Every year, I host Thanksgiving for my family. It’s my favorite holiday to host. It’s a holiday where we take the day to give thanks and appreciate what we have. And, with no presents attached, I find it to be low(er) stress and all about getting together and having a great time.
With that said, cooking for a crowd is quite an undertaking (although these seven tips can help keep your feast under $100). Not only does it take planning, it can stretch the budget. But it is possible to create recipes that wow guests without taking too much time (or too much of your budget).
One of those recipes is goat cheese stuffed acorn squash. The delicious blend of the soft, roasted acorn squash with the tart, creamy goat cheese is a real winner. The addition of the drizzled honey gives this dish a touch of sweet and the toasted hazelnuts please the palate with some much needed crunch. Your guests will feel they landed in a fancy restaurant without the restaurant price tag attached. This dish is vegetarian and costs less than $4 a person.
Give it a whirl and feel free to riff on it. The cavity of the squash lends itself to so many delicious stuffings, so get creative with what you put in there.
The recipe below serves six when used as a side dish.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total cook time: 1 hour
3 acorn squash
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 6oz. log goat cheese
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the ends off the squash and then cut in half. Scoop out the center to create a clean well, careful not to cut through to the bottom.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil over the center of the squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place the six squash well side down, onto the baking sheet.
Cook for 30 minutes, until the squash is soft and the well and rim is golden brown.
Fill the well with one ounce of goat cheese and place it back in the oven for another 10 minutes, until the goat cheese is soft and melted. Drizzle with honey and toasted hazelnuts. Serve immediately.
Now that you've got your side dish figured out, you may also want to consider these five cheaper alternatives to a Thanksgiving turkey.
Image: Anna Gass