Summer Broccoli Salad

Tonight is pizza night! I always like a good salad to compliment the cheesy “za”. Salad on the side helps to not overindulge in those slices! As usual, I wasn’t feeling anything too basic. With what I had in the pantry and fridge this is what resulted!

Broccoli Chickpea Salad

4 cups broccoli florets
1 medium sweet Vidalia onion, sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 can drained and rinsed chickpeas
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil plus 2 TB
2 TB lemon juice
1 TB Dijon mustard
1 TB white balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Blanche the broccoli and set aside. In a large saucepan heat two tablespoons of olive oil adding the sweet onion and cooking until translucent. Stir in garlic and pine nuts. Toss in the cooked broccoli, lemon juice, chickpeas and diced pepper. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together olive oil, vinegar and mustard. Pour over the salad and chill.

I decided to add one chopped romaine heart to the chilled salad before serving.

The above vinaigrette is my go-to for all cold summer bean salads!
Red wine vinegar works great in the dressing as well.

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Fall Baked Stuffed Squash

The grocery is full of beautiful pumpkins, squash and gourds. Aside from using them for decor, they’re wonderful to cook with and have so much flavor! One of my favorite fall time meals is this stuffed squash. Before hopping to it, I find that for this meal’s prep, Halloween pumpkin carving tools are essential. Usually during the post-Halloween sales, I (my bargain hunter Dad) search for kits that are on mark-down just for their extreme aid in hallowing out, cutting, splitting and cubing squash or gourds.

This is a great make ahead meal. I decided to prep everything the night before to bake off the next day for a gal pal lunch.

Give this recipe a whirl! It’s rather dietetic (a low carb yet robust meal) and for those looking for ideas, it’s also gluten-free. With very few ingredients, this is packed with flavor and great for a cool fall evening.

Baked Stuffed Acorn Squash

2-3 Acorn squash
1 Pound extra lean ground beef
1 Sweet onion
1 Red bell pepper
2 Cloves garlic
2 TB butter
2 TB brown sugar
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Red pepper flakes (if desired)

With carving tools and a good grip, half each acorn squash lengthwise. Lightly season the insides with salt and pepper. Place face down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 350* for 20 minutes. Watch the squash closely. You’ll want them to be just fork tender. Set aside.

Baked Stuffed Acorn Squash

In a large skillet, heat just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Sauté diced onion and bell pepper with salt and pepper until translucent. Add the ground beef, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook thoroughly until meat is completely cooked through. If not using extra lean ground beef, drain any remaining grease.

Place a small pat of butter and 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar in the bottom of each squash. Fill the squash with the meat mixture baking at 350* for 30 minutes or until the tops have browned.

Let stand and serve. Be sure to enjoy all the squash and beef with forkful! Does this meal have the potential to make it on your table to fill up your trick-or-treaters before heading out?

Baked Stuffed Acorn Squash