Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Leftovers: Garden-fresh pilaf

I have exciting news to share. There's butternut squash growing in our yard! We found it where our compost pile once sat. It's a great addition to the rice pilaf I am making to use up the leftover rice from the poblano enchiladas in green sauce.

This "garden-fresh pilaf" also has a generous amount of parsley and sage, and if you want, you can throw in other fresh herbs of your choosing, such as chives, cilantro, or mint. I think it tastes great on its own, but you can use it to stuff tomatoes (then bake at 350 degrees until heated through) or as a side dish.

A note about butternut squash: It's a sweet squash that tastes great as a dessert with a little brown sugar and butter, and it's great in soups and baked goods. It's also fairly low in calories, with just 82 calories per cup of cubed pieces.

Garden-fresh rice pilaf (makes 2 large main servings or 4-6 sides)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2-3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted (you can substitute pecan or walnut pieces)

1 medium butternut squash

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped

2 cups cooked wild rice blend

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

1/2 red pepper, diced

1/3 cup golden raisins

salt and pepper, to taste

1.) Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until tender.

2.) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, and red pepper, and cook for about three minutes, stirring frequently. Turn heat down to medium-low.

3.) Scoop out chunks of the squash when it's cool enough to handle. Add the chunks of squash, rice, parsley, sage, raisins and almonds to the skillet, and heat through.

4.) Salt and pepper to your liking.

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