Friday Fall Favorites: Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe

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It’s not Fall.  Not technically.  And it certainly doesn’t feel like Fall.

But I WANT it to be Fall!  This is now my 13th Summer in the South and I just can’t get used to it.  I’ve lived nearly half my life in this corner of the country but every Summer I start losing my mind a little when it’s 93 degrees outside for the millionth day in a row.  Come September I am mentally DONE with Summer, even if it’s not done with me.  I start drooling over my Autumn-themed Pinterest boards. (yes, they exist)  I’m really looking forward to feeling what fall feels like in the RV.  Will there come a day when we don’t need to run the AC to stay alive?  I sure hope so!

It’s this time of year when, hot or not, all the yummy squashes come into season!  I saw an organic acorn squash at my local health food store and nabbed it! (Don’t worry, I paid for it)  I made this recipe tonight and my husband and I loved it!  Not only is it hearty and comforting (and crazy tasty) it’s incredibly healthy!  This recipe is begging for sweater weather.

Acorn squash is packed with Vitamin C (which I think we all need this time of year – hello germs!) and has numerous health benefits.  This particular recipe stuffs the squash with bison, goat cheese, shitake mushrooms, vidalia onions, and toasted hazelnuts.

We’ve been eating a lot of bison meat lately.  It’s way healthier than beef (almost twice the protein content and 1/3 of the fat!) and way more sustainable for the environment.  It’s also extremely tasty.  If you’re going to eat meat, eat bison.

As for the goat cheese, I simply prefer it to cow’s cheese as it’s creamier and easier to digest (and doesn’t give my baby eczema). Shitake mushrooms support immune and brain function.

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The toasted hazelnuts are heart healthy and provide tiny little explosions of flavor in your mouth.

You want the recipe?  Here you go!

Bison, Goat Cheese, and Hazelnut Stuffed Acorn Squash

Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Serves: Two people + leftovers

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized acorn squash
  • 1/2 lb bison meat
  • 5-6 medium sized shitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup thin sliced Vidalia onions
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 1 cup toasted skinned hazelnuts
  • 2 tbs grassfed sourced butter (trust me, there’s a flavor difference!) or coconut oil
  • Himalayan salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 t. fresh thyme
  1.  Start by prepping your hazelnuts.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and roughly chop the nuts into halves or quarters.  Spread the nuts (also known as filburts for some reason?) evenly on a foil-lined baking tray and toast for 10 minutes.  When you take them out of the oven, put your nuts on a paper towel or kitchen towel and cover them. You’ll hear a faint hissing sound.  That’s the sound the skin makes as it’s slowly being annihilated.  Give the nuts a little massage with the towel.  This will quickly rub the skins off.  Put the hazelnuts in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Turn the oven heat up to 425 degrees.
  3. Chop the top off of your acorn squash, then cut in half down the middle.  Scoop the guts out and discard.  Place face down on the same foil-lined pan (you might want to spray it or drizzle the pan with oil to keep the squash from sticking).  Roast for 30 minutes or until the squash flesh is soft.
  4. While your squash is roasting, chop up your onions and mushrooms.  Melt butter or oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add salt and pepper.  Add onions and sauté until soft.  Add mushrooms and brown them.
  5. Move the onions and mushrooms to one side of the pan and add your bison meat on the other.  Break the meat up into small pieces and cook until done.  Add more salt and pepper and the thyme.  Bison meat doesn’t take long to cook.  Once it’s brown, mix with the mushrooms and onions.
  6. Turn the heat off and take the pan off the heat.  Cut your goat cheese into pieces (nothing fancy) and add to the meat mixture along with your hazelnuts and stir until the cheese and the nuts are mixed in.
  7. Stuff this goodness into your now roasted acorn squash and put back in the oven for another 15 minutes or so.

Enjoy!  I guarantee you will have leftovers if you’re feeding less than two people!

Hearty, healthy, and bursting with flavor!

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