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My Parenting Secret Weapon? Butternut Squash!

My Parenting Secret Weapon? Butternut Squash!

We all have our parenting secret weapons.  Butternut squash is one of mine.  My daughter loves the stuff.  It’s one of the only veggie side dishes she’ll eat by itself without nagging.  Even better?  It’s great in recipes! Butternut squash has a mild taste and silky texture.  Sneak it into dishes to add vitamins and …

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We all have our parenting secret weapons.  Butternut squash is one of mine.  My daughter loves the stuff.  It’s one of the only veggie side dishes she’ll eat by itself without nagging.  Even better?  It’s great in recipes!

Butternut squash has a mild taste and silky texture.  Sneak it into dishes to add vitamins and fiber and your kids won’t even notice.  First, you’ll need to know how to cook it.

Cooking a butternut squash is easy!  Wash it, poke holes in it with a knife (5-10 pricks is fine!), put it on a plate and microwave it on high for ten minutes.  Both sides should be soft when poked with a knife. If not, flip the squash over and cook a few more minutes.

Once it’s soft, let it cool for at least ten minutes.  Then slice it in half and scoop out the seeds.  The flesh is then ready for you to spoon out of the peel and puree to include in butternut squash recipes, such as these:

Butternut squash macaroni and cheese:

Unless you’re using a white cheese, the squash will blend right in.  It is creamy and a great complement to mac and cheese.   Rachael Ray uses the frozen variety in her recipe, but fresh is always “yum-o.”

Butternut squash chili:  

Simply make your family’s favorite chili recipe and then stir in butternut squash puree.   The tomato and spices covers the taste completely and the color blends right into chili.  This is a great way to get picky eaters to chow down on something different without a fight.  It also works great in black bean soup.

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Butternut squash risotto:

Make rice creamy and lovely orange shade by stirring in squash puree.  Butter, herbs and cheese up the indulgence – but you can still feel good because you’re eating your veggies!  Williams-Sonoma uses wine in their butternut squash risotto recipe, but you can substitute with chicken stock if you prefer.

Stuffed butternut squash 

Once you scoop out the seeds, squash are perfect for stuffing!  Kids will like having a meal in a “boat.”  Betty Crocker has a stuffed squash recipe featuring brown rice and turkey sausage.  They can be prepped in advance and heated at dinner time for those nights you’re in a rush.

Shepard’s Pie with butternut squash

Simply wash the puree with a little butter, cream or milk and salt and pepper as you would potatoes.  Use this on top of a classic – or not so classic –  Shepard’s pie recipe in place of white potatoes.  Ground beef and melted cheese?  Your whole family will still be on board! Bonus – it tastes great!

My daughter loves butternut squash as a dessert!  We mash it with butter, cinnamon and a bit of brown sugar.

What are your favorite butternut squash recipes?  Let us know in the comment section.

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