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The Healthy Family Mealtime Makeover, Issue #007 -- Simple, Succulent Winter Squash
November 30, 2005

Welcome! Learn How to Combine Healthy Recipes with Family Fun!

Has someone ever given you a beautiful winter squash and you have no idea what to do with it (other than use it for decoration) let alone how to prepare it?

Well, this week you are going to learn how to make a very impressive main dish for your family!

Enter Mr. Winter Squash...

The warm, soft texture of winter squash makes it a perfect food for the early winter months and it is loaded with healthy carotenoids.

Carotenoids are antioxidants(for example, beta-carotene) that our bodies turn into vitamin A.

Just one-quarter of a butternut squash provides an entire day's worth of vitamin A, plus half the RDA for vitamin C and a healthy dose of iron, calcium and fiber.

Most winter squash varieties are also a good source of potassium, which is important for normal heart, kidney, muscle, and digestive function.

Try the easy recipe below:



Spaghetti squash is the easiest, quickest winter squash to cook - simply microwave on high for 5 minutes per pound.

Prep time: 25 minutes

Serves: 4

1 spaghetti squash (about 3 lbs)

2 tsp olive oil or canola oil

2 shallots, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried rosemary

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 TBSP chopped fresh basil or dried

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1/4 lb lean ground beef (optional)

With tip of knife, pierce squash in several places. Microwave on high 15 minutes. Let cool ten minutes.

Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic and saute 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes, herbs and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

If using ground beef - brown meat until done. Drain off fat.

Add meat to sauce.

Carefully halve squash and scoop out seeds. Scrape inside of squash with fork to remove spaghetti-like strands. Divide "spaghetti" among four plates and top each with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese.

Source: American Institute for Cancer Research

Food Focus

Winter Squash- When buying, look for squash that is firm and intact with a dull-colored skin, indicating that it was picked when fully ripe. It should still have a part of its stem which slows down the loss of moisture.

Most winter squash will keep up to six months if stored away from the light and at a temperature between 50-60 degrees F.

Cooked winter squashes contain more carbohydrate than summer squash making them higher in calories. Whenever possible, cook the squash in its skin. Squashes can be steamed, baked, microwaved, or cooked in the pressure cooker.

Sweet potatoes can be replaced with winter squash in most recipes.

What will your family do for healthier MEALTIMES?

Celebrating Healthy Families 2005


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Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Kindy --Your Family Dietitian

Copyright (c) 2005,

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