Cheesy-Stuffed Acorn Squash

 This recipe comes from Food Network Magazine- one of those Thanksgiving special publications. I made this two ways: one with rice and one with cauliflower rice to make it lower carb. Both were totally delicious. If you use cauliflower rice, buy the frozen bag (already riced) and using a tea towel, squeeze as much water out of it as humanly possible. If you have leftover cooked chicken, you can add that as well.

2 small acorn squash, halved and seeded
olive oil for drizzling the squash

2 T butter
2 T flour
2 cups milk
1 cup (very generous 1 cup) shredded cheddar cheese plus more for topping
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
2 cups cooked rice (use a rice medley) or cauliflower rice
1- 10 oz. box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry.

Preheat oven to 425ยบ; on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle the acorn squash, cut side up, with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 35 minutes or until soft when pierced with a knife.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook for a few minutes until nicely fragrant and colored light tan. Whisk in the milk until smooth and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes until thickened; add the garlic and onion powders and the cheese. After the cheese melts, add 3/4 t salt, pepper, rice and spinach (and chicken if you are using it). Check to see if the filling needs more salt and pepper. Fill the squash and top with more cheese. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until browned.

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