acorn squash two ways

8 Nov

I’ve been in the mood to cook lately. Part of it is because I’ve been on vacation and whenever I have more free time the first thing I want to do is cook again. Another part of it is the weather, though. Whenever it starts getting colder, there are certain dishes I crave.

Last night I made acorn squash stuffed with ground pork and buttered breadcrumbs, something my mother just turned me on to a few weeks ago when she made it. Trevor doesn’t like squash so I just put his ground pork on top of mashed potatoes, but that also meant more squash for me. I ended up making half the squash savory, stuffed with the pork, and the other half sweet, with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. That sweet acorn squash has been a fall/winter standby in my family since I was little. I actually used to hate it – or rather, refuse to try to eat it. But as I’ve grown older both my tastes and my openness to trying new things has changed a lot, and this is one of those things I now love.

The other great part about both the sweet and savory versions of this acorn squash preparation is that it is SO easy.

For savory acorn squash with ground pork:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (f).

Take an acorn squash, wash and dry it, then cut it in half lengthwise. You may want to use a vegetable peeler to gouge out a little even plain on the bottom of the squash so that it will lay flat in your baking dish.

Scoop out the innards of each side of the squash and discard.

Rub the inside of the squash with a little olive oil, and set aside.

In a skillet, fully cook your ground pork. You can add whichever type of flavorings/herbs/spices you want. I just kept mine simple with salt, pepper, and a little paprika.

While the meat is browning, put a tablespoon of butter in a mug, add in a heap of breadcrumbs, and microwave about 30 seconds. Then stir them together to make sure all the breadcrumbs are nice and buttery.

When the meat is done, fill your acorn squash with the meat, top with the breadcrumbs, and fill a pyrex baking dish with about an inch of water and set the acorn squash inside it, “hole up”. Now it goes in the oven for 45 min-1 hour. Check at 45 min to see if you need to keep cooking them – they are done when you can easily pierce the squash “meat” with a fork.

For the sweet acorn squash:

Do the same prep on the squash, including rubbing with a light-tasting olive oil.

Then take 1-2 tablespoons butter and put it in the squash. Cover with 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar. Then sprinkle cinnamon on top to taste.

This squash is cooked exactly the same way: fill a pyrex baking dish with about an inch of water and set the acorn squash inside it, “hole up”. Now it goes in the oven for 45 min-1 hour. Check at 45 min to see if you need to keep cooking them – they are done when you can easily pierce the squash “meat” with a fork.

The nice thing about the cooking time being the same is you can do just as I did and make a sweet and savory version in one by doing each half differently – then you have an entree and dessert!

I’ve been slowly trying to clean the apartment for Sunday’s Cookbook Club meeting, but I’ve gotten precious little done. I’m feeling very sloth-like lately, and the only things I really want to do bear directly on the kitchen area alone. So, besides cooking – today I am also attempting a chicken stew after being inspired by Erin’s post over at Gingers Like it Hot – I also was able to reorganize/clean out our cabinets, something I have been wanting to do for awhile.

I’ve been trying to be much more conscientious lately about using the stuff we already have in our kitchen before going out and buying new stuff. But almost every time I went to grab something out of our cupboards I kept finding that it was past its expiration date. On the one hand, this just verifies that I am correct in my thinking that we should be trying to use those things first, since clearly we otherwise do not get to them in time. It’s also making me a little more savvy or aware of what I am buying and whether or not we are actually likely to really use it. But on the other hand, it’s totally depressing. Although we bought these items over many months (even years in some cases, gasp!) – it was still sobering to see two giant paper bags FULL of food that I had to throw away. What a waste! But oh is it satisfying to see our nice, bare cabinets, properly stocked only with things that are usable. Although I don’t have a before photo for comparison, I really think the after is a thing of beauty regardless:

Anyway, I’m supposed to be cleaning and my stew’s almost ready. I’ll let you know how that went tomorrow!

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