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

Stuffed acorn squash 1

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.

Stuffed acorn squash 3

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!

Stuffed acorn squash 4

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: Taking time to relax

 

As I’ve mentioned a number of times, this holiday season I promised myself that I would slow down, try to stress less and learn how to say “no”. So far, I’ve actually been much better at it than I thought I would be. As I was looking through my calendar earlier this season, I realized that this past weekend was seemingly clear. I had already decided not to run the Somerville Jingle Bell 5K¬†I always run, and no other parties had been planned yet. As I was chatting with Athena, she suggested I mark the weekend as a “no plans weekend”. Sadly, as soon as I did that, two parties came up (sorry Mary and Steph!!)… obviously this would happen!

I have to say, I fully enjoyed this past weekend where I had no real plans. Sure, we had lots of things we ended up doing or wanted to do, but the beauty of it was we were able to do it on our own schedule and if we decided to change plans or stay in or do dinner, it was our choice. I highly suggest taking weekends like this if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just that you don’t have enough time for yourself. I went into this week feeling so refreshed and ready for a much busier week.

Here are some highlights from the weekend- enjoy!

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  • Treating myself to a Chai Tea Latte at Starbucks thanks to a gift card that a sweet member gave me

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  • A pleasant car shopping experience at Acura. My lease is up in February so I’m in the market for something new!
  • A late lunch at Legal C Bar in Lynnfield

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  • Shopping around the M Street shops, getting some gifts and food shopping at Whole Foods.
  • A quiet night in, consisting of Christmas movies, wine & this delicious baked stuffed acorn squash.

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  • A lazy Sunday morning- breakfast, blogging & cleaning
  • More car shopping, another pleasant experience!
  • Sunday dinner at RM’s mother’s house. I was totally craving an authentic Italian meal (aka, I really wanted meatballs), so it worked out perfectly! I’m so lucky that I love his family and enjoy spending time with them.
  • Sunday night at my place. It was nice to meal prep and watch tv and be surrounded by my Christmas decorations!

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Questions for you: When’s the last time you said “no” in favor of relaxing and doing nothing? Do you often over-book yourself? What was the best part of your weekend?