Friday, April 20, 2012

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Squash is definitely one of my favorite foods.  It can be savory or sweet.  The fact that very little prep is needed to extract it's delicious flavor makes it the perfect food given my lack of time to spend in the kitchen lately.

This recipe from the recent Clean Eating appealed to me right away.  The ingredient list used lean meat and tons of vegetables, the star being squash.  The extra time given to amp up the flavor of the ground meat added great flavor to the dish.  It also meant not using store bought sausage which allowed me to control the salt and make sure no additives made their way into the dish.  The cabbage and bell peppers provided great texture.  All in all a great dinner that will definitely make it's way back to our table.

Stuffed Acorn Squash
adapted from Clean Eating

1 acorn squash, halved
3 TBS of olive oil
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of black pepper
2 TBS of unsalted butter
2 cups of sliced napa cabbage
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1 TBS of garlic, minced
part skim ricotta for garnish

1 tsp of dried thyme
2 tsp of dried sage
1/2 sap of salt
1 tsp of black pepper
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
1 lb of lean ground beef

In a bowl, combine the thyme, sage, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and ground beef.  Cover and refrigerate for 8-24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375.  Clean on the pulp and seeds from both squash halves.  Rinse and clean the seed and set out on a paper towel to dry completely.  On a large baking sheet, place the acorn squash, cut side up and drizzle with 2 TBS of olive oil and season with 1/4 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of black pepper.  Roast in the oven until the edges are golden brown and a knife inserts easily, about 30-35 minutes.  Place the dried seeds on a small baking sheet and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes, until golden.  Once done, sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 tsp of salt.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining oil on medium-high.  Add the beef mixture while breaking it up and cook until browned and cooked throughout.  Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.  Wipe out the skillet.

In the same skillet, heat the butter over medium.  Add the cabbage and cook until tender and almost translucent.  Add the bell peppers and onion then cook until soft.  Add the beef and garlic, stir well to combine and cook for another 2-4 minutes.  Season with black pepper and salt as desired.

Optional: Preheat the broiler.  Spoon the beef and vegetable mixture in to the squash halves.  Then top with seeds and ricotta cheese.  Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes. 


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