Sunday, November 11, 2012

Meal Stretcher Monday - Squash

Every year from the end of summer until at least Christmas there is a display of odd looking squashes in the produce department of the grocery store. They are all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors, and run from cute to a bit frightening. It was actually only a couple of years ago when I realized that they are also delicious. All of them.

Recently a co-worker offered me a few of her extra home-grown squash. I leapt on that like a politician on a photo op.

I want to show you the ultimate fate of two of them: a spaghetti squash, and a buttercup squash.

Let's start with the spaghetti squash. Start by cutting it in half lengthwise.

Use an ice cream scoop to remove the seeds and guts.

Be careful not to scrape too far into the flesh itself - that's the part that you want to eat! Spaghetti squash is naturally stringy. Even if you are scraping into the flesh itself, you will still be seeing strings like you did for the guts. Just scrape it until you get a relatively even surface.

The same exact thing needs to be done to the buttercup squash. Or any winter squash, really. Just cut them in half lengthwise...

...scoop out the seeds and guts, and place the pieces open side down on a baking sheet.

Your baking times will vary, but these two squash together took about 35 minutes at 400 degrees F. They smell AMAZING, and you can see that the hulls caramelized a little.

After the hulls have cooled enough to touch, the cooked flesh is easily removed with a fork. The spaghetti squash pulls off in strings (like spaghetti)...

...while the buttercup is much creamier in texture.

The buttercup squash is ideal as a side dish (with just a little pat of butter). Even from this small squash I got over four cups of delicious goodness.

The small spaghetti squash yielded about as much, but I had already dressed it with pasta sauce and grated cheese by the time I remembered to take a picture. Yum.

Total cost: $0

Had I actually bought these in a store, the total cost would have been about $5.

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