Thanksgiving Side Dish: Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apples

It is that time of year now. Isn’t it crazy that once Halloween hits, you blink and it’s just about Thanksgiving? And in what feels like two weeks later, it’s Christmas, and then a brand new year! Gah, I feel old when I say this, but time really does go by so quickly.

{Wow, that’s the last time I’m going to mention time going by quickly. I just got caught up in the thoughts of my 6 year old growing up so quickly, that made me sad, and I had a mini cry fest}

Moving right along… It’s almost Thanksgiving! As in next week. Are you going to be hosting a meal? Do you have your menu planned out yet? Or maybe you’re just in charge of taking something to a dinner. Either way, I have the perfect dish for you. I found this rustic side dish from Kitchen Parade, and I am oh so glad I did!

My sister-in-law gave me a butternut squash a few weeks back, and I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to use it. Honestly, I had never cooked with a butternut squash before, so I was a little intimidated. And on top of that, I wasn’t quite sure I really liked squash. So a recipe for butternut soup was out because I was afraid it would taste too squash-y. I don’t know, maybe you’re into that sort of thing. I just know that I’m not. I knew I had to turn this thing into something a little sweet.

And on top of that – how the hell do you cut this thing? No clue. Fortunately, Alanna, over at Kitchen Parade, was awesome enough to create a tutorial for cutting a butternut squash. And thank goodness! I would have been hacking away without any sense at all. If you’ve never cut a squash, you’re going to want to check the tutorial out yourself.

I’ve got to tell you how much I love Thanksgiving! I seriously look forward to it every year. It is probably my favorite holiday. Family all together. So much to be thankful for. And of course the FOOD! I couldn’t care less that I don’t get to eat the ham, turkey, or chicken. I’m there for the sides! The mashed potatoes, the green bean casserole (which is my assignment this year), the rolls, and oh the PIE! (which is also my assignment!)

You guys, I’m getting hungry. So I’m going to leave you with this and find something to munch on!

Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple

makes 4 cups
adapted from Kitchen Parade
print friendly version 

Ingredients

SQUASH:
1 butternut squash, about 1 1/2 pounds, washed well
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

APPLES:
2 apples, cored, chopped into half-inch pieces
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Set oven to 375F. Place a glass or ceramic baking dish in the oven to preheat.

Place the squash in the microwave for 3 minutes to soften. Remove the skin, seeds and membrane, then into half-inch cubes. (Don’t forget to refer to the tutorial for tips). In a large bowl, toss the squash with remaining squash ingredients, coating the cubes well with butter and spices. Transfer to baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Combine apples, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar. Arrange apples over the squash. Re-cover with foil, bake for another 10 minutes.

Uncover the dish, stir and bake for about another 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until the squash is fully cooked and the liquid is absorbed. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately.

I hope you enjoy!

What are your cooking assignments for the holiday?

Parmesan Asparagus

Do you know how happy I am that the weather is getting warmer?  Halleluyer!

Time at the pool.  Outside runs.  Coffee on the balcony.  Sleeping with the windows open.  and…

Fresh veggies!  I cannot wait until our local farmers markets start opening up.  You can bet your last dollar that I will be spending time there just about every Saturday.  I love the Salt Lake downtown market.  Lots of great foods.  Tons of crafts that I feel I need to buy but ultimately talk myself out of. And of course, the people watching is prime.

So I used to think I was more of a fruit-lover than a veg-head, but over the years I believe that has changed.  Give me a fruit tray and a veggie tray side-by-side, and 9 times out of 10, I will be snacking on snap peas and cherry tomatoes.  I have tried really hard to instill my love of fresh foods into my son, and it worked for his first two years of his life, but you know what – cookies and sweets became a bit more appealing to my little guy (I really can’t say I blame him), and his love of veggies started to diminish.

I came home the other day with the first asparagus of the year.  Oh my, do I love me some asparagus!  I’m pretty sure it’s among the top 5 favy veggies in this mama’s life.  And among the ultra tastiness, let me give you a quick run-down of it’s health benefits.

1 – can detoxify our system

2 – has anti-aging functions

3 – is considered an aphrodisiac

4 – can protect against cancer

5 – reduces pain and inflammation

6 – can prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis

7 – reduces the risk of heart disease

8 – can help prevent birth defects

Um, yes please?  It’s tasty and super-good for your body!

I don’t cook it often because I know not everyone loves it as much as I do. But I was determined to make it happen.  I walked in with groceries and asked Xander if he liked asparagus.  Of course, he groaned, “no-o-oo-o.”  As I figured.  And I asked my honey the same question.  Her response was that it’s ok, but by her tone, I could tell she wasn’t exactly thrilled.  I had a tough crowd that night.  If all else fails, more asparagus for me, right?

Well, I was going to try something new.  One simple ingredient was going to change the way my family looked at asparagus.  Just a little sprinkling of fresh Parm!  Nothing fancy.  No crazy sauce to mask the taste.  Just a little something to up the yum factor.

When dinner rolled around, little man was a bit hesitant to try eat his veggies, but he finally got brave enough.  After his first bite, he was all smiles.  He even said, “I really like the dark green leafy part!”  Score!  Ten points for Mama!  That’s the goal, right?  To get our kids to eat more dark leafy things.  Well, mamas, this is the key. Parm.

Parmesan Asparagus

serves 4-5

Ingredients

1 bunch fresh asparagus

1-2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil (or olive oil)

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Start by rinsing your asparagus.  Then to prepare, all you need to do is snap off the ends.  Just bend the stalk, and wherever they break is just fine.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, and there’s no science to it.

Then lay them flat in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Drizzle with oil.  Salt and pepper lightly.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese all over.


Bake for 10 minutes.

Folks, that’s all there is to it.  It is that simple.  This will change whatever negative thoughts you may have about asparagus. It’s so tasty and fresh.  Mmmmm I’m kinda craving it now.  Yes, that’s right – craving asparagus at 5am.

Serve this along side a fresh summery dish.  Or how about with your grilled burgers?

Whatever you serve it with, just serve it.  Don’t delay!