Getting the Most out of those Winter Squash

by Katie O'Sullivan

Acorn, Butternut, Carnival, Delicata, Blue Hubbard, Spaghetti… Winter Squash come in so many shapes and sizes, and are on sale now in most markets. The flavors and colors of autumn beckon us into the kitchen, but what to create?

It's easy enough to boil and mash a butternut squash into a familiar side dish, but why not let the squash be the star of the show? Squash are high in fiber, low in calories, and filling in a way that satisfies that cold-weather need for comfort food.

Here are two of our favorite winter squash recipes that my family has adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens New Dieters Cookbook (1992, Meredith Books) They're both easy and delicious, and might empower you to look for new ways to enjoy these colorful fall treats.

Saucy Spaghetti Squash, serves 4

1 2-3 pound spaghetti squash
1 pound lean ground beef (or turkey)
½ cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
14 oz tomato sauce
1 cup cut corn (frozen or canned)
2 tsp chili powder
½ tsp oregano

  1. Cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds. Place squash cut side down in baking dish with one inch of water around it. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until fork tender.
  2. While squash is baking, create meat sauce. Cook ground beef/turkey in skillet with onion and garlic until meat is no longer pink and onions are tender. Drain off any liquid.
  3. Stir in tomato sauce, corn, chili powder and oregano. Cook and stir until sauce starts to bubble, then cook 2 minutes more.
  4. When Squash is done baking: hold one half at a time over a large bowl, using fork to scrape the pulp from the shell. As it pulls out, it will naturally form spaghetti-like strands.
  5. To serve, separate the "spaghetti" equally onto 4 plates. Spoon meat mixture over squash. Top with shredded cheese if desired. Each serving is under 400 calories!
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Varieties of squash
Photograph by Katie O'Sullivan

Stuffed Acorn Squash, serves 4

2 acorn squash
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped onion
½ tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup applesauce
2-3 slices whole wheat bread, cut into cubes

  1. Cut the squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds. Place squash cut side down in baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
  2. While squash is baking, create stuffing. Cook ground turkey in skillet with celery and onion until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender. Drain off any liquid. Stir in salt, curry and cinnamon; cook one minute more. Stir in applesauce and bread cubes.
  3. Turn squash cut side up in baking dish. Divide stuffing into the four squash halves. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes more. Serve hot with a salad on the side. Each serving of squash is under 400 calories!

Katie O'Sullivan lives on Cape Cod with her family. In addition to being the Editor of this magazine, she is a freelance writer, copy editor and published author.

Her romantic suspense novels, Unfolding the Shadows and Perfect Strangers, are available on

For updates on her kids latest adventures or the antics of her oversized Saint Bernard puppy, visit her blog