This baked stuffed squash is a delicious alternative to sweetened squash, and it is an easy preparation. The beef is lightly seasoned with tomatoes and a hint of cinnamon.
Serve the stuffed squash with a tossed salad or rice dish. Baked potatoes could be cooked in the same oven along with the squash.
See the expert tips below the recipe for a Tex-Mex version with black beans, corn, and chili powder.
- 2 medium acorn squash
- 1 pound lean ground beef, round or chuck
- 1/4 cup chopped red or green bell pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- Dash pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
- Line a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan with foil; lightly grease the foil or spray with nonstick olive oil or cooking spray. Heat oven to 350 F.
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Spray the cut sides with olive oil spray or nonstick cooking spray and place, cut side down, on the foil. Add about 1/2 inch of water to the pan then cover with foil. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until tender.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the ground beef with bell pepper and onion, stirring, until beef is no longer pink and vegetables are tender. Drain and discard excess drippings. Add pepper, salt, tomatoes, parsley, and cinnamon, if using. Cook, stirring, until hot and bubbly.
- Scoop the ground beef and tomato mixture into the squash shells. Arrange the stuffed squash in the baking pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until hot.
- Add a topping of shredded mild cheddar or cheddar jack cheese to the stuffed squash about 5 minutes before it's done.
- Tex-Mex Stuffed Acorn Squash: Reduce the ground beef to 1/2 pound; brown the ground beef, onion, and peppers and then add 1 can (15 ounces) of drained black beans and 1 can (12 ounces) of drained corn kernels. Season with salt and pepper and 1 1/2 teaspoons of chili powder. Add the tomatoes. Omit the cinnamon and replace the parsley with cilantro, if desired. Stuff the squash and bake as directed. Top with shredded cheddar, pepper jack, or a Mexican blend of cheeses about 5 minutes before it's done.
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