Vegetables are the Star of the Show
Stuffed 8-Ball Zucchinis
4 large round zucchini
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 pepper (any color), chopped
1 pound lean meat (bison, turkey, beef)
1 cup quinoa, cooked
2-3 tablespoons avocado oil
1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
Optional: Freshly grated cheese like goat or sheep cheese
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Carefully cut tops off zucchini with a sharp kitchen knife. Set stems aside.
Using a melon baller or knife and spoon, carefully scoop out the inner flesh of the zucchini, leaving a little flesh as the shell.
Place cups in a lightly greased roasting dish and bake for 10 minutes. When removed from the oven, set aside and lightly cool for handling.
Heat avocado oil in a skillet or cooktop pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Cook the chopped onions and peppers for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Set aside in a bowl.
In the same stovetop pan, cook the meat until thoroughly cooked through. Add the dry seasoning and combine with the onion and pepper mixture. Add in the cooked quinoa and toss with the fresh basil. Combine all ingredients and spoon the mixture into the shells.
Tightly pack the cooked mixture into the cups. You may have some mixture leftover. This can be stored in an airtight container for later use.
Roast uncovered for 15 minutes. If adding cheese, do so and roast another 12-15 minutes or until the zucchini is tender to the touch and the filling is lightly browned.
Recipe by Kim Wilson, KimWilson.me
Rigatoni with Pumpkin-Parmesan Sauce
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 handful ( about 15 large) sage leaves, chiffonade
1 pound pasta
1 medium onion, small dice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups chicken broth (can sub vegetable broth to make dish vegetarian)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper
Place 1 tablespoon of butter into a large saucepan over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add sage leaves and sauce until lightly crispy. Remove from pan and set aside.
Place a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Generously add salt to the water, then prepare pasta according to package directions. Save 2 cups pasta water before draining.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion and garlic and saute until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add pumpkin and chicken broth and whisk until smooth. Add cream and Parmesan, then whisk again. If sauce is too thick, use a little bit of the reserved water to thin it out. Salt and pepper generously to taste.
Add pasta to pan and coat with the sauce. Plate, then top with sauteed sage leaves. Serve immediately.
Recipe by Christine Van Bloem, KitchenStudioFrederick.com