I’ve been jealous of you and your sandy beaches, cloudless skies, humidity free days, and seemingly endless array of always-in-season fresh produce for many, many months now.
But guess what California? I’m not jealous of you today.
I’m not jealous of your palm trees, because today the oak outside my door is freckling the room with golden bits of sunlight.
I’m not jealous of your weather, because today I’ve got blue skies, puffy white skies, and a breeze that smells like change.
I’m not jealous of your sandy beaches, because right now my walks are punctuated by the sounds of crunching leaves, ornery squirrels, and rustling tree limbs.
And I’m not jealous of your exotic produce, because today I’ve got squash. Lots and lots of squash.
This time of year, there’s nowhere I’d rather be than right here in the smack middle of Ohio. Leaves dripping in hues of orange and red, golden wheat fields being laid to rest, sunshine and clouds, cool days and colder nights, football Friday nights, sweatshirts and boots, bonfires with friends. This is fall in Ohio.
The last thing I want to do this time of year is spend the ever-shortened nights slaving away over dinner. Save those complicated meals for the below 30 degree days when darkness hits your house before you do. There’s just too much beauty to behold to spend the evenings wasting away in a kitchen.
Which is precisely why I rarely make stuffed squash. First you have to bake the squash. Then you have to make the filling–brown the beef, cook the rice, chop the veggies. Then you have to stuff the squash. Then you have to bake it all together. Then you have to do a sink full of dirty dishes. Then you have to go to bed. Or at least that’s how I feel after all that.
But this….this lazy girl stuffed squash? This changes everything.
There is no prebaking of this squash. There is no stuffing. There is actually no baking at all (unless you count the use of a broiler for 10 minutes…you got me on that one).
And best of all?
There’s only one (really, one!) dirty skillet.
Okay, okay there’s two if you count the pan you use to make homemade croutons. But if you really don’t want another pan, buy some croutons! Problem solved.
Annnnd, this tastes just as good as “real” stuffed squash.. Actually, it tastes better because you can enjoy it outside on your patio, soaking up the delicious fall scenery.
Feel free to customize this to your liking. I love using sausage with squash. It’s the ultimate in comfort in my book. But you could easily substitute ground turkey or beef, or even beans in place of the squash. I used quick cooking brown rice (remember the whole easy, lazy girl thing?), but you can feel free to cook some up the old fashioned way. Throw in some apples or dried cranberries if you like a hit of sweet, but keep the fresh herbs and croutons. They provide a nice texture contrast to the pillowy squash and chewy rice.
I discovered delicata squash for the first time this season and I absolutely love it. It’s tender and sweet, and, most importantly for this lazy girl, you can eat the skin! No peeling, no almost chopping your fingers off getting through that tough skin.
So don’t waste your time with all that stuffing nonsense. This hearty, one pot meal delivers all the punch with none of the hassle. So you can spend your time appreciating the one month of the year California is jealous of us.
Recipe by Neighborfood