Guest Author - Angela Thornton-Millard
You can tell it is fall when the grocery stores and farmers’ markets start displaying all the beautiful winter squash. There are many varieties from acorn to butternut to spaghetti. Besides looking pretty, these gems taste great, store well and pack a nutritional punch. Generally, winter squash is low in sodium and fat and high in vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and manganese.
For a quick weeknight meal, try this recipe for slow cooked stuffed squash. You can prepare this recipe the night before, pop it in your slow cooker before you leave for work, and you’ll have a delicious 400-calorie dinner ready when you get home. If you have meat lovers in your family, add half a pound of cooked ground turkey or ground turkey sausage to the stuffing mixture.
2 acorn squash
2 cups peeled and diced sweet potato
1 cup peeled and diced apple
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon dried onion
Using a large, sharp knife, cut the squash in half so that you have two identical halves. You may also want to make a thin slice off the bottom so that the squash will sit nicely in the slow cooker or pan and not fall over. Scoop out the seeds and pulp and set aside. In a bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients and toss to mix. Fill each squash half with the mixture. Place the stuffed squash halves in a large slow cooker. You will probably have to stack them a bit to fit them all in. Sprinkle any remaining filling over the top or save for a side dish for another day. Put an inch of water in the bottom of your slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or until the squash and sweet potatoes are tender. You can also bake the squash in the oven in a 9x13 pan with an inch of water. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until the squash is tender. Makes four servings.
You can save the squash seeds and roast them like pumpkin seeds. Separate the seeds from the pulp and rinse well. Bake at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes, watching closely as they burn quickly. Toss them with some nuts and dried fruit for a quick grab-and-go snack.
Nutrition information estimated from SparkRecipes.com: 404 calories, 6.7 grams fat, 47 milligrams sodium, 1388 milligrams potassium, 9 grams fiber, 5 grams protein, 135% RDA vitamin A, 66% RDA vitamin C, 39% RDA vitamin B-6, 20% RDA iron, 26% RDA magnesium, 131% RDA manganese