Winter Squash…

Loaded with Vitamin A, dietary fibre and just plain deliciousness, squash is a favorite winter vegetable in our house.  I grew up eating acorn squash mostly. My favorite recipe that I still make today for my family is pretty simple. Cut off the ends and then half it then quarter it. (This is no small feat, it is tough to cut so be careful) Scoop out the seeds. Then mix together about a tbsp of butter or becel margerine with a tbsp of brown sugar, sprinkle in some cinnamon and mix together to form a paste. Then core an apple and arrange thin slices on top of each quarter of squash that has been arranged skin side down on top of parchment paper. Divide the cinnamon butter mixture evenly on top of the apples, add a little water to the bottom of the pan and bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes until soft. At the 30 minute mark baste the juices back onto the squash and add 2-3 walnut halves to each squash. This serves 4.

If you have never served squash to your family and wonder what the different types and uses are click on the link below for reference.  I have also added my favorite Squash soup recipe of all time. I used a combination of Kabocha and Butternut squash for my recipe the last time I made it.  I doubled it and froze it. Enjoy!

Curried Squash Pear Soup

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 medium buttercup, butternut or kabocha squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1 inch cubes (or a combination of any of the above)

5 carrots, thinly sliced

2 anjou or bosc pears, peeled, cored and diced

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp turmeric

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger root

1-2 tbsp coarse sea salt

8-10 cups water

In a large saucepan heat oil on medium heat and sauté the onion until it becomes translucent. Then add the squash, carrots, pears, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, gingerroot and salt, stirring to prevent sticking and burning for about 8-10 minutes. Add the water ( I started with 8 cups) and bring to a simmer.  Cover the soup and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. The squash and carrots should be soft but not mushy.  Remove from the heat and blend half of the soup and return it to the unblended soup. Stir and enjoy. OR… if you prefer a smooth creamy soup, blend all of the soup. Serve topped with toasted pumpkin seeds, or a dollop of non-fat plain greek yogurt and fresh ground black pepper.