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2010/10/21 >"What's for Dinner Honey?" Judy's Acorn Squash with Meat Sauce


"What's for Dinner Honey?" 

This week Signe, our Farmers Market Foodie went for a walk in Whitney Thayer Woods with Judy Sneath.  She came back with these dual-purpose recipes for her delicious meat sauce.  One, Judy suggests as a good early dinner on a brisk autumn Sunday after leaf raking and a long walk. The other version is to send with your HHS athlete to the dreaded fantastic team building pre-competition pasta party.  Ok, start with this salad and then move to the main course...

Massaged Kale Salad with Apples- from Judy Sneath via Aarti Sequeria
[serves 4 Sneaths, although one won’t touch it – he gets apples, straight-up]


  • 1 bunch kale [she prefers curly-leafed; but suggests to try them all], stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper

In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little kosher salt.  Massage the kale** until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.

** At this point, Betty needs to tell you that she was with Judy at the Farmers Market when she described her kale massaging process to the farmer.  His eyes glazed over, obviously carried away in a Judy/vegetable related fantasy.  I had to excuse myself.

***I guess it's very suggestive except the "until the kale starts to wilt" part...

In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the honey and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stream in the 1/4 cup of oil while whisking until a dressing forms, and you like how it tastes.

Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the apples. Toss and serve.

[Judy says that the original recipe called for 1 cup fresh mango chunks and about 2 rounded tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds – instead of apples. Very good!  Another modification - use 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks and 2 tablespoons sliced almonds. Also excellent.]

Acorn Squash with Meat Sauce from Judy Sneath
[serves 5 Sneaths]

  • 3 med-large acorn squash, cut in half and seeded
  • 1 t olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots diced
  • 1 onion diced
  • kosher salt, ground pepper, crushed red pepper
  • 1 C olive oil
  • 28 oz. can of tomatoes- Judy likes Muir Glen organic, crushed with basil
  • 6 oz can tomato past
  • 1/2 c chopped basil [optional]
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground meat [Try ½ pound each of ground sirloin, ground turkey  & pork or turkey sausage.  Any combination, even all turkey is good, especially if the meat is fresh-ground in-store]
  • freshly grated parmesan [Parmiggiano Reggiano tastes best]
Acorn Squash:  
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Scoop the seeds and stringy pulp out of the squash cavities and discard. Spread the olive oil in a baking pan.  Lightly salt the cavities and place them, cut side down, on the pan. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork. 

Meat Sauce:
Cover the bottom of a heavy pot with olive oil – don’t be skimpy.  Place on medium-low heat.  Sauté carrots and onions with kosher salt, ground pepper and crushed red pepper until soft – but not brown.   Add cans of tomato and tomato paste, fill tomato paste can with water & add.  Simmer on medium heat.

Season the meat; she uses Adobo Criollo [a Cuban dry rub spice combo], but any combination of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder works.  Heat a large sauté pan with one tablespoon olive oil.  Add the meat & brown, breaking it up & stirring so it cooks evenly, remove from heat while some of the meat is still pink.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat in to the simmering sauce  [don't add the fat].  Add the chopped basil to the sauce.  Reduce heat under the sauce to medium-low, let simmer for at least 20 minutes.  The longer it simmers, the tastier it gets.

Serve ½ acorn squash overflowing with meat sauce.  Add freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste.  She says that at her house the entrée & salad would be served on separate dishes. 

Same Sauce Different Party:
Multiply/divide above numbers to adjust for size of team, attendance [are they having a good season?], gender, size [yup – football more food than volleyball] – ask the previous host [never volunteer for the first one of the season].

This recipe makes enough sauce for about 1.5 pounds of rigatoni or ziti or penne - ask your kids which they like best.

Serve the meat sauce over cooked pasta. 

She says be sure your athlete sent out a flyer or email telling the rest of the team what to bring….. freshman – salad, sophomores – bread, juniors – soda, seniors – dessert. [Betty would have forgotten that she signed up to host the d*mn party to begin with...]


Is there any doubt as to why Betty goes to Judy for the answers to life's most pressing questions???