Saturday, November 10, 2012

Roasted Acorn Squash with Walnuts and Cranberries

Work is kicking my ass.  And from what I've been told, it's not going to let up until the new year.  Part of it is my fault.  I signed up for a lot.  I could try to defend my decision to help out and stretch myself thin, but I have tried.  I just sound whiny.  I'd rather not sound whiny.  Let's just say, work is kicking my ass and I'm having trouble finding the bright spot on the horizon.

So life after work, what very little life I do have after work, has been subdivided into mini-sized goals.  Make new food, but make it fast, easy and simple.  Don't let home become a mess and laundry back up, because that's a hole I don't have a weekend to spend digging out of it.  Enjoy what is left of fall, because (and it pains me so to say this, but...) one day soon I'm going to blink and there will be snow outside.  Snow.  Do you see what we are up against here people?  It's daunting and we need solutions.

Luckily, I found at least one solution to my mid-November stress out.  Acorn squash that has been roasted with walnuts, cranberries, brown sugar and just the cutest little pat of butter.  In that one sentence, I not only described what I would consider to be a legitimate and delicious weeknight dinner, but the dinner that's going to save you from forgetting the wonders of fall.  It's quick, has five ingredients and takes minutes to throw together.  While it's roasting you will have time to start that load of laundry, empty the dishwasher and vacuum the living room.  Plus, your nose will be serenaded with the smells of fall the whole time.  Because squash and brown sugar are basically building blocks of fall.  Plus, it hits all your food groups: squash—vegetable, cranberries—fruit, walnuts—protein, butter—dairy, sugar—sugar!

Sugar is part of the food pyramid, right?  It's at the very top, so that must mean it is the most important.  Right??  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Walnuts and Cranberries
Adapted from Let the Baking Begin!

This is absolutely a BGCB member.  I was simply in love with how quick, easy and delicious the recipe turned out.  To be honest, the full recipe (reflected below) is just a tad bit decadent.  Don't get me wrong, I loved it as it was, but for every day use, I would scale back the walnut/cranberry/sugar mixture.

1 acorn squash
1/2 c. walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. frozen cranberries
4 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 375.  Get out a rimmed baking sheet.  If you are afraid of spillage, line with aluminum foil.

Cut squash in half length wise.  Using a large spoon, scoop out inside "guts" and seeds, discard.  In small bowl, toss walnuts, cranberries and brown sugar.  Divide among squash halves equally.

Using 1 tablespoon of butter for each half, dot walnut/cranberry mixture with butter.  Move squash to baking sheet and tent loosely with foil.  Roast squash 1 hour and 15-20 minutes, or until a fork inserted into the flesh goes in easily.  Remove from oven and enjoy hot!

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