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Superfood:Hy-Vee Dietitian Talks Squash

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Seasonal Superfood: Squash
Right now in the produce department you will find all the colors of fall on display with winter squash. Winter squash comes in a variety of shapes, colors and flavors that add rich, fall color to autumn displays and to your dinner table. Unlike its summer counterparts, winter squash is harvested at a mature age, which makes the skin hard and inedible. But don't let the tough exterior fool you--inside is the creamy, yellow and orange flesh that is packed with nutrition. Winter squash is low in calories, a good source of vitamin A and high in fiber.
Fall in the Midwest brings us a harvest of wonderful super foods so take advantage of this bounty while protecting from disease. Eating more than five servings of fruits and vegetables of different colors every day will indeed protect you from disease.
Here are some of the more common types of winter squash:
• Acorn squash: Mildly sweet flesh makes it perfect for stuffing with all kinds of flavorful goodies – anything from whole grains to bread cubes, mushrooms and other cooked veggies.
• Butternut squash: Sweet and delicate, this versatile favorite makes incredible soup, although it is equally delicious diced and added to stews or baked, sautéed and simmered on its own.
• Delicata squash: Perfect for baking, it is moist, sweet and mild. Great simply with a little butter and sea salt.
• Spaghetti squash: When cooked, the flesh of this squash separates into strands, very much like spaghetti. Best cut in half and baked or steamed until just tender.
• Buttercup: Sweeter than most squash and easier to cut. Many people use it as a replacement for sweet potatoes in recipes but it is also great just steamed, stuffed or pureed in soups.
• Carnival squash: The delicious yellow meat is reminiscent of sweet potatoes and butternut squash. It can be baked or steamed then combined with butter and fresh herbs.
Acorn Squash with Orange Marmalade and Winter Fruit
Serves: 4

All you need:
1/3 cup chopped dried apples
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries
1 ½ cups orange juice
3 tablespoons orange marmalade
1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds or pecan pieces
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 large or 2 small acorn squash

All You Do:
1. Toast pumpkin seeds or pecan pieces in 250° oven on an ungreased cookie sheet for 25 to 30 minutes or until very fragrant. Allow to cool.
2. Pierce acorn squash several times with a fork, microwave for 60 to 90 seconds to soften. Allow squash to cool enough to handle as needed, slice both ends off the squash, remove the seeds and slice remaining squash into ¾ inch slices .
3. Place squash slices into ovenable glass baking dish with lid, add a tablespoon or two of water. Cover and bake at 350° for 25 to 28 minutes or until soft. While the squash is baking, combine the chopped dried fruit in a saucepan and add the orange juice. Slowly simmer fruit pieces and orange juice for 10 minutes. Add orange marmalade and simmer another 5 minutes, adding additional orange juice if mixture gets dry. Add pumpkin pie seasoning, mix and remove from heat.
4. When squash is soft, remove from oven. Place squash on serving plate and ladle fruit mixture over squash.

Nutrition Facts: 238 calories, 49g carbohydrate, 3.5g fat, 4.5g protein, 78mg sodium
Butternut Squash Risotto
Serves: 6

All you need:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
Optional ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 butternut squash (about 1 pound), cut into ¼-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
3 ½ cups water
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped

All you do:
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, salt and pepper. Stir occasionally, until soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the butternut squash and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until absorbed. Add ¾ cup of water at a time, and cook, stirring occasionally and waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding the next. It should take 25 to 30 minutes for all the water to be absorbed. Stir in the parmesan and oregano.

Note: For a slightly different flavor, substitute two sweet potatoes for the butternut squash, or use some of each.

Nutrition Facts:
250 calories, 7g fat, 2g saturated fat, 7mg cholesterol, 36g carbohydrate, 18g protein, 3g fiber, 350mg sodium

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