I prefer to eat these vegetable dishes as entrees instead of sides, but my kid likes them as side dishes to chicken or pork.
ACORN SQUASH WITH COUSCOUS STUFFING
This recipe can be doubled nicely.
One large acorn squash, cut in half, seeds scooped out
Two teaspoons butter
Salt and pepper
Place squash, cut side down, into a shallow, greased (cooking spray or very light coating of vegetable oil) pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Turn squash over, put one teaspoon of butter into each half, sprinkle with cinnamon, and return to oven.
I cup apple juice
1 cup couscous
1/4 cup chopped dried pitted prunes
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup apple juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 cup toasted pecans (optional)
While the squash roasts in the oven, bring apple juice to a boil. Remove from heat, add couscous. Let sit fifteen minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork. Stir in dried fruits, spices, syrup, juice concentrate, salt, and pecans. When squash is fork tender, spoon about 3/4 cup of couscous mixture into the center of each squash half. Refrigerate remaining stuffing - it's a hearty breakfast and warms in about a minute in the microwave.
TWICE BAKED POTATOES WITH MUSHROOMS
(Yeah, I know the exposure on this photo sucks, but it was the only potato photo I have.)
3 regular sized russet baking potatoes, washed, dried and pierced
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup Italian Cheese blend (sold shredded in packages in the market)
Put potatoes in the microwave. Cook on high for four minutes. Turn over, cook an additional four minutes. Potatoes are done when an inserted fork can easily reach the center. If your potatoes are still firm, cook in 2-minute intervals until tender. Remove from microwave.
Melt butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and stir. Cook for one minute before adding garlic. Saute until mushrooms have softened and darkened in color. Set aside.
Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the potato pulp and place the pulp into a large bowl. Set the potato "skin" boats in a shallow baking dish. Once you've scooped the potatoes out, add the sour cream and salt. Mash with a masher or a hand mixer until fluffy. Add green onions and the contents of your saute pan - all those lovely mushrooms - and the cheese. Stir to blend. Fill each potato skin with the potato mixture. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until the tops of the potatoes start to brown. Makes six side servings or three main dish servings.