Wild Rice & Roasted Pepper Stuffed Acorn Squash

Wild Rice & Roasted Pepper Stuffed Acorn Squash @runwaychef #thanksgiving You know what’s fun? Whipping up a festive, yummy recipe in the kitchen, like this stuffed acorn squash right here. You know what’s not fun? Causing yourself detrimental bodily harm in the process. No, I did not touch a hot pan sans potholder. And no, I did not accidentally slice a finger off (although that would have made for a far better story). Nope, I did something a whole lot dumber. I gave my skin a good ol’ case of the pepper burns. You see, I was distracted when I decided to roast my poblano pepper (because distraction + open flames + hot peppers make a great combination), and I kind of pretty much basically forgot I was cooking with a hot pepper and thought it was a regular pepper. So I sliced it, diced it and rubbed all of that skin off with my two bare hands. I proceeded to make the rest of the recipe and everything seemed totally fine. Until I went to photograph it…. and an excruciating, crippling pain completely took over my hands. Oh, you don’t know what I’m talking about, because you’re smart enough to remember to wear gloves when you cut hot peppers? Well, let me paint you a little picture. It feels like 1,000′s of tiny little flames are being attached to tiny little daggers that are being thrown at your skin at a constant high-speed stream. Basically, it’s like a mini-mordor attacking your skin. And that kids, is why, you should never cook when you’re thinking about those shoes you should have bought and all of the outfits that you could have worn with them. One half hour milk bath, a few scrubs of baking soda, a large amount of dish soap, and a few splashes of whiskey later you now have a really delicious recipe that is healthy (it is gluten-free and I’ve included vegan and dairy-free options) and works perfectly as a side dish served with fish or meat or as a main dish served with salad (think main dish options at Thanksgiving for those who don’t eat meat). My pain is clearly your gain…. 

Wild Rice & Roasted Pepper Stuffed Acorn Squash @runwaychef #thanksgiving Wild Rice & Roasted Pepper Stuffed Acorn Squash @runwaychef #thanksgiving Wild Rice & Roasted Pepper Stuffed Acorn Squash @runwaychef #thanksgiving Wild Rice & Roasted Pepper Stuffed Acorn Squash @runwaychef #thanksgiving

Wild Rice & Roasted Pepper Stuffed Acorn Squash
Yields 1
A delicious take on acorn squash with a nutty, spicy flavor; perfect as a main dish or side dish for a fall night or Thanksgiving dinner
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup wild rice blend (see notes)
  2. 1 chicken bouillon cube
  3. 4 cups of water
  4. 1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
  5. 1/2 an onion, chopped
  6. 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  7. 1 tablespoon of butter
  8. 1 cup spinach (I used frozen spinach)
  9. 1 poblano pepper, roasted and chopped (see notes)
  10. 1 acorn squash
  11. 1/2 cup grated cheese (you can use cheddar, Monterey, swiss, etc, however, cheese is optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise. Place the two halves, cut-side down, in a glass baking dish and add about 1/4-1/2 an inch of water. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a knife can easily be inserted. Remove from the oven and allow to cool enough to where you can easily handle the squash.
  2. Once the squash has cooled, use a spoon or serrated knife (I like to use a grapefruit spoon) to scoop out the seeds. Set the squash halves aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in large saucepan, bring the water and bouillon cube to a boil over high heat. Add in the rice, reduce the heat to medium-high, and continue cooking until the rice has absorbed all the liquid (you may need to add a little more water if the rice is still not fully cooked).
  4. While the rice is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add in the garlic, cook for 30 seconds, then add in the onion. Cook for 5 minutes before adding in the mushrooms. Continue sautéing until the vegetables have become golden brown and caramelized. Toss in the spinach and pepper and continue cooking until it has heated through.
  5. Once the rice has finished cooking, combine it with the vegetables. Place the 2 squash halves, cut-side up, back into the glass baking dish. Generously fill the squash with the rice mixture. Top with grated cheese, if desired. Place back in the oven (at 400 degrees) and cook until the cheese is golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  2. This recipe is gluten-free, but be sure to read the labels for the rice you use as some brands add in gluten flavoring or fillers. For my recipe I used Lundberg Wild Blend Rice.
  3. To make this recipe dairy-free, vegetarian & vegan, use a vegetable bouillon in place of the chicken bouillon, olive oil in place of the butter, and omit the cheese.
  4. The squash and rice can each be prepared the day before then assembled and heated right before serving. Simply store everything in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  5. For the peppers- If you have a gas stove, the easiest way to roast the poblano pepper is to turn a burner onto medium heat and place the pepper directly onto the flame. Use tongs to rotate it until the skin has charred and bubbled on every side. Remove the pepper and place it directly in a bowl of room temperature water. Using gloved hands gently rub/peel off the charred skin. Remove the top and insides of the pepper then proceed to use it as you wish. To roast the peppers in an oven, simply spray the peppers with cooking spray, then place them on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Place them in an oven set to broil and cook until charred and bubbled. Proceed as you would with a pepper roasted on the stovetop. However you choose to roast your peppers, PLEASE REMEMBER TO WEAR GLOVES WHEN HANDLING THEM.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
Recipe Links
Lundberg Wild Rice Blend
How to roast a poblano pepper in the oven (see the recipe notes for how to roast it with a gas burner)

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Vegan Spaghetti & Meatball Sliders

Vegan Spaghetti & Meatball Sliders using @gardein meatless meatballs || @runwaychef #vegan #appetizers Sliding on into Thursday with these little sliders (see what I did there?!). I’m super amped to share these babies with you, because they are FREAKIN’ DELICIOUS! Yes, caps were required to type that because they are just that good. The idea for these little “spaghetti” & meatball sliders popped into my head after an event I attended last week (#CelebrateInStyle). Gardein was serving up all sorts of crazy good holiday-inspired appetizers. The craziest (and best) part? They were all vegan. Gardein’s meatless products are all made from plant-based protein (hello,  environment sustainability) meaning they are low in fat and have no cholesterol (three cheers for reducing cancer, obesity and diabetes risks). At the event, I tried gluten-free beefless tacos, with roasted corn, black beans, & roasted poblano peppers (adorably served in lime wedges), gluten-free rosemary pecan-crusted chick’n skewers with a cipollini-onion aioli, turk’y cutlet with stuffing, cranberry sauce, & mashed potato on mini spoons, and (my favorite) fishless filet & chips with french fries & a lemon wedge (I’ve attached the recipes for you…simply click a highlighted name to see the recipe card and print it off). Tasting these vegetarian delights got the creative juices flowing, and pretty soon I was brainstorming all kinds of healthy holiday bites. Typically, holiday entertaining is loaded with fat and calories (literally), so I thought it was time for a little change. I mean, just because you’re having ugly sweater parties, decorating trees, and caroling your little heart out, doesn’t mean you need to throw all nutrition out the window. I took the idea for a meatball slider…..and completely trashed it up (in a good way). I  replaced the meatball with a meatless-ball, made a spaghetti “bun” with spaghetti squash, tossed on some greens, and finished by Pollock-ing the whole thing with a sun-dried tomato aioli. Mr. RC was highly skeptical at first. I even told him the likes of JLo, Bey & Jay-Z are doing it (giving up meat that is), and he was all like “Yeah, I’m still not buying what you’re selling.” But low and behold, who do I find eating his way through my photo props? None other than the carnivorous Mr. RC! A ban had to be placed on the kitchen while I finished working on these, but as soon as I was done, you better believe he was on these sliders like white on rice. And I know you will be too, no matter what kind of diet your prefer!

P.S. Be sure to check out Gardein’s site for more info, recipes, and where to buy their products.

Vegan Spaghetti & Meatball Sliders using @gardein meatless meatballs || @runwaychef #vegan #appetizers Vegan Spaghetti & Meatball Sliders using @gardein meatless meatballs || @runwaychef #vegan #appetizers Vegan Spaghetti & Meatball Sliders using @gardein meatless meatballs || @runwaychef #vegan #appetizers Vegan Spaghetti & Meatball Sliders using @gardein meatless meatballs || @runwaychef #vegan #appetizers Vegan Spaghetti & Meatball Sliders using @gardein meatless meatballs || @runwaychef #vegan #appetizers Vegan Spaghetti & Meatball Sliders using @gardein meatless meatballs || @runwaychef #vegan #appetizers

Vegan Spaghetti & Meatball Sliders
Yields 12
Two popular dishes combined into one crowd-pleasing vegan appetizer that's perfect for the holiday season
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr
For the meatballs
  1. 1 package of Gardein Classic Meatless Meatballs
For the "spaghetti" slider
  1. 3 cups spaghetti squash, cooked (see notes)
  2. 3/4 cup cornmeal
  3. 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  4. 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the sauce
  1. 1/2 cup mayonnaise (you can use regular, but obviously to keep these vegan use a vegan mayo)
  2. 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  3. 1 small head of garlic, roasted (see notes)
  4. Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  5. Pinch of salt
For garnish
  1. Arugula or basil
  2. Vegan cheese topping, or, for a non-vegan option, parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. To make the spaghetti slider cups: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the squash, cornmeal, olive oil, and seasonings. Stir to combine. Grease a muffin tin, then scoop 1/4 cup of the squash mixture into each tin. Use your fingers to press the mixture into the middle and up the sides to form a "cup". Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the edges have browned. Allow to cool in the pan before removing them.
  2. To make the sauce: Using an immersion blender (or a Cuisnart), combine the mayo, tomatoes (along with the oil they're in), lemon juice, salt, and roasted garlic. Pulse to combine. Set aside.
  3. Once the cups have finishes baking, increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Place the meatballs on a non-stick, non-lined baking sheet (you can use a little cooking spray if you need to). Bake for 15-17 minutes, turning them about half way through. Allow to cool before assembling the sliders.
  4. To assemble the sliders: Place a little arugula or basil in the bottom of a spaghetti cup. Add a dollop of sauce, then a meatball. Finish with a little more sauce and, if you wish, a sprinkle of cheese (vegan or parmesan).
  5. Serve on a bed of arugula.
Notes
  1. This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, and dairy-free (if you use regular mayonnaise and parmesan cheese it will only be gluten-free and vegetarian).
  2. These taste good served hot or cold.
  3. The "spaghetti" portion can be made up to 24 hours ahead. Simply allow the cups to cool after baking, then place them, in a single layer, in an airtight container. Refrigerate until you are ready to use them. You can use them straight out of the fridge or reheat them for a few minutes.
  4. The sauce portion can also be made ahead. Just store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. For the best flavor, I would suggest making the sauce no more than 3 days in advance.
  5. To prepare a spaghetti squash: Cut a squash in half lengthwise. Place the halves, cut-side down, into a glass baking dish (they don’t have to fit perfectly…if you need to lean them up against the side a little bit, that’s OK). Add about 1 inch of water, then place them in the oven and bake at 400 F for about 45 minutes, or until you can easily insert a knife into the squash. (For a smaller squash it may take only 30 minutes. Just keep checking with a knife to see when it’s done). Also, be sure to check on the water level while the squash bakes. If it starts to go down, just add a little more water. Once the squash is done, remove it from the oven and allow to cool. Use a spoon (I find a grapefruit spoon works best) to gently scrape the seeds out of the middle. While some people prefer to remove the seeds prior to baking, I find that they come out much easier once the squash has baked. To make the “spaghetti” simply use a fork to scrape the squash into strands and out of the skin. You can use the squash immediately or store it in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. I typically use a large spaghetti squash so I have enough for multiple recipes, but to get the 3 cups needed for this recipe you will need either one small squash or about 1/3 of a large squash.
  6. To make the roasted garlic: Take the head of garlic. Peel off any loose skin and then cut off the top to expose the cloves inside. Place the head of garlic on a piece of aluminum foil, then drizzle with just a little olive oil (no more than 1 teaspoon). Loosely wrap the foil up around the garlic to seal the head in. Place this garlic foil packet on a baking sheet or in a small baking dish and bake at 400 F until the garlic becomes golden-brown, about 35-45 minutes. Allow the garlic to cool for 10-15 minutes before gently squeezing the cloves out of the peels. For this slider recipe, I followed the steps above to prepare the head of garlic, but then I baked it in a small baking dish alongside the spaghetti squash cups and then transferred it to the meatball baking sheet to finish roasting it with the meatballs. You could also roast the garlic while you are roasting the spaghetti squash as they both roast at the same oven temperature for the same amount of time.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

This post was sponsored by Gardein. All opinions are my own.

Fall Salad with Delicata Squash

Fall Salad with Delicata Squash || Runway Chef #fallrecipes #squash Moving right along through the squash family in what appears to unofficially be squash month here on RC….Unlike the last couple recipes that I’ve shared with you, today’s salad includes a new-to-me squash, the delicata squash. Please someone tell me that they had the brains to try this waaaaaay before I did. Because this squash is uhhh-maze! Like I-cooked-two-delicatas-and-ate-one-within-10-minutes-of-it-coming-out-of-the-oven amazing. It gets all crispy and caramelized on the outside but then it’s smooth and salty-sweet on the inside. I’ve dubbed it squash candy, not because I’m trying to trick anyone into to eating it, but truly because I think it tastes like candy. Plus, the only thing I’ve ever popped into my mouth as fast as I was popping those delicata slices was candy, so the name seemed fitting. To round out this fall salad with delicata squash, I added in my ever-favorite farro and goat cheese (because goat cheese belongs on everything), and finished off the dish with pear and maple (because all fall things need a touch of maple, right?!?). But enough talk, I’m off to eat more squash candy…

Fall Salad with Delicata Squash || Runway Chef #fallrecipes #squash Fall Salad with Delicata Squash || Runway Chef #fallrecipes #squash Fall Salad with Delicata Squash || Runway Chef #fallrecipes #squash Fall Salad with Delicata Squash || Runway Chef #fallrecipes #squash Fall Salad with Delicata Squash || Runway Chef #fallrecipes #squash Fall Salad with Delicata Squash || Runway Chef #fallrecipes #squash Fall Salad with Delicata Squash || Runway Chef #fallrecipes #squash

Fall Salad with Delicata Squash
Serves 4
A healthy salad of kale and farro topped with the flavors of fall
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. For the salad
  2. 1 Delicata Squash
  3. 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  4. 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  5. 3 cups of kale, washed and cut into pieces
  6. 1 cup of farro, cooked
  7. 1 pear, cut into cubes
  8. 4-5 cloves of garlic, roasted and chopped (can be roasted while you're roasting the squash)
  9. 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
  10. For the dressing
  11. 3 tablespoons of maple syrup
  12. 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  13. 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  14. 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  15. 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
  16. 1 clove of garlic, roasted
Instructions
  1. First, prepare the squash. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash the squash well with warm water, then cut off any knobs or spots. Slice the squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds (I like to use a grapefruit spoon), then slice the squash into slices. I find it easiest to slice it with the flesh side face down on the cutting board. You want the slices to be no more than 1/4" thick (the thinner the slice, the crispier the result). Spread the squash in a single layer onto an ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle with the olive oil and salt (adding more or less based on your preferences), then bake for 10 minutes. Use a rubber spatula or scraper to gently flip the pieces onto the other side. Bake for another 10 minutes, then remove from the oven. Set aside.
  2. To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a small glass jar. Screw the lid on tightly, then shake vigorously, until all ingredients are combined. Set aside.
  3. To assemble the salad, first make a bed of kale on a serving dish. Add on the farro, pear, and roasted garlic. Finish off the salad by topping it with the squash slices and goat cheese, and then drizzle it with the dressing. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. Serve alone for a lighter meal, or with sausages and a crusty bread for a heavier, more filling meal.
  2. This salad is vegetarian. To make it dairy-free and vegan, simply eliminate the goat cheese. Try substituting quinoa for the farro to make this salad gluten-free.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
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Goat Cheese Pumpkin Tacos

Goat Cheese Pumpkin Tacos || Runway Chef #pumpkinrecipes In case you didn’t believe me about my pumpkin excitement on Friday, these goat cheese pumpkin tacos should clarify. I know. I know. Two pumpkin recipes in a row. It’s a little extreme. But I’m an extreme girl, especially when it comes to pumpkin (ummm, hello, I created a Pumpkin Recipes Pinterest board). Also since yesterday was officially the First Day of Fall, I figured, ’tis the season, right??? It might be hard to believe but these are even easier to make than Friday’s recipe (you’re looking at 10 minutes max, if your pumpkin is already cooked, of course). Also, these tacos are a little bit on the lighter side than the enchiladas were. But don’t let the word ‘lighter’ fool you. These are 110% pure pumpkin deliciousness!

P.S. I’ll be sharing a video soon on how to roast a pumpkin. Stay tuned on my Youtube channel.

Goat Cheese Pumpkin Tacos || Runway Chef #pumpkinrecipes Goat Cheese Pumpkin Tacos || Runway Chef #pumpkinrecipes Goat Cheese Pumpkin Tacos || Runway Chef #pumpkinrecipes Goat Cheese Pumpkin Tacos || Runway Chef #pumpkinrecipes Goat Cheese Pumpkin Tacos || Runway Chef #pumpkinrecipes Goat Cheese Pumpkin Tacos || Runway Chef #pumpkinrecipes

Goat Cheese Pumpkin Tacos
A Fall-inspired taco topped with fresh, colorful ingredients and creamy goat cheese
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. Pumpkin cubes (roasted pumpkin that has been skinned & cubed)
  2. Black beans
  3. Corn (I mixed mine with chili powder, about 1 tsp. for every 1 1/2 c. corn)
  4. Red onion, chopped
  5. Cilantro, chopped
  6. Goat cheese
  7. Green chili salsa
  8. Taco shells (I love the corn & wheat mix soft shell ones from Trader Joe's)
Instructions
  1. These tacos are super easy to assemble. Simply lay out your taco shell on a plate then add on the ingredients of your choosing, doing as little or as much as you'd like of each ingredient. For my tacos I did pumpkin, then beans, then corn, and finished it off with a sprinkling of cilantro, red onion and goat cheese as well as a drizzle of green chili salsa.
  2. These should be served immediately. Any leftovers should be stored separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator.
Notes
  1. Serve with a spicy margarita or a pumpkin beer and a big salad or a side of guacamole and corn chips.
  2. Butternut squash (or any other squash) can be substituted for the pumpkin cubes.
  3. For a gluten-free option use corn tortillas.
  4. For a dairy-free/vegan option omit the goat cheese.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
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Spiced Tofu Nuggets w/ Orange Chili Aioli

Spiced Tofu Nuggets with Orange Chili Aioli via @runwaychef #healthy #appetizers The only consolation that summer is pretty much gone is that football season is here. And by football season I mean tailgating season. And by tailgating season I mean stuffing-my-face-with-ridiculous-amounts-of-insanely-delicious-and-absurdly-bad-for-you-food season. While I love to catch parts of Chiefs games (Go Chiefs!), and I worked as the football team manager for my college, I just don’t have the attention span to watch an entire football game (hence why I failed miserable at my team manager job). But eating, now that is a sport I have the attention span for. Let me assure you that if eating was truly a game, I would score a bazillion touchdowns every single time. I’m not even sure how you score a touchdown in eating, but I just know I would. So while everyone else is focused on the football game, I’m focused on the tailgate game, plotting my next play to score a touchdown at the food table. My biggest concern? Protecting my waistline. Now don’t get me wrong I love a good plate of nachos, french fries dipped in ranch, and I would probably kill for some good boneless buffalo wings, but a diet like that won’t get me very far in the game so I like to mix in a few healthy treats or modified takes on unhealthier favorites every time there’s a tailgate spread. These spiced tofu nuggets are just one example. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking “Tofu?! Gross!” but believe it or not these actually taste almost exactly like chicken nuggets. They can be served alone with the orange chili dipping sauce or dressed up with a little orange coleslaw and a tortilla chip (almost like a mini taco) for a completely delicious guilt-free treat (or as guilt-free as something that is fried and covered with a mayonnaise sauce can be).

fried tofu nugget spiced fried tofu nuggets fried tofu nuggets Spiced Tofu Nuggets with Orange Chili Aioli via @runwaychef #healthy #appetizers

Spiced Tofu Nuggets with Orange Chili Aioli
Serves 2
A spicy tofu take on the chicken nugget served either alone with a orange chili dipping sauce or mini taco style
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
For the tofu
  1. 1/4 cup of cornmeal
  2. 1/4 cup of flour
  3. 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  4. 1 teaspoon paprika
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons of chili powder
  6. 2 teaspoons salt
  7. 1 teaspoon of a smokey seasoning mix (optional)
  8. 8 ounces of tofu
  9. Oil
For the aioli sauce
  1. 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise (can also use a Vegan mayonnaise)
  2. 2 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce
  3. 1 teaspoon of sriracha
  4. 3 tablespoons of orange juice
For serving (optional)
  1. Corn chips (I used sweet potato ones from Trader Joe's)
  2. Coleslaw (shredded cabbage mixed with a few tablespoons of OJ, mayo & apple cider vinegar & sprinkled with salt and pepper)
  3. Jalapeños
  4. Avocado or guacamole
Instructions
  1. Begin by making your breading mixture. Combine all the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until well mixed. Set aside.
  2. Add about 1/4" of oil to a medium-sized skillet and begin heating it over medium heat. Then cut the tofu into thick cubes. Begin rolling them in the flour mixture until they are well coated. Once the oil is nice and hot and sizzling, begin dropping the tofu cubes in. Cook until crispy and golden brown, turning it every few minutes until you have cooked it on each side (this should take about 10-12 minutes total). Remove the cubes from the oil and drain on a paper towel. Repeat this process until all the cubes have been cooked.
  3. To make the aioli, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir until well combined and smooth. Feel free to adjust the amounts of ingredients based on flavor preference.
  4. To serve the tofu nuggets, either leave them as is or assemble them into mini tacos by layering a chip with some coleslaw adding a nugget and then topping it with the aioli.
  5. Serve immediately. If there are any nuggets leftover, store in an airtight container then reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes (although be warned that they will not be as crispy). Also do not store any of the mini tacos assembled as they will get soggy.
Notes
  1. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a larger group of people.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
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