I love to cook while doing other things.  That’s the great thing about roasting an acorn squash; it’s the perfect multi-tasking culinary endeavor.  The beauty is that the flavors meld together on their own while baking - there’s not a lot of tending to the gourd in the oven.  This is my first acorn squash this fall.  Typically, I start eating them earlier in the season, but with the cold weather snap in Chicago this is the perfect time.  In other words, those cravings for comfort carbs are hitting.

Of course, I’ve got to talk nutrition for a minute.  Acorn squash’s velvety orange flesh is jam-packed with carotenoids like beta-carotene (vitamin A) for your cell health, as well as vitamin C to keep your skin looking good and potassium for natural blood pressure control.  Plus, with zero grams of simple sugar, acorn squash is loaded with the “good” carbs that give you a good dose of fiber and help keep your blood sugar in check.

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Usually, I put a couple of pats of butter and a pinch of brown sugar into the hallowed out acorn squash cavity before roasting, but today let’s go a different route.  Instead of butter, spice it up with a bit of Cabot Hot Habanero Cheddar Cheese.  This cheese brilliantly imparts a rich flavor and the natural fat will help your body absorb some of those fat-soluble nutrients, plus add some tongue-tingling heat!

The most intimidating part of making acorn squash can be splitting it open.  To do so, be sure to have a well-sharpened chef’s knife.  Gently tap the outer shell of the squash making an indention.  Using that initial cut, gently move your knife back and forth.  It will slowly descend into the squash and slice through it.  Just scoop out the seeds with a spoon and fill with whatever seasonings your heart desires.   Sweet. Savory. Rich. Delish.  Enjoy!

 Habanero Roasted Acorn Squash

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Serves 2 (1/2 squash or 1 cup each)

Ingredients

1 whole acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed

2 thin slices Hot Habanero Cabot Cheddar Cheese*

2 teaspoon plain Greek yogurt

4 cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

Pinch of salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degree F.  Split acorn squash in half, remove seeds and place in oven-safe baking dish.  Place a slice of cheese into each hollowed out half and cover with foil or wax paper.  Put in oven for 30 minutes.  Remove covering from squash and place back in the oven for 15 minutes.  Check for doneness by pricking with a fork - if flesh is soft, remove from oven and fluff with a spoon mixing the melted cheese with the squash.  Let cool for 5 - 10 minutes and dollop with Greek yogurt and toss on cilantro and salt.

Serve immediately while warm.  Acorn squash presents beautifully as a starter to a meal or serve as a side to grilled chicken, fish or tofu.

Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 211, Total Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 6 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 30 mg, Sodium: 240 mg, Carbohydrates: 25 g, Dietary Fiber: 3 g, Sugars: 1 g, Protein: 10 g

Enjoy eating simply,

-Vicki 

*I am a member of the Cabot Cheese Board, however all recipes and opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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