Sweet or Savory, Butternut Squash

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Sorry summertime squash, the health benefits of fall-harvest squashes such as the savory butternut squash far outweigh those of its’ summer cousins. Of all the winter squashes, butternut squash is the easiest to work with; it has thin skin and can be easily peeled with a vegetable peeler. Its dense flesh and robust flavor work well in a variety of dishes, from sweet to savory.
And the health benefits are plentiful. Want to boost your immune system? Choose butternut squash…1 cup contains about one third of your daily amount of vitamin C. The butternut squash, which is also high in fiber, is a fantastic food for your heart!! Are you struggling with your energy levels or at risk for type 2 diabetes? Then butternut squash is an excellent choice for blood sugar
The butternut squash's tangerine color clearly indicates butternut's best health perk. The color signals an abundance of powerhouse nutrients known as carotenoids, shown to protect against heart disease. The very high levels of beta-carotene in butternut squash provide a deterrent
against breast cancer and age-related macular degeneration. A 1-cup serving gives you nearly half the recommended daily dose of antioxidant-rich vitamin C.
Give these recipes a try with your purchase of Butternut Squash, available now at your local produce market!

Baked Butternut Squash Bread

2 2/3 cups white sugar
2/3 cup butter
2 cups pureed cooked butternut squash
4 large eggs
2/3 cup water
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves or to taste
2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2/3 cup raisins, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.
Beat sugar and butter together in a bowl until fluffy. Stir butternut squash, eggs, and water into sugar mixture.
Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ground cloves in another bowl, stir into sugar mixture. Add nuts and raisins, if desired; stir until batter is just blended. Pour batter into loaf pans.
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in the pans briefly before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Serves 20, each serving contains; Calories 254, Fat 8 g, Carbohydrates 45 g, Protein 3 g.

Butternut Squash Bisque

3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste, divided
1 butternut squash, about 2 pounds
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 quart chicken broth
1 pinch cayenne pepper
½ cup heavy crème
2 tablespoons maple syrup, or to taste
Optional garnish; fresh chopped chives and pomegranate seeds, or crumbled bacon and sour crème
Melt butter in a pot over medium-low heat. Add onions and large pinch of salt. Cook and stir until the onions have softened but not take on any color, about 10 or 15 minutes.
Cut off ends of squash. Carefully cut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler. Cut into chunks.
Raise heat under the pot to medium-high. Stir in tomato paste, cook and stir until mixture begins to caramelize and turn brown, about 2 minutes. Add squash, chicken broth, 1 teaspoon salt, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until squash is very
tender, 15 to 25 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Blend with an immersion blender until very smooth. Stir in cream and maple syrup, add more salt if needed.
Ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with a swirl of cream and a sprinkle of chives and
pomegranate seeds or crumbled bacon.
Serves 6, each serving contains; Calories 231, Fat 14 g, Protein 3 g, Carbohydrate 27 g,

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Skillet

(Adapted from an ambitious kitchen blog)
1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
3 cups ½-inch diced, peeled butternut squash
Salt and pepper to taste
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ jalapeno diced, less or more depending on your spice taste
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
8 yellow corn tortillas, cut into thick strips (You can substitute Keto tortillas to cut carbs)
1 (15 ounce) can red enchilada sauce
1 cup shredded Colby jack or Mexican blend cheese, divided
Cilantro and Greek yogurt, for serving

Add olive oil to a large oven-proof skillet and place over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and jalapeno and cook 3-5 minutes until onions become translucent and garlic is fragrant. Add cubed squash, cumin and chili powder and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally,
until the squash is slightly tender, about 10 minutes or so. Sometimes it helps if you cover the pan with a lid to create condensation, which will help to speed up the cooking time. You want the squash to be fork tender, but not so tender that it starts to fall apart and become mush.
Next, add the black beans, corn tortilla pieces, and the can of enchilada sauce and stir to combine.
Reduce heat to medium-low and sprinkle in 1/2 cup of cheese. Stir again and simmer for a few
minutes. Turn on your oven broiler to high. Sprinkle an additional 1/2 cup of cheese (or more if you'd like!) over the top of the enchilada mixture and place in oven under broiler for 3-5 minutes until cheese melts. Remove from oven and serve immediately. Feel free to add in cilantro. Serve
with sour cream, guacamole, or hot sauce if you'd like! Enjoy.
Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 405, Fat 12 g, Carbohydrates 43 g, Protein 17 g.

Creamy Spinach Stuffed Butternut Squash

1 butternut squash
½ cup vegetable broth
1 cup heavy cream
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Italian four cheese mix
1 cup freshly chopped spinach (you can also use kale)
Fresh Thyme, to taste
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Red chili pepper flakes, optional to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Scrub the outside of the squash clean and cut in half down the middle from the stem to the root end. Scoop out the seeds and scrape a bit of the flesh with a melon baller, leaving a nice border all the way around. Sprinkle each half with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine minced garlic, heavy cream with ½ cup vegetable broth, cheese and spinach. Mix well. Divide the mixture into each halves, then top with additional cheese and sprinkle with additional pepper, fresh thyme and red chili flakes.
Roast in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, depending on the thickness of your squash, or until the flesh of the butternut squash is very tender when poked with a fork. Removed from oven and serve immediately. Serves 4.