Friday, February 19, 2010
Until recently I did not purchase, or probably even knowingly eat, squash. I mean, they are these big, scary looking vegetables and I was generally clueless as to what to do with them. But, in my quest to eat more vegetables and be the healthiest version of me possible, I have had to overcome many fears, including my fear of squash. It turns out they really aren’t so scary after all. And, like most vegetables, they are packed with nutrients.
The winter squash group includes pumpkin, acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash. Like other richly colored vegetables, they provide excellent sources of carotenes. They also offer a very good source of vitamins B1 and C, folic acid, fiber and potassium. Winter squash are also a good source of vitamin B6 and niacin.
Winter squash are all in season now and at my local grocery store they are practically giving them away. Yesterday I saw they were selling acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash for a dollar a piece. Ten for $10 to be precise and you can even mix-and-match your squash. That’s a lot of squash for not a lot of dollar.
If you are feeling adventurous this weekend, I offer you two SUPER simple, SUPER tasty recipes to try. I like to serve the spaghetti squash as a main dish with a slice of whole wheat bread and a green salad to round out the meal. You could also incorporate it into your meal as more of a side dish.
You should know that Eric really enjoys the spaghetti squash and recently confessed, albeit begrudgingly, that he sleeps much better after the “veggie spaghetti” then he does after a bowl of regular pasta. That’s what happens when your system isn’t bogged down with the arduous task of digestion … it can actually rest. Things that make you go hmm.
The acorn squash recipe makes a tasty side dish although, on nights when Eric is not home for dinner and I’m feeling lazy, I sometimes bake one to share with the babies, add a small salad for me, and call it dinner. Also, this acorn squash dish also happens to be the first recipe Glennon SUCCESSFULLY attempted to cook and serve to her family, thereby making it foolproof.
Preheat oven to 400
Cut squash in half and spoon out seeds.
Fill oven-safe dish with ¼ inch of water and place squash flesh-side down in pan (the hard skin will be facing up).
Bake for 40 minutes or until tender (fork or knife should slide in/out easily)
Remove from oven and spread with 1 tsp butter (I use Earth Balance, a non-dairy butter substitute) and 1 tsp orange marmalade.
Return to oven and broil for 5 minutes or until slightly browned and bubbly. (Make sure you keep an eye on it b/c things can burn fast under the broiler).
Note: for a variation try drizzling the squash with olive oil and sprinkling with nutmeg, or your favorite spices, wrapping in foil and baking until tender.
From the healthy kitchen of Erica Arnold
Preheat oven to 400
Cut spaghetti squash in half and spoon out seeds.
Fill glass cooking pan 1/4 inch with water.
Sprinkle kosher/sea salt over squash for flavor.
Place pasta sauce (jar or homemade – if using jar look for all-natural ingredients and/or organic sauce) in the hollow of the spaghetti squash.
Place spaghetti squash in pan and bake for 30-45 min, or until squash is tender.
Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle; then take a fork and scrape squash away from skin (squash will come out in strands that look like spaghetti). Garnish with freshly grated parmesan, if desired.
I mean, seriously, doesn't that look good? It is strangely satisfying, I think, because you can have a heaping bowl full of "pasta" without the guilt or tummy ache. Try it and let me know what you think!