Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Lovin' Us Some Butternut Squash


Well, we were a little under the weather for quite a few weeks so far this year.  I guess even eating healthy, Paleo foods can't keep the creeping crud away when you've been exposed to family members recovering from the flu over the holidays and a Hubs who brought home whatever bug was going around his office.  Oy.  But we're feeling much better and ready to share our new/old fave vegetable.

We've been in love with butternut squash for a long time.  In our vegetarian years, we ate many bowlfuls of a yummy butternut squash soup I concocted.  I never experimented with other ways to prepare this biggo delight other than to bake it, halved in a water bath.  (because I was too lazy to peel it, I must confess.)

Well, that was until I discovered how easy the work is when I used my Y peeler.  I think I got mine from the grocery store a while back, you know, just 'cos I saw it and didn't have one.  And I must not stop until I have all of the kitchen gadgets known to man because I am an idiot for them. I never really used it until a couple months ago.  And wouldn't know it?   You can peel yourself up a butternut squash likkety split with this bad boy!  An obsession with this squash has been born in our kitchen...

The carb count of butternut squash is lower than that of  sweet potatoes, but higher than carrots at 16, 23, and 12 grams, respectively per cup of raw cubed/sliced product.  (Here's an easy way to get your carb info; it seems pretty accurate:  Butternut squash is a bit of a carb splurge, so decide when you can treat yourself.  We work out pretty hard and haven't had any problem eating any of these three orange delights. There's a lot of bang for our buck in one of these squashes and we certainly don't eat the whole thing at one meal.  Here's what I mean:

To make these fun little disk things, hang on to the bulbish end of your butternut squash and slice it into pieces that are about 1/2 inch thick; put a little dollop of coconut on the top of each one. Roast the disks at 400 degrees (that temp seems to be the go-to oven setting on all roasted butternut squash) for 40 minutes, turning them half way through.  I like to use silicone baking mats to keep everything from sticking.  These come out a little crispy on the outside and gooey/tender on the inside.  Three for each plate is enough to serve as a side dish.  If you don't use all that you've cut up, just stick 'em in the fridge for up to a week and have 'em again (and again) 'cos they are that good!


Here's a pic of the rounds topped with a little rosemary/garlic/olive oil paste that I made up, a nice grass-fed steak and some sliced avocado.  I don't know what tasted better, the squash or the steak.  I do know that the longer I eat Paleo foods, the more satiated I am and I was not able to come anywhere close to finishing this much food.  I've read in quite a few places that one of the jobs of the mac-daddy hormone, Leptin, is to signal the brain that you've had enough to eat. It can get all out of whack pretty easily with a diet devoid of good, whole foods.  Happy to report that I think my Leptin is in good shape 'cos I don't eat nearly as much as a did a few months ago!  We usually save leftovers and scramble up them with eggs for breakfast.  And the CappiDog sometimes gets a bite as long as it is dog-friendly for her tummy.  (She is delighted to say that this was quite a nice bite for her tummy.)

Now for some other stuff to do with the giant squash you have on your cutting board.... 

 Cut a little bit off of the bottom bulbish part of your butternut squash so that it is flat and will sit up, roast it  at 400 degrees with some coconut oil drizzled all over and you'll have a perfect, edible bowl for your Paleo Chili.   It takes about 45-50 minutes.  Just test it with a fork to the side and see if it is tender.  I used two here, so Hubs and I could each have one.  (I like to use a spoon and a melon ball utensil to get those pesky seeds and pulp out.)  There's a super easy recipe for chili that I need to post, so that will be coming soon. 

And yep, that guacamole on top of the chili was made by none other than Chef Hubs himself. Perhaps a guest post is in order soon! 
Last, but not least, here is something that turned out to be yummy fun.  And it resulted in me getting a brand-new kitchen gizmo.  (I know, I know.  Spoiled rotten.)  I had read where you could make a kind of pasta like thing with butternut squash by cutting long strips with your Y Peeler (Did I mention how awesome this thing is?  Which reminds me, I need to send one to my sister-in-law since yesterday was her birthday...she'll understand 'cos she knows how I always kind of late getting things done girl who assumes everyone loves gadgets.)  Now, cutting the strips is-er-well time consuming, so the first time I tried it, I didn't cook enough.  (I get bored a little easily and become a slacker.)  Honestly, this was not a lot of fun and Hubs was disappointed when his plate was empty since I didn't make a bunch of the strips:
So I went shopping on Amazon Prime and shazam...found me my very own spiralizer  (!!!)  

Oh the joy of it!  It only takes what my Beloved Grandma would call a 'jiffy' to turn an entire butternut squash into a big  pile of curly goodness that is ready for your saute pan and a little coconut oil.  This little gem comes with three blades, so you can make your veggies into small, medium, and large spirals.  Oh, and did I mention that it works with lots of other vegetables like sweet potatoes and zucchini? It was love at first sight and now I am sort of running out of kitchen space here in the little towncasa  because I seem to always have to have one more thing.

 It takes 6-8 minutes to cook the spirals up; I usually put a lid on the pan for a minute or two to help soften them.   You do have to be a little careful not to break them up with your spatula.  If you do, they may lose their charm, but not their flavor.  While I'm at it, here is my favorite spatula.  It is called a fish spatula, but it's great for turning delicate stuff and it has a blade to help scoop things up.  Yep.  Kitchen Geek strikes again.
You can use spiralized veggies much as you would any kind of pasta.  The picture below is spiralized butternut squash with some pulled pork that I had cooked in the slow cooker.  We just topped it with some avocados.  


H-m-m-m.  Seems like avocados go well with most everything we eat.

That's it for now.  I'd sure love for you to share some of your ideas on how you jazz up  this fabulous vegetable! 

Enjoy and take good care, k.






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