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Dinner Diva: Winter Squash

Dinner Diva
Winter Squash

As the trees in my yard are already beginning to change, so is the menu at my house. The summer squashes and tomatoes of summer have lost their savor and the bevy of winter squashes are finding their way into my kitchen. Big, beautiful robust squash, with their rich and hearty flavor, silky textures and intoxicating aromas. With all the varieties available, there is no way to tire of these sturdy gourds.
Outside the tough exterior lies an autumnal burst of color, waiting to be baked, roasted and made into soups. With a simple recipe and equally simple ingredients, enjoying winter squash this season should be required eating for everyone, especially considering its ample nutrition; winter squashes of all varieties are bursting with vitamin A, beta carotene (hence the usual orange coloring), potassium, vitamin C, folate and a good helping of fiber, too. What's not to love about that?
Here then is a recipe to get you started enjoying winter squash in your own kitchen. Let's not just relegate this fine vegetable for holiday meals, but instead, get cooking with these seasonal squash on a regular basis-enjoy!
Turkey with Spiced Squash and Apples
Serves 6
6 turkey breast cutlets
3 red apples -- peeled and quartered
1 pound acorn squash -- seeded and cut into 6 wedges
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup apple juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a baking dish, arrange squash wedges and apple quarters together in the pan. In a small bowl, mix together syrup and apple juice. Pour half the syrup mixture over the top of the squash and apples. Bake for 30 minutes or until nearly fully cooked. Add turkey cutlets and remaining syrup mixture, spooning sauce over the cutlets. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until turkey and squash or both completely cooked.
Per Serving: 175 Calories; 1g Fat; 18g Protein; 25g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 45mg Cholesterol; 163mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain (Starch); 2 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Fruit; 0 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Steamed broccoli and a spinach salad.
Braised Butternut Squash and Hominy
Serves 6
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1' chunks
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded, deribbed and coarsely diced
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons all purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 (15 ounce) can hominy, drained
2 1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, pressed
In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add onions, squash, green bell pepper, paprika, and cumin. Cook about 10 minutes until onions are translucent.
Add flour, salt and pepper to taste and cayenne pepper; cook, stirring, for one more minute.
Stir in hominy, water, parsley, tomato paste and garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes until squash is tender. Add a bit more water if veggies look dry.
Per Serving: 230 Calories; 3g Fat; 5g Protein; 50g Carbohydrate; 8g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 210mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 1/2 Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Serve with a simple baby greens salad.

For more help putting dinner on your table check out Leanne's website or her Saving Dinner Book series (Ballantine) and her New York Times Best Selling book Body Clutter (Fireside). Copyright 2008 Leanne Ely. Used by permission in this publication.

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