Spaghetti SquashSpaghetti Squash

Winter is the time for hard squash, and Spaghetti Squash is fun to cook. It’s called spaghetti because when you cook it and then scoop the guts, it looks like spaghetti.

This particular squash is very hard and difficult to cut open, but will reward you with taste and flavor.

It is usually 10 to 12 inches long, and approximately 20 inches in diameter.

Be careful when cutting it open. Use a long and sharp knife. I’ve watched banquet cooks open these babies up, and it is nothing less then a miracle. They process several cases at a time, with hardly any blood shed.

So cut that squash open, scoop out the seeds, but not the edible guts. Place on a roasting pan in a 375 degree oven, and cook for an hour to an hour and a half, or until the squash flesh is soft.

Take it out and cool the squash. I utilize my freezer if I want to do a fast cooling down. If you aren’t pressed for time, into the refrigerator it goes.

After it’s cooled, remove the flesh and prepare it in any number of ways. Here’s a recipe for Sauteed Spaghetti Squash. Or, you can bake it like a Casserole. Serve with an entree like Tofu Cutlets or Portabella Mushroom Steak.

Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash Cut the long part of the squash from the base. Using a sharp knife, very carefully peel the outer skin. Place the long part vertically on your cutting board and using a downward motion, peel the skin.
Same thing with the base. Place it upside down on your cutting board, and starting from the top, skin that puppy. Then scoop out the guts. From there, you can cube these vitamin packed goodies, and then steam them. After they are steamed, toss them in some margarine, and “sweet” spices, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, cardamom. Serve with any number of entrees. Eat em like snacks. Just be careful on that final saute that you don’t over-cook them. Or you can make a winter soup that will warm the body and spirit.

Butternut squash is packed with beta carotene, fiber, potassium and magnesium, it is also an excellent source of vitamins A and C.

Acorn Squash

Acorn squashThese little jewels are much easier to handle. Cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, place in a roasting pan, stick them in a 375 degree oven for an hour or two (depending on how well you like your squash cooked). Cool off using the method mentioned in Spaghetti Squash. Clean out the flesh, and puree, adding the “sweet” spices, or the savory. Again, use coconut milk to add flavor.

These squash, and pumpkin make excellent soups for the winter, especially when combined with “warming” spices. Watch for the base soup recipe I’ll be posting later this month.

I encourage you to experiment. There are many more varieties of squash, try them and see which ones you like. The ones listed here are just a few of my favorites.