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Hy-Vee at Midday: Squash

Squash is a good-for-you food that comes in all different shapes, sizes and flavors. It's a dieter's dream, with an average 1/2-cup serving containing just 40 calories and 2 grams of fiber. It is rich in heart-healthy potassium, loaded with vitamin A and contains an abundance of beta-carotene, an antioxidant known for its ability to help prevent night blindness and possibly prevent cancer. When selecting winter squash, choose one that is heavy for its size, with a dull appearance and a hard rind.

Acorn: The most popular winter squash. It has an acorn shape with deep furrows blushed with flecks of orange and gold. Its rich golden-color flesh is delicious and sweet.

Buttercup: If you like the sweet flavor of acorn squash, then "buttercup" is a must-try. Its orange flesh is creamy and mild. The flavor is similar to sweet potatoes. Buttercup squash are flat and round with a turban-shaped top and dark green rind. It is delicious baked, steamed or simmered.

Butternut: Nicknamed the "African bell". Butternuts are softer than acorn or other types of squash and are easy to cut and prepare. This large squash has an elongated, bell shape and tan-colored rind. The yellow-orange flesh has a delicious flavor that goes well with pork and easily blends into a creamy heart-warming soup.

Spaghetti: Now here is one fun squash! When cooked, the inside flesh resembles strips of spaghetti-shaped noodles. The flavor is very mild and makes the perfect accompaniment to flavorful sauces. It has a large and oblong shape with a yellow, semi-hard rind. Serve it in place of spaghetti noodles or as a side dish.

Cooking Directions:
Bake: Cut in half, remove seeds and place cut-side down in a baking dish. Bake at 350° F or microwave on high until tender. Scoop flesh for recipes using cooked squash.
Roast: Cut into chunks, cut peel off, toss with olive oil and seasonings. Place on a foil-lined shallow baking pan and roast at 475°F for 35 to 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Roast until fork-tender.
Steam or boil: Cook peeled chunks in a small amount of simmering water or in a steamer until tender. Season and serve.

Spaghetti Squash Toss
Serves: 12
All you need:
• 1 medium spaghetti squash
• 1-1/2 cups fresh broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
• 2 tbsp. water
• 2 cups peeled and cubed zucchini
• 1 (14.5 oz.) can Hy-Vee Italian diced tomatoes, drained
• 1/2 tsp Hy-Vee salt
• 1/2 cup Hy-Vee lite Italian dressing
• 1/4 cup Hy-Vee shredded Parmesan cheese
All you do:
Pierce squash 6-8 times with a sharp knife. Place on a microwave-safe plate; microwave on HIGH for 7 minutes. Turn squash; cook another 7 minutes. Remove from microwave, cover with an inverted bowl and let stand 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine broccoli and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and heat on HIGH for 2-3 minutes. Add zucchini and cook 2 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes; drain. In large mixing bowl, combine broccoli mixture, diced tomatoes, salt and Italian dressing. Halve squash lengthwise; remove seeds. Using a fork, separate squash into strands. Stir into broccoli mixture. Top with Parmesan cheese.
Nutrition facts: 70 calories, 1.5g fat, 480 mg sodium, 12 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein.

Roasted Acorn Squash
Serves: 4
All you need:
• 2 acorn squash
• 2 tbsp. brown sugar
• 1 tbsp. margarine
• 2 tbsp. orange marmalade jam
All you do:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Split squash in half and scrape out seeds with a spoon. Discard seeds. Place the squash, flesh side down in a 13 x 9 baking pan with about 1 inch of water. Bake for about 30 minutes or until squash is tender. While squash is baking, combine other ingredients. Once squash is finished baking, add ¼ of brown sugar mixture into each half. Gently scrape the sides of the squash, mixing the squash and brown sugar mixture.

Butternut Squash Soup
All you need:
• 1 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped
• 1 onion, chopped
• 3 sticks of celery, chopped
• 1 (14.5 oz.) can chicken broth
• 1 tbsp. curry powder
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 tsp. pepper
• 1 tsp. nutmeg
• 1 tbsp. butter
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream
All you do:
Boil squash, onion and celery in chicken broth until soft. Mash with potato masher.
OPTIONAL: run mixture through food processor or blender. Add curry powder, salt, pepper, nutmeg and butter. Add cream. OPTIONAL: add more water if needed.

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