“Orange” you glad it’s fall? Maybe. I just returned from an amazing vacation in Fort Myers, Florida where the temps were 85 to 90 degrees and the sun was beautiful. Every chance we had, we went to the beach and especially enjoyed watching the sunset. I have to admit, that was the first time I heard cheers and applause for the sun setting over the water but it sure made me appreciate the moment all the more and made me wonder “Why don’t I pay more attention to the sun setting in Minnesota?” Because when we left it was a 29 degree morning! So not ready for winter yet. Give me sand in my toes any day of the week.
One thing that does get me excited for cooler temperatures is the appearance of one of my favorite orange vegetables – winter squash. You see, I have always been a squash lover, growing it from the time I was little. But from my memories, I had little variation in how I ate this squashy veg. This year I received
some many in my CSA membership – I have already made Squash Apple Soup, Squashed Mashed Potatoes and reserved some puree in the freezer. And lucky for me – the theme of this month’s Recipe Redux Challenge was “Orange You Glad It’s Fall” – a time to share a orange, antioxidant-filled dish!
But there was one that I had not yet attempted but the urge was strong after seeing it done at a dietitian meeting I had went to a couple of years ago at Mayo Clinic. “Top Your Own Squash Bar”. Why hadn’t I thought of this yet? It was simple, veggie based and definitely a winning idea.
What could be more fall?
Top Your Own Squash Bar
Serves 4. (1/2 squash each)
- 2 acorn squash, halved
- Pick 1 cup sautéed protein: diced chicken breast, diced turkey, lean ground beef or pork tenderloin
- Pick 2 cups vegetables sautéed in 1 tablespoon butter + 1 tablespoon olive oil: celery, red pepper, mushrooms, carrots, yellow onions, leeks, broccoli, cauliflower
- 2 cups pre-cooked long grain brown and wild rice (cooked in low sodium chicken broth)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Optional – parmesan cheese, bread crumbs for topping
- Place halved acorn squash cut-side down in rimmed pan with 1/2 inch water in pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until fork-tender.
- Meanwhile, prepare all toppings. Saute your protein choice, veggies in a separate pan, boil rice. (Hint – if this is already done, just re-warm all toppings.) Place toppings in separate bowls on the table.
- Time to build it – use hot acorn squash right away once removed from oven. Or keep warm in oven until ready for meal. Top with desired toppings. Optional, place acorn squash under broiler if adding a little breadcrumbs or Parmesan cheese to top of filling for a crunch or melty treat.
Another idea – utilize a sauté pan to mix all topping ingredients together to create a stuffing-like filling. And ooohhh, I bet dried cranberries would be a great addition!
I would love to hear what other filling ideas would be great in squash bar?
Be sure to check out my other friends from Recipe Redux for more fall, orange recipes!