All About Convenience

Life is Busy these days for all.  Convenience in the foods we buy is very important.  While looking for convenience most are also looking for ways to:

  • loose weight
  • control blood pressure
  • control sugar levels (diabetic)
  • fight cancer

…just to name a few.  Here are a few tips on how to make a LOW CALORIE fall favorite fruit/veggie more convenient. Butternut Squash contains ONLY 63 calories with only 3 grams of sugar in one whole cup. It’s a ‘Superfood’  with nutrients to assist with all of the above.  All you need to make butternut squash more convenient is a good knife and an oven. Safety first always in the kitchen.  The butternut squash is a very hard fruit so use a good sharp knife.  You will need to press hard at first to get the knife to cut through the fruit.  A good precaution to use with a sharp knife that has a sharp point on the end is: fold a dish towel/rag and lay it across the top of the tip of your knife.  This keeps your hand from accidentally sliding over the point of the knife. Cut the fruit lengthwise in half.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  Bake for a shorter amount of time for a more firm result or longer for a softer result.  I prefer 30-40 minutes, just when a fork inserted will penetrate the fruit with a slightly firmer feel.  This cooking time allows me to wrap the fruit and refrigerate and pull out whenever I am ready to use it. For Breakfast:  Remove the baked butternut from your refrigerator.  If you haven’t already scooped out the seeds, then do so now.  Reserve them for a roasted butternut seed treat or discard.  Slice and cube one cup of butternut.  Throw it in a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat.  If you want you can even fry an egg over to the side and you have have a hearty, light, delicious breakfast.  As far as seasoning you can go naked with it, or the traditional fall spice route of cinnamon, light salt and a drizzle of honey or dash of brown sugar, but remember the honey/brown sugar will add calories.  I prefer to go the savory route and stay low cal with a pinch of a favorite seasoning salt we like to keep on hand, Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning.  My kiddos call it “the spicy salt”, my cupboard is never without it.  If you don’t want to fry an egg with the butternut, you can sprinkle a little cheese on it, yes adding few calories, but completing the protein in it. For Dinner:  Saute or Grill chicken breasts and cut into slices or cubes.  Cube the butternut.  Toss both in a skillet with your favorite tomato sauce (checking the ingredient list to make sure the tomato sauce has NO ADDED sugar).  Add some spinach for a punch of extra nutrients or have a salad on the side.  And serve.  Make extra so you can pack some for your lunch to go:) You may be thinking…what about the peeling?!?!?  Well I have found after twenty years of peeling butternut squash in the restaurant business,  you DON’T need to.  The peeling is totally edible and where most of the nutrients are hidden.  Go out on a limb and try it.  Put the peeler away.  Your body will THANK YOU:)