I was brought up eating a lot of vegetables or so I thought.  My Mom didn’t cook some vegetables I knew about (like lima beans) because she didn’t like them but I never thought I was missing anything.  Until I started cooking for my farm-raised husband, I had no idea of the variety of peas, beans and squashes there are….or how to cook them or well, even what they looked like to start with!  I also didn’t know that girl cows can have horns too which has amused my in-laws.  That and U-nails….anyway back to food!  I was given a recipe for these butternut squash home-fries or country hash browns that really sounded great and is on our diet.  So we found the butternut squash at the grocery store and I’m pretty sure we found the right kind because the little sticker there says so.  We got a really big one because the only gourd I am familiar with is pumpkin and most of the pumpkin is nothing but hollow and goop!  I expected this one to be similar but boy was I wrong (and boy do we have a lot of butternut squash in the fridge!).  As it turns out, butternut squash has a very small area of “goop” and seeds in the base of it – about the size of a softball and ALL the rest is edible.  The skin is thin and only needs to be peeled with a vegetable peeler once or twice over and that’s it.   It is very orange inside and firm, you could even say potato-like.  Rich in fiber, iron, vitamin A, C and potassium, butternut squash will keep for months in a cool, dry place as long as the skin is undamaged.  I was expecting it to be sweet, like a sweet potato but again, I was wrong.  Soft, creamy texture and only a little sweetness, the squash cooked like a potato and had the texture of one too.  The chopping took most of the prep for this, which I did the night before and once things got going in the pan I’d say it took 15-20 minutes tops.  With a little head start, by  the time Daniel got the coffee on and our eggs fried, I had this on the plate, hot and fresh!

The hot mess of ingredients:

  • 2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 1/2 medium red or green bell pepper – chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion – chopped
  • 1/2 cup fat-free chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 TBS olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin spice (or a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger)
  • cayenne pepper, salt and/or black pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil on medium-high heat and saute the onions for 2 minutes, add the bell pepper and cook another 1-2 minutes.  Add the squash and all spices and mix well, cook for 7-8 minutes more.  Pour in the broth, put the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Once boiling for 30 seconds, reduce to a simmer until broth evaporates, stir occasionally to keep anything from sticking to the pan.  After most of the broth is evaporated, cover the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the squash is tender.  I expect that over-cooking will reduce the squash to be…well squashy so keep an eye on it.  Ours was easily cut with a fork or butter-knife but was not mushy at all.  I’d say at the very least, we are having more pleasant breakfast’s since starting the Dukan Diet.  We used to just grab a protein shake or some toast and peanut butter but look at this!  Daniel had an oat-bran gillette, turkey sausage, butternut home-fries and a fried egg (+2 egg whites) with garlic and yellow bell pepper, finished off with a fresh espresso.  Pretty good for a “diet” right?!  Fried egg with garlic and bell pepper, turkey sausage, an oat-bran pancake and butternut home-fries.  Finished off with espresso and we're ready to go!!

I’m going to be playing around with more butternut squash recipes since I happen to have a few pounds of it on hand so more to come!!  I hope you like it – it’s 100% Dukan Diet worthy on protein + veggie days Phase 2 (Cruise phase) and higher.

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