Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Apples

Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Apples

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Throughout my childhood, I remember tending to a massive half-acre size garden that was abundant with all the glorious flavors of fall. Now in my adulthood, I have found I tend to shy away from the typical fall squashes like acorn and butternut. Perhaps, I overdosed on freshness in my youth. So when Joan in Michigan asked me to share some of my favorite grilled butternut squash recipes, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to become reacquainted with the world of squash. Sadly, living in a second floor condo means my access to a grill is quite nonexistent, and my poor George Foreman is on its last leg. The next logical solution you ask? I turned to my trusty oven for support with this recipe. One of the most interesting findings I discovered while researching roasted butternut squash recipes were most required a long cooking time. I don't know about you, but I don't have time to wait 45-50 minutes for a SIDE DISH. Steaming in the microwave came to my rescue. Just cover the cut squash in a microwave safe bowl with plastic wrap and “steam” them while I prepared the other ingredients. This side is sweet and flavorful. I also found this dish is all about textures and color. I encourage you to consider this recipe as a foundation for customization. Don't like pecans? No problem. Just substitute them for a nut of your choice. It's the crunch that matters. Want to add tartness to balance the sweetness of the apples? Then throw in a 1/2 - 1 cup of dried cranberries or currents. It's yours to play.

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Ingredients

  • 2 lb. (1 large) butternut squash, peeled and small cubed
  • 2 C. granny smith apples, peeled and medium cubed
  • 1/2 C. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 C. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs. cinnamon
  • 1 C. blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 C. whole pecans
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

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Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the squash in a microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave the squash on high for 6-8 minutes.

In a separate large bowl toss the butter, lemon juice, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and pecans until evenly coated. Next add the semi-cooked squash to the apple mixture and toss lightly.

Spread the mixture onto a 9X13-inch baking pan, and top with the crumbled blue cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes until the squash and apples are tender.

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