Discovering Squashes Late in Life

Butternut Squash for Dinner!

Lovely orange butternut squash looks even more amazing against the blue of my china.

It’s only been recently that I have discovered the joy of squash. Sure, I’ve known about yellow squash and her sister zucchini for years now. In fact, I eat zucchini raw in my salads instead of cucumbers.

I’m talking about that other squash. The acorn or butternut squashes and pumpkins. You know, the ones that people use for decoration and don’t think of as food. I hear it all the time. At the Advancement (my division at work) Thanksgiving dinner, I nabbed a small pumpkin and two acorn squashes that they were willing to part with, as they only planned to use it as decoration. Several years ago, I would have thought that way too. Now I wonder how they could waste such delicious, wonderful food.

Yes, I’m that person who paints their pumpkin instead of carving it, so they can wash that off and roast it down to make soups and breads and chilis and even butters.

I bought an acorn squash last week at my grocery store and the bagger picked it up and said “you eat this?” So funny. He, of course, got a lecture about well of COURSE you eat it as it’s completely DELICIOUS and so EASY to the point where he was politely controlling not rolling his eyes at me.

This week, the gourd in question was a butternut squash. I love butternut squash soup (although I’m usually just lazy and buy it) and I was out, so I had written “butternut squash” on the grocery list. Normally I shop, so I would have remembered that I meant “soup,” but for some reason, at the last minute, my husband did the shopping. He came home and said “I had to look all over, but I found your butternut squash!” I looked at him like he was nuts and said “I didn’t want a butternut squash, why did you buy that?” Whoops.

It sat back there for a couple of weeks and then I realized that it was delicious wonderful food and I needed to do something with it, so I went to and searched for a recipe. I found this little beaut and then I changed it entirely. I mean, no onion or garlic? And why would I use blue cheese when fat free feta is so delicious? And panko, mmm, panko is so much better than normal breadcrumbs.

Here’s what I did:

  • Butternut Squash, a good medium one, peeled, deseeded and chopped up into half inch pieces
  • Onions, raw, 1 medium, chopped
  • Garlic, 2 cloves, minced
  • Athenos Reduced Fat Feta Cheese, 5 oz (in other words, the container)
  • Breadcrumbs, Ian’s Panko, 0.75 cup
  • Olive Oil, .25 cup
  • Paprika, 1 tsp
  • Basil, 1 tbsp
  • Ground cumin, .25 tbsp

The directions for this are so easy. Withhold a quarter cup of the breadcrumbs. Mix everything else together in a casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs on top. Put in an oven at 425 for 40 minutes.

I put mine in the oven and played with my oven timer, then went to Jazzercise . I set it to start at 6:00 pm, for 40 minutes. I came on home in hopes that I hadn’t burned down the house, but it had worked like a charm! Except I didn’t account for the time it would take the oven to heat up to 425, whoops. Still, dinner on the table soon after getting home from working out, whee!

And the kid gave it a HUGE thumbs up. But then again, she’s 11 and eats well and snarls whenever she passes a McDonald’s, so she’s a little different that way.

Nutritional Info: Four big servings. Fat: 19g fat, carbohydrates: 31g, calories: 324, protein: 11g.


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