I never do well with traditional meat & potatoes type dinners because I am always fumbling with what can be cooked together for the right amount of time and temperature. I am always stressed when picking side dishes to go with something simple like pork tenderloin. Last fall, I started to experiment with using my slow cooker for side dishes instead. I LOVE how easy it is to pop something like sweet potatoes into the slow cooker so I don’t have to worry about them later.
We sampled slow cooker acorn squash with apples and for the very first time in his adult life, my husband was not only willing to eat it but requested seconds. This was our favorite veggie side dish last fall so I couldn’t wait to bring it out again this year.
The ingredients are really simple. You can mix and match the toppings to your taste. I would love to add chopped toasted pecans but my kids might revolt.
I used honeycrisp apples this time, but we also love the tart Granny Smiths in this dish, too.
Once it’s all cooked up, the apples are practically turned into applesauce they are so soft. I fluff the squash with a fork and mix in the melted butter, craisins and sugar. I scoop out a portion and top with the cooked apples.
This is one of our go to weeknight meal ideas but it would be an amazing item on your Thanksgiving menu. It’s perfect for the holiday because it all happens far away from your oven and doesn’t require another casserole dish!
To round out the rest of our menu, I made our favorite mustard roasted potatoes. You can get the full recipe here. I rubbed 2 pork tenderloins with a bit of olive oil and seasonings and put them right on the pan with the potatoes for a one pan supper.
The potatoes come out perfectly crispy and I love how the onions get caramelized and sweet. Though the potatoes take 50 minutes to bake (and I put the pork in at the last 30 minutes) this is a crazy easy dinner to make on a busy school night. The prep work only takes enough time to chop the potatoes and slice an onion. While it’s all hanging out in the oven, you’ll have plenty of time to get homework started with the kids.
The leftovers make for a happy lunch for my husband at work the next day!
Slow Cooker Acorn Squash with Apples & Craisins
- ½ cup apple cider
- 1 large acorn squash cut in half, seeds removed
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- ¼ dried cranberries
- 3 small apples, diced
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Drizzle of maple syrup
- Pour the apple cider into the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the squash cut side up in the bottom. Place a ½ of the pat of butter on each acorn squash bowl. Sprinkle the brown sugar and raisins over the top. Pour the apples over the top and around the bottoms of the squash. Sprinkle the cinnamon and drizzle the syrup over the top of it all.
- Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours.