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October 30, 2012

Meatless Monday #1 - Roasted Acorn Squash and Couscous with Pine nuts and Craisins...

Wow. Been a while since I posted anything - blogger has gotten a little more user-friendly! Nice!

Anyway, back to the blog, as much as possible with 5 kids. I mean to keep up with this so Pipps has all my recipes some day but I have definitely skipped a LOT of them. She reminded me last night that the squash needed to go on the blog so here I am.

Last night we did our "first" meatless Monday. I say first only because we've done a ton of meatless dinners in the past but I'm trying to get a little more organized. Since A was born a year ago, my mind has been mush. There's always so much going on and I don't have a good system going. My goals are to get together a binder and try and sit down and plan as much as possible with the meals/shopping/etc. so we don't keep resorting to PB&J or popcorn/cheese/apple night. Don't get me wrong - those nights are nice sometimes, but I noticed a lot of junk food and take-out creeping into our house over the last year because it was easy, but it's expensive and not that healthy and so I'd like to phase that back out.

Pipps loves squash of pretty much any kind but especially the kind my mother makes filled with tons of butter and brown sugar and pecans. I've never been a huge fan but I started to not hate squash a couple years ago when I made this for the first time. Since then I've been a little more adventurous and have been open to trying it again so when it was on sale at the local market for .48/lb the other week, I grabbed a few different kind.

The acorn squash were the only ones that made it. The butternut squash got kicked through the kitchen after baby A pulled it onto the floor and then I didn't notice until a few days later that it had been punctured and was oozing out so I tossed it. It was probably ok but it sort of creeped me out. The other one I bought, I think a delicata? was mistaken for a pumpkin and brought to a party to get painted. That was actually sort of funny.

The 3 acorn squash that were left I roasted last night and they turned out great. I was originally going to stuff them with the couscous but we had a lot of last minute things going on last night so I ran out of time and just served it on the side and it was good. I made homemade veggie stock for the couscous because I had a bunch of veggie scraps in the freezer but you could sub a carton of veggie broth or even water, and if you don't care about being entirely meatless (I probably wouldn't), you could use chicken stock.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Garam Masala, Rosemary and Brown Sugar:
3 Acorn Squash, cut in half lengthwise and cleaned (scoop out the slime and the seeds)
3 Tbsp butter, cut into 6 pieces.
2 tsp Garam Masala
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary
6 tsp brown sugar
kosher salt
black pepper
olive oil for drizzling

Place the 6 acorn squash into a 9 x 13 pan. You have two options here...you can either mix together the rest of the ingredients together and evenly divide the mixture between the 6 halves of squash. OR...you can be lazy like I was and just stick a piece of butter adn a tsp of brown sugar into each half and then sprinkle the garam masala, rosemary, kosher salt and black pepper all over them.
Drizzle with a couple tsp of olive oil, cover with foil, and put in a 400 oven for 25 mn.
After 20 mn, remove the foil and baste the squash with the liquids. If the pan is too dry, you can add a little water to the bottom. I didn't need to do this, but you never know. Roast another 10 minutes or until the squash is soft enough to be pierced with a fork. When serving, make sure you grab a little of the juices that have accumulated on the bottom of the pan and drizzle over the squash.

Couscous Pilaf with Pine Nuts and Dried Cranberries
4 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock or water)
3 cups couscous
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pot, melt the butter on med-high heat. Add the pine nuts and stir until they're toasted, careful not to burn the butter or the nuts. Add the stock, and spices and bring to a boil. Add the couscous and cranberries, stir, cover and remove from heat. Let rest for 15 minutes and then fluff with a fork when serving.

FYI - last night I realized halfway into this recipe that I only had about a cup of couscous. I thought I had more but that turned out to be polenta! SO - I actually started this with red quinoa and 10 mn brown rice I had (about 1/2 cup of each) and after 10 mn of simmering uncovered, added the couscous to the pot and covered and let rest. It turned out really well although my quinoa was a smide undercooked but nobody noticed except me :)

I have pictures on my phone - haven't figured out if I can integrate those somehow into here yet without searching for my usb cable...like I said before, I'm on a road to organization! It's a tough journey ;)