After all the festive Halloween drinks and candy, I am ready to switch gears a little and get back to cooking. This time of year is so synonymous with comfort foods – and I love hunting for and finding healthy and flavorful recipes.
I am not very creative when it comes to cooking and serving vegetables. I have no problems with vegetables – I appreciate their nutritional value and I like eating (most of) them. I am happy to say that my kids are pretty keen on veggies too. However, I still struggle with incorporating cooked vegetables with our dinners, unless they are cooked in with the main dish. A few months ago, I rediscovered the wonderful flavors of summer squashes…I was thrilled to try other winter squashes also with this amazing recipe.
The joy about this recipe is that the prep isn’t too crazy. The seasoning can be mixed well in advance. In fact, you will have leftover seasoning so you are wise to make it then store it in an airtight container for use later. The worst part is peeling and cutting the squash…but I used the trick suggested in the original recipe and it helped greatly.
Ingredients for seasoning: 1 Tablespoon onion powder, 1 Tablespoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, 2 tsp brown sugar
Directions: Combine the all of the seasoning ingredients, using a fork or miniature whisk to ensure that they are well mixed. Store in an airtight container.
Ingredients for squash: 2 pounds mixed winter squash (such as butternut, buttercup, delicata, kabocha) peeled and cut into ¾ inch cubes, 1 Tablespoon melted butter, 1 Tablespoon olive oil
Directions: Place the squash cubes into a large mixing bowl. Toss with butter and olive oil. Add 1 Tablespoon of the seasoning mixture. Place on a parchment or foil lined pan and bake at 400F for 40-45 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes. Sprinkle an additional 1 ½ teaspoon of spice and toss gently for equal coating. Serve and add salt and pepper to taste.
The secret to easy peeling and cutting involves pre-heating the squash in the microwave – read more detailed instructions here. Mine required extra heating beyond what was suggested, but it definitely made the prep easier.
I made mine with butternut, buttercup, and delicata squashes. My favorite was the butternut squash and I may make it with only butternut squash next time….though there are a big variety of squash that would be appropriate for this dish and I may be tempted to try some of them. (See this link for an overview of winter squash varieties.) The kids, especially the occasionally picky one, enjoyed this side dish. I served it along with my barbeque pork tenderloin, which had cooked in the crockpot during the day. Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!