Delicata Squash Stuffed with Ground Turkey, Quinoa, and Chard

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Last week, I was lamenting that it was so hot, I could not bring myself to turn on the oven. This week, the weather took a cooler turn, and I was inspired to whip up an autumn-inspired meal. This recipe really hits the spot on those cooler evenings. It’s also got a lot of leafy greens in it, but doesn’t taste like it at all. It’s prefect for those nights when you’re asking yourself: “what am I going to do with all this chard?” It’s also really fun to make — let’s stuff some squash!

Serves: 2

Time: 35 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

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Ingredients:

  • 2 small delicata squashes
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1 small bunch chard
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 Tb. minced garlic
  • 1 Tb. Olive oil
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • a dash of red pepper flakes

Preparation:

First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. While the oven is heating up, chop up your greens (and bell pepper):

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using a big knife, cut the delicata squash length-wise, and scoop out the seeds. You’ll be left with four little squash “boats”.

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Brush the delicata squash interiors with 1/2 Tb. of the olive oil, and gently sprinkle with 1 tsp. of kosher salt. Place the squash on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil, and bake for 30-35 minutes at 375 degrees.

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While the squash is roasting, cook your ground turkey on the stove top. Put a large, heavy bottomed pan on a burner set to medium-high. Throw the remaining 1/2 Tb. of olive oil in the pan and add the minced garlic and a few shakes of the red pepper. I have a gallon-sized jug of minced garlic in my refrigerator. I highly recommend that you get your own jar of minced garlic — you don’t have to buy a gallon, but it’s great stuff, and doesn’t expire for years, so why not?! Having garlic already minced and ready to go really cuts down on the cooking time. It is also a good way to avoid those sticky, smelly garlic hands that I cannot avoid when I actually chop up a garlic clove. The red pepper flakes will add heat to the dish. If you like it spicy, add more. If you don’t like spicy, add only a bit, or omit. I use a tablespoon of garlic because I love garlic. Feel free to use less (or more…)

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Saute the garlic and red pepper flakes over medium-high heat for about 1-2 minutes. The garlic should turn a nutty brown, but shouldn’t smoke and turn black. Garlic is very heat-sensitive. If it starts to get too hot, turn down the heat, or simply lift the pan off the stovetop. Stir constantly.

After the garlic is toasted, add the chopped chard to the pan.

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Cook for about a minute, while stirring, until the chard wilts. You will not really taste the chard in the finished product, but it adds a lot of nutrients, and is a good use for this ubiquitous winter vegetable.

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After the chard has cooked, add the chopped bell pepper and arugula:

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Saute over medium-high for about a minute, and then add the ground turkey:

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Season the turkey with the remainder of the kosher salt. Using a spatula with a flat edge, break up the turkey into little pieces, and the stir until the turkey is cooked — about 3-5 minutes. The turkey will not be pink when it is cooked. You do not want to eat pink turkey.

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Add the quinoa and cook. I had left over quinoa from last night’s dinner. If you don’t have quinoa lying around, just follow the direction on the box/bag. Quinoa is very high in protein, is gluten-free, and tastes great.

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After the turkey is cooked, turn the stovetop down to simmer, and wait for the squash to cook. After thirty minutes, check the squash. It should be firm, but not too hard (ask, can I cut into this?) Take out the squash from the stove, and turn off the stove top. Using a spoon, spatula, or culinary weapon of your choice, stuff the squash. After the delicious mixture has been evenly divided between the squashes, top with mozzarella. Place the stuffed squashes back in the oven for five more minutes.

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Take the squash out of the oven, and you’ve got dinner! Enjoy!

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(The dish was so good, that we ate it all before I could get a “pretty picture” of the plated meal…oh well)

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