September 23, 2010 at 9:46 a.m.

Winter squash a fall favorite

Winter squash a fall favorite
Winter squash a fall favorite

I had recipes for summer squash a few weeks ago and today it's about winter squash. Some people call them autumn squash because they're picked in autumn, but other people call them winter squash because they keep through the winter. Still other people, possibly they would rather not be reminded by a vegetable about the winter weather call them hard-shelled squash. Be sure when buying a whole winter squash that the shell is not cracked or soft. It should feel heavy, a sign that there is a good amount of flesh and not mostly seeds. On the average, a pound of squash usually yields 1-3/4 cup or 4 servings. I alway baked squash in the oven, but now I cook them in the microwave. This is how to do it; rinse the squash, poke the whole squash with a fork in several spots and put it on a micro-safe plate. A pound of squash usually takes about 10-12 minutes on high power. Turn it over once during cooking. When done, the skin looks glossy and most spots feel soft. Let stand in micro for 10 minutes or until easy to handle. Small undone spots will finish cooking during this standing time. Keep in mind the larger squash will need about 13-15 minutes on high, depending on size. Cut squash in half, remove seeds, scoop out squash and put in bowl; reheat and serve. When I micro it I cut the squash in half first, take the seeds and stringy stuff, place one half on a glass plate, cut side down. Micro about 7-8 minutes. Do other half the same as above.

And with that... it's winter squash today.

AUTUMN SQUASH BAKE

4-1/2 c. peeled, diced Hubbard squash* cut in about 1-inch pieces

2 medium pears (firm but not hard), cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 c. fresh or frozen cranberries

1-1/2 t. margarine (not spread) or butter

1 T. water

Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Turn into a 3-qt. baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until squash is tender.

Makes 7-8 servings.

* You can substitute buttercup squash but it may cook faster. Also, to peel the squash, cut it in a few large pieces...easier to cut it off.

+++++

HARVEST ACORN SQUASH

2 medium acorn squash, halved, remove peels

1/2 c. apple juice or water

1/4 c. butter or margarine, melted

1/4 t. nugmeg (use 1/8 t. nutmeg and 1/8 t. cinnamon if you wish...I do)

2 T. honey

1 t. grated orange peel

2 medium tart apples (Granny's, Haralson or Braeburn), cored and sliced 1/8-inch

In a 9x13-inch baking pan, put squash cut side up. Pour apple juice in pan; set aside. In small bowl, combine rest of ingredients except apples. Divide apple slices evenly among squash halves. Pour about 2 T. butter mixture over slices. Cover with aluminum foil, turning under edges. Bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until squash is tender.

Makes 4 servings.

+++++

BUTTERCUP SQUASH

COFFEE CAKE

Streusel:

1/4 c. each, packed brown sugar, white sugar, flour and quick-cooking oats and chopped nuts

1-1/2 t. cinnamon

3 T. cold butter or margarine

Cake:

1/2 c. butter-flavored shortening (Crisco or you can use white shortening)

1 c. sugar

2 eggs

1 c. cooked, mashed buttercup squash

1 t. vanilla

2 c. flour

2 t. baking powder

1-1/2 t. cinnamon

1/2 t. each, baking soda and salt

1/4 t. each, nutmeg and ginger

Pinch of cloves

1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce

Glaze:

1/2 c. powdered sugar

1/4 t. vanilla

1-1/2 t. hot water

In a medium bowl, combine first 6 ingredients. Cut in butter until crumbly; set aside. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar; beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in squash and vanilla. Combine next 8 ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture. Spoon half into a greased 9-inch spring form pan. Spread applesauce over batter. Sprinkle with half of the streusel. Spoon rest of batter evenly over streusel top with rest of streusel. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool for 10 minutes; remove sides of pan. When cake is slightly cool, combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over coffee cake.

Makes 10-12 servings.

+++++

Using the microwave you will have a delicious squash side dish in just 25 minutes.

GINGER-ORANGE SQUASH

1 butternut squash (about 2 lbs.)

2 T. frozen orange juice concentrate

2 T. brown sugar

1 T. butter or margarine

1/4 t. ginger

Poke squash several times with a fork; put on micro-safe plate. Cook on high for 5 minutes. Cut into quarters; remove seeds and pulp. Return to plate, cut side down, and cover with waxed paper; microwave on high 7 minutes. Turn over, micro on high 6-8 minutes or until soft. Scoop out squash and place in bowl. Add rest of ingredients and mix well.

Makes 4 servings.

TFD: You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.

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