Monday, September 28, 2009

One of my firsts..(stuffed squash)


So it is officially fall, bugger! I always have a tough time transitioning from summer to fall, though this year I have a special package arriving, which makes the transition much much different. This summer was a blur, if it weren't for the squash showing up all over the farmer's markets, I'd still be expecting baby greens and I'd be ever so eager to eat them. The pumpkins tell me, that time has passed, it is getting cooler and time for more warming foods.

So have I got the recipe for you! I first made this dish one day when I was up at my mother's, I wanted to make her something for lunch, and I think I was eager to impress with how easy it can be to dish up something fantastic, quickly. So I perused her cupboards and fridge and went to it, the dish has stuck, it's become one of my favorites in a pinch, and my mother makes it from time to time as well.

Stuffed Butternut Squash
1 small to med. butternut squash
1 pear or apple diced
1/2 onion diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
about 15 almonds chopped
3/4 cup frozen spinach (you can use fresh spinach or arugula too-just use more)
1/2 cup brown rice or quinoa
handful raisins or dried cranberries
garlic powder (about 1 tsp)
ground ginger (about 1/2 tsp)
chili (about 1/4-1/2 tsp)
cumin (about 3/4 tsp)
feta (enough to crumble on top)

I tend to have cooked grains on hand, and I suggest this to everyone I work with. They are great with eggs in the morning, as a breakfast cereal (add some nuts, dried fruit, maple syrup), rice and beans can be a quick meal, or stir fry in a pinch. If you do not have rice or quinoa cooked on hand, throw them on, according to the directions. At the same time halve the squash and place face down on a baking tray with a little water in the pan. Roast at 400* for about 45 minutes (generally the same time it will take to cook the rice).

While the rice and squash are cooking-
-dice the apple
-chop the nuts (you can toast these too; optional)
-mince the garlic
-chop the onion

In a large pan saute the onions and garlic till translucent.
Add the apple, and spinach.
Add the rice, nuts, raisins/cranberries, and spices. Mix well.

Scoop out about half of the meat of the squash and add it to the stuffing. Scoop the stuffing into the squash and pile high if you'd like. Top with crumbled feta and pop back in the oven on broil (about 2-3 minutes) to brown the top.

This batch is a little light on the greens (if you follow the recipe it'll be a bit more green than this)

So I hope you make this, it's delicious. And if you use quinoa, know you are getting a nice kick of protein as well. Happy Fall!!