Quinoa and Sausage Stuffed Squash

This dish has quickly become a household wintertime favorite. The original recipe that this one is based on comes from the Joy of Cooking although it has evolved quite a bit since then. The nice thing about this recipe is that it is easy to get creative and come up with your own combinations of flavors. Have fun and enjoy!

Squash – 3 acorn or 1 butternut
2 T olive oil or butter
1 cup quinoa – grown in the San Luis Valley by White Mountain Farms
½ cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 lb ground sausage – Use any type you like. Visit Colorado Grown for delicious choices
1 cup chopped kale – I saved some in my freezer from last summer’s veggie share through Weathervane Farm
½ cup Parmesan cheese plus extra for topping, grated
Seasonings and salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350

Halve and seed squash. Place a steaming basket in a pot with water (be sure to not allow the water level to be higher than the level of the bottom of the basket). Bring the water to a boil and add the squash halves. Cover and steam until soft, usually 10 to 15 minutes.

Rinse 1 cup quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and drain. In a medium sized pot heat oil or butter and add chopped onions and garlic. Cook until golden. Add quinoa, toasting for about 3 minutes. Add broth and other seasonings (I used coriander and turmeric… just get creative). Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 12 – 15 minutes until the liquid is gone.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet cook sausage. Add chopped kale, stirring until wilted. Turn off heat.

Combine quinoa mixture with sausage mixture and parmesan cheese. Make any final seasoning adjustments. Spoon into squash halves and place in baking dish. Top with remaining grated Parmesan. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes.

Pumpkin and Pistachio Risotto

By: Jeff B.

This elegant combination of creamy golden rice and orange pumpkin can be as pale or bright as you like by adding different quantities of saffron. Who doesn’t love cooking with saffron and, better yet, this recipe cleans out the frozen pumpkin left over from Halloween and Colorado Grown. Please be careful, this risotto recipe is likely to be a stepping stone to booking a spring trip to Northern Italy.

Serves 4

5 cups fresh vegetable stock or water
Generous pinch of saffron threads
2 tbsps olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lb Arborio rice
2 lbs pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into ¾ in cubes
¾ cup dry white wine
½ oz parmesan cheese, finely grated
½ cup pistachios
3 tbsps chopped fresh marjoram or oregano, plus extra leaves, to garnish
Salt, freshly grated nutmeg and ground black pepper

  1. Bring the stock or water to a boil and reduce to low simmer. Ladle a little stock into a small bowl. Add the saffron threads and leave to infuse.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the rice and pumpkin and cook for a few more minutes until the rice looks transparent.
  3. Pour in the wine and allow it to boil hard. When it is absorbed add ¼ of the stock and the infused saffron and liquid. Stir constantly until all the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Gradually add the stock or water, a ladleful at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more and stirring all the time. After 20-30 minutes the rice should golden yellow and creamy, and al dente when tested.
  5. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, cover the pan and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
  6. To finish, stir in the pistachios and marjoram or oregano. Season to taste with a little salt, nutmeg and pepper and scatter over a few extra marjoram or oregano leaves.


Allison’s Righteous Carrot Cupcakes

Carrot cake is a wonderful autumn comfort food. Make a batch of cupcakes and either freeze a few for a later time or make your friends smile by giving them away. We like using hazelnuts, but that is because we have a great source in Oregon. The walnuts or the pecans both make a fantastic cake. Enjoy!!


4 Large Eggs
3/4 C Canola Oil
3/4 C Applesauce
2 t vanilla
1 C Turbinado (or granulated sugar)
1/4 C Honey
2 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 t Baking Soda
1 t Baking Powder
1 1/2 t Salt
1 T Ground Cinnamon
1/2 t Ground Nutmeg
2 1/2 C Finely Grated Carrots
1 C Chopped Pecans, Walnuts, or Hazelnuts
1 C Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
1 C Raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour muffin pan or line with cupcake papers. Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, and add the oil and apple sauce while the mixer is running. Add the vanilla, then sprinkle in the sugar and honey. You will have a thick, foamy mixture. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices in a medium bowl. Add these dry ingredients to the eggs and oil in your mixing bowl, mixing to make a smooth batter. Add the carrots, raisins, and nuts, then the coconut. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan. Fill each pan 3/4 full.

Bake the cakes for 20 minutes, then check the middle with a toothpick to see if any batter sticks. The cakes are done when a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Cool completely on a wire rack then frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting

This particular frosting is low in sugar but still acts as the perfect compliment to the carrot cake.

8 oz Cream Cheese
5 T Unsalted Butter
2 t Vanilla
1/4 C Powdered Sugar

Have the cream cheese cold. The butter can be cold, but preferably at room temperature. Combine in a food processor and pulse just until smooth and creamy. If the frosting is too stiff, pulse for a few seconds longer. Do not over process.

Italian Sausage Lasagna

Posted by: Allison A.

This lasagna recipe was inspired by a recent visit to Colorado Grown where Amy of Cottonwood Creek Dairy fame was selling freshly made ricotta cheese. The recipe has a surprising number of locally produced ingredients as well as a very elegant taste.

Fresh pasta:

2 cups whole wheat flour – Mountain Mama, San Luis Valley
2 eggs – Weathervane Farm

Measure and pour flour onto a clean work surface and create a well in the center. Crack the eggs into the well and beat them lightly with a fork. Using your finger, stir the egg and gradually incorporate all of the flour into the mixture. The dough should be smooth and not too stiff. Have a spray bottle filled with water on hand if you need to add more moisture to the dough. Knead for about 10 minutes or until elastic. Wrap the dough and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

Roll out ½ of dough on a lightly floured surface. Rotating the dough ¼ turn as you work, continue until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Once you get to this point, you will need to stretch the dough to your desired thickness. (See Joy of Cooking for a nice explanation of this process.) Cut the pasta into 4” wide lasagna strips and allow to dry for an hour before cooking.

For the sauce:

2 T organic extra virgin olive oil
½ onion, diced – Colorado Grown
3 cloves garlic, minced – Colorado Grown
1 lb. Italian sausage – Colorado Grown
handful of sliced mushrooms
1 qt. jar homemade marinara sauce

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and onion. Cook until browned, remove from skillet and set aside. Remove sausage from their casings and place in hot skillet. Add mushrooms. After the sausage is cooked, add the onion and marinara sauce. Heat throughout.

For the cheese:

1 lb. ricotta – Cottonwood Creek Dairy
2 eggs, slightly beaten – Weathervane Farm
2 cups chopped spinach – Erin’s Greenhouse
salt and pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, eggs, and salt and pepper to taste, leaving the mozzarella separate. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400˚.
Cook pasta in salted water until it is slightly underdone. Drain. Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Layer the bottom with lasagna, half of the ricotta mixture, 1/3 of the sausage mixture, and 1/3 of the mozzarella. Repeat. Top with remaining lasagna, sausage mixture, and mozzarella.

Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden.


Pumpkin Bread Made From Scratch

Posted by: Allison A.

This pumpkin loaf recipe uses less than half the normally called for sweetener in other loaves, but remains quite sweet to the taste. Thus, it will be a great snack bread to have around for all of your Thanksgiving house guests. The ingredients have already been adjusted the for baking at 8000ft.

From Pumpkin to Puree:

You’ll need 1 pie pumpkin (ideally left over from the Pumpkin Patch Festival or there may still be some available at Colorado Grown🙂 This will likely create enough puree to make two or three loaves or pies. Gut and peel the pumpkin. Cut into large chunks. Steam for 10 to 15 minutes, use a fork to test for softness. Place in a bowl and smash with a potato masher. Finally, place in a blender and puree until smooth.

Pumpkin Bread

1 ¼ cups whole-wheat flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon cloves
2 eggs – Weathervane Farm
¼ cup turbinado
¼ cup agave or honey
¼ organic canola oil
1/3 cup plain yogurt – Cottonwood Creek Dairy
1 cup pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350˚. Lightly grease a loaf pan.

Combine all dry ingredients except the turbinado in a medium bowl and whisk together. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, turbinado, agave, canola oil, yogurt, and pumpkin puree. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes.