

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