Cupboard Meals

I go grocery shopping once every two weeks.  I wish it were more often; my most favorite place in the world is strolling the aisles of international sauces, bulk whole grains, and smelling produce to bring home with me.  Forget new shoes or clothes, give me groceries!

Toward the end of the two weeks, I have to admit, I’m throwing dinner together with pretty slim pickin’s.  It’s a grab-and-go from my cupboard, supplemented with fridge-produce-scraps.  Admit it, you do the same thing.  If you don’t, I’m super embarrassed right now.  On the other hand, here’s an idea for your next Cupboard-Grab-N-Go Meal: Roasted Acorn Squash with Garbanzo Bean Lentil Stuffing.  Fresh: mixed greens, an apple.  Cupboard: Acorn squash {I’m counting this as a “Cupboard Item” because I keep winter squashes in my pantry through the winter}, canned garbanzo beans {I always think of these in Italian: “ceci”}, craisins, green lentils, bread crumbs, sunflower seeds {I keep a big container in my freezer}, “veg mix.”

About once a year I load up on HUGE amounts of carrots, celery, onions, parsley, and garlic, and I spend a couple days making vegetable stock and chopping celery, onions, and carrots to freeze for a pre-made, ready to grab veg mix to use during the slim-pickin’s time.  The chopped mix usually lasts me a whole year, and the stock usually 6-8 months, then I restock my stock.  {…haha}

cupboard meal roast squash 3

Roasting is super easy: Cut the squash, clean out the seeds, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast at 400F for an hour.  I added a drizzle of maple syrup with this squash.


cupboard meal roast squash


cupboard meal roast squash 2

Pull together the stuffing in a pot while the squash is roasting, and you’re good to go.

cupboard meal roast squash 4



  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: pretty easy
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  • 1 acorn squash, cut in half and cleaned of seeds
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup combined chopped carrot, celery, and yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup green or brown lentils
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 apple, chopped (peeled or leave the peel on, up to you)
  • 1/4 cup craisins or currants
  • 1/2 can Garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • handful of mixed greens
  • sprinkling of sunflower seeds


  1. Heat oven to 400F.  Prepare acorn squash on a baking sheet: Drizzle with olive oil, divide the maple syrup between the two halves, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for at least 1 hour.  If the squash is very thick, it may take longer, just watch it.  The squash will be soft and golden brown when it’s done.
  2. While the squash is roasting, prepare the stuffing.  Coat a large pot with olive oil and heat over medium high heat.  Sauté the chopped carrots, celery, and onion with salt and pepper to taste.  When the onion is translucent, add the lentils and sauté for another 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the vegetable stock, apple, and craisins, and let come to a boil.  Lower heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the lentils are tender and all the stock has been absorbed.
  4. Off heat, add the garbanzo beans, breadcrumbs, and mixed greens, and stir until well combined.  Cover with a lid and keep warm until the squash is done.
  5. For 2 servings, this will be a meal, just fill each acorn squash half with the lentil stuffing, sprinkle with sunflower seeds, and serve.  For 4, this will be side-sized, and will be great served with salad or soup.  Just cut the acorn squash into 4 equal portions and divide the lentil stuffing evenly.  Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and serve.

Pizza Night!

pizza roasted squash sprouts

This is our favorite vegetarian pizza–it is filling enough with the toasted nuts, sweet roasted squash, and sautéed greens that you won’t even miss the pepperoni.  The ingredient list includes roasted winter squash, caramelized onions, sautéed brussels sprouts (I know it sounds odd, but the sweet onions balance out the sometimes bitter sprouts) a good couple handful of greens, dollops of ricotta, and topped with toasted nuts.

I usually make this with roasted acorn squash (when it’s on sale I’ll buy a ton and roast it in the oven, scoop out the flesh and keep it in freezer bags to pull out for pizza or casseroles), but I didn’t have any, and instead used leftover roasted butternut squash I needed to use up.  I also normally use walnuts, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I used pecans, although i think pistachios would have been good, too.

The plain cheese pizza is for our boys…I am waiting for the day they are going to eat us out of house and home.


  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy to medium, depending on how many ingredients you have ready to go
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As noted, you can put whatever veggies you have on hand–yummy combo ideas: roasted broccoli, sliced red onion, mixed greens with ricotta; thinly sliced zucchini and potatoes with fresh mozzarella.  The difficulty level would be “easy” if you already have the pizza dough and toppings ready; if you need to make the dough and prep the toppings, you’ll spend a bit more time making pizza, and the difficulty level would increase.  The ingredient list below reflects the amounts you will need for four pizzas, all with the same veggie topping.


  • 1 batch of your favorite pizza dough (mine usually makes 4 pizzas for us)
  • 2 cups of your favorite red sauce
  • 2 cups roasted winter squash
  • 2 onions, caramelized
  • 2 cups brussels sprouts, halved and sautéed
  • 4 cups mixed greens (spinach, kale, swiss chard, etc.)
  • 8 oz ricotta
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • pizza seasoning


  1. Preheat oven to 400 and place one oven rack on the uppermost rungs, and one on the bottom.
  2. Section your pizza dough into four equal balls.  Roll one ball to a thin crust to fit your pizza pan and spread 4-5 spoonfuls of red sauce in a thin layer.
  3. Break up toppings (roasted squash, caramelized onions, brussels sprouts) by hand and evenly spread over pizza.  The mixed greens will look like a lot when you put them on the pizza, but they will cook down, so feel free to put a liberal 2-3 handfuls on your pizza.  Dollop with fresh ricotta.
  4. I always top my pizza with the super-yummy-pizza-secret-ingredients:  drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with pizza seasoning.  I find some sort of pizza seasoning or Tuscany seasoning, or something of that sort for a few dollars at TJ Maxx.
  5. Bake on the top rack until the toppings and cheese are just starting to turn golden.  Gently loosen pizza from the pan and slide onto the bottom rack, without the pan.  This will help your crust get nice and crispy.
  6. After pizza is done, pull out of the oven (putting it right back on the pan works great), and sprinkle with toasted walnuts.

pizza seasoning