The abundant, redundant season.
Ushering in the winter, like an appetizer before the big meal.
Just a taste of what is to come.
Beautiful and temporary.
(excerpted from a poem by Marla Wardell)
Even though I loved this summer more then any I can remember, I am a fall girl. You probably already sniffed autumn on the edge of a cool breeze lately, and know what I mean. The smell of possibility. Of bountiful new beginnings. Of change. And for some reason, a big dash of hope and joy is mixed in there too. Love it.
So to help you usher in your ode to fall, here is our favorite quick and easy fall meal. Stuffed Acorn Squash.
Have you ever cooked acorn squash? It is really easy, like roasting any vegetable. 400 degress, olive oil and salt (holding the pepper for my kids!) And then the smell of fall veggies roasting fills your house.
This is my husbands favorite meal! If your kids like cheese, feel free to melt some mozzarella on top (I tried parmesan but it feels too strong and blocks all the subtle fall flavors.) And I was out of pine nuts when I made this, but they truly make this dish (I know because I missed them! I always make this with pine nuts.) And I feel like the butter/brown sugar/cinnamon mixture helps my kids to eat the squash.
But truly, feel free to improvise, this is a dish that welcomes it. In our family, the rice pilaf, cranberry, turkey and pine nuts have become staple, but a little sautéed garden veg like zucchini or squash would be great added in at the same time as the spinach.
Happy fall, and happy eating! xoxo Katie
Stuffed Acorn Squash (printer version here) –
3-4 Acorn Squash, halved and seeded (Figure 1 half for each person. Filling easily fills 8 halves.)
Extra virgin olive oil
½ T. salt
1 box of Rice Pilaf (which we love! You could use Long Grain Wild Rice or other favorite grain)
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
10 oz. chopped spinach, thawed and drained
½ t. garlic salt
1 lb. ground turkey
¾ cup beef or chicken broth
⅓ cup cranberries
⅓ cup roasted pine nuts
2 T. butter
2 T. brown sugar
½ t. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400.
Place acorn squash halved on a baking sheet, flesh side up. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with ½ t. salt. Turn over and roast for 30-35 minutes, until a knife inserted comes out easily and flesh is soft.
Cook rice according to package directions.
While squash and rice cook, heat 2 T. extra virgin olive oil on medium high heat in a pan. Add onions, sprinkle with 1/2 t. salt and sautéing until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook for 2 more minutes. Add spinach and garlic salt. Add ground turkey, and cook through. Then add broth, stirring for 2 minutes until absorbed. Add cranberries, cooked rice, and stir to combine. Toast pine nuts in a pan on medium heat (watch them, then burn easily). Add to rice mixture at the end.
Meanwhile, melt 2 T. butter in microwave with brown sugar and cinnamon.
Let squash cool for 5 minutes, then brush with brown sugar mixture, mashing into the flesh with a fork to spread around.
Then fill with turkey and rice mixture. Add favorite cheese, if desired. Add pepper to the grown ups.