Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Stuffed Squash

It's is the most wonderful time of the year!  Well, in my book it is.  I love everything about fall.  Endless apple/pumpkin flavored things, leaves changing colors, cooler temperatures, sweaters, boots, and of course football!  One of my favorite foods is also found in greater quantity in the fall as they are harvested now and as it continues to get cooler.  Winter Squash!  Winter squash can be anything: Butternut, Acorn, Spaghetti (Squash not the pasta made of dough), Kabocha, Calabaza, etc.  and it can be made into so many things (right now I'm working on a squash mac no cheese).  Squash is one thing that many may find on their Thanksgiving tables and that was one of my inspirations behind this recipe.

This stuffed squash play with flavors that are sweet, sour, and salty, as well as textures that are both crunchy and creamy.  It's sure to delight your taste buds, stuff you as full as it comes stuffed, and provide you with a lot of vitamins and minerals!

2 Acorn Squash, halved and seeded
1 box 365 Long Grain & Wild Rice, Naturally Flavored Mix
1 3/4 cup prepared Better than Bouillon No-Chicken Broth
3/4-1 cup diced carrots
3/4-1 cup diced celery
1 onion, diced
1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries
2 TBS Earth Balance margarine
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Thyme, to taste
Pinch of Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees with the rack in the middle.  Drizzle the acorn squash halves with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place cut side up onto a pan.  Roast in oven for 30min-1hr, until the flesh is fork tender.  Remove from oven and stuff.

Meanwhile, in a medium pot over med-hi heat, melt the Earth Balance and add in the wild rice mix.  Stirring occasionally, toast the rice until it starts to smell nutty.  Add in No Chicken Broth, rice seasoning packet, and suggested amount of olive oil.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.  Cook for time based on packaging instructions.  The last 2 minutes of cook time, add in the dried cranberries. (This will help them to plump back up and not be so chewy.)

While the rice is cooking: Saute the celery, carrots, and onion in a large pan with few TBSP of olive oil and salt and pepper.  Add in a few shakes of thyme.  When the rice is finished, add it to the veggies, mixing well for equal distribution.  Finish with a pinch of nutmeg.

TO ASSEMBLE:  There are really 2 ways to do this.  You can scoop out the flesh of the acorn squash, give it a rough chop, and add it to the rice/veggie mixture before stuffing the shell or you can just stuff the squash without adding the flesh to the rice mix.  Make sure to really pack the squash with stuffing and you can even mound it up on top with an ice cream scoop.  To heat up the squash and rice to eat you can toss them back in the oven for a few min, covered.  Or just sprinkle the rice mix with a few tsp of water and pop them into the microwave for a min or two.


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