Monday, January 6, 2014

Slow Cooker Stuffed Acorn Squash

My amazing Sister has been lapping me in the Crock Pot cooking department lately, so I jumped on Pinterest to try and get inspired to make something in the slow cooker this weekend.

Slow cooker meals always are a bit of a challenge for me.
Why?
Well, I am the only one person living here, so I have to commit to a large quantity of something I can freeze, or bring to work for lunch all week.
I am gone at work all day, and that slow cooker can only stay on the 'warm' setting for so long, before I start to worry about food going bad, so I prefer to only use the Crock Pot on the weekends when I can make recipes that call for shorter cooking times, and can be home when it is done.
Also, I don't eat a lot of meat. And I especially don't buy a lot of meat to cook at home.
So, finding a weekend crock pot meal that is not a giant roast for a family of 6, is always my goal.

I came across a version of these rice stuffed acorn squash peaked my interest. I love squash (butternut, spaghetti...), but had not cooked acorn squash in a long time, so I decided to give it a try!
Plus I was able to cook only two squash halves for the recipe, not feed the Brady Bunch.

Recipe:
Slow Cooker Stuffed Acorn Squash
Adapted from: Vegetarian Slow Cooker

1 large acorn squash, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut a tiny bit off bottom to sit flat
olive oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
1/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup cooked brown rice (you can use any type of grain you prefer: barley, wild rice, couscous, etc.)
1/8 cup sunflower seeds (can use pumpkin instead.  I'm allergic. wuah wuah)
1 Tbsp minced garlic 
1/4 cup tomato sauce
sprinkle black pepper
1/2 tsp dried sage

1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese

I cut the acorn squash in half, scraped out the seeds, and brushed with olive oil.
Before this, I cleaned the outside peel of the squash well, since it would be left on during the slow cooking.


I pre-cooked some red quinoa and brown rice in salted water, before stuffing the squash.
Remember you rinse your quinoa first, before cooking!
I also shake it dry, and add to the pan with a bit of olive oil, before adding water, and let it toast for a couple minutes. Then, add recommended amount of water and let cook.





Once cooked, the grains got mixed with some tomato sauce, sunflower seeds, and spices, then filled into the cavity of the squash.




One cup of water and a good glug of red wine got added to the slow cooker.
Then, I placed the stuffed squash into the pot, and carefully poured as much vegetable stock over the squash as would fit, without causing the filling to spill out.
Dump any extra down in with the water and wine.

Place the lid on, and Cook in the Crock Pot on High for 4 hours (or on Low for 6-8 hours).
No peeking! Let the squash steam and bake away.

Yum.
When done, remove the lip, and spoon a bit of the remaining liquid from the bottom of the pan over the squash and filling.


Then, carefully remove the stuffed acorn squash from the slow cooker.
I had to use an over-sized spatula (pancake turner) and tongs to get the squash halves out of the pot in one piece.




 Let cool for a couple minutes, and top with feta or goat cheese for added awesomeness.

Then, dig in!
Yum. A hearty, filling vegetarian meal.




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