So we’re having one of those mornings. It’s sounding kinda like this:
Me: “Here, Lilly, you get to have a waffle for breakfast!”
Lilly: “With syrup?”
Me: “No- even better! You get to have a waffle with no syrup today! How cool is that? You are so lucky!”
Lilly: (looking skeptical) “I need a plate and a fork, Mom.”
Me: “Well, this is the coolest part- you DON’T need a plate OR a fork! You can use your hands! Awesome!”
There was some discussion from Lilly on how she really likes waffles cut up on a plate with syrup and a fork… but eventually she let it go.
I mean, sometimes, I just can’t get it together enough to get a plate AND a fork AND the syrup. I’m workin’ without caffeine this morning as I plan to make a pitt-stop at Starbucks on my way to Children’s Hospital. Grace has been a little nigh-time nightmare lately so I’m keeping my consumption to 1 drink a day. Sigh. Plus to be perfectly honest, I’d rather not make coffee than make coffee and have to wash my mug. Just cleaned the kitchen and all that.
So Lilly ate her make-shift breakfast with her make-shift Mommy while Grace chewed on the package of a new paci. What is it with losing those stupid things? Life goes on. Maybe tomorrow we’ll make pumpkin pancakes or omelets or something a little more special. Pumpkin pancakes or regular omelets. Not pumpkin omelets.
But I’ve got big plans to get stuff done today. Work stuff. Home stuff. Medical stuff. Paperwork, emails, laundry, maybe a shower if I’m feeling extra crazy. But I am feeling productive- well I’m feeling like I could be productive later. Isn’t that the same thing?
Thanks to Julie from Philly, I received two beautiful acorn squash that have been sitting on my counter looking pretty for a few weeks. I finally felt inspired to cook them last night with some leftover taco meat that I had frozen a few weeks ago after a typical taco dinner. Going to the grocery store in this hurricane rain, with two little ones on top of that, just wasn’t going to happen so I got creative with what I already had on hand.
First, you need to have tacos for dinner. Yum! Make a double batch of ground meat so you have leftovers to use in your squash dinner. Why make double work? If you are making this squash the same week, the meat will be fine in the refrigerator, but any longer than that and it should be frozen in a ziplock bag.
Now for our recipe:
Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash
1 lb. cooked taco meat (we used beef but you could use turkey or even chicken)
2 acorn squash (or more if you are feeding more people)
1 cup prepared wild rice (use whatever kind of rice/cooking method you want- we used Uncle Ben’s microwave steam and serve wild rice A) because it’s quick and easy B) because it was in my pantry and C) because my daughter loves it for dinner with peas mixed in)
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup of frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 can of black beans
1/2 cup red sauce (pasta sauce, pizza sauce etc.) we used some homemade red sauce but anything tomato based will be great- even fresh tomatoes or a can of crushed tomatoes etc.
1/2 tsp. red pepper flake
1 cup of cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Slice bottom tip off of squash so it can rest flat. Slice top inch of squash off (to get rid of entire stem portion) and scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh). Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place cut side down on a sprayed baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until very tender.
2. Meanwhile, thaw taco meat if needed in a pan set over low heat. Saute the onion in a little bit of olive oil until translucent- 10 minutes.
3. Add onions to taco meat and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until edges of onion begin to brown and caramelize. Stir in red pepper flake.
4. Add red sauce, peas, corn, and beans and cook until bubbling. Set aside.
5. When squash are finished, remove from the over and flip so they are right side up and ready to be filled. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees F. Add a few spoonfuls of wild rice to bottom of squash bowls. Fill with heaping scoops of meat mixture, gently pressing mixture into crevice of squash bowl.
*At this point, you could cover these and refrigerate them, making this a great make ahead meal.*
Before returning to the oven, sprinkle liberally with sharp cheddar cheese. Bake for another 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown. In hindsight, shredded pepper jack would have been awesome- but you know, rain, hurricane, babies, toddlers, no grocery store trip etc.
Dig in! We had ours with leftover pretzel rolls- recipe found here. I’ll definitely be making these again. Brandon loved them. Kind of a cross between tacos, sloppy joe’s, and chili and such a good way to actually EAT the beautiful squash so many of us have decorating our houses this time of year.