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Mini Stuffed Pumpkins with Wild Rice, Chestnuts and Dried Cherries

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

With all the great recipe resources available nowadays it's not difficult to come up with good menu ideas for entertaining, but it's just as important to plan the menu so that you don't have to spend too much time in the kitchen with last minute cooking chores. Choosing side dishes that can be prepared in advance and then baked simultaneously in Convection definitely simplifies the cooking and, using oven-to-table dishware cuts down on kitchen clutter and makes for a stylish presentation.

Individually Portioned Food for a Great Presentation

As the saying goes we eat with eyes first and presenting a plate featuring individual portions of side dishes is one way to elevate the composition of the plate. This is a technique used by caterers and fine dining restaurants to create a special presentation and give the food a more stylized effect. However, the benefit when entertaining goes beyond visual appeal.

From a practical point of view, food that can be prepared in advance and reheated in the oven using an oven-to-table dish cuts down on kitchen chaos allowing the host/chef to present the meal with much less stress.

Mini Pumpkins are Edible and Cute

If you are entertaining during the winter months you might consider these stuffed mini pumpkins for an easy side dish. The different colors of the pumpkins have great visual appeal and they are delicious with a variety of stuffing. For this recipe, I chose a simple stuffing of wild rice with chestnuts and dried cherries but they would also be delicious stuffed with some roasted corn mixed with chopped sauteed kale, garlic and onion, the options are endless.

The skin of hard winter squash is actually quite thin and once cooked is rendered soft enough to eat, however, it's easy to scoop out the filling and the flesh of the squash without having to eat the skin.

How To Complete the Meal

Winter squash pair very well with that star of the holiday season, roast turkey, but they are also delicious served alongside, roast pork or roast chicken, roasted hens and ham. Paired with some braised red cabbage or greens such as kale or collard greens and maybe a make ahead potato gratin makes for a wonderful meal.

Remember when roasting a large cut of meat it's important to allow time for resting and carving before serving. This is when you can make good use of your Convection oven to heat your side dishes through so that everything will be ready to serve at the same time.

If you are planning your next big holiday feast check out my next post that will review how to cook Prime Rib in Convection.

Larissa, your Convection Enthusiast

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