By Kelly Merrick
This time of the year I can’t get enough winter veggies – the hearty veggies that survive the cold temperatures are perfect for tossing in a soup that takes the chill out of my bones – and I am always cold this time of the year. Winter squash is my favorite of these. I could eat squash any day, every day all winter and still not be tired of it by the time spring arrives.
But who wants to roast a whole squash every time they want butternut squash soup? Not me. It’s pretty labor intensive to slice, peel, core, dice and cook a squash every time you want to use it in a recipe. So, to make the whole process easier and ensure that I can eat squash in as many recipes as I want, I’ve deemed Sunday my “squash roasting” day. I buy a few squash at the PSU Market on Saturday and on Sunday, when I’m hanging around the house, I turn some music on or find something good to watch on Netflix, and I prepare a few squash to be used throughout the week.
It’s really pretty simple, and having cubed squash on hand for last-minute meals throughout the week has been a lifesaver when I get home late and don’t want to put much effort into dinner, or when I haven’t put together a meal plan and need something filling and healthy.
Here’s how it works:
- Pick out any type of squash you like from the farmers market – butternut, delicata, acorn, pumpkin, etc.
- Peel and cube the squash. If you need some help with the right technique, check out this video on YouTube for some tips
- Toss cubed squash in a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast in a single layer at 400 degrees on a lined cookie sheet for about 35 minutes, or until the squash is soft and slightly browned.
- Remove from oven and let squash cool
- When squash has cooled, place the lined cookie sheet in the freezer and chill for a few hours, until cubes are mostly solid
- Remove cookie sheet from the freezer and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to warm up
- Transfer the cubes to a freezer safe bag or other container. Label and date the container.
- When you need them, grab a few handfuls from the freezer and add to your favorite recipe as called for.
Once thawed, cubed squash is perfect for adding to soups, stews, mashing with other veggies, or eaten as-is in a salad like this one.