Jamaican Jerk Pork w/ Carrots & Roasted Butternut Squash

Whenever I have a pork roast out to cook … it ultimately means one thing: Jamaican Jerk Pork. I can’t think of making anything else with it (I mean I could, but pork roast and jerk seasoning go together like flour and water in my book) and it’s one of those dishes that I love and enjoy quite a lot.
For my plate, I decided to cut out the carb (rice) so I went with fresh steam carrots and a roasted butternut squash, which I seasoned up with some spray butter and a tablespoon of brown sugar.
The whole dish was perfect. Filling, fresh and packed with flavors.  I’ve learned the trick with jerk pork or chicken is to use a very small amount of seasoning (incase you’re wondering I use the Mild Grace Jamaican Jerk Seasoning). The seasoning itself is packed with flavor and spicy pepper so a small amount will pack on the flavor but not make it too hot to handle.  The sweet squash helped balance out the flavors. Ultimately it was a wonderful dish and a perfect dinner.

The greatest part it was only 7 points plus values (1 for the brown sugar, 6 for 4 oz of pork)!

Carnival Squash

I am a bit fan of squash – it’s a vegetable I tend to eat all year round, but during the fall/winter months I have them more often because it’s a homey and delicious side dish.  So while at Trader Joe’s I spotted the Carnival Squash and decided to pick one up.  I figured due to its shape it had to be similar to the acorn squash … and I was right.
Carnival Squash is a winter squash which has a noticeable look to it – it’s yellow and green and the coloring can be “splattered” throughout or it will have green coloring running through the yellow.  The rind is thicker so it’s not a skin you could eat. The label on the squash stated you could pierce it a few times with a fork and cook it in the microwave, then slice, remove the seeds, stuff and finish cooking. But I opted to go with my handy oven roasting method.  I cut my squash in half, removed the seeds, gave it a light sprinkling of salt and pepper, then after a few sprays of butter I put it into a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
My squash was cooked through and was perfect. The flesh tastes sweeter than acorn, almost reminiscent of a sweet potato and holds up nicely. I definitely enjoyed this and will pick it up again I spot it while out shopping.
What is your favorite type of squash?

Spaghetti Squash

So many people rave about spaghetti squash so I decided to pick up a smaller squash at the grocery store to give it a try. I enjoy squash in general – acorn, butternut, etc. so I figured it’d be a trial run to see if spaghetti squash would join that list.
I cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise then scooped out the seeds and pulp.  I spritzed a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray, then placed the squashes onto the pan face down.  I then put them into a 350 degree oven for roughly 30 minutes.  I checked my squashes and added a splash of water into the pan to help “steam” the squash a bit more before returning them back to the oven for another 10 minutes.  Granted, cooking times will vary based on the size of your squash.
After taking the squashes out of the oven, I let them cool until cool enough to touch, then took a fork and raked it down the center of the squash, pulling out the pulp as I went along.  The squash came out of the “shell” so easily and none of it went to waste.  I ate some while it was warm and found I really enjoyed it.  It tastes exactly like squash.  The flavor possibilities are endless – you can eat it plain, you can eat it with some sweetness on it (brown sugar, etc.), you can saute it with onion garlic and olive oil.  Some even use it as a substitute to pasta – although I’m not entirely sure I’d be that adventurous.
The great benefit of squash is that it’s a power food, it’s filling, it’s really low in calories and it’s a 0 points plus value for those of us who follow Weight Watchers.
I’m quite a fan! Though sadly the price of spaghetti squash has doubled in the past few weeks … and that’s no fun.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar

Acorn squash … a hidden jewel in the squash world. At least in my opinion. Growing up my mother would make roasted acorn squash with butter and brown sugar typically on Sunday to go alongside Sunday dinner. Since I was a youngster this dish has always been a favorite of mine. Because I enjoy it so much I’ve incorporated it into my lifestyle – deciding to pull back on the amount of brown sugar sprinkled into each squash half and eliminating the butter. I find using a bit of spray butter gives the dish a mild butter flavor and the brown sugar works wonders because it helps caramelize the squash and really enhances the squashes flavor.
I cooked up 2 acorn squashes, but for the purpose of this very simple recipe you could cook as many or as few squash as you choose. The points plus would not differ, unless you were to eat a whole squash as a meal.
I enjoy and serve these in their original form. I do not scoop the pulp out of the skin. I find scooping it out myself makes for a little bit of a fun eating experience.

Serves 4. 1 Points Plus Value.

– 2 Acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed
– 4 tbsp brown sugar
– 8 sprays, butter flavored spray (Spray Butter)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place halved acorn squash on a non-stick baking sheet. Spray each half with 2 sprays of butter spray then add in 1 tbsp of brown sugar to each squash half.

Bake in oven for roughly 45 minutes. Keep in mind cooking times may vary depending on the size and thickness of your acorn squash. If it’s not done at the end of 45 minutes extend the cooking time by 10 minutes until done. It’s done when a fork can be inserted into the squash pulp easily.

Plate up & enjoy!