Now is the Time for Squash: Eat Right with a Favorite Fall Recipe
Man. When I was a kid I hated squash (further proof that kids are dumb ;). Seriously, just the mention of it would send me into a fit of convulsions.
But I’m reformed. I now recognize that squash is amazing and incredible! Especially winter varieties which are much more flavorful than their summer brethren.
The coolest part is that squash is also really good for you. Each serving comes packed with fiber and tons of Vitamin A and C. (In fact, hubbard squash has twice the fiber and 28 times more vitamin A than the same amount of zucchini. It’s also a great source of potassium!)
I’ve been putting my winter squash into easy baked dishes that I make en masse and then eat throughout the week. This is a recipe for a recent favorite (it’s baked in the oven in a casserole dish) taken from Precision Nutrion‘s "Gourmet Nutrition" cookbook:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast – cubed
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed*
2 apples, peeled and cubed
1.5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 tsp cumin
1/4 cup shredded lowfat havarti (or other good melting cheese)
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
First things first: preheat your oven to 375
Coat a casserole dish, cake pan, or other oven-style baking dish (with high walls) with olive oil spray or similar non-stick agent of choice. In a skillet, heat up the olive oil on low and then add your onions. It is a HUGE pet peeve of mine when people burn onions – cook them on low until they become clear! This should take 12-15 minutes. While the onions are cooking, you can chop your choppables.
When the onions are ready, add the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes. Long enough to cook the outside of the chicken pieces, but not the inside. Add these together with all other ingredients (except cheese) in a bowl, mix well, and then transfer to your coated baking receptacle.
Now, throw this in the oven, set a timer for 45 minutes, and go watch football. At 45 minutes or so (make sure your squash has cooked thoroughly) pull it out, throw the shredded cheese on top, crank Ye Olde Oven to broil and re-set your timer for 3 minutes. The cheese will come out melty and delicious.
I’m not even going to tell you the nutritional values on this thing because it’s so healthy it will make you sick! Just eat it! :)
*Tip for peeling and cubing your squash: Because winter squashes have thick skin, skip the handheld peeler and go grab your big kitchen knife. (Yeah!) Then do this:
First cut off both ends of the squash to create flat surfaces that will stabilize it on your cutting board. If it is a bulbous variety (such as butternut squash), separate the rounded part from the narrow section and peel the two pieces separately; they will both be easier to handle.
Next, stand a piece of squash on the cutting board, and hold it firmly at the top. Place your knife along the side of the squash and cut downward, away from your hand, leaving as much of the squash flesh intact as possible. Then invert the squash on your cutting board to remove any remaining skin at the other end.
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