#SquashGoals

The past few weeks have been full of constant eating (thanksgiving is definitely a meal that keeps on giving!) but once all the leftovers were cleared out of the fridge, or single handedly eaten by me, I was craving something a little bit lighter. On my most recent trip to the grocery store it was like a post holiday ghost town, there was almost no food on the shelves and it was pretty slim pickings for what was left!

I had to be creative to come up with something just as delicious as the amazing thanksgiving foods that I have been eating the past few weeks. Surprisingly, there were a lot of different types of squash left at the store. Everyone is familiar with the butternut squash (featured on my very first post), and the spaghetti squash, but one of my favorites, and in my opinion the most underrated of all the squashes, is the Acorn Squash. Ask anyone and they can give you a fantastic recipe for spaghetti squash or butternut squash, but not many people branch out and give acorn squash a try. I get it, it’s a weird looking vegetable to prepare, but if you do it correctly, it is one of the best!

Acorn squash doesn’t have as distinct of a flavor as butternut, and doesn’t create quite the same “noodles” as the spaghetti squash, but it is very similar in both regards. Plus it is super easy to cook well, the squash absorbs the flavors of spices that you use and becomes a great starch that pairs well with any other vegetable. You can mash the squash for a quick, easy side dish, or roast it for a more traditional preparation. My favorite way to prepare acorn squash is to roast it, still in its skin, with brown sugar and freshly ground black pepper. The contrast between the sweet and spice from the pepper, without being hot like it would be if you used cayenne, is really one of the best flavor combinations. It feels decadent from the sugar, but you still get the hearty and savory dish that you crave, plus the skin becomes its own little bowl that makes clean up fast and easy!

Half a squash is the perfect serving size for an entree, I pair it with roasted asparagus (because roasted veggies are the best veggies) that were cooked in the extra butter and oil from the center of the squash. The lingering hint of brown sugar mixed with a little bit of garlic is a unique flavor combination that really makes the asparagus stand out. Stuff the center of the cooked squash with a quick arugula and goat cheese salad, for some freshness, and you have an EASY, delicious, restaurant quality meal that has the flavors of the holidays!!

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Roasted Acorn Squash with Arugula Goat Cheese Salad and Asparagus

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 1 Acorn Squash
  • 1 Tablespoon Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter, unsalted
  • 1 Bunch of Asparagus, stems taken off
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Dash of Garlic Powder

For the Salad

  • Arugula
  • Goat Cheese
Told you it was easy 🙂

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Halve the acorn squash, scoop out the seeds and discard. Lay both halves on a rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, cut side facing up.
  3. Using your fingers coat the open face of the squash with olive oil. Generously salt and pepper.
  4. Crumble up the brown sugar and sprinkle over the top of the squash.
  5. Place half a tablespoon of butter inside each half and place in the oven.
  6. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour (or until you can easily pierce the flesh of the squash with a fork.)
  7. While the squash is cooking, break the ends off of your asparagus and lay out on a rimmed baking sheet.
  8. Once the squash comes out of the oven, carefully pick up each half and pour the remaining butter onto the asparagus. Set the squash back on its tray to cool slightly.
  9. Lightly toss the asparagus with the butter mixture, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  10. Place into the 400 degree oven and cook for 7 minutes.
  11. Turn off the oven and leave the asparagus in there for 10 more minutes until bright green and slightly soft.
  12. While the asparagus is cooking, toss the arugula and goat cheese together and fill each half of the squash.
  13. Plate the asparagus and the squash next to each other and top everything with more goat cheese.

– Melissa ❤

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