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acorn squash

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How To Bake Acorn Squash

I just love when I start to see squash at our local farmers market.  Squash is an easy and inexpensive way to get nutrients into the body.  They are a great source of iron, riboflavin, and vitamins A & C.  Choose a squash feels heavy for its size and has a hard, deep colored rind.
Rinse the squash, then cut in half with a sharp knife.  Scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff.  

Take a minute to delight in the beauty of acorn squash.  I love the scalloped edge and the beautiful orange color. So pretty!

Find a baking pan and fill it with water to about 1/4″ deep

Lay the acorn squash cut side down in the pan.  Bake at 350 for about an hour or until soft.
At this point, you can dress the squash with whatever your heart desires.  I like to fill the cavity with butter, brown sugar (or maple syrup) a sprinkle of cinnamon and salt.  

I then put it back into the oven for a few minutes until the butter melts.   I just love eating squash like this.  It almost feels like I’m eating dessert!  The sweet maple syrup or brown sugar along with the salty butter and sprinkle of salt is so, SO good.

Simple Baked Acorn Squash
1 acorn squash
2 tbsp brown sugar or maple syrup
2 tbsp butter
dash of cinnamon
pinch of salt
Cut acorn squash in half.  Scoop out seeds and stringy stuff.  Fill  a baking pan with water to about 1/4″ depth.  Place acorn squash cut side down into pan.  Bake 350 degrees for about an hour or until soft.
Fill each cavity with 1 tbsp brown sugar or maple syrup, 1 tbsp butter, and a sprinkle of cinnamon and salt.  Place back into the oven until butter is melted.
How do you like to eat your acorn squash?


Acorn Squash And Sweet Potato Soup

I’m sitting here eating a bowl of soup, taking occasional bites of an apple, and feeling quite proud of myself!  I just created a recipe that is…da bomb!  Well, ok, sort of created a recipe.

I wanted to try an Acorn and Sweet Potato Soup recipe that sounded and looked so good, but I had been warned by my friend Katie that the original recipe was a bit bland.  She suggested a few additions to make it better, I used some of them but forgot what she had told me while at the store, so I ended up adding different ingredients.  So, I guess you could say I created a third of a recipe, but hey, that counts for something, right?  I’m still proud because it is goooood!

*the ingredients I added to the original recipe are highlighted

Acorn Squash & Sweet Potato Soup
1 large sweet potato
1 medium acorn squash
2 tbls olive oil
6 cloves garlic
3 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 c. light cream (I used whole milk)
1 shallot, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika  (if you have not tried smoked paprika, you must!)
1 1/2 tbls. pure maple syrup (adjust depending on how sweet your potato is)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg (I used whole nutmeg, ran it over my microplane about 4 times-ish)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
pat of butter
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut sweet potato and squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop out squash seeds and brush cut sides with oil.  Place squash and sweet potato halves cut-side down in a shallow roasting pan.  Add unpeeled garlic cloves around the vegetables after tossing them in a bit of the oil.  Roast for 40 minutes until tender.

(I baked a couple of extra potatoes for my lunch.  Had not added the garlic cloves, yet:))
When cool, scoop out insides of the squash and sweet potato, leaving the skins behind.  Peel garlic and add soft insides and scooped squash/sweet potato to a large saucepan.  Add chicken broth and shallot and season with salt and pepper.  Stir well.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat.  Add remaining ingredients, except for the milk and pat of butter.  Process with the hand blender until smooth (if you do not have a hand blender, cool slightly and transfer to a food processor or blender, working in batches as to not overflow machine.

Return soup to pan and stir in milk and butter.  Check seasoning.  Adjust salt, pepper and cayenne as desired.

It is not as complicated as it sounds.  You could roast your veggies earlier in the day, scoop and set in refrigerator until dinner time.  Throwing together the rest of the soup is a breeze.  I recommend either eating it with apple slices, cooked apples as a side, or with a mug of apple cider.  I did both apple slices and apple cider, and it really complimented the soup.  Maybe some diced apple as a garnish to add texture and crunch to the soup?

In a jar, ready for my husband to take to work for lunch.

I wanted my soup to have a sweet and savory taste to it with a kick, and that is what I got.  My friend Katie added roasted red peppers, Italian seasoning,  smoked paprika and a pat of butter and said her husband loved it.  Her version sounds great, too- it would be more of a smokey, savory soup.  I will for sure have to try it her way for a change.  She is a vegetarian and told me that she uses smoked paprika in lieu of ham or bacon in recipes.  I love that tip, you get the smokiness, but not the calories or the cost of the meat.  She mentioned a vegetarian quiche recipe that uses smoked paprika instead of bacon..yum.  Sounds like a recipe I need to blog about, so I will get it from her or maybe she could do a guest post!!:)

Happy Fall!