Stuffed Acorn Squash

Total Time: About 45 minutes of prepping, 2-4 hours in the slow cooker, and a few more seconds to garnish

Source: The Complete Slow Cooker

Serves: 2 originally, but I doubled the recipe. The four halves just barely fit in my big oval slow cooker, so I would not suggest trying to serve more than four.

I was very slow on meal planning this weekend because I started my vacation and knew that I could grocery shop on Monday (oh how I missed shopping on weekdays!), but I am grateful for that, because over the weekend someone posted a large box of acorn squash on my local Buy Nothing group. I swiftly searched for an acorn squash recipe I hadn’t tried yet and stumbled across this one. The flavors seemed perfectly wintery and I figured it was less risky to double a recipe designed for two than to try to triple it, so it seemed like a great thing to make while my nephews are away (plus, I didn’t have to field questions about why there was fruit in our dinner).

I was right – the flavors were lovely and very fitting for the season. Got cheese and cranberries and quinoa and thyme and tarragon and squash. Love love love. I used a mix of white and red quinoa because I had just shy of enough white quinoa for the recipe and didn’t want to buy and open a whole new bag for approximately two tablespoons of quinoa, plus I accidentally bought two bags of red quinoa several weeks ago and it shows up far less frequently in recipes than white quinoa, but that made it look even more festive. My squash didn’t get the pecans because I’m allergic, but I’m assuming that would have made it even more delicious.

This was a super easy recipe to make, but the short slow-cooker cook time makes it so it’s definitely something you want to make when you’re around the house. For us, that meant getting dinner into the slow cooker and having time to make some of our more complicated Christmas-week cookies while it cooked. The prep time was longer than it would have been if I actually made it to serve two (more thyme and shallots to chop, plus more time in the microwave for the quinoa since there was more water to heat), so if you only have two people to feed, it’d be pretty quick and easy to get into the slow cooker, too. However, pro tip, don’t follow the recipe when it comes to taking the squash out of the slow cooker. Instead, use two serving spoons so that you can attack the squash from the sides/bottom. If you use tongs, it’ll look like this:

This was mine. It was still delicious, but not nearly as pretty, and I lost some of the filling to the water in the bottom of the slow cooker.

I mentioned cookies, though, so I have to share about those. Sean is super into having a bunch of Christmas cookies (thanks, Aunt Diane) and has especially gotten into The Perfect Cookie over the last few years, so we have four cookies in the plan for this week. Actually, you know what, I’m going to give today’s cookies their own post. But I also have a cranberry shrub draining/cooling right now, so here’s a picture of that cooking, since it’s not complex enough to get its own post:

I don’t really like cranberries, but they’re growing on me and a cranberry cocktail sounded festive. Turns out making a cranberry shrub is super pretty.

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