8 July 2012

Roast Stuffed Squash

It’s quite a struggle at times to make dinner that is quick, easy, healthy AND not cost the earth. May I present to you one of my favourite dishes. Stuffed Butternut Squash. As a’ brucie-bonus’, it only makes minimal dishes.  I introduced hubby to it not long after we started seeing each other, and though a tad unsure at first about Butternut Squash, he now asks for it a lot. He even made it  a few weeks ago…!

The soft sweetness of the pumpkin goes really well with the salty bacon, tomatoes and plum sauce, followed by the crisp cheese & breadcrumbs. Most of the ingredients can be swapped out for what you have on hand or tastes you prefer. We’ve never used a great deal of salt with our cooking, and find this dish is a nicely seasoned by the bacon.
Coming from a New Zealand family, we have always been spoiled by the sheer variety and availability of produce which we have eaten (and a Mum whose cooking was amazing. But then everyone thinks that I think!). The only food I don’t like is Fennel, liquorice, Kale and Almond. I really tried to like Fennel & Kale – it’s full of so many healthy things, but, I just can’t.

Hubby on the other hand had a bad experience choking on food as a child, which put him off eating anything that wasn’t of a soft texture. As a child he ate fish fingers, chips, vegetables and Shepherds pie. As he’s grew older he has broaden his horizons more, but s like 3 meat and vege, and can’t quite understand when we have meat free dinners. His favourite meals of all time are (in order of importance): Shepherds Pie, Roast Beef & (bizarrely) Jacket Potatoes with Tuna & Vinegar. He also doesn’t like lamb (sacrilege!) ‘fishy’ fish, any kind of seafood,  fatty meats (understandable) or meat on the bone.
As we’ve been together, we have begun to try and sample as much World cuisine as we can, often buying random ingredients to introduce (enter Tahini, Jamaican Hard Dough Bread & Wasabi powder) and planning trips to new Restaurants that serve more than Steak & Chips. I have also developed a love of Curry and are slowly developing a Spicier Palate.

At home we use Squash, Pumpkin & Sweet Potatoes (Kumara) as often as we use Potatoes, so it has been fun introducing these as staples (“You can eat Pumpkin!? I thought it was only used at Halloween?”) to our meals.

Stuffed Butternut Squash

Serves 2 as a main, 4 as an accompaniment.

1 Butternut Squash, cut in half lengthways, the seeds scooped out
Cooking Spray or Olive Oil
1 Red Onion
6 chopped Rashers of Smoked bacon (trimmed of fat)
A Handful each of Cherry Tomatoes, Button Mushrooms & Spinach
Tbsp of Plum Sauce (available in most retailers in the Asian section)
Mozzerella Cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 200’C. Score the flesh of the Butternut Squash, making sure to leave about half an inch of flesh border against the skin of the Squash. Spray lightly with cooking spray, or with Olive Oil.
  2. Place the de-seeded butternut flesh side up on a tray & pop into the oven for about 40minutes, or until the flesh begins to soften.
  3. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, cook the bacon and diced onion before adding the cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach together to soften & wilt. Stir through the Plum Sauce.
  4. Scoop all of the flesh out of the Squash, leaving about an half an inch border of flesh against the skin.
  5. Add the squash flesh to your bacon mixture, and then replace in the squash. Sprinkle with mozzarella & breadcrumbs.
  6. Place back in the oven to Melt the mozzarella & brown the breadcrumbs (about 10 minutes).
  7. Enjoy.

(Excuse the terrible pics – we were starving after a Gym session.)

Today's Workout: Treadmill - walking 30 minutes, Running 13 minute, Stair Machine 10 minutes.

What are your childhood pet peeves? Have you found that as you've grown older this has changed?

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