FALL RECIPES- Acorn Squash and Chicken Chili

So, fall is here in Southern California…even though it doesn’t particularly feel like it. Today the forecast says it will get down to a chilly 70 degrees, only to get back up to 91 degrees on Saturday. I am dusting off my UGGS as we speak…haha!

Anyhow, even though it hasn’t cooled down a ton here, the fall vegetables are out in full force at the grocery stores, so I picked up a few of my favorites last week. I always buy spaghetti squash, but one of my other favorites during the fall is acorn squash. This little green and orange nugget of joy has a sweet flavor when baked. One cup has only 56 calories and 25% of your daily Vitamin C!

One of my favorite acorn squash recipes is to just cut one in half, bake it in the oven for about 25-30 minutes and drizzle it with coconut oil, a little cinnamon and brown sugar. But today I decided I wanted to do something a little more filling and put together a delicious chili that will last for a few days in my refrigerator…which is a good thing, because I have a busy week. Any time I can make a healthy and hearty meal that I can put in tupperware and carry with me to work for lunch is a good meal.

This chili was a little different. It called for a cup of pilsner, which is a light beer. It also called for unsweetened cocoa powder, which has become a staple in my chilies, because it adds a rich but subtle dash of flavor.

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ACORN SQUASH AND CHICKEN CHILI

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 acorn squash seeded, cooked, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes with their juices
1 cup pilsner/light beer
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Navitas Naturals)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 15 1/2 ounce can black beans, drained
Juice of 2 limes (about 3 tablespoons)
Cilantro, for serving

Feel free to add sour cream, greek yogurt or sliced avocados as well!

DIRECTIONS

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper, garlic, five-spice powder and chili powder and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the squash pieces, chicken pieces, tomatoes, beer, cocoa powder and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Stir in the black beans and lime juice and cook for 5 minutes. Let the stew cool slightly, then ladle into bowls and top each serving with some cilantro.

ENJOY!

Fall Is Here! Time For A Hearty Veggie Recipe…Lentil And Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

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Getting tired of the whole spaghetti squash craze and having had my share of butternut squash, I was at the grocery store this past week and came across an acorn squash. At $1.79 a squash, I thought I would take my chances and bring one home and figure out what to do with it later. Image 3

Acorn squash is a winter squash, which means it is best eaten when the skin has hardened into a tough rind. It is also best to eat it cooked ( I can’t imagine eating it NOT cooked!) This squash is low calorie, only 56 calories for one cup! It is high in complex carbohydrates, potassium vitamin C and dietary fiber. Acorn squash is also high in beta-carotene, and the darker the skin, the higher the beta carotene content.

This recipe I came up with was based off of another recipe, but I made it my own. It is probably best for a chilly winter night, but can be eaten at any time, packed in a to-go tupperware and paired with your favorite lean protein if you feel like you need it.

Lentil And Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

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1 acorn squash, chopped in half

1 cup quinoa

1/2 cup lentils, red or green

1 red bell pepper, chopped

4-5 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

1/4 tablespoon cumin

1/4 tablespoon tumeric

sea salt and pepper to taste

Set oven to 350F. Cut squash in half and place in a baking dish filled with 1/2 an inch of water. Place flesh down and bake for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, cook 1 cup quinoa and 1/2 cup lentils together in a pot of water (about 2 cups of water) for 10-12 minutes or until fully cooked. In another pan, sauté the garlic and red pepper in the coconut oil. When the red pepper and garlic are soft, combine them with the lentils and quinoa. Then add the turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper. Drizzle a little  more coconut oil if necessary.

When the squash is done, take it out and let it cool for about 5 minutes. Drain the water from the pan and place a baking sheet in the pan. Put the squash back in the pan and pour the quinoa and lentil mix into each squash half. Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes. Take them out and enjoy!!