Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Carb Up with Squash This Fall

Walk into any supermarket right now and one of the first thing’s you’ll see is a  very large assortment of squash.  Some of you may be wondering what to do with those hard and odd shaped fruits.  Never fear...I am here to help! From replacing your pasta noodles to making feel-good soup after a brisk Fall run, I’ll show you how to use a few of my favorite squash and harness all of their nutritious benefits.

Favorite Squash #3: Spaghetti Squash

I first learned about the amazing spaghetti squash 2 years ago.  While I still occasionally go back to rice pasta noodles, the two are really interchangeable.  The squash may be a tad messier than the alternative, but just as simple.  Here's how to use it:

If using an oven, cut squash in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and place on a baking sheet.  Then simply put it in the over at 375 for 45 minutes to an hour.

For the microwave, simply prick holes all around the squash (otherwise it will explode in your microwave- not that I know from experience), put it on a place, and place in microwave.  The time will depend on the size of the squash, but I usually like to start at 5 minutes and check from there.  It should be tender when done.  Let it cool off a bit the cut in half and scrape out the seeds.

After that, all you have to do is take a fork and scrape the innards of the squash into a pot.  They will come out as strings, just like spaghetti.  Once you scape out as much as you can into the pot, add the pasta sauce (plus some other veggies like kale and mushrooms) and put to low heat for a few minutes.  Then, eat just like spaghetti.  Bon Appetite!

Favorite Squash # 2: Butternut Squash

There is nothing like coming back from a chilly run and enjoying a bowl of nice warm soup.  However, I'm usually too tired and hungry in the evening to go through the process of making a soup with a long list of ingredients.  Plus, I'm not a fan of some of the ingredients in many canned or boxed soups (even the organic ones).  Lucky for me, butternut squash soup is now easier than ever to make with a few simple ingredients and a good blender.  Here is one of my favorite recipes from simplyrecipes.com: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/butternut_squash_apple_soup/ (No need for the butter. Just use a bit of coconut oil or water to sauté).

Favorite Squash # 1: Pumpkin

Fall means pumpkin, and pumpkin everything!  Pumpkin bread, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin seeds (which are a great source of iron), pumpkin dog treats (I honestly believe my dog looks forward to these every season), and of course, pumpkin pie!

Here is a recipe from Oh She Glows for one of the tastiest and healthiest pumpkin pies you will ever eat! (Please note that when I say "healthy" it does NOT mean less calories.  I simply mean natural sugars and no fake ingredients): http://ohsheglows.com/recipage/?recipe_id=6006103 

Runner Up: Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is a great an easy side.  Just cut in half, scoop out the seeds, sprinkle on some sea salt and cinnamon and out in the over at 375 for 45 minutes.  Or, feature it as your main dish by scooping you favorite quinoa mixture inside.