Maple Acorn Squash with Thyme Roasted Sausage and Apples

Some days I wish I had the metabolism of my teenage self.

Days when I could choose a fried chicken sandwich over a grilled chicken salad for lunch in between my Santa Barbara City College classes. A meatball sub from Rusty's Pizza over a veggie wrap on date night.  And did I tell you that in the 7th grade, I practically lived on Hostess Cherry Pies?  Mom would let me get 50 cents out of her purse each morning for a snack... little did she know.

Now don't get me wrong. I spent most of my life eating healthy, homemade food, thanks to a Mother who not only enjoyed cooking. But also made the time each and every day for what I still think is one of the most important things in life...

Sitting down at the dinner table together.

So, I cook. I cook a lot. Not only am I a food blogger, but I also cook homemade lunches and dinners for us every day. And yes, I do a lot of dishes. And no, I don't do it just to be thrifty (although it's nice to save so much money for some of my other passions). But I feel better for it, look better for it, and know that my food is not only made of better ingredients but also has a whole lot of love in it, too!

And I've found the secret to the best meals is using simple, yet fresh ingredients. And this lunch still has me thinking about it. The Maple Acorn Squash is so pretty cut into rounds... it reminds me of beautiful flowers (and you don't eat the skin). And I've really started to love all the chicken sausage options out there. But the best part? I roasted it all in foil-lined pans, so, it's quick to cut up and cook and has practically no clean-up involved.

Sweet from the maple syrup and apples. Salty from the smoked chicken sausage. A hearty texture from the squash, and a mild onion taste from the leeks. And don't forget the fresh thyme. Fresh herbs truly do make all the difference.

So, so, simple yet, so, so good.

Maple Acorn Squash with Thyme Roasted Sausage and Apples

1 acorn squash cut into rounds, with the center seeds scooped out
1 apple, cut into slices
1 package chicken sausage, cut into coins
1 leek, cut into half-moons (white part only)
Maple syrup to drizzle
Fresh thyme as desired
Olive oil to drizzle
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. In one foil-lined pan, lay out squash slices. Drizzle with maple syrup, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, or until soft and lightly browned.

In a second foil-lined pan (I roast these at the same time- one on each oven rack) add the sausage, apples, and leeks. I keep these separated on the pan, as I often take the apples out sooner so they don't get mushy. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves. Roast for about 25 minutes or until caramelized and cooked through.

Layer on plates and serve.

Serves 4