Rarely does a new recipe meet with rave reviews by all five family members at dinner, but amazingly, last night it happened. And it wasn’t pizza or macaroni and cheese. It was a vegetable. It was healthy, but please don’t tell my kids. The award- winning centerpiece was the lowly butternut squash. Since my own garden has been ravaged by drought and midsummer neglect, all that remains of it are tangles of twisted, dead vines and a few stubborn tomatoes. So, I headed to the farmer’s market last Saturday in hopes of enjoying the fruits of someone else’s summer labors. I came home with, among other things, two butternut squash. The bright orange flesh looked enticing, but what do you actually do with a butternut squash? I did what I always do when faced with an unsolvable dilemma – I googled it! I combined two recipes I found on the internet and came up with a sweet and spicy , flavorful palate -pleaser for kids and adults. The taste of the squash is a cross between a sweet potato and pumpkin, while the spices add the traditional brown sugar taste with a kick. Many thanks to Ina Garten and Fine Cooking Magazine for the original inspiration. My recipe for Spicy Caramelized Butternut Squash is below:

Spicy Caramelized Butternut Squash

2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes

1/2 cup melted butter

1/4 cup brown sugar or succanant

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon each of the following: cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cloves

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450. Spread squash in a shallow baking pan. Combine melted butter, succanat, and spices. Pour mixture over squash and stir until all pieces are coated. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the pieces are soft. Stir once or twice while baking. Enjoy!

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