Maria

Cooking 101: How to Peel and Cube a Butternut Squash

If you’re just starting out in the kitchen or have never tackled a butternut squash before, it can feel intimidating to figure out where to begin.  Here are 10 easy steps to walk you through the process of peeling and cubing a butternut squash:

 

Step 1: Using a very sharp knife, remove both ends of the squash.

how to peel and cube a butternut squash - step 1

 

Step 2: Starting from the center midline of the squash, peel outwards towards one end.  Keep rotating around the squash until that entire half of the squash is peeled.  

how to peel and cube a butternut squash - step 2

 

Step 3: Turn squash around and repeat on the remaining half that still has a peel on it.  

how to peel and cube a butternut squash - step 3

 

Step 4: Slice squash in half right through the midline.

how to peel and cube a butternut squash - step 4

 

Step 5: Take the more rounded half of the squash, turn it on its end, and slice it in half right down the middle.

how to peel and cube a butternut squash - step 5

 

Step 6: Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp.  You can either save the seeds – rinse them and roast them in the oven – or discard them, preferably in the compost.

how to peel and cube a butternut squash - step 6

 

Step 7: Turn each half of the rounded end of the squash over so that it rests flat on the cutting board.  Cut into 1-inch slices.

how to peel and cube a butternut squash - step 7

 

Step 8: Cut each of the slices into 1-inch cubes.

how to peel and cube a butternut squash - step 8

 

Step 9: Turn the remaining half of the squash on its end.  Very carefully, slice down the length of the squash to create 1-inch thick slices.

how to peel and cube a butternut squash - step 9

 

Step 10: Cut each of these slices into 1-inch strips and then cut each strip into 1-inch cubes.

how to peel and cube a butternut squash - step 10

Apple Cider Mimosas

A Look Back – Our Favorite Holiday Recipes

 

Hey Everyone! I’ve been meaning to post a few of our favorite recipes from the holiday season.  I realize that January is almost over already (where does the time go?!) and I’m just now getting these out to you but – better late than never!  Besides, there is always another opportunity to try a new recipe – whether it’s for a party, a special holiday, a date night, or just because you are feeling inspired to cook tonight!  So I hope that you try out one or more of these healthy and delicious recipes and let us know how they turn out!

 

First up are two brunch recipes.  We had these apple cider mimosas twice over the holidays when family was crammed into our warm kitchen together and we wanted to toast the fact that we were all together in one place.  They are super easy with only a few ingredients and can easily be made alcohol-free for the kiddos in your life. 

 

Apple Cider Mimosas
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon cane sugar
  2. 1 teaspoon apple pie spice (see below to make your own)
  3. 1 champagne bottle, chilled (use sparkling juice or water to make this drink alcohol-free)
  4. 2 cups local apple cider, chilled
Instructions
  1. Combine sugar and spices in a small, shallow dish and mix together with a fork or whisk. (Make sure the dish is bigger in diameter than the rim of your glasses.) Set aside.
  2. Pour a small amount of water into a second shallow dish and set next to the bowl with the sugar and spice mixture. Wet the rim of each glass by dipping just the rim first into the shallow bowl of water and then into the sugar and spice mixture. Repeat with all of the glasses.
  3. Into each glass, pour the champagne until all the bubbles have settled and the glass is half full. Top off each glass with apple cider. Cheers and enjoy!
Homemade apple pie spice
  1. 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  2. 1/2 tablespoon ground allspice
  3. 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  4. 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  5. 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  6. 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  7. Combine and store in an airtight container with your spices in a cool, dark space.
Life From Scratch http://lifefromscratch.com/

 

One of my favorite local breakfast spots is Karlton Café in Quakertown, PA.  The menu changes seasonally at this restaurant and their fall menu included a Three-Potato Skillet Hash, which I loved!  After having it for the second time in a row, I came home and searched online for similar recipes to try on my own.  I came across this one from one of my favorite food blogs and couldn’t wait to try it out.  We made this skillet hash for a brunch during our family gift exchange. 

 

Sweet Potato Skillet Hash
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  2. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  3. 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  4. ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more if you like it spicy!)
  5. 2 large red onions, cut in half and then thinly sliced
  6. ½ teaspoon sea salt
  7. 6 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  8. 1 cup water (or vegetable broth)
  9. ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  10. Optional toppings: chopped avocado tossed with lime juice, hot sauce, fried eggs
Instructions
  1. In a large cast-iron skillet, melt the oil over medium heat. Add the cumin, coriander and red pepper and cook until fragrant, only about 1 minute. Add the onions and salt and stir to coat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they have caramelized, about 20-30 minutes.
  2. Add the sweet potatoes and toss to mix with the onions and spices. Add water or broth and cover skillet with a lid. Let cook undisturbed for 15 minutes to allow sweet potatoes to steam. (You may still want to peek through the lid periodically to make sure that the liquid has not dried up and the bottom is not burning. If so, add more liquid and replace lid for remainder of cooking time.) At the end of 15 minutes, if the potatoes are not cooked through, put the lid back on and cook for another 5 minutes or so, adding more liquid if necessary. If there is still liquid in the pan remaining, simply remove the lid and allow it to cook off.
  3. Just before eating, sprinkle with cilantro and serve with the toppings of your choice. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Makes: 8 servings
  2. (barely adapted from mynewroots.org)
Life From Scratch http://lifefromscratch.com/

 

Now on to the side dishes.  Both of these recipes contain kale, which might be my all-time favorite fall veggie.  I’m sure you’re tired of hearing me talk about it by now!  We served this potato dish as a side dish at our family Thanksgiving gathering and everyone agreed that it won the award for tastiest new recipe of the holiday!  The flavors may seem bold and differing greatly from your traditional mashed potato recipe but please give it a try and I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

 

Kale and Potato Mash
Print
Ingredients
  1. 6 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  2. 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
  3. 2 red onions, cut in half and then sliced
  4. 6 cups kale, thick stems removed and leaves chopped
  5. ½ cup milk
  6. 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  7. salt and pepper, to taste
  8. 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  9. ½ cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. In a large pot of water, boil the potatoes for 15 minutes, until fork tender.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the red onion for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the kale and cook while tossing until wilted, about 5 minutes. (You may need to add the kale in batches and wait for each handful to cook down a bit before adding more.)
  3. Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Add the milk and mustard. Mash the potatoes and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the kale and onion mixture. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with feta and hazelnuts. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Makes: 6 servings
Life From Scratch http://lifefromscratch.com/

 

We served the following dish alongside the ham at Christmas dinner, as well as riced cauliflower, corn casserole, cranberry-apple chutney, and homemade pumpkin pie.  Yum!

 

Quinoa and Kale-Stuffed Acorn Squash
Print
Ingredients
  1. 4 acorn squash, cut in half crosswise and seeds discarded or saved for later
  2. ground cinnamon, salt and pepper, to taste
  3. 1 cup quinoa
  4. 2 tablespoon avocado or olive oil
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 bunch kale, thick stems removed and leaves chopped
  7. 1 cup pecans (toasted, if desired), chopped
  8. 1 cup dried cranberries
  9. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Place squash halves on a baking sheet and drizzle with a little bit of oil and sprinkle cinnamon, salt and pepper over each one. Rub in the oil and spices. Turn squash cut side down and bake for 30-45 minutes, until fork tender but not cooked so long that they start to lose their shape.
  3. Meanwhile, place quinoa and 2 cups of water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Let stand for another 5-10 minutes before removing lid and fluffing with a fork.
  4. While quinoa cooks, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté garlic and kale, tossing often, until garlic is aromatic and kale is wilted, about 5 minutes. (You may need to add the kale in batches and wait for each handful to cook down a bit before adding more.)
  5. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and toss with kale mixture, pecans, cranberries, and lemon juice.
  6. Spoon quinoa mixture into each squash half and serve. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Makes: 8 servings
Life From Scratch http://lifefromscratch.com/