Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Meatless Monday: Acorn Squash Stuffed with Brown Rice and Apples

Doesn't the recipe title sound like a yummy plate of autumn?   Oh my goodness--we tried this new recipe tonight and it was so delicious that I am typing up a blog post about it at 9:30p in the evening.

Today was day one of two of my 6-8 hours of bed rest.  Thus, I tried to keep dinner as simple as possible since I knew Drew wouldn't be home until dinner time and I wouldn't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen.   The recipe did not disappoint in the ease factor.  I threw an acorn squash in the oven to roast for 40 minutes and also put the rice (I used brown jasmine rice) on the stovetop at the same time, since it took 45 minutes to cook.  Then, putting it all together was pretty simple when Drew got home.  I let him chop the veggies.  :-)

I got the recipe from the "mywholefoodlife.com" blog, which I love for recipes. I modified it though, so the recipe I am posting below is our modified version:

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Wild Rice and Apples
1 acorn squash (I would recommend halving it for roasting)
2-3 cups cooked brown rice
3 celery stalks chopped
2 large carrots chopped
1 small onion chopped
1 apple diced (tonight, we used a gala, which was delicious)
1 garlic clove minced
1 tablespoon oil (I used EVOO tonight)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
salt to taste
Preheat oven to 400 and roast the squash for 40 minutes or until it’s done.  (We didn't do this, but I would recommend halving it, scooping out the seeds, rubbing with olive oil and then roast).  You can tell it’s done when you are able to stick a fork through the skin easily.  Also cook enough wild rice to make 2-3 cups of cooked rice. 
As the squash is roasting, chop the carrots, onion, and celery as well as mince the garlic. Add all of it to a pan under medium high heat and saute for 7-10 minutes. After the onions begin to become translucent, lower the heat to medium and add the rice and spices, including the salt. Stir well for a couple of minutes and remove from the heat. Let this mixture cool down significantly.
Once the rice mixture has cooled off and is more of a lukewarm temperature, add the diced apples. You want these apples to retain their crispiness, so it is important to not add them too early or they will soften. Stir the apples in the mixture so they get coated in some of the oil from the pan. This will keep them from browning.
When the squash is fully roasted, remove it from the oven. Once it has begun to cool, you can scoop out the seeds and add the rice to the inside of the dish as shown below and serve.  This recipe makes about 4 servings.  Enjoy!
I'm including mywholefoodlife.com's photo because I wasn't able to take photos of ours tonight.
Honestly though, we didn't even put the rice into the acorn squash.  I get the feeling that the acorn squash is primarily for presentation.  The rice was SO good by itself with the other veggies, and we ate the roasted acorn squash as a side.  In the future, I would make the rice part by itself as a side dish to go along with any other meal (sort of like a fried rice).  Also, the recipe didn't indicate it, but to me it is apparent from the photo that Melissa of "mywholefoodlife.com" cut the squash in half before roasting it.  That would probably taste much better than how we prepared it tonight, as we roasted it whole and then scooped out the seeds.  It would have so much more flavor if it were cut in half, rubbed down with olive oil, and then sprinkled lightly with sea salt--yum!  You seriously must try this dish though!  As Drew was chopping the celery, he was really leery of putting it into the recipe.  He is not a fan of celery at all.  But, we tried it anyway and it was so good!   The rice had a perfect combination of savory, sweetness, and warmth (with the fall flavors of cinnamon and ginger).   
You may wonder if that is all we ate tonight.  I also whipped up some quick, super easy, delicious whole wheat biscuits (recipe from 100daysofrealfood.com).  We were out of bread (we need to go to the store, but I couldn't get out today), but we keep certain staples around for moments like these.  The recipe takes only about 15 minutes from start to coming out of the oven, so it is great in a pinch.  My idea was to use the recipe to make thinner wider biscuits that I could slice in half and use for mini grilled cheese sandwiches (we always have cheese in the fridge).  The combo was amazing and a hit!  I think I heard Luke say, "This is SO good, mommy" five times.  And then he asked for three more.      Here is that recipe--enjoy:
Super Easy Whole Wheat Biscuits
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur’s white whole wheat organic flour)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup milk (any kind)
  1. In a medium sized bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well with whisk or fork.
  2. Cut the ½ stick butter into little pea sized pieces and then mix the pieces into the flour mixture.
  3. Using a fork, try to mash the butter pieces as you mix it together with the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs. It is okay if the outcome just looks like the same pea sized pieces of butter covered with flour.
  4. Then pour in the milk and mix it all together. Knead the dough with your hands 8 to 10 times and then turn out onto a counter or cutting board.
  5. Pat it out flat with your hands until the dough is a somewhat even ¾-inch thickness (sprinkle with a little flour if necessary).
  6. Turn a drinking glass upside down and cut out biscuit rounds. I have also used shaped cookie cutters (like a heart or star) if you have little ones helping you!
  7. Then put them on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
Sorry for the lack of photos in this post.  I didn't pick up the camera today and once that food was cooked, it barely spent time on our plates--it went straight into our mouths. 

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