Wednesday, February 23, 2011
1-2-3 Easy Butternut Squash
Even though I like all vegetables, I had many good reasons why I would walk by the hearty manila colored butternut squash in the market and never ever entertain the idea of purchasing one. Let me explain my reasons for not eating butternut squash.
Reason # 1. I always felt they were too hard to peel
Reason # 2. I always felt they are too hard to cut
Reason # 3. I always felt they were too fattening
Well, my excuses are over. I now buy and make butternut squash for three very good new reasons.
Reason # 1. I learned to bake a whole butternut squash without peeling it.
Reason # 2. I learned to bake a whole butternut squash without cutting it.
Reason # 3. I learned that Weight Watchers now classifies butternut squash as a regular vegetable that does not have any point value.
For those of you who have never been a "Weight Watcher", I will explain. You see, each dieter gets a daily allotment of points that can be consumed in one day. Lettuce, cucumbers, string beans etc. are what were referred to as "free vegetables" because they do not have any point value that count towards the daily allotment. But butternut squash always had fattening points! And after all, who wanted to use my precious points to eat butternut squash when I could have perhaps chosen to use my points on a cookie or small scoop of ice cream instead.
Well officially, now everything has changed. The new Points Plus program at Weight Watchers counts butternut squash as a free vegetable ( just like cucumbers and lettuce), and it has no points. I can eat it, and I don't have to count it towards my daily points allowance. It is a free vegetable! Yay! So, now I eat happily eat butternut squash.
Truthfully, I have always loved the sweet flavor of butternut squash. ( kinda like a sweet potato or yam). Now, I can eat butternut squash at least once a week ( or more) and love it. I'm glad because butternut squash is really healthy . It is loaded with fiber, beta carotene that is good for the eyes, and other healthy antioxidants that boost the immune system. It is a great addition to a gluten free ( or any diet).
I also found a way to eat butternut squash without peeling or cutting it..
I learned that you can take a whole unpeeled butternut squash ( wash it well) , place it on a cookie sheet, ( no need to pierce) , place it in a preheated 450 degree oven, and bake it until the squash until it becomes tender ( about 45-1 hour for a med-large squash).
I love this method of baking butternut squash ( or acorn squash) because it is so easy, and because it always comes out extra sweet.
Of course once you open the tender baked squash, you have to scoop out the seeds before eating the succulent orange meat.
So, there you have it. There is no reason not to enjoy a nice size portion of sweet as sugar, delicious and healthy butternut squash!
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