Do you feel obligated to eat your veggies at dinner?  I don’t, but I like to!  So if it is a feat for you to find space on your plate for some nutritional goodness, how about you make your veggie your plate…er….bowl?!

Growing up, one of my parent’s favorite vegetable sides to make for dinner was baked acorn squash.  Nothing more than simply acorn squash cut in half and baked with some butter and brown sugar.  Yum!

As I told you before, I prefer to focus on one hefty dish on the average weeknight, so I set out to combine the baked acorn squash of my past and elevate it to a meal in itself.  An additional obstacle was making something my hubby would enjoy as well (he isn’t a fan of squash and often finds it difficult to find room on his plate for veggies).  The result:  sweet baked squash, spicy sausage, and melty cheese all in one.  The husband even gave it two thumbs up!

On a side note, a big thank you to for featuring my last post (chocolate babka) on their homepage yesterday.  It was an unexpected surprise and I was overwhelmed by the response.  Thanks to all of you out there that visited my little site!  I know my blog is just a tiny scratch on the surface of the thousands of food blogs out there, but I love (and appreciate) your company.  We have been sharing this space for almost three months already and I am having so much fun and I hope you are as well.

Cheers to more feasts to come!

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Makes enough filling for 3 acorn squash

3 acorn squash

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 of a large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

1 garlic clove, minced

pinch of red pepper flakes

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/2 lb mild ground Italian sausage

5 oz frozen spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out

3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 400° F. Cut tops and slice off the pointy bottoms of the acorn squash (so they can sit up straight).  Scoop out seeds and pulp and discard.  Place squash in a baking dish, season with salt and pepper, and divide the butter among the cavities of each squash.  Put about an inch of water in pan, cover with foil, and bake until fork tender 45-50 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook onions until translucent, about 4 minutes, add garlic and red pepper flakes and stir until fragrant, about 15 seconds.  Add sausage and cook until well browned.  Add pine nuts and spinach and cook for about 1 minute.  Transfer mixture to a bowl.  Stir in about half of cheese.

When squash are finished baking, remove from oven.  Divide filling evenly among squash and then top each generously with remaining cheese.  Return to oven and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.