Surviving Winter + Millet Stuffed Acorn Squash

Okay, Winter, your shit is getting pretty old.

When I wake up at 5 in the morning to bust out a workout, I get in my gear next to the saving grace that is my space heater (thanks, mom), carry it with me to the kitchen while I make breakfast since by then my sweat has dried and I’m even colder than I was when I woke up, and then proceed to wrap myself up in a blanket and fleece over my sweat-stained workout clothes to enjoy my breakfast with a side of Gilmore Girls.

The next part is the hardest: Dragging myself into the shower.

Obviously my space heater nips at my heels as it follows me into the bathroom while I shower, making it at least a bit bearable to leave the pseudo sauna that is my steamy shower.

Now that I’m dressed and semi-warm, the worst is yet to come.

I suit up and walk the one mile to work through the poorly-shoveled (and many, not shoveled at all) sidewalks, where it takes a surprising about of effort to balance my hat-ed and hooded head, backpack full to the brim with my lunch, snacks, and shoes to change into.

At work, my feet never quite dry out or warm up even with a change of socks and shoes, and my hands are perpetual icicles. I lay a blanket over my lap all day while I huddle up at my desk since our building is a grandma and apparently the heat doesn’t work correctly.

You get it….I’m cold. I’m cold all the time. The only times I am truly warm are when I’m working out, taking a shower, or eating soul-soothing, body-warming food.

This past weekend, when it was particularly hard to handle the winter vortex we’re succumbed to for eternity, I made this stuffed squash that I consider truly healing for everything from a broken heart, a sore throat, or the winter blues.

It’s healthy, but totally stick-to-your-ribs thanks to the hearty millet filling. It’s creamy, had a rich flavor that just screams “soul food”, and is surprisingly easy to put together.

stuffed

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed.
  • 1/2 cup dry millet
  • 1/2 cup kidney beans, already cooked
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1/2 medium zucchini, diced
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup veggie broth
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 dry or fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat over to 400 degrees. While over preheats, slice squash in half, removing seeds. Drizzle 1/2 tbsp. olive oil, dividing evenly on both sides, and rubbing to coat the squash. Place squash halves face down on a cookie sheet, and roast for about 25-30 minutes, or until squash is fork tender.

While squash roasts, cook millet according to package and set aside. Next, preheat a skillet on medium-high, and add sliced onion, diced zucchini, cooking until soft and tender. Next, add the garlic and kidney beans, and sautee for another few minutes until everything is incorporated. Add the veggie broth, balsamic, wine, and bay leaves, and give it all a stir. Turn heat up to high, and let boil rapidly for 3-5 minutes. Turn heat back down to medium-low, and add the millet, stirring to incorporate. Add salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes to taste. 

Take the squash out of the oven, and scoop out just a bit of the inside, making more room for filling. Spoon millet filling into the centers of each squash half, filling as much as you please. Place back in over for 5 minutes or so, until top is slightly browned.

I had a ton of filling leftover, which I am eternally thankful for since it makes an excellent and comforting bowl of goodness.

This recipe really helps you slow down and remember the bright side to winter: cozying up after a long, cold day and enjoying the warming sensations that come with winter comfort foods.

Enjoy and stay warm!

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