Tag Archives: Roast

Quinoa & Veggie Stuffed Winter Squash.

To make up for my Stromboli post so close to all of those New Year’s resolutions to be healthier, workout, and eat with more thought, I have made you this awesome protein and veggie rich dish. I still have so many winter squash kicking around from the garden this past summer and we are on a squash cooking rampage, so what better than filling it with more veg and the best whole grain around, quinoa. This dish is vegan and dairy free, though I give some suggestions below for dressing up should you want to.

Quinoa & Veggie Stuffed Winter Squash. Makes 2-3 whole squash.


2-3 roasted winter squash (cooking instructions below, this varies slightly from my standard recipe)

1/2 C uncooked quinoa (cooking instructions below, I do this the day before to make for faster preparation the night of)

1 1/4 – 1 3/4 C water

1-2 T olive or coconut oil

4 oz broccoli, broken into small florets (you can use the stalks too, I freeze mine to use in soup later)

1 small red onion, diced

6 crimini or white mushrooms, diced

1 large carrot, quartered the long way and diced

1/4 t kosher salt

1/4 t fresh cracked black pepper

1/2 t dried thyme, crushed

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 T butter or non-dairy replacement, optional

Roast Squash Process

Preheat oven to 425. Cut squash in half and clean them. Place all squash cut side down on a baking sheet with sides. Fill sheet with water and place in the oven for 35 minutes. Start to work on the quinoa while this cooks, unless it is precooked, then get to work on the veggies.

Quinoa Process

Place quinoa and 1 1/4 cup water in a pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes adding more water, a little at a time, if the grain gets too dry. Stir frequently while cooking. Cover and remove from heat. Allow to sit for 20 minutes or more. If making this ahead of time, refrigerate in an air tight container. Now get started on your veggies!

Stuffing Process

Preheat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add all of the veggies and spices expect the garlic. Sauté for 8 minutes (12-15 if you like your veg on the very soft side, I prefer mine to have some tooth to them), stirring frequently. Turn off heat and add garlic. Toss to mix and allow to sit for two minutes, stirring once. Toss with the quinoa.

When the squash is done, remove it from the oven and discard the cooking water. Place the squash cut side up, add 1/4 tablespoon of butter to each squash if you want, and fill with quinoa mixture. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees, put the squash back in the oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes, just to get everything good and warm (unless you added cheese, then go 15-20). Remove and serve.

Variations: Goat cheese, or any other cheese mixed in with quinoa and sprinkled on top. Served with your favorite pan gravy (this is how we had it…yum!).



Filed under Casseroles/Bakes, Dairy Free, Edible Plants, From the Garden, Grains/Rice, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Simple Roasted Winter Squash.

Roasting winter squash often involves the time consuming task of peeling and cubing the squash. It also cannot help but add calories to the dish because you are covering the squash with oil and butter during the roasting process. A long time ago I developed a method for roasting the squash without any of these added measures. It is easy, quick, and allows you to control how much added calorie you put on the squash.This is the same method I used when roasting the squash for these crazy “shepherd’s pies” last winter. But I wanted to share it again here as we enter into squash season.

Simply cut the squash in half and place cut side down on a baking dish or in a cookie pan with edges. Fill the pan with 1/2-1 inch of water. Bake squash in an oven preheated to 425 for 40-60 minutes, or until the back is soft when presses with the flat of a butter knife (the type and thickness of squash will vary the time). Using a spatula, remove squash from the pan and place cut side up on a plate or cutting board. Add butter or olive oil…whatever you want really, and salt or sprinkle with other desired herbs.


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Filed under Casseroles/Bakes, Edible Plants, From the Garden, Side Dish, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Sea Salt & Vinegar Pumpkin Seeds {Updated}.

Yes, you heard that correctly. I said sea salt and vinegar. Homemade. What?? Yup! I have been working on this recipe all season, it is a vinegar brined pumpkin seed, oven roasted with olive oil and flake sea salt, backed by a hint of hot pepper.

This recipe evolved accidentally. I mentioned we had a pumpkin carving party a while back. Well, only one single pumpkin was carved due to intake of libations over dinner. The hubs was still motivated, so he carved his pumpkin, which of course, looked amazing.

But I was not motivated, with company and significant vino intake, to roast the seeds that evening. So we covered them with water and the hubs says, why don’t you add some vinegar to that? I thought, sure why not, it can’t hurt anything. In fact, it actually made it better. The next morning I roasted the seeds with some oil and salt and they were amazing. They tasted like dry roasted seeds. It was awesome. So we endeavored to make them even better. The result is these yummy salt and vinegar seeds with just a little heat imparted through adding a hot pepper to the brine.

Sea Salt & Vinegar Pumpkin Seeds.


Seeds from one pumpkin

1 T Sea salt

3 T white vinegar

1 hot pepper, sliced (optional, I used a scotch bonnet)

Olive oil

Flaked sea salt (I used Maldon as it is salty, but mild)

Put pumpkin seeds in a bowl and cover with water. Add vinegar, sea salt, and hot pepper. Leave on counter overnight. Drain seeds and put them in a dry bowl. Toss with olive oil and 1/4 t of flake salt to coat.

Preheat oven to 325.

Place seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Cook for 8 minutes. Stir and sprinkle with a pinch of flake salt. Cook for 8 minutes and repeat. Cook for 8 minutes and stir. Cook 8 more minutes and remove from oven. If the seeds are not as dry or toasted as you would like, cook them longer, stirring and assessing every 5 minutes. Cool completely before storing in an air tight container.

***Update, if you are a true vinegar lover and are looking for an extra tang to these seeds, sprinkle them with a little vinegar the first time you add salt (after the first 8 minutes of cooking).



Filed under Dairy Free, Edible Plants, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Nuts/Seeds, Seasons, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Orangey Salt & Pepper Roast Chicken.

Recently I made my first BBQ sauce and I wanted something full of flavor that would not compete with the sauce to put it on, like this one might have. I came up with this simple and straight forward roast chicken to be my canvas. It worked out perfectly because I was to be out-of-town. I roasted the chicken and broke it down and left it in the fridge next to the sauce for the hubs to nosh while I was gone…Don’t worry, I snuck some before I left! The BBQ sauce was ok, but I will have to try again before I share.

Simple Salt & Pepper Roast Chicken.


4 lb fryer chicken

1 T unsalted butter

1 orange

2 t kosher or flake salt (I used flake)

1 t fresh cracked black pepper

1 sprig of rosemary

1/2-1 T olive oil

a dash more salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Slice the orange into at least four 1/8 inch thick rounds and set on a cutting board. Liberally salt and pepper one side of the orange rounds. Reserve the remaining orange for the cavity. Remove the giblets from your chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Carefully separate the skin from the breast and rub 1/2 tablespoon of butter on each breast. Place two oranges, salt side to the breast of the chicken under the skin on each breast.

Please remaining orange and the rosemary in the cavity of the chicken. Put the chicken in a 9×13 roaster, tuck wings under, and tie legs together. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add one cup of water to the roasting pan (use broth if you are going to make gravy and increase to two cans). Place in oven and roast for 80 minutes or until juices run clear and thermometer placed in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165. Allow to rest 20 minutes before carving. Dress with gravy or your favorite sauce of choice.


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Filed under Chicken, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free

Lemon Herb Roast Chicken.

In preparing to cook this chicken I did a little research. I usually cook whole chickens on the smoker, not in the oven, so I needed to refresh myself on some of the logistics, like oven temp and cooking time. In my research I came across a couple of repeated instructions, reading them over and over again, that did not settle well with me. So I decided to do my due diligence and see what the USDA had to say about it. Now, I don’t normally put a lot of stock in the US government when it comes to making decisions about my food, but cooking and handling meat instruction is something I at least respect. In fact, what I found was informative and quite the opposite of what many home cooks are saying all over this great internet.

Here is what I learned.

  • Chicken (and other poultry) should not be rinsed as it can lead to cross contamination of bacteria. I can only deduce that people make this suggestion because they like to start with a “clean” bird. My take, just pat it dry with paper towel and go from there.
  • Chicken does not need to be cooked to a balmy 180 degrees. Nearly every recipe I read for chicken claimed that the bird, when cooked whole, needed to read 180 on a food thermometer. STOP! You don’t have to cook the darn thing twice. “The USDA recommends cooking whole poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured using a food thermometer.”

The moral of the story is that while it is great that myself and all of the other home cook bloggers out there have an outlet like the internet to share our recipes on, to talk to other home cooks and foodies, and to get ideas for new recipes, you should always take what you read online with a grain of salt. Cooking is a lot like medicine, we practice it! Research your options, build single recipes out of many that you read, create your own masterpiece with the help of others, and for the love of all that is edible, stop over cooking your chicken!


4 lb whole fryer chicken

1 lemon, cut 4 rounds off and leave the rest whole

handful each of fresh rosemary, thyme, and oregano (about 1 oz total)

3 T butter

salt and pepper

kitchen string and a meat thermometer 

1 C water (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.

Remove chicken from packaging, place on your meat board and pat dry with paper towels. Dispose of paper towels. Separate the skin from the meat with your fingers, carefully, so as not to tear it. Place one half of the butter, two lemon rounds, and 1/4 of the herbs under the skin of each breast. Place remaining herbs in cavity of the bird. Place in a 9×13 roaster, tuck wings under and squeeze the juice of the remaining lemon over the chicken.  Place the lemon into the cavity with the remaining herbs. Tie legs closed. Generously salt and pepper the chicken and place in the oven (I added one cup of water to the roasting pan before putting it in the oven to keep the fat from burning to the bottom, if you are going to make gravy you will want to do this with broth). Roast for 80 minutes or until juices run clear and thermometer placed in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165. Allow to rest 20 minutes before carving.

Serve with your favorite sides and fixins and enjoy!

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Filed under Chicken, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free

Smoked Tri-Tip Roast.

We love to smoke, which you already know if you read my posts with any frequency, and you also know that I mean meats. We love to smoke meats. But I want to branch out. One thing I am really looking forward to this summer, when the garden gets going, is experimenting with smoked veggies. In the mean time though, we have to smoke something, right? Poultry is getting old so we decided to branch out to beef.

When I think of beef on the smoker I think of two things, beef ribs and brisket. But the hubs and I had a different idea. We have a go to cut of beef when we want steak or roast. Our favorite for grilling is the tri-tip roast, for steaks too. This was not a cut I was familiar with until coming to the West Coast, but one everyone should seek out and add it to their repertoire. Lean, tender, and a fantastic replacement for any steak, if cooked properly. There are two roasts per animal, so you won’t find these just anywhere. I suggest a specialty market or butcher shop.

They come as a whole roast, or you may see shops cut them into steaks. Do not buy the steaks, it is a bad thing to do to a good cut of beef. Instead purcahse the whole roast and grill the whole thing or cut in half and do two seperate meals. Either way, do not make steaks, slice after cooking. For the purpose of smoking, we will be using the entire roast.


2.5-2.75 lb Tri-Tip roast

1/4 C Pappy’s Choice Seasoning

2 light beers

Presoak oak chips (we used bourbon barrel chips) for at least an hour, overnight works too! Get the smoker cooking, fill the water container with two beers and water and rub the meat with the Pappy’s.

Our smoker is electric so it does not take to much time to heat up and get smoking. Smoke at 220 for 2 to 2.5 hours for medium-pink roast (best way). Internal meat temperature should be about 140.

Add more wood chips after one hour.


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Filed under Beef, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Smoker Fare