Celebrating the Winter Squash

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By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

Winter squash varieties include acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and pumpkin. Squash can be stored (whole) in a cool place for several months and is versatile because every part of can be eaten: flesh, seeds, blossoms, leaves, even shoots.

Its thick skin often makes squash difficult to peel. Place squash in the microwave for about 3 minutes, it will be softer and easier to peel, cut, and remove seeds. If you need to remove the skin before cooking, a vegetable peeler is the best tool. If you don’t need to remove the seeds or peel before cooking (like for mashed squash), cut the squash in half and bake it first, then just scoop the flesh out of the skin with a spoon.

A 1.5 pound squash should be halved and baked at 350 for 45 minutes; quartered and steamed for 25 minutes; or quartered, placed cut side down in ¼ cup water, covered, and cooked in the microwave for 6 minutes per pound. Your squash is done when a fork is easily inserted into the flesh (similar to potatoes).  One 2.5 pound who squash equals about 3 cups pureed squash.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, the fun part starts! Check out our favorite recipes using this truly versatile vegetable.

imagePumpkin Risotto with Sage and Spicy Sausage: Sweet pumpkin, savory rice, and spicy sausage are perfectly combined in this rich, filling dish.

Pumpkin Orzo: This sweet and sour dish is sure to please. It has sweet pumpkin, sour balsamic vinegar, and zesty fresh ginger.

image Rosemary and Garlic Roasted New Potatoes: Squash is a great substitution for potatoes. Try this recipe with butternut or acorn squash.

Roasted Pumpkin Spears with Parmesan: These spears are crunchy and creamy, salty and sweet. They’re impressive and so simple to make!

imageCreamy Squash Soup: The combination of butternut squash and sweet carrots makes this soup rich and creamy.

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Creamy Pumpkin Soup: Pumpkin is delicious in any form! This savory soup is great for a cold winter day.

image Curried Squash and Apple Soup: This combination of apple and acorn squash makes this soup creamy and delicious.

image Pumpkin Seed Snack Mix: This mix is salty and sweet. Pumpkin seeds can be substituted with any other winter squash seeds!

image Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds:These seeds are slightly spicy and slightly sweet. They would be a perfect topping for a salad or stir fry!

imageTomato and Crab Spaghetti:Substitute 1 pound spaghetti for 1 spaghetti squash. The sweet sun-dried tomatoes will go well with the squash noodles.

Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad: Instead of using penne pasta, use cooled spaghetti squash. This is perfect for a party salad.

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Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle: This trifle is an impressive holiday dessert. The mix of spicy gingerbread cookies, sweet pumpkin, and fluffly cool whip is sure to please!

image Pumpkin Bars: These bars are excellent for holiday parties because they can be cut into bite-sized servings. Don’t be discouraged from substituting pumpkin for another winter squash.

image Pumpkin Chiffon Pie:This variation on classic Pumpkin Pie is light and fluffy. Perfect for a lighter, less-dense, holiday dessert.

Read More From What's in Season.

Read More From Holidays and Entertaining.

Read More From Thanksgiving.

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Reader Comments:

54321

I love Paula Deen

By Rosa Vial on November 06, 2013

54321

Your recipes look fantastic. Miss you on TV

By Mary Jo Rentz on November 03, 2013

54321

Very Simple - last leg of cooking squash in oven - flip over and fill hole with pie filling - Apple is very good but my favorite is peach . Gets even the pickiest eater to try their squash.

By Michele Underwood on April 10, 2013

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hi! wink i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above? thanks! wink sandra
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 10:37 am

Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 8:22 am

I WISH I COULD COOK. COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER? I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE. TAMMY LEVAN 19 SPENCER WAY KINGS PARK, NY 11754 HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 4:31 am

Hi Bubbles, You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition. Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm