By Julia West
It’s officially autumn! While the weather is glorious and the holidays are exciting, nothing beats the cozy foods that come with the season. Autumn foods are not limited to pumpkin-spice lattés and apple pie — cozy can be healthy too!
It’s time to adjust your summer garden into a fall garden to ensure a supply of delicious vegetables for the whole season. A great veggie for the fall gardening season is squash. Squash is very easy to grow and comes in many varieties. Yellow squash, butternut squash and zucchini — you name it and you can grow it! Here are five ways to use squash in your autumn cooking:
Soups are a great dish to serve up once the weather gets cooler and they are easy to make! What could be harder than cutting and blending up vegetables and throwing them into a pot? Butternut squash soup is a classic recipe that you can easily make from scratch. Here is a simple recipe for this great autumn dish:
- 1 (2- to 3-pound) butternut squash, peeled and seeded
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 cups chicken stock
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- Nutmeg to taste
Simply blend pieces of squash in a blender to make a puree. Mix the squash with the other ingredients in a pot. Let the mixture simmer over the stove for about 40 minutes and serve. Courtesy of BBC Food.
Squash is a great choice when it comes to filling out a pasta dish. Because it has a mild taste, it won’t overpower your dishes, so you can put it in just about any recipe. One benefit is that you’ll lower the calorie count of your dish by sneaking in servings of vegetables without anyone noticing. For example, you can replace half of the pasta that you would typically use in a dish with some squash.
If you are feeling a little more creative, you could cut the squash long ways to get slices that resemble lasagna. Assemble in layers alternating between pasta, ricotta cheese, sauce and, of course, the squash. If you want to go for a low-carb option, replace all pasta with any kind of squash you like. (Yellow squash goes great with Italian flavors!) Photo Courtesy of Good Housekeeping.
The easiest ways to prepare squash is to broil or sauté it and serve it as a side dish. You can dress up the squash with butter, salt and pepper or a sauce of your choice. For some extra flavor, grill the squash so that you get a smoky taste that will go great with your main dish. If you want to really indulge, try breading and deep-frying some squash and serving it with a marinara sauce. Photo Courtesy of Our Life In Food.
A great casserole just has a cozy feeling to it, making it a great choice for fall cooking. Casseroles are also great because you can throw just about anything into one — including squash. Here is a great squash casserole recipe:
- 6 cups large diced yellow squash or zucchini
- 1 cup crushed butter crackers, like Ritz crackers
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1 cup salt
- 1/4 cup black pepper
- 1/4 cup garlic powder
Sauté the vegetables over a medium-low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pan and mix it in with the other ingredients (except the cracker crumbs). Pour the mixture into a buttered casserole dish and top with cracker crumbs and then bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Voilà! Photo Courtesy of Allrecipes.
Squash can be used in baking recipes because of their mild flavor. Squash can be used to add moisture to bread and cakes without an overwhelming squash flavor. Because of this, other spices and flavors get a chance to shine through.
Squash can also reduce the fat you use in a recipe. A healthier dessert? Yes, please! You can add squash, such as zucchini, to desserts like chocolate cake for a fab chocolate zucchini cake. Photo Courtesy of The Kitchn.
Just because summer is over doesn’t mean you have to stop gardening! You can still have a fabulous garden with vegetables that are perfect for autumn. There’s a wide variety of squash to easily grow at home. So, get gardening and get cooking!
Julia West is a contributor to NewHomeSource. You can find her on Google+.