winter squash recipe

Butternut Squash Saute

Butternut Squash Saute

Winter squash season is here, and I could not be happier. I love the variety of squash (and pumpkin) at the markets this time of year. They are both beautiful and tasty.

This dish is a combination of butternut squash with onions, garlic, carrots, and finished off with black sesame seeds. It makes a great, seasonal side dish. Might also be a fun dish for Halloween, because of the colors.

I used butternut squash, but you could use any number of hard squashes, or even pumpkin. If you are looking for a different way to cook some of those squash- try this dish. I think you might be surprised at just how good it is.

When cutting up hard squashes, you have to be careful not to cut yourself. A round, hard  squash, with a tough outer skin can be a recipe for disaster. I trim a small slice off one end of my squash, creating a flat side. Then I lay it down on that side, to make it more stable for cutting. With the butternut, once it was sliced on one side, I was able to cut in in half pretty easily.

To peel a hard squash, so you can cut it into cubes, use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. You will need to run the peeler over the skin a few times to get off all of it. Then cut into cubes.

Butternut Squash Sauté

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

4 cups cubed fresh butternut, acorn or Hubbard squash or pumpkin

1/2 cup grated carrot

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons black sesame seeds, or a bit more

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onions begin to brown. Stir in the squash, carrot, soy sauce, salt, and pepper; cook, covered, another 5 to 7 minutes, until squash is tender. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread

This is one of my favorite quick breads. I often make it with butternut or Hubbard squash, instead of the pumpkin. For some reason, squash bread does not sound as fun as pumpkin bread.

I like to make several batches at a time, and freeze the extra. Of course, if word gets out that I have freshly baked pumpkin bread it never makes it to the freezer. Every year I get a lot of requests.  Everyone seems to love it.

It is versatile. Served plain, it is a great breakfast. Topped with a dusting of powdered sugar or sweetened fruit and whipped cream or ice cream, it becomes dessert. I often bake smaller loaves for gift giving.

I do find myself adding more spices, sometimes. Play around to find the combination of flavors you like. I often add cloves, allspice or mace.

Pumpkin Bread

1 ¾ c. flour

1 ½ c. sugar

1 t. baking soda

¾ t. salt

1 t. each cinnamon and nutmeg

½ c. softened butter

2 eggs, beaten

1 c. pumpkin

1/3 c. water

Mix dry ingredients and set aside. Beat together butter and eggs until fluffy. Beat in pumpkin and water until smooth. Stir in dry ingredients until smooth. Pour into a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 60-65 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing from pan and placing on cooling rack.  Wrap in plastic, best served the next day. Freezes well. Makes 1 loaf.

As with other quick bread you can make this recipe and bake it in smaller pans for gift-size loaves. Baking temperature is the same. Time will vary, so check after 30 minutes and test for doneness as usual.

Simple Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan Cheese

Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan Cheese

I was lucky enough to get some beautiful winter squash from a local farmer friend of mine. Thank you Carl from Blue Pike Farm. There are an assortment of acorn, butternut and several spaghetti squash. If you haven’t had spaghetti squash before it is a squash with flesh that shreds into strings once cooked. It looks a little like spaghetti, thus the name. The taste is not as sweet as some other winter squashes. When using it don’t be afraid to add a lot of flavors to it. It is mild and goes with everything. I cooked one up with no real idea of what I wanted to do with it. To cook it I just placed the whole squash in a pot of water and boiled it until fork tender. That took less than an hour. I had to cool it down so I could handle it so I placed it in a big bowl of cold water for a few minutes. I cut it in half and scooped out the seeds. The seeds went out to the bird feeder. Then I took a fork and kind of pulled out the flesh, fluffing with the fork as I went. I ended up sauteing some onion in a skillet and then added the squash to the skillet. I cooked it over high heat, stirring often and adding some salt and fresh ground pepper. I also added a couple of cloves of chopped garlic. It tasted pretty good. I ended up just adding some fresh grated Parmesan cheese. It was wonderful. I had planned on serving the spaghetti squash as a side dish- but just had it for lunch all by itself. Sometimes the best dishes don’t have to have a ton of ingredients. Simple can be good, too.

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash

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