I love Valentine’s Day. I spent most of my day rolling my eyes at people who were complaining that it’s commercial and trite and of course THEY don’t need ONE Day a year to show their spouse/partner/girlfriend/boyfriend how much they love them because it should be done EVERY DAY. And while I agree with that to a point, sometimes showing your significant other you love them when you have a deadline-driven career and two small kids consists of putting on actual pants and showering.
Birthdays and Christmases go by each year without gifts for us. We focus on the kids for the holidays and truthfully, we work hard enough that when something comes up that we want, we just wait till payday, ask the other if it’s okay and in the budget, and go ahead and buy what it was we wanted. Surprise gifts are almost unheard of in our house.
So I don’t mind taking one day out of the year to go a little extra, think a little harder, and make more of an effort because even though I think we have a loving, supportive relationship, it’s nice to just focus on us. So maybe it is commercial. And maybe Russel Stover makes its yearly dividends on the amount of chocolate I shove in my face-hole on this day but I don’t care. Because I LIKE IT. SO THERE.
Mike surprised me with a new pair of lulu crop pants that I think I could live in, flowers, and chocolates. Trite as it may be, it was all FOR ME and no one else and I loved every damn petal and nut cluster.
I wanted to make a nice dinner but our afternoon/evening schedule doesn’t really allow the time for it, so I managed to put this together because acorn squash are in the shape of hearts and I’m corny like that.
I used Alton Brown’s recipe for the sausage because it’s my favorite one and added a tiny bit of maple syrup, apples, onions, herbs and spices and some of the cooked squash itself to make the stuffing. It came out so much better than I thought it would. It was slightly spicy with a nice sweetness and the savory herbs married them all together (Get it? I said “married” on Valentine’s Day? I SLAY ME.)
Even though I had homemade sausage on hand, you could use any store-bought breakfast kind to save time (although Alton Brown’s really is the best basic recipe I’ve tried). This comes together really fast and you could have dinner on the table in 15 minutes if you’re a nuker like us and use your microwave for everything (I mean, if my cell phone permanently glued to my hand hasn’t given me phalange-cancer, I’m not sure I should be concerned about a microwave.)
Recipe: Sweet and Savory Sausage-Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 1 large or 2 small acorn squashes
- 1 lb breakfast sausage
- 1 small apple, peeled and diced
- 1 c. sweet onion, diced
- 2 tbsp. butter
- splash of orange juice
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp. fresh chopped rosemary
- In a saucepan, melt the butter and add in onions, apples, splash of OJ, maple syrup and rosemary.
- Cook on low until the onions are translucent and slightly brown and the apples soft.
- While this is cooking, cut the acorn squash in half, scoop out seeds, and cook. You can either cook in microwave (in plastic wrap) for 5-6 minutes until soft or bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Remove and let cool.
- Add the breakfast sausage to the saucepan with the onions and cook thoroughly, breaking up into smaller pieces.
- When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out 2-3 tablespoons of squash from each half, leaving 1/4-1/2 inch around the edge of the squash. (This is mostly for aesthetic purposes but I also love scooping out extra squash later.)
- Add the scooped-out squash, and the onion mixture to a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Add mixture back into squash and place in an oven-safe dish.
- Cook 5 minutes on 375 simply to reheat.