Tastes of Fall: Chicken, Quinoa, Kale & Goat Cheese Stuffed Acorn Squash

Good morning! I’ve got a delicious- and easy- ¬†recipe for you today. Anyone else like to cook according to the season and, well, what’s in season? I love seeing all of the pumpkin, squash, and apple recipes floating around the blogisphere these days. Athena posted this delicious looking Autumn Kale Salad recipe last week, Alexis posted this Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta recipe that I’m dying to make and Lexi posted these fantastic Pumpkin Sticky Bun Muffins that I actually made last weekend!

I could literally go on and on, but today I want to share a fall recipe that I made the other week. I based it off of this recipe that I made last year, which was basically identical to the meal we had at The Local in Newton. Regardless, I realized that I hadn’t actually POSTED a recipe for this meal so I figured today was as good a time as any ūüôā

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All you need for this recipe is an acorn squash, kale (or spinach), chicken (or shrimp or steak), quinoa (or rice or a blend) and goat cheese (or feta or none)… as you can see, you can really do what you want to make this recipe your own!

Ingredients (use as a guide, but feel free to substitute as you see fit!)

  • 1 medium acorn squash, baked
  • 3-4 chicken thighs, baked
  • small bunch of kale, de-stemmed, rinsed & baked
  • Quinoa or rice or a blend (I had a medley on hand so I used that)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup of goat cheese
  • dash of cinnamon (for acorn squash)
  • EVOO (for kale¬† & chicken)
  • Coconut oil
  • salt & pepper & garlic powder

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425*, cut your acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Coat the flesh of the acorn squash with coconut oil and place face down in a baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the squash is soft. Once it’s soft, remove from the oven and sprinkle some cinnamon on the flesh. Set aside.
  2. While the squash is cooking, cook your quinoa or rice according to the directions on the back of the package.
  3. While the squash and quinoa are cooking, prepare your kale by washing it, de-stemming it and placing it in a baking dish. Coat with salt, pepper, garlic powder & plenty of EVOO. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until it has wilted.
  4. Once you’ve gotten a handle of the foods in steps 1-3, prepare your chicken. I cut mine into cubes, coated with EVOO, salt, pepper and garlic powder and saut√©ed in a skillet until it was cooked through.
  5. At this point, everything should be cooked and it’s time to assemble everything. I combined the kale, quinoa and chicken in a small bowl and then stuffed the acorn squash halves with that mixture. Finally, I topped¬†each stuffed half¬†with a sprinkling of goat cheese and broiled for a few minutes until the cheese started to brown.

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What I loved about these was that even though it was a lot of separate things to cook, they could pretty much all be done simultaneously since the squash takes some time to bake and the quinoa and kale don’t need tending to once they’re cooking.

Stuffed acorn squash 2

All of the flavors in this dish really complimented each other and left me “mmm’ing” after each bite. The savory flavor from the kale mixed with the sweetness from the squash was on point!

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These also reheated really well and sine the squash was cooked enough that it was soft it was easy to peel away from the skin. You could eat the skin if you wanted lots of extra fiber, but I opted to take the skin off ūüėČ

Stuffed acorn squash 5

Like stuffed peppers, I call this a one stop dinner dish since you’ve got veggies, protein and healthy fats all in one place! This is a great fall recipe- let me know if you try it ūüôā

Questions for you: What’s your favorite fall recipe? Are you a pumpkin lover? What’s your favorite kind of squash? Do you prefer kale or spinach?

 

 

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Weekending: Baby snuggles, Dry Bar, a Wedding & Lots of Errands

Hi there! How are you doing today? This past weekend was a good one- just what I needed after a stressful week.

After work on Friday, I headed to my friend Jess’s apartment in the North End to hang out with her, some other SMC friends and Jess’s sweet little baby girl, Nora. Jess had Nora in August, but because of everyone’s crazy schedules, we hadn’t had a chance to meet her yet. Snuggles with her was the perfect way to relax me ūüôā

The rest of the night was spent passing the babe around, drinking wine, eating pizza and just hanging out. They’ve got an awesome little deck off the living room so we bundled up and headed out there to finish the night.

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After teaching on Saturday, I headed to Chestnut Hill to cash in my Groupon for a blow out at drybar in Chestnut Hill. Have you guys ever heard of drybar or been there? If you haven’t,¬†it’s a salon¬†that only washes, dries and styles your hair. Their slogan, “no cuts. no colors. just blowouts.”, is a perfect way to describe their services. What I loved about the place is that it’s such a girly-girl activity! They charge¬†$40 for a blowout which also includes a cocktail… because cocktails make everything more fun, right? I couldn’t help but have a glass of champagne during my 12pm appointment. I literally did burpees and¬†then had bubbly… so fitting ūüėČ

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I was given a “menu” which had all of the styles listed out. The names were names of cocktails and I went with the Cosmopolitan as it was a loose, wavy style.

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Never mind the blowout, I could have had my hair washed for an hour- the scalp massage was so wonderful! From start to finish it was the most relaxing hour, and such a fun way to treat myself to some pampering! Unfortunately, the weather sucked and therefore my hair did not keep the look I got at the salon, but oh well. Nothing you can do!

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Later in the day, RM and I headed to Beverly to attend his cousin’s wedding. While it was freezing during the outdoor ceremony, it was very thoughtful and heartfelt… I just wish I could’ve had a glass of wine to help numb the cold temps! I didn’t take many photos during the night because I was meeting so many people and didn’t want to be that girl taking a million photos, but I’ll say it was a super fun wedding. His family likes to have a good time and we danced all night!

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We slept in until almost 10am on Sunday, which is a very rare occurrence for me. After breakfast we went for a nice walk to soak up some of the nice weather.

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After our walk, we split ways and I headed out to do some major errands. I’m having a party in a few weeks and wanted to get festive decorations so I headed back to Assembly Place with my first stop being Christmas Tree Shops. I love going there to get decorations as they are super cheap!

From there, I did a little shopping at the stores and scored with a great dress at Banana for $12 and new sneakers at Reebok for $50! My last stop was TJ Maxx where I finally was able to find something for the wall above my mantle. What do you think?

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I also decorated the hall area- I love how festive it’s starting to look!

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After decorating and cleaning, I finally made dinner. I sautéed a bunch of veggies and cooked some chicken and made a very tasty chicken and veggie stirfry.

And that sums it up! I could’ve used another 4 hours on Sunday to get everything done, but that’s ok. Although this week is busy, I’m going to do my best to stay calm and focus on one thing at a time. I have so many blog posts I want to write, but I’m going to try to not stress about getting those done if I’m tired and not getting home and sitting down until 9pm each night. I need to give myself more time to unwind at night!

Questions for you: What did you do this weekend? Have you been to drybar? Have you decorated for the fall or Halloween?