Winter Squash Is In Season/ kosher recipes, information and suggestions

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We’ve all heard the terms “summer squash” and “winter squash” It’s kinda weird because you can get summer squashes all winter; and “winter squashes pretty much a summer long. Confusing yes, but easily explainable.

The terms “summer squash” and “winter squash” date back to a time when the seasonal vegetables were only available when they “were in season”  a “get em while you can” kind of mentality existed.  Right now the newest crop of winter squashes are just rolling into the marketplace so now is the time to get them, cook them and eat them

Winter squash are more typically round in shape and have a harder, non eatable skin that needs to be peeled. Winter (or fall harvested squash for those of a more literal mind) take longer to mature than summer squash and can be stored for months longer than the summer squashes as long as they are in a cool dry area. You can bake, mash, steamed or simmer you winter squashes and , for the  most part they can replace sweet potatoes in almost any recipe. Cooked winter squash is great as an ingredient in cakes, pies, soups and casseroles.

You should look for squash that feels heavy than you think it should for its size. The skin should have a deep color and it shouldn’t have any obvious bruises or blemishes. While there are bunches and bunches of squash the one that are the most popular (and available) are the acorn, turban, butternut, Buttercup, Carnival, Hubbard and Spaghetti.

These squashes are usually covered with wax and or dirt so you need to make sure you wash and really scrub the outside of the squash. Then cut off stem, cut in half, remove the seeds and stringy fibers and cook. It’s usually easier to peel squash after its been cooked.

 

 

1 pound peeled squash = 1 cup cooked, mashed
2-1/2 pounds whole squash = 2-3/4 to 3 cups pureed
1 pound trimmed squash = 2 cups cooked pieces
1 pound squash = 2 to 3 servings
12 ounces frozen squash = 1-1/2 cups

1 medium-size (15 to 20 pounds) pumpkin = 5 to 7 quarts of cooked pumpkin.

 

Bake: Cut the squash in half, poke the skin with a fork then place the squash cut side down on a cookie sheet with sides and bake at 350 for 40 to 50 minutes until soft.

 

Boil or Steam: Cut the squash into halves, quarters or rings and cook it, with water or broth for 20 to 25 minutes or until the squash is tender. You can mash cooked squash just like potatoes.

 

You can also microwave your squash. Place cut pieces of squash in a shallow glass dish with a little water. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave 5 or 6 minutes and test it for softness. Continue checking for doneness at 2 or 3 minute intervals until the squash is soft. You can microwave a whole squash. Just poke the skin all over with a fork (so steam can escape). Microwave the squash 7 to 10 minutes and check to see how soft the squash is.

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CHEESE AND BEEF STUFFED TURBAN SQUASH

 

1 large or 2 small turban squash

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound ground beef

1 small onion chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 green pepper, diced small

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon fennel

1 egg; slightly beaten

1 cup sour cream

1 cup parmesan cheese; shredded

1 cup fresh parsley; chopped

 

Preheat oven to 375. Cutting at a downward angle remove the crown of turban. Scrape out seeds and membrane. Sprinkle the inside cavity with salt. Place the squash in a 9X13 baking pan with the cut opening facing down. Add about 1 inch of water. Bake 30 to 40 minutes depending on the size of the squash. It should be softening but not mushy. Remove the squash from the oven turn the cut side up and leave it in the pan.

 

In a bowl, combine egg, sour cream and parmesan and mix to combine and set aside. In skillet, combine the beef, onion, garlic, green pepper, thyme and fennel. Cook, stirring frequently for 7 or 8 until the meat is fully cooked. Drain any excess grease and add the parsley. Add the egg mixture to meat mixture and mix to combine. Spoon the beef mixture into the squash. Place the stuffed squash back in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes until filling is set. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before serving. To serve, cut into slices. Serves 4.

 

Modified from about.com

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CASABLANCA ACORN SQUASH

 

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter, melted

4 large acorn squash, halved and seeded

1/4 cup olive oil

1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic

5 to 6 stalks celery, chopped

4 carrots, shredded

2 cups garbanzo beans, drained

1 cup raisins

3 tablespoons cumin

salt and pepper to taste

2 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth

2 cups uncooked couscous

 

Preheat oven to 350. Arrange squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes, or until tender. Combine the sugar and butter in a sauce pan and heat until they are combined. Baste the inside of the squash with the mixture and set it aside. In a skillet heat the oil and add the garlic, celery, and carrots, and saute 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garbanzo beans, raisins, cumin, salt, and pepper, and continue to cooking (stirring often) until vegetables are crisp tender. Add the chicken broth and couscous. Cover and turn off heat. Allow the mixture to sit, covered for 6 or 7 minutes. Remove the cover, mix to combine and then fill the squash and serve. Serves 8.

 

My files, source unknown

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CHICKEN AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH STEW POT

 

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 to 4 lbs skinless bone-in chicken breast

1 large onion, chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 cup chopped celery

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 cup chicken broth

2/3 cup white wine

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon thyme

4 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash

1 cup frozen peas

1 lb sliced mushrooms

 

Heat oil in a large (4 1/2 quart Dutch oven. Add chicken and brown about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove chicken and add onion, garlic and celery to pan; sauté on medium heat about 5 minutes. Return chicken to the pan with vegetables. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, wine, salt, pepper, sage, thyme and bring to a boil; simmer about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add the squash, bring to boil then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook an additional or until squash is tender. Stir in the peas and cook for 2 more minutes. Serves 6 to 8

 

Submitted by Ronnie Marchoni Chicago IL

 

ORANGE SEAFOOD STUFFED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

 

1 (2 pound) butternut squash

Cooking spray

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 teaspoon pepper

½ cup fresh orange juice, divided

2 tablespoons butter

3 green onions, thinly sliced

 

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons orange zest

¼ cup whipping cream

1 1b. mock/fake crab

Garnish: orange slices and additional thinly sliced green onions

 

Preheat oven to 375.Cut the butternut squash lengthwise into 4 wedges. Remove the seeds and place the squash in a 9 X 12 baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the squash with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Pour 1/4 cup orange juice over the squash. Cover and bake for 40 minutes and until fork tender.

During the last 15 minutes of baking, prepare the Orange mock crab.

Arrange the butternut squash wedges on a serving platter, cut side up.In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the green onions and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining ¼ cup orange juice, orange zest, and remaining salt and pepper. Simmer for 6-7 minutes. Add the heavy cream and mock crab and simmer an additional 3 minutes.Divide and spoon the mock crab mix on top of the roasted butternut squash. Garnish the platter with orange slices and sprinkle all with additional thinly sliced green onions. Serves 4

Modified from CookEatShare.com

 

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WINTER SQUASH AND APPLE SOUP

Roasting squash and apples intensifies their flavors. Use a mixture of winter squash varieties for a more complex taste.

3 pounds winter squash such as butternut, kabocha, acorn or delicata, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 8 cups)

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1 teaspoon ground ginger

3 cups vegetable broth

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

 

Preheat oven to 400. Line two rimmed baking sheets or shallow roasting pans with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss squash, apples, onion, garlic and ginger until mixed well. Spread mixture on baking sheets in a single layer. Roast squash mixture until tender and beginning to brown, about 45 to 50 minutes, rotating pans between oven racks halfway through baking. Remove from oven and purée squash mixture with broth and 1 cup water in a blender or food processor in 2 batches until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add more water if needed to thin soup to desired consistency. Serve garnished with parsley.

 

Modified from wholefoods.com

EZ Winter Soups: Something just a little different

For anyone who feels that chicken soup is the one and only comfort soup that will take away the chill of winter stop reading, this blog entry  is not for you. For anyone looking for a new kind of soup to herald the coming blizzards, something different and exciting to serve the family and friends that will be sharing the fruits of your  kitchen labors (and watching football on that big screen TV that is really TOO big for the family room) keep on going.

This is the time of year when leisure time is at a premium and nobody wants to spend anymore time than they have to in the kitchen prepping and cooking.  So many other things (like, again, watching football, raking, and generally rejoicing that the kids are back in school) to do. Soups should be one of the simple thing you make and using ready made broths and stocks (both meat and vegetable) have made it incredibly easy (time wise) to whip up a big, flavorful pot of soup in less than an hour.

I’ve chosen some of my favorite fall soup recipes that utilize squash and a variety of other  vegetables that are readily affordable and available to share in this column. You’re going to love how delicious it is to start a meal with the words………..and now for something completely different.

PUMPKIN AND CHICKEN CHOWDER

2 red bell peppers (about 14 ounces)
2 jalapeño peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
3 leeks, white and light-green parts only
1 pumpkin (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks
3 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
1 ear corn, kernels removed (1 cup)
3 14 1/2-ounce cans chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)

 Preheat oven to broil. Place the red peppers and jalapeño on a baking sheet and cook them under the broiler, turning occasionally, until the skins blacken — about 10 minutes. Seal the charred peppers in a plastic bag for 10 to 12 minutes. Peel, stem, seed and cut peppers into 1/2-inch pieces. Set them aside. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over a medium high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook until browned. Remove the chicken pieces and keep them warm. Add the leeks and pumpkin and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the flour, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the corn, peppers, chicken, broth and oregano and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, about 30 minutes. Garnish with sour cream if desired and serve hot. Serves 8.

HOT APPLE SOUP

This is a really great way to start a simple meal of sandwiches and salad.

4 Green apples (Granny Smith)
4 McIntosh apples
2 1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup cream

Whipped cream for topping
 
Peel, core and quarter apples. Combine all ingredients except cream in saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer 15 min. till apple’s are soft. Puree; return to pan; add 1 cup cream and heat through but don’t boil. Garnish each serving with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Serves 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH BISQUE WITH BOURBON MAPLE SYRUP

Hummmm what should we do with the left over bourbon………….

3lb. butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 pound butter
1 qt milk
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoon dry mustard
1tablespoon ground cinnamon
salt and pepper

In a heavy bottom pot melt the butter and add the onion and the garlic; cook over med-low heat till just softened and translucent. Add the brown sugar and simmer till melted in. Add  the butternut squash, nutmeg, mustard, cinnamon milk and cream and simmer till the squash is cooked through. Put soup in the blender (carefully) and puree. Strain and season to taste with salt and pepper. To Serve, drizzle the top of each individual bowl with the Bourbon Maple Syrup. Serves 6 to 8.

For the Bourbon Maple Syrup

1 cup Bourbon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple Syrup

In a small pot add brown sugar and bourbon and reduce the mixture over a low flame till the mixture is thickened and foamy. Add the maple syrup and simmer 3 more minutes. Let cool to room temp before using

THAI PUMPKIN SOUP

1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon butter
1teaspoon minced garlic

4 shallots, minced
2 small fresh red chili peppers, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
4 cups peeled and diced pumpkin
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

fresh basil for garnish

In a medium saucepan, heat the peanut oil and butter over low heat. Cook the garlic, shallots, and chilies in oil until aromatic but not browned. Add the chicken stock, coconut milk and pumpkin and bring to a boil. Cook until the pumpkin is tender, 15 to 20 minutes (longer if necessary) In a blender, blend the soup in batches to a smooth consistency. You could sprinkle fresh basil over this for a garnish. Serves 6 to 8

CAULIFLOWER SOUP WITH CURRIED ONIONS
 Ingredients:
4 strips of bacon, diced
2 cups of onions, sliced
1 and 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon flour
5 cups light vegetable or chicken stock
1 medium potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 and 3/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound cauliflower, broken into flowerets and the rest chopped
1 teaspoon tumeric
1/4 cup chutney
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons green onion, sliced diagonally

Method:
Fry bacon til crisp, then remove, drain, and reserve. Pour off all but about 3 Tablespoons of the bacon fat and scrape up the bottom of the pan a bit, then add onion, garlic, curry, and cayenne and stir for about a minute. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes, til the onions are soft. Add the sugar, turn up the heat to high, and stir until the onions are brown–about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and set aside.

At the same time, bring the stock to a boil in a large saucepan and add the potato and a teaspoon of salt. Cover, reduce heat, and cook for 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower and tumeric, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover, cooking until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool a minute or two.

Puree 3/4 of the cauliflower mixture with the chutney, then pour back into the pan with the remaining cauliflower mixture. Stir in the onion mixture and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. At this point, you can hold it in the refrigerator til you are ready to serve it. Just reheat when you’re ready.

When ready to serve, stir in the crumbled bacon, parsley, lemon juice, and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with the green onions. Serve immediately.

SOUTHWESTERN VEGETABLE SOUP  

6 cups chicken broth
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup water
1 cup canned dark red kidney beans, with liquid
1 cup frozen yellow cut corn
1 cup frozen cut green beans
1 4-ounce can diced green chilies
1/2 cup diced Spanish onion
1/2 cup tomato sauce
6 corn tortillas, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
dash garlic powder

Garnish
1 cup grated cheddar cheese blend
1 cup crumbled corn tortilla chips

1. Combine all the soup ingredients in a large saucepan or soup pot over high heat. Be sure to
mince the corn tortillas into small pieces with a sharp knife before adding them to the soup.
2. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the soup
has thickened and tortilla pieces have mostly dissolved.
3. To serve soup ladle 1 1/2 cups into a bowl. Sprinkle a heaping tablespoon of the grated
cheddar/jack cheese blend over the top of the soup, and then a heaping tablespoon of crumbled
corn tortilla chips over the cheese.
Makes 6 servings.

ZUCCHINI BISQUE SOUP
1/2 cup butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cup zucchini, shredded
2 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

In a saucepan melt the butter and  saute the onion until tender. Stir in the chicken broth, zucchini and basil, salt, nutmeg and white pepper. Heat the soup to boiling and then cool  to room temperature. Puree a portion at a time in food processor; leaving slightly lumpy. Soup can be served hot or cold. Serves 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Acorn Squash is Spectacular

            When the first squashes of fall and winter make their appearances at the farmers markets and the isles of the grocery chains the pumpkin is usually the one that is prominently featured and the others often find themselves relegated to the less “popular” section of the produce department. Discrimination, well, not really, but the pumpkin is the “cool” squash, the others are just well, squash. Carve that jack o lantern, toast those seeds and bake that pie. Nice, predictably fall like and dare I say it, boring.  I’d like to humbly suggest (that’s a polite way of saying, do what I say, please) that when you get ready to cook with squash, you substitute the acorn variety for pumpkin.

            Readily available year around the acorn squash is typically weighs from one to three pounds. It’s difficult to judge how good an acorn squash is by its outward appearance. It should feel heavy for its size with smooth, dull skin with absolutely no soft spots. Look for some partial orange on the skin as a sign of maturity. Too much orange coloring on the skin indicates an overripe squash which will be dry and stringy. A good balance between green and orange coloring is optimum.       As for the inside, the deeper the yellowish orange color of the flesh, the sweeter it is.

            Like the pumpkin, you’ll need to remove the fibers and seeds from the center of the acorn squash before steaming, broiling or baking it. Actually, the only draw back that I can find to the acorn squash is when you have to deal with peeling it. The ribbed shape makes peeling it raw a virtually impossibility, but, conversely, the shape more than makes up for this inconvenience by being perfectly shaped for stuffing.

Acorn squash is most often served cooked in its shell, stuffed or with a glaze. Cooking time depends on the size of the squash.  When a recipe calls for just the pulp I like to microwave it. I cut two whole squash in half, cover with wax paper and cook for 10 to 13 minutes on high. I let it cool and then peel it. You can bake it at 375 to 400 for 35 to 40 minutes until soft to the touch. Let cool and peel.
         To peel an acorn squash you’ll need a really sturdy knife to slice it in half. To make the squash easier to cut, pierce the skin in a few spots, place it in a microwave oven and heat on high for 2 minutes. Let stand for another few minutes before cutting. When halving, cut through the stem end to the point rather than across the diameter. To prevent halves from rocking on the baking tray, cut a small slice off the bottom to flatten it.
        Most winter squash, including pumpkin, acorn, buttercup, and butternut, can be used interchangeably in recipes.

1 pound peeled squash = 1 cup cooked, mashed
2-1/2 pounds whole squash = 2-3/4 to 3 cups pureed
1 pound trimmed squash = 2 cups cooked pieces
• 12 ounces frozen squash = 1-1/2 cups
Along with the standard green variety, you may also run across orange and white acorn squash varieties. Although available in many areas year-round, prime season for acorn squash is early fall through winter. Plan on using acorn squash within two weeks of purchase. Cooked acorn squash can be sealed and refrigerated up to four days.

APPLE COUSCOUS AND ACORN SQUASH
1 cup couscous
1 cup apple juice
1/4 cup prunes pitted and chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried apple

1/4 cup apple juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 tsp cardamom, ground
1 tablespoon maple syrup
4 acorn squash, halved and seeded
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped, optional
Place couscous in a small mixing bowl. Set aside. Bring apple juice to a boil in a small saucepan and pour over the couscous. Cover and set aside until the juice is absorbed. This will take 15 minutes. Stir in the fruit, apple juice concentrate, cardamom, and maple syrup. Set aside. Steam squash halves until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and place on a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Fill squash halves with the couscous mixture and bake for 20 minutes. Top with pecans and serve. Serves 8

CORNISH HENS WITH ACORN SQUASH
2 medium-size acorn squash (about 1-1/4 pounds each)
3 (1-1/4-pounds each) Cornish hens
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
1/2 cup pitted prunes (3 ounces)
2 (3-inch-long each) cinnamon sticks
Preheat oven to 375. Cut each acorn squash lengthwise in half; remove and discard seeds. Cut each half lengthwise into 3 wedges; cut each wedge diagonally in half. Remove giblets and necks. Rinse hens with running cold water; drain well. Lift wings toward neck, then fold them under back of hens so they stay in place. With string, tie legs of each hen together. Place hens, breast-side up, in 17 x 11-1/2-inch roasting pan; rub with salt and pepper. Arrange squash in roasting pan around hens. Bake hens and squash 30 minutes. Add apple cider, prunes, and cinnamon sticks. Bake 45 minutes longer, basting with pan juices occasionally, until squash is tender and juices run clear when fork is inserted between leg and body cavity of hens. To serve, arrange hens, squash, prunes, and cinnamon sticks on large platter. Skim and discard fat from pan juices; serve pan juices with hens. (Remove skin from hens before eating if you like.) Serves 6

From Good Housekeeping recipe archives

APPLE ACORN SQUASH SOUP

2 small to medium acorn squash or butternut squash, or mixture, about 3 cups mashed pulp

2 cups diced apple

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced carrot

2 tablespoons butter

3 cups chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Cut the squash into chunks and remove seeds; steam over simmering water until tender. Peel, mash, and set aside.In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter; add diced apple, onion, celery, and carrot. Saute until onion and celery are tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add chicken broth; cover and simmer until vegetables are tender. Add the cream, salt, and mashed squash. Let the mixture cool slightly then, working with 3 or 4 batches, carefully puree in a blender. Pour back in the saucepan and heat through. Serves 4 to 6.

GINGERED PEARS IN ACORN SQUASH

3 medium acorn squash
2 ripe red pears, chopped (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 teaspoon hazelnut-flavored liqueur (optional)
1/2 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts*

Make a small cut into each squash; microwave at HIGH 1 to 2 minutes to ease halving squash. Cut squash in half crosswise; remove and discard seeds. Place squash, cut side up, in a 13″ x 9″ x 2″ baking dish.

Combine pear, brown sugar, ginger, butter, and, if desired, liqueur; spoon evenly into squash halves. Add boiling water to a depth of 1/2″ to dish. Cover and bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until squash is tender. Transfer squash to a serving dish; sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts.

*To remove hazelnut skins, cook hazelnuts with 1 teaspoon baking soda in boiling water 30 to 45 seconds. Drain nuts; rub with dish towel (skins come right off). Dry before toasting.

Yield

6 servings

CASBASH STUFFED ACORN SQUASH

“Vegetables, garbanzos, raisins and couscous in a lovely Moroccan broth taste delicious inside butter and brown sugar-brushed acorn squash.

2 carrots, chopped

  1 cup uncooked couscous

  2 tablespoons brown sugar

  1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin

  2 tablespoons olive oil

  2 large acorn squash, halved and seeded

  salt and pepper to taste

  1 cup garbanzo beans, drained

  1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth

  2 cloves garlic, chopped

  1/2 cup raisins

  2 stalks celery, chopped

  1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Arrange squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes, or until tender. Dissolve the sugar in the melted butter. Brush squash with the butter mixture, and keep squash warm while preparing the stuffing. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, celery, and carrots, and cook 5 minutes. Mix in the garbanzo beans and raisins. Season with cumin, salt, and pepper, and continue to cook and stir until vegetables are tender. Pour the chicken broth into the skillet, and mix in the couscous. Cover skillet, and turn off heat. Allow couscous to absorb liquid for 5 minutes. Stuff squash halves with the skillet mixture to serve. Serves 4.

MAPLE GLAZED SQUASH RINGS

1 acorn squash, about 2 pounds

salt

pepper

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup apple cider

2 tablespoons raisins

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon maple flavoring
Slice squash into 1-inch thick rings, discarding seeds. Arrange in shallow baking pan. Bake, covered, in a 350° oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until just tender. Season with salt and pepper. In medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir in apple cider. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Stir raisins, butter and maple flavor into the sauce. Spoon over squash. Continue baking, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.
Serves 4.

ACORN SQUASH WITH WILD RICE

4      small   acorn squash — halved widthwise

1 1/2 cups wild rice

2 tablespoons   sherry

1/2 cup  chopped onion

3   stalks celery — chopped

3 teaspoons minced garlic

1   green bell pepper — diced

1 red bell pepper — diced

1 apple — diced

1 cup corn kernels

1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs

1/3 cup grated Parmesan (optional)

ground black pepper

HERBAL CHOICES: thyme, basil, oregano, parsley, chives.

Preheat oven to 350. Cut a 1/4-inch slice off ends of squash halves to

prevent wobbling.  Remove seeds.  Bake, open side down, on a lightly

sprayed baking sheet until soft (40 min.). Cool. Rinse rice. Place in a medium pot with water to cover by 4 inches.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until tender (1 hour).  Add water as needed to keep rice from drying. Drain well.

Heat sherry in a large non-stick skillet. Add onions, celery, garlic and

peppers and cook over medium heat until browned (5 min.). Stir in apple and

corn and cook until apple loses rawness (3 minutes). Add rice and herbs and

cook for 1 min. Stir in cheese and ground pepper to taste.

Spoon rice mixture into a shallow baking dish and nestle squash halves into

it, filling each with some rice mixture. Bake at 400F for 10 to 15 minutes.

Serves 4.

CHICKEN CURRY IN ROASTED ACORN SQUASH

1 Small acorn squash (2 lbs.)

12 oz Boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 Red bell pepper, diced

1 tablespoon yellow curry powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup chopped Cilantro

1/2 cup milk or rice milk

1/4 cup golden raisins

1 sweet onion, diced

Preheat oven to 425. In a bowl combine the chopped onion chicken and bell pepper. Mix to combine and set aside. Cut squash in half, Rub with half of the olive oil and place on a baking sheet, center face up. Roast it until the flesh is soft and brown, about 25. While the squash roasts, heat the remaining oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. When it’s hot, add the chicken, bell pepper, and onion. Saute for 3 min, and then add the curry powder, milk and raisins. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Serve a scoop of the curry chicken inside the roasted squash.

Garnish with cilantro and serve. Serves 2. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

If you prefere a richer mixture you can substitute heavy cream for milk.

Modified from a recipe found in Men’s Health Magazine