Monday, December 14, 2009

Cooking small

It's finals season.


I've spent today at home, studying as long as my attention span will allow so that hopefully tomorrow's tests will go well. Somehow I need to find time to work on projects as well; eh, it's sink or swim anyway. Best get to paddling.

The upshot of spending all day at home is that I actually have time to cook. Tonight's dinner was about as quick and easy (prep-wise) as it gets.

Stuffed Butternut Squash Halves

1 small butternut squash (ten inches tall at best)
Shredded cheese of your choice (in my case, cheddar)
Bread crumbs
Bacon bits
Bit of sage

Preheat oven to 400 degrees or thereabouts; the oven here is old and finicky and I'm always guessing at it's real temperature.

Chop the neck off your little squash, and cube it up for another recipe; mine ended up rather mushily in pot roast. Be sure to leave the top of the seed-compartment intact so the filling doesn't spill out one end.
Halve the bottom and scrape out the seeds. Place each half on a square of tinfoil large enough to hold everything in, and fill them as you like. I put in about a tablespoon of cheese, covered that with crumbs, covered that with bacon bits, a bit more cheese, more crumbs, and a good pinch of sage on top. Wrap them up and pop them in, checking at a half hour to see how done they are. With an oven-mitted hand, give them a squeeze; or stick a toothpick into the thicker bit where the neck was attached to see if it pierces easily. I let mine go for an hour and they were perfectly done.

As I had thought, the crumbs soaked up any liquid let out by the squash while they baked and the bacon bits had become tender, salty bites (I'm lucky enough to have real bacon bits, as opposed to flavored cardboard lol) with the cheese holding it all together. Next time, I want to try it with blue cheese and ham. :) Flavored tempeh would also work well... so would leftover taco meat, chicken, tuna, anything really. Using a little squash cuts down cooking time and helps control portion size too--I was cooking for one tonight, and my squash-bottom was about grapefruit sized. Just right.

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