Not sure what I did to make these pictures look creepy but I did it. Maybe it was the gloomy day or the three-pronged fork or my heavy hand with the noise. Especially the last picture (it’s okay, you can scroll down)– Â it sort of reminds me of those really old portraits of people wearing Victorian outfits looking kind of dead. Seems like the older I get the more faint of heart I become. I used to love watching horror movies (and I still sort of do, or at least try to convince myself that I do) but find myself avoiding them because for one, Jason refuses to watch them with me and two, I end up scaring myself thinking about the movie days, or even years later. To this day I still freak myself out thinking about the girl in The Ring or Paranormal Activity or the guy standing in the corner at the end of The Blair Witch Project. This weekend we bought a night light to put in the hallway that leads from our bed to the bathroom because I would literally sprint in the middle of the night for fear of something pulling me by the legs and dragging me into the attic of our closet never to be seen again. At least now I can have the peace of mind that the night light will keep the monsters and ghosts at bay…
I suppose this post would’ve been more appropriate for Halloween given it’s spooky appearance, but instead it will serve as a harbinger to Thanksgiving (I’m thankful for night lights). A couple weeks ago I tried a recipe of stuffed acorn squash with turkey and quinoa. It was good but I wasn’t a fan of prepping and scooping out all the seeds of each individual acorn squash (despite how cute they looked in the end). After a couple more adaptations, I found I liked this version much better and it’s a helluva lot easier. I’ve also recently fallen head over heels in love with quinoa. I never realized how easy it was to prepare or how tasty they were all on their own, and not to mention how nutritionally sound they are.
This is a really wholesome and comforting meal. That’s usually the case though isn’t it for casseroles? I mean, you put everything together into one pan, bake it, and scoop it out and eat it. Simple goodness.
// Black bean, quinoa, and butternut squash casserole with feta cheese
Serves 4-5 people
For the quinoa:Â
2 1/4 cups cooked quinoa
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chopped baby spinach
// Mix the cooked quinoa, Parmesan cheese, salt, and baby spinach together.
For the black beans:Â
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped shallot
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon New Mexico chile powder
1/4 teaspoon ajÃ amarillo powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
A few grindings fresh black pepper
1/2 cup water
// Add olive oil to a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Once it’s warm, add in the black beans, shallot, garlic, New Mexico chile powder, ajÃ amarillo powder, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper and cook until the shallots have softened and the garlic is aromatic, just a few minutes. Add the water and lower heat to a simmer, letting the beans cook in the liquid and spices for about 10 minutes. Afterwards, mash with a fork or potato masher.
For the butternut squash:Â
2 1/2 cups pureed butternut squash (I just boiled peeled, cubed butternut squash with a little bit of salt until a fork could pierce through it and then drained it before mashing. You could also roast it.)
3/4 teaspoon salt
A few grindings of fresh black pepper
// Combine the pureed/mashed butternut squash with the salt and black pepper.
To assemble the casserole:Â
Olive oil spray
2/3 + 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Baby spinach, chopped
// Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a casserole dish with olive oil. I used a square 6 x 6 pan but you could use whatever you have or even put them in individual ramekins. Spread the butternut squash onto the bottom and tumble in 2/3 cup feta cheese. Spread quinoa on top of feta cheese. Spread black beans on top of quinoa and finish with the last 2/3 cup feta cheese. Cover with foil and Â bake for about 30 minutes. Take the foil off and bake for an extra 5-10 minutes or put it under the broiler for a few minutes until the feta cheese has softened and browned slightly. Top with chopped baby spinach before serving.