Makes 4 hearty servings
Winter squash and Michigan Apples are so good for you and they pair deliciously in this recipe that includes brown rice and chicken sausage. All you need to complete this meal is a prepared green salad.
Note: The squash can be stuffed ahead and baked later in the day and this recipe can easily be cut in half if needed.
2 medium-sized acorn squash
2 Tablespoons olive oil (divided)
3 links precooked apple-chicken sausage, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 small sweet onion, chopped
2 small Michigan Apples*, cored, peeled and chopped
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup shredded park skim mozzarella cheese, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling on top)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Halve squash from stem to point and scoop out the pulp. (Note: to make the squash easier to cut, pierce with a knife and microwave for 2 minutes first).
Drizzle baking pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then place squash cut side down on pan and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until squash is tender. Remove from oven and let cool.
Meanwhile, sauté onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Mix cooked onions with sausage, apples, brown rice, thyme, sage, pepper and cheese in a large bowl.
Scoop out all but 1/2 inch of flesh from each squash half. Place squash in the bowl with the sausage mixture and blend well. Divide stuffing between the 4 squash shells, packing firmly and mounding slightly to fit. Top with additional cheese and place on a baking sheet.
Return pan to the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and filling is hot. Serve immediately.
Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 470, Fat: 19.8g, Carbohydrate: 57g, Protein: 20g, Fiber: 12.6g, Sodium: 701mg
*Michigan Apple suggestions: Braeburn, Cortland, Empire, Gala, Ida Red