I just can't seem to get enough winter squash. I mean, what is not to love about it? It tastes great and it is so versatile! You can make such a variety of meals with this one category of vegetable. I plan to regale you with wonderful winter squash recipes throughout the fall, but for now let me share this one.
Stuffed Acorn (or carnival) Squash Doesn't it look delicious?
I stuffed mine with a mixture of quinoa, craisins, golden raisins and walnut. Feel free to substitute rice and whatever herbs/veg/fruit/nut that you desire. You could even stuff it with a traditional bread stuffing. This is definatly one of those recipes for when you just want to use up some stuff in your fridge/pantry.
Start by cleaning your squash. Just wash it, cut it in half and scoop out the seeds with a large spoon.
The squash I used is actually a Carnival Squash. It is very similar in shape and in flavor to an Acorn Squash, the coloring is just a little more interesting on the carnival squash.
Rim the edges with a little olive oil and/or spray a baking sheet with baking spray.
Bake them at 400 degrees for 20-40 minutes (depending on size of the squash). You want it very tender, but you still want it to hold it's shape. While the squash is cooking, prepare your stuffing. We will discuss stuffing at the end.
When the squash is done, turn oven down to 350 degrees. Bring the squash out of the oven and stuff them with warm stuffing. Then, place them back into the oven if needed while you prepare drinks, salad, or any other additions to dinner.
When ready to serve, simply place the whole squash on a plate, and scoop out bites of stuffing and squash flesh with a fork.
Let's talk stuffing.
For the quinoa, I simply cooked multi-colored quinoa following the package directions. With just a couple moments left of cooking time, I added a couple tablespoons of craisins, raisins and walnuts. I also added a little curry powder, as I love the combination of curry and squash.
Another great option would be an herbed rice. Cook up some rice following package direction. When the rice is completely cooked add an assortment of chopped herbs. Here you can play with whatever herbs and flavor profiles you like. If you want to add in some diced fresh vegetable, do so a few minutes before the rice is done to allow the veggies to steam a little.
Mexican - onion, poblano pepper, black beans and lots of cilantro.
Italian - basil, rosemary, oregano. Top with diced fresh tomato.
Spicy - add some Sriracha, a chopped fresno pepper and a bunch of chopped parsley.
The options really are almost endless.
Traditional stuffing - take a couple cups of cubed toast or stuffing croutons. Add some sauteed onion, maybe some chopped mushrooms and enough vegetable stock to hydrate the stuffing. Add a little sage and/or poultry seasoning. I would suggest even adding a dollop of cranberry sauce into the squash before adding the stuffing. This version will bring back the cozy feelings of Thanksgiving.
So next time you are at the grocery store or the farm market, get yourself a squash, take it home and just stuff it! :-)
Today make nourishing yourself a priority.
This time of year we have a whole harvest of vegetables available to us. If you are like me and find that you have little bits of several veggies sitting in your kitchen (or partial bags of frozen vegetables in your freezer), there is no better way to make use of them, than an easy and delicious vegetable soup.
I started mine with a typical mirepoix…which is just a fancy French word for onion, celery and carrots. Dice them up to whatever size suits you and throw them in a soup pot with a little olive oil and a small sprinkle of salt. Allow to cook until they are just tender.
Add whatever broth you have handy. I would typically use vegetable broth for a vegetable soup, but today I didn’t have any. I did however have not-chicken broth, so I used that with a nice squeeze of tomato paste. You can really use whatever you want here, as long as you like the taste of it. I used a boxed broth, but you could use bouillon cubes or bouillon paste… One of my favorite additions to vegetable soup is V8 juice. A good cup or two added to the broth adds great flavor, gives the broth a thicker consistency and adds a great amount of extra veggie goodness!
Flavor it up with whatever herb mixture you prefer, just add slowly and taste as you go. You can always add more, but you can’t remove it! I used Italian flavors - dried oregano, basil, rosemary and marjoram. You could easily spice it up a little with some cayenne pepper or go in a whole different direction and add cumin and chili powder.
I decided to add a little pasta to mine, mostly because I had an open box in the panty I want to use up. I brought the soup up to a boil and added the pasta, cooking it right in the broth. Since I didn’t overcook my veggies in the first step, I know they won’t get too mushy. I also have some other additions I want to add to give my soup a little more body. I had some broccoli and a couple tomatoes, so I chop those up and add them right at the end of my pasta cooking time. I also throw in a handful of garbanzo beans for a little protein addition. If you have partial bags of frozen veg you want to use up, this would be the perfect time to add them. I shut off the heat and let the soup cool for a bit.
My favorite thing to do on a Sunday is to cook a soup to serve later in the week when we are busy and have difficulty finding time to cook dinner. This soup is going to go into the refrigerator to await its turn as dinner later this week.
Serve it up with some nice warm rolls or crusty bread...and viola you have a meal. I promise, it certainly beats anything Cambell's has to offer!
Today, make nourishing yourself a priority!
In the last week I have made two meals using this wonderful squash. The preparation of the squash was very similar, but the meal was different. I love how just a couple small changes to a basic idea/recipe can equate to a variety of meals!
I started by preparing my squash. Delicata is great because you can eat the skins, so preparing them just means washing them, slicing them lengthwise and scooping out the seeds. Then you could roast them as is, or chop them up into smaller pieces. I simply sliced them into half-moons, but if you want smaller pieces, just cut the moons in half.
For both preparations I simply sautéed the squash with some diced onions. One version used half a red onion, because I had one that I wanted to use up; the other used a while onion…for the same reason. Version 1 was only squash & onion. To version 2, I also added cumin, a diced poblano pepper and some kale (why? because I had some in my fridge)
Version 1 – served over a lightly dressed salad (just vinegar and oil) and topped with craisins and hazelnuts. This was a wonderful fall salad, served with some nice crusty bread.
Version 2 – served with a big helping of cilantro quinoa (simply cook quinoa and then add a bunch of cilantro). If you are not familiar with quinoa, I highly recommend you check it out. You can buy at it most grocery stores, even BJs and SAMs club. It is used similar to rice. It is high in protein and gluten free.
Either version would also be great over pasta with a little olive oil and garlic, over rice, or served as a side dish next to your favorite meat and potato.
Pick one of these beauties up at the farm market or at your local grocery store and try it out. You won't be disappointed!
"Today, make nourishing yourself a priority."
Tracy Martorana is a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, Meditation Instructor and Herbalist...hoping to inspire you to live your life from a place of Holistic Wellness.