Monthly Archives: February 2014

quinoa stuffed acorn squash

acorn

Ok people. Let’s talk about squash. Those big, chunky, vegetables that, let’s be honest, are somewhat unapproachable at the grocery store. They’re sitting there in a heap with all their  other squashy friends and yes, they look beautiful. But not to eat. More like, put on your porch at Halloween and let them just sit there. Doing what they do best…

But every once in awhile, I get enough courage to actually put one of these guys in my grocery cart with the intentions of eating it. I know, so brave.

I’ve made butternut squash before, but I’ve never dared to try one of these bad boys…

squashy

…Until last night. Turns out, they have a purpose besides sitting on my front porch! They actually tasted pretty darn good, and it was a simple and healthy dinner to throw together. That’s what I’m talking about.

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quinoa stuffed acorn squash *serves 2

ingredients: 

  • 1 small acorn squash
  • 1/4 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup frozen or fresh corn
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • cilantro, feta cheese, sour cream (I used plain Greek yogurt) for garnishing

for the chicken: (this can be omitted if you’re going vegetarian-style, but I knew that wouldn’t fly with the hubby, so I threw some chicken in.)

  • 1 small chicken breast, cubed
  • 1/2 T coconut or olive oil
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t onion powder
  • 1/2 t ground paprika

directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the acorn squash down the middle and scoop out all the seeds and goopiness. Place squash cut-side down in a baking pan, cover halfway with water, and put foil over the pan. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes, until soft.
  2. While the squash is baking, cook the quinoa according to the directions. (I recommend cooking it in chicken broth to give it some flavor.)
  3. Combine the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and ground paprika in a bowl, and mix well. Add the cubed chicken and roll it around until it is all covered in the seasoning.
  4. Heat some oil in a saucepan and cook the chicken on low-medium heat until white in the middle. (Not too long or it will be tough. Usually about 5-7 minutes.) Place the chicken on a plate and leave excess oil in the pan.
  5. Saute the diced onions until soft, about 4 minutes, then add the corn and allow to brown slightly. Add the quinoa, beans, cumin, chili powder, and a dash of salt and pepper. When warm, add the chicken back to the pan and stir.
  6. When the squash is soft, remove from the oven and use a large slotted spoon to remove from the water. Place cut-side up on a plate and fill each squash with the quinoa mixture. Top with sour cream, feta cheese and cilantro.

cut

quinoa

cropped squash

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queso and pups

Ok it’s decided. I nominate my husband for “best husband of the year…” award.

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I’m sure every newly-wedded wife would say the same thing about her own husband. But really, I don’t know many men who could top the date night Patrick planned for us.

Two words: puppy and cheese.

Our night started off with a tour of Gossner Food’s cheese factory. It turned out to be an accident that we got a full back-stage tour complete with unlimited souvenirs at the end…I was suppose to photograph the factory for a school project I’m working on. And botta-bing, botta-boom. We ended up getting a tour of the entire factory. The best part came at the end in a form of two empty plastic bags. Tyler, our tour guide and now my best friend, said these exact words, “Load up. It’s on the house.”

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Pat and I stood there in shock like we’d just witnessed a miracle. Let’s just say, our bags weren’t light as we walked out of that blessed building. Cheeeese for days!!!

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After a delicious dinner at Texas Roadhouse…those rolls…We went home for the best part of the night. This part was suppose to be a surprise. Unfortunately for Pat, he married an extremely snoopy wife who happened to see his email labeled: puppy rental confirmation. Yes, that’s right. Patrick rented us a puppy for the night!

pup

His name is Emmet. Sure, he’s a little scrawny. Yes, he pooped on the floor and peed on Pat’s new shirt…But that little pup was a fiery ball of energy and the most adorable thing you’ve ever seen. We rented him for two hours, and by the end he was exhausted. Turns out running back and forth in a little apartment for an hour and a half straight even wears out a puppy. Renting Emmet was a dangerous thing. Pat spent the rest of the night youtubing puppies and I found KSL open on his computer to the puppies for sale section…

me patnpup

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If you’d like to rent a puppy, check it out here!