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.
QUESTION:
What is your favorite type of squash?

Delicata Squash

While at Trader Joe’s I spotted the Delicata Squash and picked one up. I happen to love squash and I had never tried this particular type so I was a little excited.  While checking out the cashier had let me know that because the skin on the squash is so thin, if roasted, you can eat the skin.
Delicata squash is a yellow squash with green, almost, lining/spotting running throughout the skin.  It’s a winter squash and can truly be cooked in any way you enjoy – roasted, microwaved, steamed or sautéed.  I decided to go with the roasting method because that’s how I most enjoy my squashes.  I cut the squash in half, scooped out the seeds and put them skin side down on a baking sheet and put them into a 350 degree oven for roughly 30 minutes.
They came out perfect. Nice and tender, the skins were soft (and edible, I was quite surprised). It tastes of squash, but it’s a sweet squash and is a little reminiscent of sweet potato.  It was perfect plain as is which is how I ended up eating mine. From what I’ve heard you could even stuff these with whatever you choose and have a delicata squash boat.  I enjoyed it so much when I go to Trader Joe’s this week I plan on picking up at least a few more.
QUESTION:
Do you have a favorite 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.

Sautéed Veggies w/ Olive Oil and Garlic

I stayed at my aunt and uncles house for the week dog, cat and bird sitting.  While there my uncle pointed out he had a garden outback and I should make myself at home and pick fresh veggies.  So I did just that … because if I didn’t, frankly, they’d end up going bad and that just defeats the purpose of a garden.  That morning I was able to pick a fresh zucchini, yellow squash and a bunch of fresh green beans. Not entirely sure what I wanted to do with them I cleaned them and put them in a bowl on the counter – then later in the afternoon decided I’d make a quick sauté to go alongside dinner. It was perfect. Fresh, delicious and perfectly garlicy (since I LOVE garlic)!
Since I didn’t want to drown them in butter and oil as most sauté dishes tend to go, I decided to blanch the vegetables in salted boiling water for a few seconds each and removed them from the pan and drained them before sautéing.
Serves 3. Serving size: 1/3 recipe. 1 Points Plus Value.
          1 medium zucchini, sliced
          1 medium yellow squash, sliced
          2 cups Green beans, “veins” removed
          1 tbsp olive oil
          1 tbsp minced garlic
          Black pepper, to taste
          Salt, to taste
          Oregano, to taste
          Garlic powder, to taste
Bring a pot of salted water up to boil. Once boiling drop sets of vegetables into the water and allow blanching for under a minute.  Remove blanched vegetables from the water and continue until all vegetables are blanched and removed from the water. Drain any excess liquid from the vegetables.
In a non-stick skillet, add in 1 tbsp olive oil and a tablespoon of minced garlic.  Allow to sauté for 30 seconds or so before adding in the vegetables. Toss and stir vegetables to allow evenly coating in the olive oil. Sprinkle vegetables with garlic powder, black pepper, salt and oregano. Toss to combine.  Allow to sauté for 3-4 minutes before removing from the flame.