I’m taking a class at the senior center called Mindful Steps, we start of with some meditation and then walk when the winter weather is to cold or the path has not been plowed we do laps around the inside of the building and exercise in between each lap. Anyway my friend Todd brought in some of the squash bars he talked about last week and they were really good, no great! He used butternut squash on this batch.
My wife found this and we made when Mark and Missy came up from DC, we had no cranberries so we tried it with tart dried cherries. This was great, I mean really good. I asked Marie if I could use her pictures and post she said no problem. You can find more of her recipes here citronlimette, it is a nice site with some great recipes and ideas. Thank you Marie for this great treat!
Seasonal acorn squash stuffed with quinoa. pecans and cranberries is my idea of a healthy vegetarian meal. This recipe for orange quinoa stuffed acorn squash is easy to prepare and a real feast. I love the sweetness of the squash and the nuttiness of the quinoa.
Quinoa is addictively delicious. Quinoa is usually treated like a grain or starch, cooking up like rice or pasta in a fraction of the time.
Choose squash that are heavy for their size and have a hard, deep-colored rind free of blemishes or moldy spots.
Once the seeds are removed, winter squash can be baked, steamed or simmered.
- 2 small acorn squashes, halved length-wise, seeds removed
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ cup dried cranberries – we were out of these so we substituted tart cherries
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Rub squash flesh with 3 tablespoons oil and place face up on baking sheet. Roast 30-35 minutes or until flesh is easily pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and cool.
- Meanwhile, in saucepan bring broth and orange juice to a boil; stir in quinoa, lower heat and simmer, covered until ready. When quinoa is done cooking, turn off heat.
- In medium pan, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onion and celery and sauté until soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and sauté an additional 1 minute.
- Add onion mixture, cranberries and pecans to cooked quinoa and toss until combined; add salt and pepper to taste.
- Fill each squash half with quinoa mixture. Drizzle with a bit of maple syrup before serving, if desired.
- Orange Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash with Pecans (citronlimette.com)
- Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash Flowers (freshfitnhealthy.com)
- Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa, Kale and Cranberry Stuffing (truefoodlove.wordpress.com)
- Pomegranate, Quinoa & Goat Cheese Stuffed Acorn Squash (hummusapien.com)
- Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash (dinewithdeja.wordpress.com)
The first time I had something similar to this they served with herb goat cheese on a bed of arugula. We had on hand crumbled feta, cut up oranges, pumpkin seeds, served on a bed of mixed greens. In fact it was at Stonewall Kitchen cooking class and they made a salad very similar this is my adaptation using what we had on hand. Here is a good site to read about varieties of winter squash. There were 2 of us and this made one fine meal, I even skipped dessert that night which for some reason this last year I have become a dessert person so strange to me.
I apologize I was so into cooking that I forgot to take a picture in the pan while cooking.
- 1 Acorn squash or any thin skinned winter squash – the thin skin allows you to eat it when cooked.
- ¼- ½ cup hard apple cider – could use regular cider
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- ¼ cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Cut off the ends of the squash and scoop out the seed
Cut into ½ inch think rings.
Combine the sugar, salt, pepper and butter in a large bowl. Add the squash and coat.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and place the squash in a single layer. Add apple cider to pan. Allow squash to cook and apple cider to reduce until squash is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize. While pan roasting, turn the squash with a spatula to be sure it browns evenly.
Things I might try next time –
- I think next time I might melt the combination making it easier to coat the squash.
- My pan was a little too small so I ended up using half rings to fit.
- Cooking in batches to retain the circles
- I might try roasting and flipping a few times next time
Hard Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing
- ¾ cup hard apple cider
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice (about ½ orange)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (used our 18 year old)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Bring cider, juice and honey to a boil in a small saucepan.
Cook 10 minutes or until reduced to about 2 tablespoons.
Pour into a medium bowl and let cool slightly. Add shallots, vinegar, Dijon salt and pepper stir with a whisk. Gradually add the olive oil stirring constantly with a whisk. Set aside.
- 1-2 shallots shaved into rings, used our new mandolin
- I cup rice flour – gluten free which browns more quickly
- Canal oil as needed.
Heat canola oil in a small sauté pan. Toss shallots in rice flour, shaking off excess. Fry rings until crispy and lightly golden. Remove from oil and season with salt. Drain on paper towel. To be honest the first batch burnt, the second was not quite crispy enough, and the next batch was perfect. Sound like a familiar story to you? I used the 2nd and third batch tossed the first. Learned you got to watch them cause they turn real quick.
One of my fall favorites, Butternut Squash and Apple Soup then there is plain roasted, fries, replace sweet potato, mashed with a little butter and brown sugar, the list goes on. So when I saw that sale sign and a huge basket of butternut and acorn squash it was another case of my eyes were bigger than my menu. I had some room in the freezer so I did not panic just a quick blanch and freeze.
Mature winter squashes like the butternut have tough skin that protects their firm, yellow-orange flesh and allows them to last longer than their fleeting summer squash relatives. A butternut is so self-reliant that it doesn’t even need to be refrigerated, and can be stored in a cool dark place for several weeks. So how do you choose a good one? First, pick it up. It should be heavy for its size. Look it over and make sure its skin is firm and free of bruises. Check for brown frostbite scars, which can affect the squash’s texture and longevity, and punctures or cuts, which can let bacteria in and cause mold. I like to choose one with a longer neck, especially if I am cubing make life easier. www.cookthink.com
Butternut squash (Quantity depends on you)
Cut ends on and peel and scrap seeds out
Cut the squash into 1/2-inch cubes.
In a larger pot bring at least 8 cups of water to a full boil
Blanch the squash for about 3 minutes
Strain the squash in collider and then immediately put in large bowl of ice water to stop cooking
Place on a large cookie sheet and into the freezer until frozen about 30 minutes to an hour.
Place in freezer bag (we use Food Saver), suck it and back into the freezer.
Butternut squash is an edible member of the gourd family whose roots have been traced back to Mexico in 5500 B.C. (Along with beans and corn, squash is one of the “Three Sisters,” the cornerstones of Native American cuisine.)
A mature winter squash, it grows on a vine, and has a giant pear-shaped body, tough skin, rich-tasting, vivid yellow-orange flesh and a sweet flavor. (It can often substitute well for the sweet potato.) Butternut squash can be baked, steamed, puréed or simmered, and is often referred to by cooks as a “workhorse” because of its versatility. Once cooked, its dry flesh has a glossy and silky texture that makes it a favorite in soups, curries and other dishes. http://www.cookthink.com
The word “squash” comes from the Narragansett word that means “to eat raw or green.” You certainly won’t be eating your squash raw or green, and you must cook it even before you freeze it to make sure that the squash retains its color and texture once it is thawed. The process of cooking squash is called blanching. When you blanch squash, you boil it just long enough to stop the enzymes that cause squash to deteriorate. The process for preparing and blanching squash for freezing depends on whether you are freezing summer or winter squash. http://www.livestrong.com