drew parisi's stuffed acorn squash

Today's post comes from Drew Parisi.

A nutrition consultant and nutrition educator, Drew Parisi, NC aims to support adults, children, and entire families in nutritional and lifestyle modifications that provide real nourishment and real health, from the inside out. She loves helping people sift through those contradicting health claims to put individuals in control of their health through education, support, and nutritional therapies based on each person’s unique biochemistry. Drew lives and works in Silicon Valley, California, but enjoys working with clients all over the world as they participate in her online seasonal cleanses. For daily tips and inspiration, connect with Drew via Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

What should I be eating to be healthier? I get asked this question a lot (especially this time of year). While answering this well requires a more personalized approach, the short answer would be balance – balancing your blood sugar, that is. 

I run four seasonal cleanses each year, and my winter cleanse is all about balance. After a season of celebration and indulgence, it’s nice to have a little help to get back on track, wean off the sugar and caffeine, and restore energy and vitality through seasonal vegetables, good quality proteins, and nourishing fats. 

I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite recipes from Balance, A New Year’s Detox. This is one of my favorite winter comfort dinners that still promotes stable blood sugar and steadies your mood, energy, and weight. The cinnamon is great for blood sugar stability, the garlic and onion for immune support, and the combination of beef, squash, and quinoa will provide steady energy. Enjoy!

Stuffed Acorn Squash
Serves 4

2 medium acorn squashes (about 2 pounds), halved and seeded
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
¾ lb. ground beef
ground cinnamon
ground nutmeg
2 tsp. sea salt
½ medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup quinoa (uncooked)
2 cups filtered water
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squashes, cut sides down, in a 9x13 inch casserole dish. Bake until tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
While the squash are cooking, heat oil in a 4-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add ground beef, a pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg, and 1 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer beef to a bowl or plate using a slotted spoon, keeping as much cooking liquid in the pot as possible.
Add onion, and cook until slightly translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add remaining tsp. salt and the quinoa, and stir to combine. Add water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, until quinoa is tender and the water is gone.
Remove from heat, and let stand, covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and add reserved beef, raisins, parsley and pine nuts.
Scrape out baked squashes, forming ¼ inch thick bowls, and fold flesh into quinoa mixture. Divide among squash halves and return to oven. Bake until warmed through and tops are browned, 12 to 14 minutes.

Sometimes I make extra of the meat mixture to have as leftovers for lunch the next day. It goes well with a side of spinach or braised cabbage.
Feel free to mix up your meats – this would be equally delicious using ground turkey, lamb, or even bison.
If you’re not detoxing (avoiding dairy), add a little shaved Parmesan cheese. I like to shave off a few big pieces of Parmesan for maximum flavor with less cheese.

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