I spent my day working out of The Butcher Shop in the South End today. We had a big photo shoot in the morning of some giant cuts of meat (i.e. ribeye, 2-inch thick filet mignon, rack of lamb) for a brochure for Savenor’s market. I love days like today where I get work done but don’t have to sit in an office.
While sitting at the window at TBS, I looked outside and saw all sorts of beautiful, fresh produce at Siena Farms, which is just next door. There was a big box of acorn squash out there just starting me in the face. I had to buy some. And I did. What resulted was an easy dinner that looks way fancier than it actually is. Perfect for impressing that special person in your life. Or yourself. You’re special too.
Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Eggplant
2 acorn squash, about 1 lb each
1 cup quinoa, cooked
1/2 eggplant, small dice
1/2 vidalia onion, small dice
Salt, pepper, herbs de provence
3 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut top off each squash. The top should only be about an inch down from the top of the squash. You want the top to look like a little hat.
Scoop out all of the seeds and threads and throw away.
Place squash opening down on an oiled baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. Having the squash opening down will allow it to steam itself.
Melt butter and oil together. Saute onions over medium heat until translucent. Even longer if you want them to be more tender.
Add eggplant to onions. Saute until eggplant is cooked through.
Season with salt, pepper, and herbs de provence. I found this mix to be the best when a bit on the peppery side. It offsets the sweetness of the squash perfectly.
In a medium sized bowl, mix cooked quinoa and eggplant/onion mixture.
Take squash out of the oven, place on a place. Fill each squash with quinoa/eggplant/onion mixture.
Serve with top of squash for effect (If that’s your kind of thing. It was mine. Squash Hat.)
To be honest, I’m not sure quite what the official definition of a pilaf is, but I know it’s sometimes categorized as rice cooked in broth with some onion bits. Well, this is my take on a really easy quinoa pilaf. If you don’t know what quinoa is, check out this recipe where I explain it a little more. This was a great side dish with my tofu last night and is making a great lunch at work today.
lunch at work. yum.
Easy Quinoa Pilaf
Makes 2 servings
1/2 cup dry quinoa
1 cup broth or water
1 onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
1/4 cup frozen corn
1/2 tbsp butter
To cook quinoa, bring broth or liquid to a boil. Add quinoa. Cover and turn down heat, letting simmer for around 15 minutes or until the quinoa looks like it has little threads coming out of it.
In a saute pan, melt butter. Add onions and cook until translucent and soft. Add jalapeno and continue to cook until those are soft. Add corn and cook for 2-3 more minutes, or until corn is hot and no longer frozen.
Mix quinoa with saucepan mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
This easy weeknight recipe isn’t exactly conventional, but I had a barely touched 4 lb bag of quinoa from Costco, a bell pepper, broccoli, chicken, and a teensy bit of Trader Joe’s Thai Red Curry sauce in my kitchen, so I went with it.
In case you’ve never eaten or used quinoa, don’t even worry about it! Nothing to be nervous about. First of all, quinoa is pronounced keen-wah with the emphasis on the keen. It’s 100% whole grain and is super good for you, not to mention delicious. I eat it in place of rice because it’s so good for you and so easy to make. I use Nature’s Earthly Choice Quinoa, but you can also buy quinoa in bulk for pretty cheap at Whole Foods. That being said, the rest of the recipe is pretty easy. Throw it all in a skillet and call it a day. If you have any more questions about quinoa be sure to let me know!
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
half a head of broccoli
2 tbsp Trader Joe’s Red Thai Curry Sauce
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
Put 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water into a pot where the quinoa will have room to expand (I generally cook quinoa in this 1:2 quinoa to water ratio). Turn on high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. When the quinoa is done, it will look like it has spindly squiggly threads coming out of it. Sounds weird, but you’ll know what I mean when you see them.
Add chicken to nonstick skillet on medium-high. Brown the outsides quickly. Once browned, add the broccoli and pepper to the skillet. Saute for about 3 minutes on medium-high. Add 1/4 cup water to the pan and cover, allowing everything to steam.
Remove lid from pan after about 3 minutes, allowing the excess water to evaporate. Stir constantly so that nothing burns.
Turn down heat to medium-low. Add Thai Curry Sauce and continue to saute until hot.
Serve with quinoa and enjoy!
(note rogue red pepper flake in the background. i love spicy.)