Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean Stuffed Tex-Mex Squash in a Sea of Ketchup

Ok. I know this looks disgusting and I still have a lot to learn about food photography, which does not help the situation. But The Prince announced this was “the best dinner ever” and actually ATE the squash, so I thought I’d post it here. Normally “gimmicks” don’t work to get my boy to eat. All those cutesy ideas like cutting food into shapes, using condiments to paint smiley faces on things just didn’t phase The Prince. So I was actually surprised he liked this. Though I did lure him with ketchup. He’ll eat almost anything with ketchup. Not that I am proud of that. But GFCF Mommy’s gotta do what she’s gotta do!

This is based on a recipe from Martha Stewart’s magazine, Everyday Food. She’d probably have a heart attack if she saw what I did to it!

Here is the basic recipe:

4 yellow squash
salt and pepper
2 tblsp olive oil
1 red pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove
2 tblsp. tomato paste
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 tsp mild chili pepper
1 cup frozen or fresh corn

Preheat over to 400. Halve each squash, slice a sliver from rounded part of bottom so it sits flat. Scoop flesh and reserve. Place squash halves in a shallow baking dish. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat oil. Add reserved squash, pepper, scallion, garlic. Stir occasionally until pepper begins to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add tomato paste and chili powder. Cook, stirring until fragrant. Add beef and cook until no longer pink. Remove from heat and stir in corn.

Divide evenly among squash. Cover and bake until squash is tender, 30-35 min. Uncover and bake until top is browned, about 7-10 minutes.

The filling makes more than would fill our squash. The leftover filling makes a nice dip for nachos or a good enchilada filling too!

Adult version:
Deep six the ketchup "sea" and serve with some beefsteak tomatoes drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Accompany with a nice tall beer, like Redbridge Sorghum, a tasty amber that is even gluten-free! If you are not casein-free, grate a little parmesan cheese on top. On the squash, that is, not the beer!

Sensory-avoidant child version:
I am afraid this is not for the sensory-avoidant child. But you could substitute refried beans for the ground beef, and omit the red pepper, corn, chili powder, scallions, and garlic, leaving a little sauté made from the beans, tomato paste, and the insides of the squash. The seeds of the squash kind of melt away as you sauté. My son didn’t even notice them. But then, he is sensory-seeking and kind of digs chunky things!

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