'Tis the season, but not the season for being jolly or singing Jingle Bells. It's the season for squash. Winter squash is coming to town, and it's a low-calorie and vitamin-full option in this week's challenge.
This week's #bebetter52 challenge is to incorporate squash into a meal. It can be used as a roasted side dish, stuffed as an entree, as a substitute for spaghetti, or baked into chips.
Winter squash can be differentiated from summer squash because of its tough rind that lends well to being stored for the winter. Winter squash is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, potassium, and dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is important because it normalizes bowel movements, lowers cholesterol levels, helps to control blood sugar levels, and helps in achieving a healthy weight. Common varieties of winter squash include butternut squash, acorn squash, delicata squash, and spaghetti squash. Pumpkins are also winter squashes, and the sugar pie pumpkin is the one typically used to make pumpkin pie.
When people picture autumn in their mind’s eye, pumpkins and falling leaves undoubtedly appear along with chilly weather, hay rides, and, of course, the annual pumpkin patches. When we choose foods in season and harvested at the time of year we buy them, we chose foods at their peak. This means fresher food that is less expensive since it is in abundant supply, and food that is better for the environment because it doesn't travel far to get to the consumer. This week's challenge will be an opportunity for you to choose an in-season food to feed your family. Hopefully, it will inspire you to take a look around and see what other new produce has popped up now that the weather is changing.
This recipe from thecleaneatingcouple.com uses acorn squash and apples, both in season during the fall!
2 acorn squash, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
16 oz ground turkey
1.5 cups chopped button mushrooms
1 cup, chopped apple
½ cup chicken or veggie stock
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cheese of choice
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with foil + spray with olive oil to prevent squash from sticking.
Slice acorn squash in half, scoop out seeds and place flat on sheet sprayed with olive oil.
Bake the squash for 20-25 minutes, until it is fork tender.
While the squash cooks, sauté turkey in olive oil for 10 minutes until brown.
Add in chopped mushrooms, apples, chicken stock, rosemary, pepper and salt to the pan. Sauté for an additional 5 minutes.
When the squash is done, remove from the oven + scoop out most of the cooked center.
Add the squash filling to the turkey/mushroom/apple mixture + stir until completely mixed in.
Scoop the sausage/squash mixture back into the squash + top with cheese of choice.
Bake at 450 for 5 minutes until cheese melts, and then broil for 2-3 minutes so the cheese gets crispy.