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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
Butternut Squash Ground Turkey Skillet pg

Butter Up to Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is one of the most popular winter squash varieties. It has a pale peach color on the outside but yields a yellow-orange flesh on the inside. It's flavor is reminiscent of a buttered sweet potato, and it's a versatile ingredient in many fall dishes.

Butternut squash ranks high on the nutritional list. One cup of squash has only 82 calories but 6 grams dietary fiber, 580 milligrams potassium, nearly 50% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin C, and over 350% of the RDA of vitamin A. Store squash in a cool, dark place for 1-2 months, but refrigerate once cut.

To cut through the hard peel and flesh of winter squash, try microwaving it for 3-5 minutes first. It will soften just enough to be able to put a sharp knife through the middle, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. If using mashed squash, simply place the two halves flesh-down in a glass pan, and pour in ¼" of water. Either microwave for 9 to 12 minutes, or roast in a 400°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until easily pierced by a fork. If needing cubes, trim ¼" from top and bottom of the squash with a sharp knife. Peel with a vegetable peeler, cut in half, and then proceed to scoop out the seeds.

Butternut squash can be roasted with other root vegetables, pureed into a soup, or mashed into a pasta sauce. It's a fall favorite!

Ground Turkey and Butternut Squash Skillet (Printable PDF)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 lb. lean ground turkey

1 ½ Tablespoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups cubed)

½ cup water

½ cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese

¼ cup chopped cilantro

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and pepper; cook for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and ground turkey. Use a wooden spoon to break apart meat and cook until meat is just browned. Drain off any fat. Add cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper; stir well. Add squash and water. Stir and cover with a lid. Continue to cook until squash softens. Remove lid; top with mozzarella and cilantro. Put lid back on until cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 200 calories, 8 grams fat, 340 milligrams sodium, 13 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 20 grams protein

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