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Mashed Butternut Squash a la Weight Watchers

3 Oct

Weight Watchers Mashed Butternut Squash 5

Since I’m Italian, I get to tell Italian jokes. So there’s an old joke that goes something like this:

A Frenchman, an Englishman, and an Italian are lined up at the pearly gates to get into heaven. When they approach the gates, St. Peter says to them, “To gain admittance to heaven, each of you much pass a spelling test.”

The Frenchman, never daunted, goes first. “Spell ‘house,'” says St. Peter. “House. H-O-U-S-E. House.” The gates open and he enters.

The Englishman comes next, cocky bastard that he is. “Spell ‘goal,'” says St. Peter. “Goal. G-O-A-L. Goal.” The gates open and he enters.

Guiseppe walks up next and St. Peter asks him, “You’re Italian, right?”

“Yes.”

“Spell ‘onomatopoiea.'”

I felt like this a few weeks ago when I and my student partner were dismissed from the podium for my misspelling of the word “cromlech” (pronounced crom-lek) in my first spelling bee since I was probably ten. “Cromlech,” you see, is a word that describes prehistoric megalithic structures. Stonehenge would be an example of a cromlech. And of all of the people that could have been asked to spell it in that room, I would guess that I would be most qualified to do so correctly; I majored in English, my specialty is medieval and Renaissance British literature, I watch archaeological documentaries on ancient Europe whenever I can find them (I remember at least three focusing on Stonehenge, no less), I am an anglophile to the hilt. I actually touched a cromlech in Ireland, I later learned.

I spelled it “c-h-r-o-m-l-e-c-h,” and was thus stripped of a potential trophy for a good cause (“ch” at the end, so it should be at the beginning, too, right? No. It’s Welsh, and therefore makes little sense linguistically). What’s worse is that the team after us got the word “hoary,” as in hoarfrost, or the lichen and mossy stuff that hangs off of old trees. It’s also used to describe old, grizzled people, like Gandalf. Hoary I read regularly. It’s actually one of my senior English class’s vocabulary words because it’s so common in British literature. Cromlech vs. hoary? What the fuck. It’s my beard they distrust, I know it.

So how does this figure into a recipe for mashed butternut squash? I think that when I first started the Weight Watchers program, I would sincerely pine for certain items, mashed potatoes being one of them. How can there be a substitute, a worthy substitute, for buttery, starchy goodness? I was biased against them at first, saying to myself, “Those can’t possibly be good. And they’re hard to make, I bet. Too much work,” etc. In essence, I was treating the substitutes as the Italian at the pearly gates and I at the podium were treated: I didn’t give them a fair shake. And if I continued to be slanted against those recipes, I surely should have gone to hell, just like the whore-y female announcer, the one who picked “cromlech” for my team and “hoary” for the next team, should and will.

This recipe will have your cockles tingling. It’s got some substance, it’s unbelievably tasty, and it works well with roasted or grilled chicken. It screams “autumn,” which can get annoying when I’m trying to cook. I got it from a website called skinnykitchen.com and didn’t mess with it much. Each 1/2 cup serving is a 2 on the old Weight Watchers system (PointsPlus and 360° can go fuck themselves).

Mashed Butternut Squash a la Weight Watchers

Serves 5 or so, 1/2 cup servings (2 points on old WW)

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash, about 2 pounds peeled and cubed (if you want to know how to do this, go to the bottom of this recipe: https://dinnerwithjonny.com/2013/02/15/pasta-e-zucca-squash-and-pasta/)

2 tbsp. brown sugar

3 tbsp. lite margarine or reduced fat butter, melted

a dash o’ cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt or to taste

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 cup low-fat milk (I use 1%), heated a bit

Makin’ It:

Preheat the oven to 400°. Put the cubed squash in a big bowl and sprinkle on the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Pour on the melted margarine and toss this all together well.

Pour this onto a cookie sheet and spread it out evenly. Make sure you pour out all of the liquid over it, too. It’ll look runny, but that’s ok. Put this in the oven for 40 minutes, tossing them with a spatula after about 20 minutes.

Once they’re cooked, put the cooked squash, the pan liquids, and the heated milk in a food processor (a masher doesn’t work, kids. A blender? Maybe.).  Process this until the it’s pureed. Transfer it to a bowl and serve it hot. Bob’s your uncle.

Weight Watchers Mashed Butternut Squash 1

May you find a hoary cromlech on the road ahead of you.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino

p.s. This post is dedicated to the friend and colleague who got me to compete in the spelling bee and has been an inspiration in so many ways.

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Italian Green Beans

28 Aug

 

Italian Green Beans 2

I often find myself paging through my memory for a “good” side dish to whatever I’m making that evening. As Ina Garten has said many times in effect, you have to figure out what the “star” of any given meal is. Is it the main course? Is it that odd potato recipe you had at Chez Sexy that you tried to replicate and for which you want your family to salivate? Is it simply a kick-ass veggie dish that’s good for you AND complements the main dish? What’s the new trick you have up your sleeve?

Most of us aren’t entertaining every night, so it follows that mealtime can be repetitive. I admit, I get bored easily with repetition. It’s a drummer thing, I think, so I’m always looking for variation on least one part of the meal. I could be making a solid main course, one I make every week, in fact. But my curiosity makes me wonder how I can add some oomph to whatever I’m cooking. Does my day revolve around it? No. But, it spices dinnertime up for me. It’s part of being creative. It’s part of living.

I’ve had these green beans regularly since I was a lad, and every member of my family knows how to make them. If I’m making a heavy main dish, often I will forgo the veggie or salad just because I know I’ll be full and, truth be told, I want to scarf more pasta or steak or whatever instead of obligatory greens. These green beans fix that problem. I want to eat these as much as the main course.  They can serve as the “star” of what would have been an ordinary meal. Moreover, they’re good for you. A lot of veggie recipes get their flavor from adding tons o’ fat in the form of cheese or butter, but not so with these guys. A little olive oil is the only indulgence.

Italian Green Beans

Serves 6, I would think

Ingredients:

1 pound green beans, regular or French, trimmed

3 tbsp. olive oil

3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

1 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes, or use diced tomatoes, undrained, and crush them by hand

1 tsp. oregano

1/2 cup water

salt and pepper to taste

Makin’ It:

First you need to parboil the green beans, which means you have to cook them partially before you finish them in the tomato sauce. How long you parboil them depends on how big the green beans are; for example, thin French green beans will be quick to parboil. So, get a pot of salted water boiling, add the green beans, and cook them until they’re fork tender but still retain a crispness to them. Drain them and set them aside.

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic slices. Saute them until they’re golden. Then add the tomatoes, oregano, water, and the drained green beans. Get this to a simmer and cook them for about 10 minutes, until the sauce reduces a bit. Season with salt and pepper and you’re in business.

Italian Green Beans 1

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013

Garlic Chicken Stir Fry

24 Jul

Garlic Chicken 022

Somewhere along the line, and I am thinking Emeril had a lot to do with this, people started going crazy with the garlic. I mention Emeril because every time he would add garlic to a recipe he was preparing, people started cheering in a “you shouldn’t do that, but fuck yeah” sort of way. In other words, it seemed that adding excess garlic to a dish became the equivalent of a Jagermeister shot at last call.

About 3 hours north of us in Gilroy, California, there is a garlic festival every year which draws thousands of people who get to sample everything from garlic bread to garlic ice cream. The health benefits of garlic have made headlines throughout the years as well. In an excellent memoir called Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years, the two centenarian African-American women attest to eating a chopped raw garlic clove and cod liver oil every morning, which was one of their secrets to longevity.

The Stinking Rose is a restaurant to which I have been both in San Francisco and Beverly Hills, and they specialize in festooning almost every dish with garlic. When you arrive, a jar of spreadable garlic awaits you on the table and the saturation just mounts from there: 40 Clove Chicken, Gnocchi in a garlic cream sauce, garlic fish and chips, and the obligatory garlic ice cream which, for me, works only as a novelty. When my wife and I went there for dinner some years ago, people nosed us for days afterward and seemed to pirouette away from us when we bid them “HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHIiiiiiii” in an”H” heavy, breathy voice. I chased them and my wife shook her head at me.

This garlic chicken recipe is garlicky, of course, but not to a level leading to the ostacization we experienced. I gleaned this from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook and didn’t really mess with it much because it’s solid.  In fact, a portion of this with a 1/2 cup o’ rice is a 6 on the Old Weight Watchers system (PointsPlus and 360° can fuck off interminably). This is quick-to-make, filling, light, and will give you a garlic fix should you need one.

Garlic Chicken Stir Fry

Makes 4 Servings

Old Weight Watchers Value: 6

Ingredients:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1 cup water

3 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. rice or white wine vinegar

1 tbsp. cornstarch

2 tbsp. oil

10 green onions, sliced into 1″ pieces

1 cup sliced mushrooms

12 cloves garlic (or more), peeled and finely chopped

1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts (1/2 of a can drained)

2 cups hot cooked rice

Makin’ It:

Cut the chicken breasts into small pieces (1/2″) and put them in a resealable plastic bag. In a small bowl, stir together the water, soy sauce, and vinegar. Pour this over the chicken, seal the bag, and refrigerate it for 30 minutes or more. Drain the chicken and reserve the marinade. Whisk the cornstarch into the reserved marinade and set it aside for later.

In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the green onions, mushrooms, and garlic and cook them for 2 minutes or so, until they’re tender. Remove these vegetables from the skillet and set them aside.

Now add the chicken to the skillet, cooking and stirring until it’s no longer pink, about 4 minutes or so. Push the chicken to the side of the skillet, give a quick stir to that reserved marinade (so the cornstarch doesn’t settle at the bottom), and pour it into the center of the skillet. Cook this until it’s thickened and bubbly (like Kim Kardashian), and then push the chicken back into the center and mix it all together. Return all of the veggies to the skillet and add the water chestnuts, too. Cook and stir this for a few minutes more and serve with rice.

Garlic Chicken 011

You can add cashews, too, but the WW points value will go up, of course. Piece of cake.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013

Easy Asian Coleslaw

9 May

Asian Slaw 015

I have written a few times that Asian food is like a new frontier for me.  I wasn’t raised eating much of it, and in the 70’s and 80’s, most of the Orange County, California, food scene did not have a wide array of Asian restaurants. Thankfully, an influx of Vietnamese, Lao, and Korean families started populating the area, so it has since exploded into an Asian food wonderland of sorts.  While I will often berate the ubiquitous fake tits and humvees that festoon much of O.C. and which, consequently, led my wife and I to bid it adieu, I will say that now it has some balance by the soul brought in from different cultures and their cuisines.

But in my Carter and Reagan era childhood, Chinese food consisted of magenta-colored sweet and sour chicken from the only local Chinese place, The Golden Something.  Funnily enough, bean sprouts and duck scared me as a kid, but the unnaturally infrared gelatinous mess of carrots, pineapple, and chicken welcomed me with open arms.  I think my teeth looked like a photo negative by the time I left the restaurant, actually.

I have since learned to cook a variety of Asian main dishes, but I am sorely lacking in the side dish category.  Yesterday, I had an extra bag o’ coleslaw mix from a party we had on Sunday.  I knew I was making chicken satay (https://dinnerwithjonny.com/2013/01/24/ww-chicken-satay-with-peanut-sauce/), so I started googling.  I found quite a few Weight Watchers recipes calling for crushed raw ramen noodles for the crunch effect.  As I am not in the habit of having ramen around, this wasn’t going to work.  Instead, I found a recipe here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe-Tools/Print/Recipe.aspx?recipeID=14297&origin=detail&servings=10&metric=false.

It goes perfectly with satay, as you will see, it is easy to make, and it is altogether wonderful.  I did make some changes, though…

I had no fresh ginger on hand last night.  But what I did have was some crystallized ginger left over from the holidays, which stays good for a decade or something.  It worked marvelously.

Easy Asian Coleslaw

Serves 6, I would think

Ingredients:

5 tbsp. rice vinegar, or white vinegar in a pinch

5 tbsp. oil

5 tbsp. creamy peanut butter

3 tbsp. soy sauce

3 tbsp. brown sugar (how come you taste so good?)

2 tbsp. minced crystallized ginger or fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 bag (about 8 to 10 cups worth or so) coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)

2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks

one bunch green onions, chopped

1 chopped bell pepper (optional)

chopped cilantro (optional)

Makin’ It:

In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic.  Whisk it well so it’s all combined as a happy family.

In a large bowl for tossing, add the veggies and pour the dressing over it.  Toss this baby like you mean it and so everything is coated well.  Cover this and put it in the fridge to chill if you still need to make the main course, or serve right there. It’s kick ass both ways.

Asian Slaw 007

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino

Sesame Green Beans

4 May

Sesame Green Beans

One of the things I miss most about tending a bar is the clientele that I got to know over the years.  In the U.S., the term “bar” carries a stigma with it, almost like to frequent a bar means that you drink too much or that you haven’t quite grown up yet.  I disagree generally with this.  Most of the people whom I served over the years came there on the way home from work to take the edge off, to meet a friend to catch up, to wait for a table to open up in the restaurant, or to grab a quick meal before the day’s next adventure: not to get hammered.

At T.G.I. Chotchkies where I worked, one of my favorite people was a guy named Chuck.  When I knew him, he was in his eighties.  Like most men of his age, he had served in World War II, and he only would talk about the places he traveled, not what he experienced or did for this country in the war itself. After he retired from the Firestone Tire Company in his 60’s, he became a security guard at the Balboa Yacht Club in Newport Beach, California.  He stood about 5′ 6″ and was rail thin. He had short cut white hair combed neatly, blue eyes, and his original teeth, brownish and a few laced with silver from past dental work.

Chuck was old school. He came from an era where people rocked suits and hats to travel or to attend a baseball game.  He was always put together respectfully. At my bar, he usually donned old guy slacks with the flat front and no belt, leather shoes, and a tucked in button down shirt; he had a pink one that I remember vividly.  He would come in almost every Sunday and we all knew his order by heart: Smirnoff martini up to begin (shaken a certain way, too; he only wanted certain bartenders to make this), a glass of house white zin with dinner, and a green creme de menthe rocks after, maybe a cup of coffee.  Old school.

My favorite part of serving Chuck was when he ordered dinner. We all knew exactly what he would order, but bartending requires dancing the steps perfectly and repeatedly even though you’ve mastered the dance. Bartenders sell an experience, much like teachers, so structure is key.

“Chuck, you ready to order?”

“Yes sir.” Then he would lean over the bar and address me in deep sincerity with concomitant hand gestures: “Now Jon, I want one of those New York Strips. Medium. And I want a baked potato with some butter.”

Even though I knew the answer to my next question, I would ask it anyway because I could never hear it enough:

“You got it. What vegetable would you like?”

“Jon, don’t even put a goddamn veggie near my plate.  I’ve been around 80 years, and I hate vegetables.  I don’t care if you steam ’em, fry ’em, bake ’em, or put all sorts of shit on ’em, I don’t like ’em. I don’t want ’em. I just want a steak and a potato. OK? No goddamn vegetables.   And a glass of house white zinfandel. No vegetables.”

“You got it, kid.”

What could I say to him? If you’ve lived a great life into your 80’s and you hate vegetables, you are more than entitled. I just loved listening to him finally snap about eating something that he probably had to for the first 75 years of his life.

So why ramble on about Chuck? Well, veggies can be tough customers to cook for a variety of reasons.  We all know we’re supposed to eat a ton of them, yet they’re boring unless you pile on tons o’ fatty stuff or you deep fry them. This recipe is an option that will make most people happy, except Chuck, I suppose.

I posted this green bean recipe attached to another recipe before, but I am posting it now on its own. This complements any Asian dish, and it is great the next day. Costco sells a giant bag o’ French green beans for around $5, too.

Sesame Green Beans

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

1 lb. green beans, trimmed

2 tsp. sesame oil

2 tsp. cooking oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you’re hardcore)

3 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. black pepper

3 tbsp. water

1 tbsp. corn starch

salt to taste

toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Makin’ It:

You want to boil the green beans in a pot of salted water until they’re almost done, being careful not to overcook them.  Drain them, rinse with cold water, pat them dry, and set them aside.

In a small bowl or ramekin, stir together the soy sauce, brown sugar, and pepper. Set aside. In another small bowl, whisk together the water and the corn starch. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oils over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook this for about a minute stirring constantly.  You don’t want the garlic to burn here.

Add the green beans to the skillet and stir fry these babies for about 3 minutes.  Mix the soy sauce mixture again so the sugar doesn’t settle and add it to the green beans in the skillet. Stir it together well and cook for about 3 minutes.  Re-stir the water and corn starch, and add it to the green beans. Cook and stir this until the sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes. Taste for salt. Transfer this to a serving bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Sesame Green Beans 5

So Chuck, wherever you are, I hate veggies too, dude. But these ones are good and you should try them. I’ll have the creme de menthe waiting for you.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013

Brocco-Chicken Pie

29 Apr

Brocco-Chicken Pie 010

The central coast of California produces some exemplary items.  For example, some 75%+ of the strawberries consumed by the United States are grown right here.

Santa Maria, the city in which I live, also had the honor of having the state’s worst drivers; in the last few years, there were more hit-and-run accidents per capita than anywhere else in the state. Almost every day, I see people stopped directly underneath “No Stopping Anytime” signs. Ironically, we moved away from Orange County to escape traffic, but here some drivers will stop in the middle of a busy thoroughfare, blocking traffic, to say ” ‘s up” to a friend meandering along the street, thus creating a voluntary gridlock along Broadway at which most people (not me) just shrug.

If you’ve never had Santa Maria tri-tip, put it on your bucket list. Moreover, our wine has its fair share of acclaim, especially after the movie Sideways was filmed here. Unlike another area in California that rhymes with “Mapa,” there are still many wine tasting rooms that haven’t been discovered by metropolitan-based weekend wine-pricks who pontificate on any given wine either to supplement their Viagra or to rationalize their alcoholism.

Empty beaches still exist here, and people still drive El Caminos here with a vengeance.

My wife is the office manager of a large greenhouse facility in Nipomo, California; chances are that, if you have bought a poinsettia at a California Costco during Xmas,  my wife was responsible for getting it there. Working in the agriculture business has its benefits.  She often comes home with bags full of freshly picked produce that one of her colleagues brought in.  At my school site, boxes of lemons, oranges, broccoli, or lettuce regularly adorn the break room tables with a sign saying to take as much as you want. A five minute drive yields farm fresh eggs costing next to nothing, and the strawberries that we get to buy at local stands are the best available in the world.

Today, a sack o’ fresh broccoli greeted me from my kitchen island.  Also greeting me were vapid boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  What to do, what to do…?  Pie!  Any time’s a good time for pie, so I got to thinking that a cheesy-broccoli-chicken-y thing would work.  Recipes for this exist all over the web, and I must have read about 6 to 9 of them.  But when it came down to it, like Luke Skywalker turning off his targeting computer to blow up the Death Star, I just went with the force and winged it.

The result, my very own Brocco-Chicken Pie, is pretty spectacular in terms of taste and ’tis pretty easy to make. I made the pie crust from scratch (and I nailed it, I might add, which is a first for me), but if I had the pre-made ones from the supermarket fridge, I would have used them instead.  The taste reminds me of the 50’s, gingham aprons, and home-cookin’.  You could easily make the filling beforehand and assemble the pie when you’re ready.

Brocco-Chicken  Pie

Serves 8

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. butter

1/2 onion, chopped

2 tbsp. flour

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup milk (low fat or whatever)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (Swiss, Havarti, jack, or whatever would work here)

1 lb. fresh broccoli florets, steamed to the point where they’re not quite done, trimmed of most of the stems, and roughly chopped

2 cups cooked chicken, chopped (you could use canned chicken, but you’d be really ghetto, and I’d love you for it)

Salt and pepper

1 double pie crust for a 9″ pie

Makin’ It:

Preheat the oven to 400°.

In a medium saucepan or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and saute the onions until they’re tender, about 4 minutes.  Add the flour, mix it well, and cook it for a minute, stirring constantly.  Using a wire whisk, add in the black pepper and broth. Whisk it all together until it’s creamy.  Add in 1/4 cup of the milk and whisk it again until it gets bubbly, and then add in the rest of the milk and whisk it until it’s bubbly again.

Add it the cheese, chicken, and broccoli.  Cook it until the cheese is melted and it’s a steamy, happy pie filling. Taste it for salt and pepper and adjust, if needed.

Line a 9″ pie dish with one of the crusts and pour in the filling, spreading it evenly.  Top it with the other crust and, pulling the bottom crust lip over, pinch it together with the top crust lip again the top inside rim of the dish until it’s all sealed and looks like mom made it.  Cut a few decorative slits in the top to let steam escape.

Bake this at 400° for 40 minutes, or until the crust is done.  If it starts getting too brown, put foil on it.  The juices will start to bubble up on the crust when it’s done. Let it cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes. Slice into 8 pieces and serve.

Brocco-Chicken Pie 008

While my pie might be ugly to the master pie-maker’s eye, it sings home-cookin’ to me.  This is easy to make and is great lunch for the next day.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash: The Perfect Side

19 Apr

Weight Watchers Roasted Butternut Squash (3)

When it comes to keeping a healthy weight, I think 95% of people have an Achilles heel that makes it difficult to maintain the ideal weight and figure (the other 5% are actresses, supermodels, men named Troy, and women invariably named Jenni, spelled with an “i”).  Through the years, I’ve noticed that many people’s downfall is sweets; when 9 p.m. rolls around, the ice cream beckons, the cookies croon, and the snack-size candy bars bare their chocolaty nipples (both male AND female candy, I might add).  I’m lucky in that I can take or leave sweets.  Every so often, I go through a peanut butter and chocolate kick, but it doesn’t last long and I remember that beer is much more fulfilling on so many levels.

No, my bad eating habit is primarily carbs.  I love them.  And I love bad carbs, too, like chips, French fries, bread, potato salad, more chips, and beer.  I have actually made a ham and potato salad sandwich for lunch, and added a healthy side o’ Doritos to round it out, and I had no guilt whatsoever because I was too busy marveling at my hill-billy ingenuity.

In Ireland, for example, when the pubs close, often a food truck waits outside for its progeny.  In this remarkable institution, they make something called a “Chip Butty.” It is basically a hamburger with French fries substituted for meat. I think I almost cried the first time I had it because it was like we were meant for each other and I had to go all the way to Clifden, Ireland, to consummate the serendipitous meeting.  *sigh*

Anyhow, when I started trying to lose the weight, I realized that the potatoes and carbs had to go, not totally, but mostly.  Whole grain breads and crackers (if any) are the norm for us now, and when I’m just maintaining weight (rather than losing), those Pop Chips or any baked chips do it for me.

But what the hell is a good substitute for potatoes?  For us, it’s butternut squash.  It’s high in fiber, counts as a veggie, is flavorful, and still has the “weight” of a carb-heavy potato.  I probably butchered 3 of these a week for a year. When I lost a lot of weight, I attribute it partly to eating hardly any potatoes and a lot of squash.  It makes a good mash (which I will share later), but to simply roast it with some spice is magic.  It’s a staple on my Thanksgiving table and I never have leftovers.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Makes 4 servings depending on the size of the squash; 1 cup is an old Weight Watchers 1

Ingredients:

1 good size butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cubed (see below)

1  to 2 tsp. salt (or to taste)

2 tsp. chili powder (or cayenne (careful), paprika, or smoked paprika)

Cooking spray (Pam works, but the olive oil one is best)

Makin’ It:

Preheat the oven to 425°.  Spray a baking sheet with some cooking spray.

To peel a butternut squash, lay it on its side, cut off the ends, and then slice it into disks.  Peel each disk, spoon out the seeds of the disks that have them, and then cut them into 1″ cubes.

Make one even layer of squash on the cooking sheet and give it a good spray to coat all of the squash well.  Sprinkle on the salt and chili powder.  Mix this up by hand to distribute the spice evenly. Spray a little more spray on it for good measure.  Put it in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, tossing them after 20 minutes of roasting.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately.  ‘Tis a piece of cake.

Weight Watchers Roasted Butternut Squash (4)

The keys to losing weight are cutting the carbs, upping the fiber, keeping the portion sizes down, and walking a bunch.  It’ll work for you….and this recipe will make it more enjoyable for sure.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013