Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Stuffed Butternut Squash

 We made the most yummy stuffed butternut squash dish last night! I know we just made stuffed zucchini, but we have had this delicious looking butternut squash just staring at us for weeks now.

 I looked up some recipes for butternut squash but kept returning to ones that related to stuffing the squash. The recipes varied a little but had most of the same ingredients in common. Most of them included any kind of veggies you wanted, sauteed in a pan, stuffed into the squash, and baked with a little cheese on top. I always read reviews of the recipes I make, and a certain recipe in particular had nothing but rave reviews, so I knew that was the one I would try to follow. I usually don't ever follow recipes to the tee. I make it how I want to make it, sometimes not even using a recipe. Recipes are good things to follow if you are new to cooking or if you are trying something you are uncertain about. Otherwise, thumb through them for ideas, but be creative and let your intuition guide you: your body always knows what it needs.

 Ingredients I used:
green beans
cilantro/parsley/dill combo that I threw in for some flavor
salt and pepper
brown rice

 Like I said, the ingredients on the different recipes varied a little, so after I perused through them I came up with my own version. I knew I wanted as many veggies as possible, with a rice base and tempeh for protein. We just so happened to have left over rice and half a cube of tempeh, so we used that. Some of the recipes called for quinoa. Work with what you have!

Step one: Slice open your butternut squash and remove seeds. Lay cut side down on baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes at 375 degrees. When it's done, it'll be soft when poked with a fork.

 Step two: sautee onions and garlic. Then add other veggies and warm them up. You don't need to make them completely limp and cook the nutrients out of them. Warming is good enough. Add cooked rice (if desired) and anything else you want to stuff the squash with.

When I mixed this stuff together and tasted it, I will admit I wasn't jumping for joy. I usually taste (a lot) during cooking so I can decide what I should add or change. It was okay, but it wasn't out of this world. I was hoping the addition of squash and then re-cooking a little would change that.

Step three: when the squash is done cooking, remove almost all of the flesh and put it in your pan with other ingredients, leaving a little thickness of flesh and the skin.

Step four:  Mix your butternut squash flesh in with the other veggies. At this point, I added some walnuts, butter, and brown sugar, because cooked butternut squash tastes like a sweet potato to me, and thats what I would put on a baked sweet potato! I thought the walnuts would add a little extra crunch (and protein) as well.

Step five: restuff the filling into the squash, top with cheese, and bake for another 15-20 minutes, just long enough to melt the cheese.

After being baked:

I can't describe how good this was. The veggie mixture tasted 10x better after being mixed with the squash, topped with cheese, and rebaked. I wasn't even that hungry and I ate the entire half (above picture). We can't decide if we like the stuffed zucchini or stuffed squash better, that's how much we enjoyed it. Thank goodness I didn't give up on the whole thing after tasting the mixture alone!

 Butternut squash is considered a "winter squash", but I'm not sure why, because it's enjoyed by myself and available year-round. Perhaps that is why this country is so unhealthy; we put labels on things like "summer food" and "winter squash" when in reality, fruits and vegetables should be enjoyed every day of the year.
 Butternut squash facts:

  •  Fat free
  • Cholesterol free
  • Low in calories
  • High in fiber
  • Highest available source of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene
  • It has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetes and insulin-regulating properties
  • High in potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin C
  • High in folate, manganese and omega-3
To me, butternut squash resembles a sweet potato. It has such a creamy, sweet flavor, but without the carbs and sugar. It is truly so healthy for you, so eat up!


Philip said...

This Butternut Squash is like a bag of BBQ potato chips, once you start you can't stop. It was so sweet and salty that makes you want more. Also it was so easy to make, and really enjoyed making it with my sweet pea.

Andrea said...

Ooh! Love the new look! I'm actually in "discussions" about a revamp myself! It's long overdue! Sooo...I must come over for dinner one day!Your meals always look so good and are always so creative...I mean, not to invite myself or anything..Lol! :p

P.S. So glad I got to finally meet you yesterday! :)

Michele said...

andrea, I would love to have you over for dinner! Choose the day / night and I'd be happy to whip us up something! :) It was so nice to finally meet you too! More runs/workouts/meals are in the future for us! Do you have a bike? We could run and bike in preparation for your tri!

Anonymous said...

I am having so much fun browsing through your recipes. I can't wait to make this!! I am OBSESSED with butternut squash.

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