Stuffed Butternut Squash with Bacon, Brown Rice, and Mushrooms

Stuffed Butternut Squash with Bacon, Brown Rice, and Mushrooms -- The Nourishing Gourmet

By April, from AprilSwiger.com

Savory bacon with hearty mushrooms and smooth butternut squash present a nourishing and filling meal for any night of the week. This seasonal delicacy could be a lovely side dish for any fall gathering as well. With about two minutes of preparation the night before, the soaked brown rice becomes an easier-to-digest element of this recipe, although white rice could be used in its place.

I love simple meals, especially when they are nourishing and easy on the budget. This stuffed butternut squash with bacon has a few different elements to it, but is truly a cinch to put together. When the weather begins to turn, butternut squash is a go-to for me. I love the color, sweetness, and heartiness it brings to our cool weather menu. I also think it’s a wonderfully filling addition to any gluten or dairy free lifestyle.

With a little bit of planning, this meal is very easy to put together any night of the week. I know that anything “stuffed” is usually intimidating for me, but don’t let this one scare you off! It’s simplicity at its finest, and the vibrant mixture of flavors will wow most palettes.

Stuffed Butternut Squash with Bacon, Brown Rice, and Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 2 cups short grain brown rice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 7 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. The night before, place your rice in a bowl with 2 cups of warm water, and the ACV. Allow it to soak overnight, or up to 24 hours.

2. Preheat your oven to 400. Cut your butternut squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and place cut-side-down on a baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 45-60 minutes, or until it’s cooked.

3. While the squash is cooking drain and rinse the rice. Add it to a pot with 4 cups of water, and 1 tsp of salt. Bring it to a boil, cover, and allow to simmer 45-50 minutes until cooked. The rice and squash should be done about the same time.

4. Place the chopped bacon in a skillet and cook on medium-high until almost crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan when done and leave about two tablespoons of bacon grease remaining. Saute the onions until translucent, then add the mushrooms, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 10 minutes.

5. Stir the bacon pieces, and the mushroom mixture, into the rice. When the squash is cooked place the two pieces on a plate, cut-side up, and fill them with the rice mixture. You will have extra rice to serve on the side.

Stuffed Butternut Squash with Bacon, Brown Rice, and Mushrooms
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
 
Savory bacon with hearty mushrooms and smooth butternut squash present a nourishing and filling meal for any night of the week. This seasonal delicacy could be a lovely side dish for any fall gathering as well.
Ingredients
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 2 cups short grain brown rice
  • 2 Tbls apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 7 slices of bacon, chopped
  • ½ chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. The night before, place your rice in a bowl with 2 cups of warm water, and the ACV. Allow it to soak overnight, or up to 24 hours.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400. Cut your butternut squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and place cut-side-down on a baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 45-60 minutes, or until it’s cooked.
  3. While the squash is cooking drain and rinse the rice. Add it to a pot with 4 cups of water, and 1 tsp of salt. Bring it to a boil, cover, and allow to simmer 45-50 minutes until cooked. The rice and squash should be done about the same time.
  4. Place the chopped bacon in a skillet and cook on medium-high until almost crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan when done and leave about two tablespoons of bacon grease remaining. Saute the onions until translucent, then add the mushrooms, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 10 minutes.
  5. Stir the bacon pieces, and the mushroom mixture, into the rice. When the squash is cooked place the two pieces on a plate, cut-side up, and fill them with the rice mixture. You will have extra rice to serve on the side.

 

Roasted Beet and Blueberry Salad

Sweet roasted beets coupled with juicy blueberries and savory gorgonzola make a delicious summer salad to be enjoyed over and over again. I was so pleasantly surprised by this salad that I’ve made it numerous times recently! The honey balsamic dressing is the perfect topping for this mixture of fresh summer produce.

By April Swiger, Contributing Writer

Sweet roasted beets coupled with juicy blueberries and savory gorgonzola make a delicious summer salad to be enjoyed over and over again. I was so pleasantly surprised by this salad that I’ve made it numerous times recently! The honey balsamic dressing is the perfect topping for this mixture of fresh summer produce. 

One of my favorite things about summer is the way our eating habits change. During the winter our bellies are filled with nourishing soups, stews, and chilis. They warm us up, fill us up, and comfort us through those long cold months. It has been so refreshing to begin making large salads again for our main meals and experimenting with different flavor combinations.

If you love salads, check out Kimi’s cookbook, Fresh: Nourishing Salads for all Seasons too! It is filled with practical and delicious recipes that the whole family can enjoy.

I love the combination of salty and sweet, and adding fruit to my green salads doesn’t happen as often as I like. Blueberries have been in abundance lately and I knew I had to do something new with them. The sweet balsamic vinaigrette whips up easily and can be used on any green salad. That’s one of the best things about summer salads – you can adapt it to whatever you have on hand!

Sweet roasted beets coupled with juicy blueberries and savory gorgonzola make a delicious summer salad to be enjoyed over and over again. I was so pleasantly surprised by this salad that I’ve made it numerous times recently! The honey balsamic dressing is the perfect topping for this mixture of fresh summer produce.

Eating seasonally is one of my favorite things to do. It saves us money, and makes my meal planning easier when I know what to expect at our local market. Beets have become one of my favorite vegetables in recent years. The color is stunning, and roasting them brings out a natural sweetness that is hard to resist. I love the burst of flavor it adds to this salad!

My family (toddler included!) has enjoyed this salad numerous times recently as our main dish. We also served it for some friends, as a side to our main meal, and it was devoured! Make the most of summer’s delicious produce and give this savory sweet salad a try.

Other salads you may enjoy:

Roasted Beet and Blueberry Salad

Enjoy the best of summer produce with this deliciously sweet salad! This recipe makes two main dish salads, or 4-6 side salads.

Ingredients:

Salad

  • 6 cups of fresh greens
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted beets
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 4 tablespoons crumbled gorgonzola
  • 1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Pinch of sea salt

Instructions:

1. Roast the beets: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. With a sharp vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the beets and chop them into small pieces, about 1/2 inch in size. Wrap the beet pieces in a piece or parchment paper, followed by a piece of aluminum foil to make a sealed packet. Roast them in their packet for 45-60 minutes, or until soft. Allow the beets to cool.

2. While the beets are cooling prepare the dressing. In a pint sized mason jar, or other glass container, whisk all the ingredients together. I prefer to use a mason jar with a lid and shake the dressing to incorporate.
3. Assemble your salad. Divide the greens between two plates. Sprinkle each plate with half the beets, half the blueberries, half the gorgonzola, and top with half the almonds. Drizzle the salad with the dressing.

Roasted Beet and Blueberry Salad
 
Serves: 4
 
Enjoy the best of summer produce with this deliciously sweet salad! This recipe makes two main dish salads, or 4-6 side salads.
Ingredients
  • For the salad:
  • 6 cups of fresh greens
  • 1½ cups roasted beets
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 4 tablespoons crumbled gorgonzola
  • ½ cup almonds, coarsely chopped
  • For the dressing:
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. With a sharp vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the beets and chop them into small pieces, about ½ inch in size. Wrap the beet pieces in a piece or parchment paper, followed by a piece of aluminum foil to make a sealed packet. Roast them in their packet for 45-60 minutes, or until soft. Allow the beets to cool.
  2. While the beets are cooling prepare the dressing. In a pint sized mason jar, or other glass container, whisk all the ingredients together. I prefer to use a mason jar with a lid and shake the dressing to incorporate.
  3. Assemble your salad. Divide the greens between two plates. Sprinkle each plate with half the beets, half the blueberries, half the gorgonzola, and top with half the almonds. Drizzle the salad with the dressing.

 

 

Stress Relieving Lavender Lemon Balm Iced Tea

Stress Relieving Lavender Lemon Balm Iced Tea

By April Swiger, Contributing Writer

This refreshing lavender lemon balm iced tea is not only delicious, but it helps melt away stress. It’s so simple to make and can be enjoyed hot or iced for the upcoming summer months. Tea brewed from your own garden herbs is highly satisfying, and wonderfully nourishing.

I first discovered lemon balm a little over a year ago. The snow had finally melted away from the garden area of our little rental home, and these bushy green plants began to pop up all over the place. After a little research I learned that lemon balm (part of the mint family) is a perennial herb known for its calming and stress relieving properties. One gentle touch of the leaves and an intoxicating aroma of lemon fills the air. The scent alone lifts my spirits!

Stress Relieving Lavender Lemon Balm Iced Tea 1

Lemon balm has also been known to calm headaches, upset stomach, menstrual cramps, and insomnia to name a few. My husband and I have been on a recent journey to treat our adrenal fatigue and lemon balm is a wonderful herb to help calm the body and promote healing.

It is well know that lavender is also a natural stress reliever. The lovely scent from its leaves, and the variety of purple flowers it produces makes it one of the most beautiful herbs to grow in a garden. I have two different varieties in my garden, but the one I used for this recipe is English Lavender (lavandula angustifolia).

You could also dry the leaves and preserve them for making tea during the winter months. This is very easy to do with a dehydrator, or by hanging to air dry as well.

Stress Relieving Lavender Lemon Balm Iced Tea 2

It’s good to take a few moments each day and rest. This tea, adorned with a fresh lavender flower, would be the perfect companion for seeking a stress-free summer.

Other summer drinks you may enjoy:

Stress Relieving Lavender Lemon Balm Iced Tea
 
Author:
Recipe type: Beverage
 
This refreshing lavender lemon balm iced tea is is jam-packed with stress relieving properties. Enjoy it all summer long!
Ingredients
  • 1 quart filtered water
  • 1 cup fresh lemon balm leaves
  • 4 sprigs of fresh lavender leaves
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of raw honey per quart
  • Lemon slices and/or a lavender flower (optional)
Instructions
  1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot.
  2. Add the lemon balm and lavender leaves to the water. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and steep for 30 minutes.
  3. Strain out the leaves and pour the tea into a glass container of your choice.
  4. Stir in the honey. Enjoy this tea warm, or chill for iced tea.

 

Balsamic Maple Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Almonds

Balsamic Maple Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Almonds

By April Swiger, Contributing Writer

Sweet and salty with a bit of crunch, these brussels sprouts are enjoyable to even the hardest critics. This cold-weather vegetable from the cabbage family is often seen as undesirable for having a bitter taste. I believe it all depends on how you cook it though. For those who typically overlook these tiny buds, you may be pleasantly surprised by this combination.

Maple syrup is in abundance where I live in New England, and I love finding ways to incorporate it into my recipes. For a vegetable like brussels sprouts, where a bitter taste may need to be tamed, I knew this natural sweetener would be the perfect addition, along with the tang of balsamic vinegar. Throw in some chopped almonds, or your nut of choice, and it’s reminiscent of my favorite homemade candy, almond roca.

Balsamic Maple Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Almonds

There’s something about roasting vegetables that makes my mouth water. I love the golden brown pieces that are left in the pan, drenched in butter and salt. If I have a vegetable that I’m not sure what to do with, I will typically roast it, knowing it will likely turn out delicious. This is the only way I’ll prepare brussels sprouts from now on!

If you’re tired of soggy boiled brussels sprouts, you may just fall in love with this sweet and salty caramelized version. It only takes minutes to prepare. Also, you may love Kim’s version of Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon. Yum!

Other recipes you may enjoy:

Balsamic Maple Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Almonds
 
Author:
Recipe type: Side
 
These sweet and salty Brussels sprouts will satisfy even the hardest critic!
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, rinsed, stemmed, and halved
  • 3 Tbls Coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbls Maple syrup
  • 1 Tbls Balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ Cup chopped almonds
Instructions
  1. Preheats your oven to 400 F. Rinse the brussels sprouts, trim the stems, and slice them in half.
  2. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, roast the Brussels sprouts with coconut oil, and salt and pepper, for 20 minutes. Toss them after 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk together the maple syrup and balsamic vinegar, and coarsely chop the almonds. Drizzle the maple and balsamic mixture over the brussels sprouts, sprinkle the almonds over them, and roast for 5-7 more minutes.