What to Do with All That Squash!

Winter squashes are really rewarding to grow.  And they just keep growing, and growing and growing, and pretty soon everyone in the neighborhood is bringing them over is baskets and buckets to share them with you.  Now I really love squash, so I wouldn’t want them to stop offering to share the bounty, but I’m running out of room.  I mean there’s squash everywhere in the kitchen, a few in the garage, and I just can’t stand the idea of any of it going to waste.  So when there’s too much of anything I bag it and put it in the freezer.  Fortunately, squash freezes beautifully, and I just peel it, cut  it into bite size chunks and freeze a few bags for roasting later in the winter.  I also cook some in the microwave until tender, puree it and freeze flat in bags for using in pie, breads, and even souffles.   

Still, my favorite way to enjoy squash is stuffed and baked in the oven.  This delicious, flexible recipe is one I got from my sister-in-law, Skye Morgan O’Malley.  You can use any kind of winter squash including pumpkin, and make either sweet or savory variations.   Below is the sweet recipe which is a good choice for those of us who grew up eating sweet potatoes and squash with butter and brown sugar, but you can give it a savory twist by cutting back on the sugar and adding a some browned sausage.

Baked Curried Squash

Baked Curried Squash

Baked Curried Squash

The recipe below is for 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 butternut or acorn squash, or small pumpkins
  • 4 tablespoons butter or olive oil

Stuffing

  • 1 tsp curry powder (you can adjust this to taste)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 cup each dried fruit like cherries, cranberries and golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup diced apple
  • ½ cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans (strictly optional)
  • 1/8 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmet, ginger, allspice and cardamon, or (2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 cup of browned crumbled sausage (vegetarian option – Leave it out or substitute curmbled up Morningstar breakfast patties)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly oil a baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter with all of the stuffing ingredients. (You can substitute a tablespoon of vegetable broth for the oil). Set aside.
  3. With a sharp knife or other suitable instrument, split the squash or pumpkin in half, or cut the top off and remove all of the seeds and fibers.  Scrap clean.
  4. Fill the hollowed out squash or pumpkin with the stuffing ingredients and place in the baking pan. 
  5. Lightly spray the squash with cooking spray or oil, place in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the flesh is fork tender.

Helpful Tip:Slice just enough of the rind off the bottom of the squash so it will sit flat in the pan.

 

 

 

Supper for a Cold Winter Night

Winter has finally arrived.  The nights are crisp and cold and darkness comes early, so a warm, hearty soup seems like the perfect way to end the day.  I love soups and chowders because they are so comforting and economical, and one of my favorite ways to add protein and save money too, is canned salmon.  This recipe is fairly low fat and low calorie with lots of good nutrition, and it tastes yummy too.  You can serve this with some crusty bread or crackers, and on the side I like to serve oven roasted root vegetables like beets and sweet potatoes.  This is one side dish that kids usually love because it’s sweet.  Below you’ll find both recipes.

Salmon and Wild Rice Chowder        

Salmon Wild Rice Chowder

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon rubbed sage or poultry seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary (optional)
  • 1 6 oz package of cooked Wild Rice Bits and Basmati Rice
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (or use chicken or seafood stock)
  • ¾ cup half and half (or whole milk if you prefer)
  • 1 6 oz can of wild caught salmon
  • 2 slices crispy bacon, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Prepare rice according to directions and set aside.  (I use Minnesota Cultivated Wild Bits and Basmati Rice that is distributed by Red Lake Nation Foods in Red Lake, Minnesota.)
  2. In a heavy sauce pan or soup pot, sauté the chopped onion and celery in 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth until the onions are translucent.  Add the remaining vegetable broth, and the flour, salt, pepper, dry mustard and rubbed sage and/or other herbs.
  3. Stir in the cooked rice and the canned salmon.  Bring to a simmer and pour in the half and half or milk.  Continue to simmer for about 15 minutes.
  4. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle bacon bits or parsley or chives on the top.

Side dishes help to make a meal complete.  One of my favorites is oven roasted root vegetables.  They’re fast, simple, tasty and so good for you.

Oven Roasted Beets, Onions and Sweet Potatoes

Roasted Beets and Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches of small/medium beets, peeled and quartered
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1 red garnet yam, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into bit size pieces
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl or freezer bag combine the vegetables, garlic powder, sea salt, pepper and sugar along with enough olive oil to coat.
  3. Empty onto a baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes.
  4. Stir the vegetables and pour 1/4 cup of balsamic vingar over the vegetables and return to the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetables are fork tender.

Serve on side or over a bed of greens.  Save any leftovers for lunch.