Yummy Butternut Squash

This time of year is perfect for a warm meal that makes your house smell delicious!  I love all kinds of roasted vegetables and butternut squash is pretty high on the list.  This recipe is versatile because it can be the perfect start to a warm and creamy soup, a side dish for a meal, or you can eat it all on its own, which is the way I like it.

Honestly, the hardest part about this recipe is cutting open the sucker!  And it does take about an hour of bake time, so plan ahead. 😉

I learned how to bake this squash straight out of my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.  And, as a bonus, here’s a not often seen view of my kitchen.  Can anyone guess what those posters are in the back?  I heart them. :)

Anyway, I really just used the cookbook to figure out the cook times.  This one is an easy one.  😉  To get started, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Give the outside of the butternut squash a good rinse as well.

While it’s heating, you can work on getting that squash cut open!  It’s moments like these that I’m really glad I have a second photographer that I can call on to take photos (thanks, babe!) because this is definitely a two-handed job.  First drive your knife right down the center of the squash.  You’ll want to cut it length-wise.  (I used my Rachael Ray Gusto-Grip which I adore.)

Next, while using one hand to hold the squash, use your other hand to pull the knife down through.

All the way through to the cutting board.

Then, pull the knife out and insert it into the squash like you did before, but you’ll be cutting the other side this time.

Once, again, all the way through to the cutting board until it’s cut in half.  Ta da!

This next part reminds me of cleaning out the guts of your pumpkin for Halloween.  Use a strong spoon (otherwise it will bend the handle) to thoroughly clean out all the seeds.  Be sure to give the edges a good scrape.

Butternut squash guts…

You could probably even roast the seeds like you do with pumpkin seeds, but I was too lazy to try that.

And here’s your beautiful squash halves all clean and ready to go!

But, for the first phase of cooking, you’ll want them fleshy part down (or skin up as it were) in an ungreased baking dish.  This is the biggest dish I have and they almost didn’t fit.  You can always cut them up into small pieces to bake as well.

Toss them in your preheated oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes.  (Got this timer with my mixer…I love it.)

After 30 minutes, pull them out of the oven and flip them over using tongs.  (They are pretty heavy so make sure you have a good grip with the tongs!)

Now, depending on what you are doing with the squash, this next part is optional.  I was planning on eating this for dinner, so I took a little butter and spread it all over the fleshy part.  If you plan on using this for soup (or the filling for ravioli) then you’ll likely be doing the flavoring portion later on.

Then I put the rest of the butter into the cleaned out hole part.  Next, I sprinkled some brown sugar over the top.  (For a sugar-free version, salt and pepper would also be delicious!)

Next, pop it back in the oven, uncovered, for another 25 to 30 minutes or until a knife can cut through the flesh with ease.  It should come out smelling yummy and looking a little caramelized…mmmm, mmmm, mmmm.

Since we were eating this for dinner (yes, our dinners don’t always consist of a full meal), I just cut it up into sections (4 per half) and poured a little of the extra buttery, sugaryness over the top of the pieces we were eating.

I’m sure I ate more than one piece, but for presentation purposes, here’s what a side of it might look like. :)

Wasn’t that easy?  And it gives you time to squeeze in another episode of The Office or Say Yes to the Dress while it’s baking!  How perfect it that?

Butternut squash ravioli is one of my faves, but I have yet to attempt making my own pasta let alone ravioli…maybe someday…

Any other squash lovers out there?  Have you attempted to make a squash soup?  God knows I have the Vitamix blender to do it!  I’ll have to try that soon.

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