Sunday, November 16, 2014

Baked Whole Butternut Squash - Who Knew?

I live on the lakeshore in beautiful Grand Haven, Michigan.  The summers here are so lovely, with the beach and the water and the tourists, live music, festivals...

...but the winters are NO joke.  "Harsh" is an understatement. Historically, I turn to "comfort food," which translates to anything warm and cheesy, warm and sugary, or warm and carby.  
I've been working hard on a healthier lifestyle and have long been a vegetarian.  When the weather changed from tropical to TORRID...I began to crave my delicious comfort food, and had to find an alternative.  I love squash!  :)

I found this GIANT butternut last week and was dreading trying to split it.  I figured, hey..why not?  SO I took a leap of faith and did something DARING......I cooked it whole!  (I know, crazy.)

This was the easiest thing EVER. I did not prepare the squash in any way at all.   I laid it on an aluminum foil covered cookie sheet, set the oven to 375 and waited, hoping it wouldn't burn my house down or explode.  Neither happened, but in about a half hour, my house smelled just heavenly.

I cooked this for about ah hour and a half...I knew it was finished when I could poke a fork in the thickest spot with no resistance. When it cam out, I noticed, to my DELIGHT, that the skin had pulled form the meat and it...omggg it caramelized!

I impatiently let it cool a little and split it open...ohhhhh, hello, lover.

I scooped the seeds and removed the skin, which was so easy.  Zero waste.

And's my yield.

That's a LOT.  Because I didn't split or prick the squash, the inside steamed perfectly in its own juices.  The caramelization of the skin gave it a wonderful, rich flavor  It was perfect and now this my go-to technique for squash!   This is loaded with nutrients and was good enough to eat plain, no butter, salt, nothing. I've always been reluctant to buy/cook butternuts because I have an awful time splitting them and I hated peeling them. 

I ate almost all of it *haha*..and froze some for later.  Later..tomorrow. :)