Pumpkin Bars and Spaghetti Squash

Filed in Food and Wine by on September 29, 2014

Despite our area having a somewhat strange growing season this summer, our weekly baskets overflowed with fresh, locally grown garden veggies all season long. At this time of year, it’s always hard to say goodbye to the local produce and we long desperately to those last harvests before the hard frost sets in. One of our favorite things about this time of year, is that comfort food is baked in season. And the winter squashes are the epitome of comfort food – Acorn, Delicata, and Butternut squash dishes grace the dinner table well into the winter months. We’re sharing great ideas for two of our favorites, Pumpkin and Spaghetti Squash.

PumpkinBarsPumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting – makes 32 bars

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut oil (or use peanut or your favorite vegetable oil)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree, from 1-2 sugar pumpkins, halved and seeded (see below, or used canned pumpkin)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

To make the pumpkin puree:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Pour water into a baking dish. Place pumpkin halves with cut sides down in baking dish; roast until tender, 50-60 minutes. Set aside to cool. When cool, scrape pumpkin flesh and process to a thick puree consistency in a food processor or using and immersion blender. Extra puree can be frozen for future use.

To assemble bars:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, oil, sugar and pumpkin puree. Whisk until well combined. In a separate bowl, add the remaining ingredients and sift into the pumpkin mixture. Stir until thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into a 12-by-18 pan (this is a half sheet pan) and bake for 10-25 minutes until the center springs back or tests done with a cake tester. Frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting recipe.

SpaghettiSquashSpaghetti Squash with Spicy Meat Sauce – makes 8 servings

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, or use part Italian Sausage (hot or mild)
  • 1 sweet or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 medium sized zucchini, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes, or use a quart of freshly canned tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, or to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, or to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 to 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Pour water into a baking dish. Place squash halves with cut sides down in baking dish; roast until tender, 30 to 40 minutes.

While squash is baking, cook and stir ground beef and sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat until the meat is crumbly and evenly browned. Drain and discard any excess grease. Set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir onions, mushrooms, zucchini and red peppers until slightly softened. Add tomatoes, basil, oregano and thyme. Simmer over medium heat about 10 minutes. Add the meat mixture; stir to combine. Simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, while you finish preparing spaghetti squash.

Scrape the inside of hot spaghetti squash halves with a fork to shred the squash into strands; divide onto 8 plates. Drizzle each serving of spaghetti squash with 1 table spoon extra-virgin olive oil and top each serving with a generous amount of meat sauce and parmesan cheese.

Food Prep and Photography by Jan Ellis

Tags: , , , , , , , ,