Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash

Many apologies for the lack of recipes we’ve posted this October! It’s been a hectic time with birthdays, freelance work, busy weekends and more. We’ve been cooking a lot, and enjoying the plentiful fall produce, just not sharing… we are back, no more excuses, with a fabulous fall recipe that uses pantry items and leftovers! This dish is rich in flavors, the contrast of spicy and savory fillings within the sweet acorn squash with gooey mozzarella cheese topping it off is very satifying, and packs a healthy dose of vitamins! Use any leftover fillings the next day wrapped in tortillas.

Serves 2 ( with plenty of leftovers for filling another squash or use as taco fillings the next day)

1 acorn squash ( about 1 pound)
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
Cooking Spray
1 cup cooked brown rice ( use any leftover rice if it’s on hand- plain, with seasonings and veggies- whatever!)
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chilil powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 15-oz can black beans, lower sodium, rinsed and drained
5 dashes hot red pepper sauce, to taste
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 ounces shredded Mozzarella cheese

To Prepare:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Cut squash in half vertically ( from top where stem is to the bottom). Scoop out and discard the seeds. Rub the interior with a light coating of olive oil, salt and pepper, then place cut-side down on prepared baking sheet. Bake until tender about 35-40 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, lightly coat a large skillet with cooking spray or olive oil; heat over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and red pepper; cook, stirring often, until softened, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and cumin; cook for 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, beans, rice, and hot sauce; cook until heated through, about 4 minutes, stir often so it doesn’t burn. Taste test for seasoning adjustments, add any salt or pepper and then set aside
4. When squash are tender, reduce oven to 325 degrees. Fill the squash halves with the rice/ bean mixture ( about 1 cup in each half). Top with cheese. Place on the baking sheet and bake until the filling is heated through and the cheese is melted, 5-8 minutes.
5. Enjoy this hearty, healthy, very filling meal and let us know what you think!