Butternut Squash and Black Bean Skillet

This was the first meal I made in the new year. Absolutely delicious. I had never thought to mix butternut squash with black beans, let alone put it in an enchilada skillet. Genius. I modified the recipe a bit, so to see the original over at ambitious kitchen, click here. I added ground beef from our cow to make this a little heartier. If you want a vegetarian dish, you can omit it all together (like the original recipe) or substitute TVP or tofu.

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Skillet
adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

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  • 3 cups 1/2-inch-diced, peeled butternut squash (from about a 2-lb. squash)*
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 8 ounces of lean ground beef
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno or equivalent amount of hot peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 – 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup reduced-fat colby jack or mexican cheese (or whatever you prefer), divided
  • cilantro and low-fat sour cream, for serving
  • Round corn tortilla chips, for serving
*To prepare the butternut squash, I think it is easiest to roast it in the oven. I do this every fall with all of my squash and then freeze the cooked squash to use in the winter.  Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. If you want you can peel the squash now, but I prefer to wait until after it is cooked. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Remove seeds with a metal spoon (roast them if you want). I always find that the base of the squash cooks faster because of that hole, so I like to cut just above the base. You should now have 4 pieces of squash  – 2 half circles and 2 rectangular pieces. Place squash face down on the pan. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes, or until a fork can easily pierce the fleshy part of the squash (or when you touch the outside skin it feel soft). Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. With a metal spoon, scoop out the base pieces and mash up in a bowl. Freeze this as a paste to use as a pasta sauce or in soup (or just as mashed squash). Peel the rectangular pieces of squash. The skin should come off pretty easily now. Chop the squash into 1/2″ size pieces. I freeze them in quart-size freezer bags.
  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat in large oven-proof skillet. Add onions, garlic, jalapeno, and ground beef. Cook until beef is browned all the way through. Add in green pepper and cook 2-3 minutes. Add cubed squash, black beans, cumin, and chili powder. Cook, stirring regularly to prevent the squash from becoming mushy. 
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and sprinkle in 1 cup of cheese. Cover with a lid and let sit for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is fully melted.
  3. Serve immediately. Top with sour cream and serve with corn tortilla chips.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

It is that time of year that we all love (or at least I do) – squash season! Squash is by far the easiest vegetable to cook. It can be daunting but believe me, it couldn’t be easier. Especially acorn squash.  I usually like to pair spiced items like apples, cinnamon, wild rice, and ground beef with acorn squash and savory things like Parmesan cheese, sage, and spinach with butternut squash, but that’s just me. This dish was just using what we had on hand that sounded like a good combination. J just started a new job and took this for lunch during his 2nd week. He got so many, “what is that?!?” comments. Most of them where shocked that you could use squash as a bowl. Oh men, where is your creativity?

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Stuffed Acorn Squash
(Each squash makes 2 servings. Increase the ingredients as needed for more servings)


  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 6 ounces ground beef (lean)
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp silvered almonds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg (if you are feeling adventurous) to taste


  1. Prepare the acorn squash
    Oven Option: Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Slice the squash in half and scoop out the center contents. Place face-down on the foil-lined pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the flesh of the squash can be easily pierced with a fork.
    Microwave Option: With a sharp knife or fork, carefully poke all over the squash. You need to get deep enough that the holes go to the center/open portion of the squash. Place the poked squash in a microwave-safe glass dish. Place a tiny bit of water in the base of the dish and cover the dish with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 7-10 minutes. Let stand in the microwave for 3-5 minutes and then remove. Test doneness by trying to pierce the skin with a fork. Cut the squash in half.
  2. Prepare the filling while the squash cooks.
    Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Add the onion and beef. Saute for 5 minutes. Add the chopped carrot, almonds and saute for 5 more minutes. Mix in the cooked rice. Season to taste.
  3. Fill each half with the prepared filling. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate if you aren’t eating it right away.
  4. To reheat, keep the squash wrapped in plastic wrap and microwave on high for 3 minutes.

Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

This is a simple, delicious and colorful meal. The local Aldi had colored fingerling potatoes for $1/pound – what a deal! I added parsley I had dried from our CSA to make J’s favorite potatoes. I was listening to a segment on WPR about braising potatoes using a “reverse braising” method. Normally, when you braise meat, you sear each side and then add some water to the pan, cover, and simmer for an hour or so. This makes a deliciously tender meat. The chef on the radio show decided to venture down a similar path with potatoes. The problem with the normal braising method, you won’t get the crunchy finish you want with parsley potatoes, because the water would soften everything (including that deliciousness you seared on first). Read more below on the reverse braising method I used for these potatoes. We had some green beans in the freezer from our CSA and we severe them with steak from our grass fed cow.
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Braised Fingerling Potatoes with Sautéed Green Beans and Almonds


  • 2-3 pounds multicolored fingerling potatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
    (you could also just use red potatoes, but baking potatoes won’t work well)
  • water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound green beans
  • 1/4 cup silvered almonds
  • 1-2 tbsp Butter
  • Parsley (dry or fresh, amount to your personal liking)


  • Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and place all the potatoes cut-side down in the pan. Add 1″ of water. Cover the skillet and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the water is all absorbed and the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. If the water is absorbed but the potatoes are still tough, add more water.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in another skillet. Add the almonds and green beans and saute for 8-10 minutes. Set aside.
  • Once the water is absorbed in the potatoes, add the butter to the pan. and let the cut sides sear. Be careful not the burn them. Add parsley and remove from heat.
  • Serve fresh, as refrigeration will remove the crunch you worked so hard for!



CSA Week # 18

This is it – the last CSA box of the year. Where did the past 18 weeks ago? This CSA has been a great experience. It had it’s ups and downs along the way (delicious food but not enough time to prep it all), and living away from home for over half of it didn’t make it any easier. We tried some new foods and I cooked more than ever in the last 4 months. I hope you enjoyed seeing our weekly share and were inspired to try some new recipes. If you too have more veggies than you know what to do with, here’s an AWESOME website on how to “preserve the harvest

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Here’s what is in the box this week:

  • Brussel Sprouts
    • Roast in the oven with a little olive oil and salt at 350F x 30 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes
  • Bell Peppers
    • Satuee with carrots, green beans, and onion
  • Beets
    • Peel and slice. Roast in the oven with a little olive oil and salt at 350F x 30 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes
  • Cabbage
    • Kraut? I stil haven’t started last week’s yet, so if there isn’t too much I may just do the 2 heads to make a large batch of kraut
  • Carrots
    • Satuee with peppers, green beans, and onion
  • Cilantro
    • Dry for later or use with green salsa (see below)
  • Green Beans
    • Sautee with peppers, carrots, and onion
  • Honeysuckle Apples
  • Hot peppers (various)
    • Roast and preserve in oil in the refrigerator
  • Kakai Pumpkin
  • Kale
    • Kale chips (1/2 the bunch and you can use cooking spray instead of avocado oil in the recipe)
    • Chop the other half and add to the soup
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
    • Chop and eat as salads
  • Parsley
    • Hang to dry
  • Popcorn
    • Finish drying and then pop in the air popper or on the stove with  a little oil
  • Potatoes (various)
  • Tomatoes
    • homemade tomato sauce
  • Tomatillos

Slow Cooker Beef and Cabbage


The kitchen counter doesn’t look much different this morning than it did 4 days ago when we picked up the CSA box. My days have been so long that I haven’t had a chance to look at the produce, let alone do something about it. I have been leaving the house at 4:50am and getting home at 8pm – just enough time to shower, do some reading for the morning, and go to bed. They feed us at the hospital, so I haven’t been very motivated to cook this week either. But today will be different; this morning I have house chores, food prep, cooking, freezing, and canning to do. I thought the weekends were for rest and relaxation…

Anyway, here is a recipe I made a few weeks ago. The weather has turned and it is now crock pot season. As I’ve mentioned before, we bought 1/2 a grass-fed cow from a local farm last winter, so we have a lot of beef to eat. We’ve made a surprisingly huge dent in the stored and the basement just has 1 milk crate full of meat left. Thank goodness, because we just purchased another 1/2 (but this time we will share it with a few other people).

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Crock pot beef is a simple meal to throw together in the morning before work. You can really add any vegetables to the mix; This recipe has cabbage, onions, green peppers, and carrots. I plan to use some of the frozen vegetables from our CSA when I make this again during the fall/winter.

Slow Cooker Beef Roast


  • cooking spray
  • 3-4 pound beef roast
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • Black pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large green peppers, diced
  • 1 pound carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
  • Water


  1. Spray a 6qt crock pot with cooking spray.
  2. Place roast in crock pot. Pour vinegar over the top. Season with pepper. Cover with vegetables. I like to put the cabbage in last.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Check after 6 hours – if there is no liquid, add water. There should be plenty of liquid from the vegetables cooking down.


CSA Week #17

This week is another crazy week which in turn means a short post. I started OB/GYN up in Green Bay and it is full steam ahead. Tomorrow I am in Labor and Delivery, so I should be delivering my first babies in the next 24 hours 🙂

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This week’s box was HUGE! Here is what is in the box and what I plan to do with it all:

  • Acorn Squash – save for later
  • Butternut Squash – save for later
  • Beets (w/ tops) – not sure yet
  • Bell Peppers – sautee with onions
  • Cabbage (green OR purple) – my first attempt at kraut!
  • Carrots – cut off tops, wash, and eat as a snack with hummus
  • Green and Yellow Beans – sautee in garlic and eat with steak and potatoes
  • Honey – save for later
  • Hot peppers (various) – roast and store in oil in the refrigerator with other hot peppers
  • Honeycrisp Apples – eat 🙂
  • Leeks – I plan to make sausage and leek soup this weekend
  • Onions – sautee with bell peppers
  • Pumpkins – carve this weekend!
  • Radish- “Watermelon” and  “Black Spanish” – not sure yet
  • Tomatillos – not sure yet
  • Tomatoes – roast with garlic at 425F x 25 minutes (stir intermittently) and serve over pasta

UPDATE 10/5/13 –  I ended up roasting the radishes in the oven with olive oil and salt for 40 minutes. They turned out great.  Jason said they remind him of potatoes, so they would be a good option for people who are trying to cut back on carbs.  I also ended up making a leek and sausage soup with peppers. I added a few too many hot peppers, so I’ll need to come up with a remedy for that.

Roasted Carrot and Chickpea Salad

Ahh I am so behind on posts! I promise I have been cooking and have a slew of tasty recipes to share over the next few weeks. I am finishing up my 2nd week of neurology in Madison and am loving it. While I have always thought I would go into family medicine, neurology has been a lingering interest since I’ve started medical school. This week is the end of my outpatient part of neurology and next week I will start with inpatient stroke – exactly what I’m interested in. I am really excited to see how it goes!

Anyway, on to the food (since that is why you visit). This is a recipe I made last month with carrots from the CSA. The roasted carrots and walnuts paired with crunchy barley and sharp feta is amazing. I am a bland girl, so I actually ate this without the dressing in the original recipe. If you are more normal than me and like a little more flavor, I recommend you visit Joanne’s website (linked below) and try out the dressing as well.

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Roasted Carrot and Chickpea Salad by Joanne Eats Well with Others


  • 1 cup dried barley, prepared as directed on package
  • 2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 lb carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/3-inch slices
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled, and diced
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 cups walnut halves
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese


  1. Prepare barley as directed on the package (simmer for 1 hour).
  2. Preheat the oven to 425F and spray a baking pan with cooking spray.
  3. Add carrots, garlic, cumin, and oil in a large bowl and toss well.  Roast for 15 minutes and stir. Add walnuts and roast for an extra 10-15 minutes.
  4. Remove from roasting pan and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a large bowl and add barley, chickpeas, and  feta cheese. Season to taste with salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.

CSA Week #14

The first sign of fall came today – winter squash! Is it really that time already? We have a few baby squash coming up in our backyard garden as well, so it will just be a matter of time until I can start to use all of the sage I dried this summer. If you have never tried winter squash with sage, you must! It is absolutely amazing. Our favorite recipes are Spinach and Butternut Squash Lasagna and Acorn Squash Crock Pot Bake. Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself…it is only Sept 10th and there are still lots of summer vegetables to be eaten.

(the apples are not from the CSA and the pickles are some I canned last weekend)

(CSA Week 14 plus some pickles I canned last weekend)

Here is what’s in the box this week:

  • Acorn Squash
  • Bell Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Green Beans
  • Hot Peppers-mix
  • Onions
  • Radishes
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Winter Squash

Here are some recipes I am thinking of making this week:

Need more eggplant ideas? I found this great post with the 10 best eggplant recipes (one of which is the thai basil recipe above)

Baba Ghanouj

Eggplant has never been my thing (as I have posted abut before). Something about the spongy texture throws me for a loop. Honestly, I had only tried eggplant Parmesan and a few roasted vegetable sandwiches before I called it quits. I was “discussing” the fact that our CSA started giving eggplant a few weeks ago and a friend of mine recommended this recipe. Her husband, who will try anything but is relatively picky with what he likes, heard, “baba ghanouj” and couldn’t stop talking about how great it was. I knew I had to try it.


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It was a hit and I think it might replace my hummus on occasion. J liked it too and mentioned it at work once around a jar of pickles in the break room (I guess we aren’t the only ones who have too much produce to eat ourselves). Everyone there started talking about how delicious baba ghanouj is. I feel like a foreigner – am I the only one who has never heard of this? Well, now I have heard it, made it, and tasted it. And now I love it too. This recipe is super simple – I hope you give it a try!

Baba Ghanouj
Recipe from Whole Foods


  • 1 large eggplant, halved lengthwise
  • EVOO for roasting
  • 1/4 cup sesame tahini
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp talk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking pan with foil and place the eggplant cut-side down. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 25 minutes, or until soft.
  2. When cool, scoop eggplant pulp into a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
  3. Enjoy 🙂


CSA Week #13

Today marks the first day of my neurology rotation in Madison. This is the last month I am living away from J until April, so I just need to hang in there a little bit longer. This month should be pretty awesome because I get to live with a good friend of mine that I’ve known for almost 10 years. It will be great to catch up and be roomies for the month.

This week our box is full of lots of goodies.

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  • Bell Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Eggplant
  • Cucumbers
  • Green Beans
  • Hot Peppers
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Purple cabbage
  • Sweet Corn
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon

I was home last weekend and went crazy with the produce. We canned dozens of jars of tomatoes and pickles, make 3 pans of banana bars, and froze most all of the produce that was left over. Needless to say, the refrigerator was fully stocked when I left the house on Monday morning for Madison. For that reason, I won’t be “assigning” recipes for the produce this week and will probably decide what exactly to do with it all on Friday when I get home. Here are some of the recipe ideas for the week:

  1. Cottage Cheese Salad (cucumbers and tomatoes) or Jerusalem Salad (cucumbers, onion, tomatoes, green pepper)
  2. Chevre Stuffed Peppers with Pecans (peppers, frozen herbs)
  3. Crunchy Walnut Coleslaw
  4. Baked eggplant with basil marinara (eggplant, tomatoes), served with fresh parsley bread (parsley) and Oven roasted tomato sauce (tomatoes)
  5. Tomato pesto galette (tomatoes)
  6. Roasted Cherry Tomato Frittata (tomatoes)
  7. Red Roasted Carrots (carrots)
  8. Antipasto grill with cheese and wine (for whatever is left over)
  9. Sweet corn desserts
  10. Freeze green beans and sweet corn
  11. Cut up watermelon and eat as a snack