October 2, 2014

Barley & Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

Barley & Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash | Hard Parade

Hey, it's fall! I've worn pants three days in a row, that means it's officially arrived, right? WOOO, BRING ON THE SCARVES! When I first set about trying to eat better, I discovered Gina of Skinnytaste. She has all your favorite recipes but significantly lightens them up and even provides PointsPlus values with each one. Gina also just released a fantastic cookbook that I am dying to get my hands on. 

In my first week of Weight Watchers, I planned out seven recipes - one for each day - and this was one of my first forays into what healthy eating could be: filling, satisfying, and above all - still delicious. Accidentally, I planned a few too many squash-based recipes that week and have been semi-squashed out since so I haven't repeated this dish in our kitchen yet but I am planning to soon!

Gina's original recipe calls for farro but at the time, I couldn't find any in the grocery store so I went for barley which is similar but may change the PointsPlus value slightly. 

Barley & Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash
Recipe slightly modified from Skinnytaste
Serves: 6, Serving Size: 1/2 squash filled with 1/2 cup stuffing, PointsPlus: 5
Ingredients:
  • 3 acorn squash, cut in half, seeds and fibers removed
  • Cooking spray
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth (I use Better Than Bouillon)
  • 2 links raw, Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 4-oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • Parsley for garnish
Directions:
  • Preheat the oven to 350f. Place the cut squash on a baking dish and add 1/4 cup water to the dish. Coat the cut side of the squash with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper. Cover with tinfoil and bake for 50 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool down before stuffing and serving
  • While the squash is baking, cook the barley in the chicken broth according to the package directions
  • In a large pan, cook chicken sausage on medium heat, breaking it into smaller pieces, until it is browned and cooked all the way through. Set aside
  • Add olive oil to the pan and sauté the chopped onion until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper
  • Add the mushrooms to the pan, stirring 5 minutes. Cover and cook for another few minutes, or until the mushrooms have released their juices. Return the chicken sausage and barley to the pan and mix well, heating through
  • Divide the sausage and barley mixture evenly between the roasted squash halves, garnish with parsley and serve! You can eat the squash too, not just the stuffing :)
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