Black-eyed Pea Stuffed Squash

stuffed acorn squash

Don’t you love mixing flavors and textures in food? I do! If you don’t this recipe may not be for you, BUT it is delicious, so you might want to give your taste buds a new experience with this one!

It takes about an hour from start to finish. Most of that time is while the squash is baking, so don’t let the time scare you. This is super simple to make!

Preheat over to 400 degrees.

What do you need?

  • 2 acorn squashes, halved crosswise and seeded (this would work with other squash -spaghetti, delicata, etc.)
  • 2 Tbl olive oil (divide this in half)
  • A little salt (to taste)
  • 1 C of cooked black-eyed peas (I start with dry, so I cook them first; if you use canned, just open and drain them)
  • 1 C of cooked farro (you could use another grain; maybe you have leftover brown rice or barley in the fridge)
  • 1 C finely chopped red bell pepper (or another color if you prefer)
  • 1 Tbl fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 – 2 oz. of goat cheese, crumbled (optional) OR grated parmesan
  • Fresh chopped flat leaf parsley (amount is up to you!)

Line a baking dish with foil for easier clean up. Place squash halves in the lined dish cut sides up, and brush with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add a little salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes or until you can pierce with a fork. This will vary on size so start checking on them around 30 minutes.

While they are baking, get going on the filling. Saute the pepper in a skillet over medium heat until it starts to soften. Add the black-eyed peas and the farro and mix. Add the thyme, sherry vinegar, smoked paprika and pepper. Let them all cook in the skillet for several minutes. The smell will be amazing because of the smoked paprika!

When the squash are done, fill each half with some of the filling. Drizzle a bit of the remaining olive oil on. Add the goat cheese or parmesan cheese if you are using it. Add some more cracked black pepper.

Pop them back in the over for 10 – 15 minutes.

Remove and add fresh parsley.


Roasted Veggie Bowl

We may be snowed in but we have lots of veggies and grains in the house so that means some good eating!

Real Simple magazine had an article on healthful bowls in their last issue. They listed ingredients to stock your pantry with and then select something from a variety of categories to come up with a delicious and nutritious meal. Our pantry just about looked like this list, so I thought it was perfect for me to try out.

I made a “Roasted Veggie Bowl with Farro and Greens” last night and I just have to brag here and say it was fantastic.  Real Simple gets much of the credit for certain.  I am so glad they inspired me with this (and a couple more that are coming up!)

Here we go:

First I roasted butternut squash (1/2 of a large one), 1/2 head of cauliflower, 1 zucchini and 1 purple onion.  They simply had a bit of olive oil , salt and pepper on them.  They roasted at 400 for about 35 minutes.

While they were roasting I put a handful of fresh spinach and sliced purple cabbage in a bowl.  Neither of these got cooked in any way.

I cooked some farro according to the bags instructions.  My bag was from Trader Joes and is 10 minute farro which makes eating this not only yummy, but quick and easy!

A handful of sliced almonds got scattered in a hot skillet to toast them a bit and I grated a bit of sharp cheddar cheese.

The last thing to do was make some Buttermilk Ranch dressing.  I am not a fan of bottled ranch but homemade is another story!

Buttermilk Ranch:

  • 1 C buttermilk
  • 1/4 C Mayo
  • 1 smashed garlic glove
  • a handful of parsley chopped up (you could really use any fresh herb on hand that you like)
  • S&P

Whisk that and you are set.

OK— assembly time!  Grab that bowl with the spinach and cabbage in it. Put a generous spoonful of farro on next. A couple good portions of the roasted veggies are next in line.  Top off with a little shredded cheese and some almonds.  A ladle of your Buttermilk Ranch Dressing tops it off.

You have heaven in a bowl.

cauliflower bowl

This was really good and was packed with the food groups and nutrition.  It was awesome!  More are coming in the next days as I combine some other things from my pantry in a one bowl meal.

Happy Unleashing (in your kitchen),




Fall Farro

Fall Farro

Have you tried farro?  I had never heard of it until about 5 years ago.  And once I tried it, I was sold!  Grains sometimes get a bad rap, but I love grains and most of the time will prefer a grain over another side accompaniment.

So what is farro?  It is a grain derived from various types of wheat dependent upon the variety.  The the best explanation I found is from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals , by Maria Speck, who writes that the term farro is “commonly used when referring to three ancient wheat varieties first cultivated in the Fertile Crescent and still grown in Italy:farro piccolo (also known by the German einkorn), farro medio (also known as emmer, the Hebrew word for mother), and farro grande (also known as spelt).”

All I know is that it is easy to cook, chewy to bite into (not mushy), and it is from Italy, so that makes it seem really awesome to eat in my book.

In my effort to eat seasonally, I took some farro out last night to see what we could do with the veggies from the garden and CSA.  This is what I came up with and it was MIGHTY good.

What you need:

  • Farro (you will follow the container’s directions)
  • 3-4 cloves, garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 2 bunches kale
  • 1 bunch chard
  • 3 sweet potatoes (you could use another type of squash)
  • 1/4 cup pinenuts
  • Small handful of dried cranberries
  • Lemon juice, fresh from 1 lemon
  • Splash of balsamic
  • Goat cheese
  • S&P

Here we go:

Start with smashing 3 – 4 cloves of garlic and begin to soften them up in some olive oil over low heat.  I love using low here as it won’t brown the garlic (making it bitter).  It takes a few minutes longer to get it going, but I can chopped while it is filling the kitchen with great fragrance.



Start chopping.  I chopped 2 bunches of kale & 1  bunch of swish chard and  diced into 1 inch pieces, 3 sweet potatoes. You can vary these amounts.  This recipe is a creative mishmash of what you have on hand, so don’t feel tied to this!  After the slicing and dicing is complete, set the kale/chard aside and drizzle the sweet potatoes with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Toss it around, put the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet at 400 degrees and set the timer for 30 minutes. 

sweetpotatoes kale_chard






At this point I started my farro. Mine cooked in 20 minutes so this was the perfect time to start it.  Yours may be different so read your directions and start it when appropriate.  You want it done by the time the potatoes are done, because that is when you will throw this all together. 🙂

Toast about 1/4 cup of pine nuts (or a little more if you nibble on them like I do!).  I simply toast over medium heat in a little skillet.  Keep close by as they will burn (personal experience speaking).  When they are done, turn off the burner.  I added a small handful of dried cranberries here.  They do not need to cook, I just wanted them together so I wouldn’t forget them.







At this point, your garlic should be soft and looking good.  Toss in the kale and chard into the garlic and olive oil over medium low heat continue to toss it around. It should get bright and soften, but don’t cook it to the point of mushy greens.

Squeeze one lemon for it’s juice.  I do this through a strainer and into a bowl so seeds are caught.  This will be used at the end; I just wanted it ready to rock when needed.   TIP: did you know you can freeze lemons?  Whenever I get lemons, I freeze a couple of them.  One, they are easy to zest from the freezer and you can use it over and over since it is frozen and will not go bad now that you have broken into it.  Two, if you think ahead and take the lemon out about 45 minutes before squeezing it, you will get TONS of juice from that little thawed guy.






By now your farro is done and drained.  Toss it in with the greens and garlic.  Remove your potatoes from the oven and toss them in there also. YUMMY!  We are almost there!

After everything is all tossed and getting friendly with each other, hit it with the lemon juice, a splash of balsamic and some freshly crumbled goat cheese (because it is just good on everything!)

Fall Farro

I hope that you try this; it is fantastic and healthy! And super simple; it took me longer to write the post than cook the meal. 🙂


Buona tavola!  (good eating)