Vegetarian: Baked Acorn Squash with Wild Rice, Pecan and Cranberry Stuffing
I'm a graduate student, and anyone who's ever shared my plight knows that when things get busy at school, certain aspects of life start to fall by the wayside—you know, like showering and conversing with relatives and eating food that isn't pita bread dipped in hummus.
For the past few weeks, I've been snowed in under deadlines and not really paying attention to my meals, subsisting on cereal and milk and the occasional free slices of pizza my school provides at events they really want students to attend. And the other day, when I finally had the time to cook myself a proper, healthful meal, I was met with the sight of a depressingly empty fridge: I hadn't gone grocery shopping in weeks.
This isn't like me: in my pre-graduate school life, planning my meals and shopping for them was something I got lots of pleasure out of. But now, I'm learning that I have to adjust the way I cook, when I actually have the time to do so. I have to make big meals that keep well, so I can eat them throughout the week, and they have to be complete, providing the protein and nutrients I need to power through my week.
This recipe for stuffed squash fits that bill. Sweet, creamy acorn squash is filled with a wild rice mixture accented with toasty pecans and tart chewy cranberries, with some salty ricotta salata cheese folded in for contrast. One squash makes a hearty, filling meal that—best of all for me, at least—is easily consumed in front of a computer screen. But don't worry: if you're a normal person, it tastes just as good eaten at a dinner table in the company of friends or family.
About the author: Lauren Rothman is a former Serious Eats intern, a freelance catering chef, and an obsessive chronicler of all things culinary. Try the original recipes on her blog, For the Love of Food, and follow her on Twitter @Lochina186.