Rice Casserole Stuffed Acorn Squash

I have several acorn squashes at this point, and I was intrigued by A Good Appetite’s mac & cheese stuffed acorn squash.  However, I’m desperately avoiding grocery shopping this week – partially because I’m trying to make up for all the days of eating out in our budget and partially because I have visions of crazed turkey-day shoppers running me over with their carts if I were to venture out into the grocery realm.  I do have some Creamy Rice Casserole in the freezer that has just been waiting for a use, so I used that and some bacon to create rice casserole stuffed acorn squash.  Who says you need a grocery store to be a good cook?


  • 1 acorn squash, cut in half, seeds & pulp cleaned out
  • 5-6 slices bacon, chopped
  • ½ recipe Creamy Rice Casserole from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
  • a few ounces feta cheese

Accompaniment: Creamed Spinach


  1. Scrape additional pulp out of the squash to create a bowl, leaving about 3/4-inch squashy goodness on all sides. Save the scrapings for mixing with the rice casserole. Place the squash cut side down in a baking dish & add about 1-inch of water. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mix about ¼ cup of your reserved squash, 3 cups of the rice casserole, and the feta together in a small bowl.  You can freeze any remaining squash for a future use.
  3. Cook the bacon until just beginning to crisp.  Remove ½ the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.  Continue cooking the remaining bacon until extremely crispy. After the reserved bacon has drained, mix it into the rice mixture.
  4. Take the squash out of the oven. Pour off the water & flip over. Fill with the rice mixture. Bake for 30 minutes until the rice mixture is cooked through and the top is bubbling.  Sprinkle with reserved bacon bits and cook for another minute or so to warm them through.


The Verdict:

This was actually one of the most enjoyable times I’ve had cooking recently.  My sister and brother-in-law were due to arrive in Tacoma Wednesday evening, and several friends & I headed over to my parents’ house to spend some time with them.  I brought the ingredients and several of my cooking utensils over & prepared this meal while we waited for them to show up.  One of my favorite activities ever is cooking with friends, and I really love that my parents’ kitchen remodel specifically created a kitchen that makes it easy to hang out with the cook.  I do have to admit though: it’s difficult to cook in the kitchen you grew up in when all of the cupboards and appliances are completely different.  My parents had their kitchen completely gutted and re-built two summers ago, and although I’ve cooked there a few times since then, all of the dishes, pots & pans, canned goods, etc. have moved.  I’ll find myself trying to open a cupboard that used to have canned goods, only to realize the pots & pans now live there.  Even worse, I try to grab pots and pans from the overhead rack that was in the kitchen my entire childhood, and then just stand there, confused, until I figure out why I can’t even find the place for what I’m looking for, let alone the item.  Not to complain – their new kitchen is beautiful and functional and really great to cook in.  I just get easily confused, because I spent all of my formative cooking years finding things in exactly the same place, and now they’re nowhere near!

My friends and family hung out with me in the kitchen while I cooked, and then tasted as items finished.  No one else was actually there for dinner, specifically, but I made a double-batch so that everyone could have some if they wanted.

Anyway, back to the food: creamed greens are delicious.  The squash was pretty good.  The rice stuffing worked well for all of us but Hubby (he said it was “kinda bland”).  However, the squash still wasn’t cooked all the way through when the filling was done & turning crispy, so I think it needed more cooking time on its own.  I also recommend scooping the squash out, mixing it up with the rice mixture, and eating the whole thing as one big pile of goodness.  I think that one of the reasons Hubby didn’t like it that much was that he didn’t blend any of the flavors.  Also, he probably thought it could use more bacon.

All in all, I thought this was an amazing meal for having been planned around avoiding the grocery store!

Corn & Potato Chowder

I found the original version of this potato chowder recipe at Epicurious, and made a few changes to it.


  • 4 bacon slices, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 Yukon Gold potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups (or more) whole milk
  • 1 15-ounce can creamed corn
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried


  1. Cook bacon in large saucepan over medium heat until fat is rendered, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add onion and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add potato and bell pepper and sauté 1 minute.
  4. Add 2 cups milk and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender and soup thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
  5. Add creamed corn, corn kernels and 1 tablespoon thyme to soup and simmer until heated through.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. If preparing ahead, cover and refrigerate at this point. Rewarm over low heat, stirring frequently and thinning with more milk if too thick.) Sprinkle with thyme and serve.

The Verdict:

Hubby: “We could make this soup again.  More bacon though.”

Housewife: “I already doubled the bacon.”

Hubby: “Oh.  More bacon anyway.”

The fact that he actually took the time to say that he likes the soup enough to have it again makes me think that he really enjoyed it.  Of course, what’s not to love about bacon, potatoes, and corn in chowder?  I mean, what’s not to love aside from fat & cholesterol…

I did also love how quickly it came together, since this was done with virtually no prep work (we chopped the bacon & onion before leaving for ballet, and the rest I did while he cooked the bacon). This is something that I’ll keep in the rotation for busy days, since there’s no excuse not to make something this easy, this pantry/freezer friendly, and this tasty. This is one more recipe that’s going to keep us away from pizza and fast food when we’re tired & starving at night! And yes, next time we’ll try it with more bacon. Maybe as crumbles for a garnish?