Preparation time: 15 min
Cooking time: 1 hr 25 min
Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
Dietary guidance: n
3 acorn squash, (3/4-1 pound each)
5 ounces bulk turkey sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 medium red bell pepper,chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups chopped cherry tomatoes
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed (see Tip)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Several dashes hot red pepper sauce, to taste
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Cut squash in half horizontally. Scoop out and discard seeds. Place the squash cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, lightly coat a large skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
5. Stir in garlic, chili powder and cumin; cook for 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, beans, salt and hot sauce, scraping up any browned bits.
6. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until the tomatoes are broken down, 10 to 12 minutes.
7. When the squash are tender, reduce oven temperature to 325°. Fill the squash halves with the turkey mixture. Top with cheese.
8. Place on the baking sheet and bake until the filling is heated through and the cheese is melted, 8 to 10 minutes.
TIP: Canned beans are convenient, but they tend to be high in sodium. Give them a good rinse before adding to a recipe to rid them of some of their sodium (up to 35 percent) or opt for low-sodium or no-salt-added varieties. Or, if you have the time, cook your own beans from scratch.