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Growing up under my mother’s roof, I got to try all sorts of different and unusual foods. While my mother wasn’t a big fan of summer squash, she always enjoyed winter squash, particularly acorn. I can remember watching her prepare acorn squash and the sweet smell that permeated the house as she baked it. It was one of those “home” memories that you remember with fondness, as you look back upon your childhood.
When I moved out on my own and had children of my own, one recipe that I wanted to learn was my mother’s acorn squash recipe. I’ve baked this yummy and unique squash for my children and, hopefully, they will go on to make the recipe for their own children. Not only is it easy to make, it’s also very cheap to make, making it an ideal side dish for families on a budget.
You will need:
- A shallow baking pan or rectangular cake pan
- aluminum foil
- large kitchen utility knife
- cutting board
- a tablespoon
- a paring knife
– 1-2 acorn squash (I usually suggest 1/2 squash per person)
– 1 heaping teaspoon butter or margarine, per serving of squash (I use I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter)
– 1 teaspoon brown sugar
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees with your rack set in the middle of your oven. I usually recommend wrapping your baking pan in aluminum foil, making for easier cleanup (this squash tends to be a messy cooker).
Wash your squash thoroughly, removing any dirt or stickers from the outside. Rinse well.
Using the large knife and cutting board, carefully cut your squash in half, going WITH the natural grooves in the squash and making the cut from top to bottom (Note: if you cut the squash in the other direction, it will tip over and not sit correctly).
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Using your tablespoon, lightly scoop out the seeds to reveal the inside of the squash. Pull out and discard any excess stringy parts.
Use the paring knife to score the inner meat of the squash, making sure you don’t go all the way through (you don’t want to damage the dark green outer skin). This will allow the butter to melt into the grooves, helping to sweeten the squash.
Setting your squash in the baking pan, add the butter and the brown sugar to the small bowl area left from when you removed the seeds.
Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg lightly over the inside of the squash.
Half the fun of eating this squash is enjoying it right out of the shell, but it can be pretty messy. For a fancier presentation (and for safety purposes if you have small children), try scooping out the insides into a bowl and discard the outer shells. Then, you can use a mixer to mix the squash to a creamier consistency, adding more sugar, butter or cinnamon to taste.
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