Acorn squash with butter and brown sugar

Posted in Comfort Foods, Fall, Savory, Side Dish, Vegetable, Winter on Jan 15, 2010

040We’ve had a manic week this week. My menu planning went out the window, and I have been whipping dinner out with little or no kid participation, leading to some disgruntled produce challengers wondering why I’m being all control freaky let me just do it myself and you can help later in the kitchen.

I don’t know what it is exactly, but I had a bit of my Painting Mania take over, and I didn’t want to suffer any little helpers this week. This, of course, means that the kids felt perfectly free to diss every. single. offering. because they didn’t have any time or effort invested in its preparation. Lesson learned.

At the heart of this little project of ours is tasting individual fruits and veggies, and appreciating (or not) their flavors. I’ve been making these crazy hodgepodge quiches and stir-fry dishes, and The Boy was greeting each meal with all the enthusiasm of a condemned man heading to the gallows. So enough! Enough, I say! Time to bust out a single vegetable side-dish.

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You see where I’m going with this now, don’t you? Squash, butter, brown sugar and a little cinnamon… can’t get more kid-friendly than that. In fact, the Holy Trifecta of Getting Kids To Eat Around Here is butter, bacon or brown sugar. Yes, I’d love to have them willingly eat the squash without liberally coating it in calories, but baby steps, right?

You know what The Boy likes to do? Scoop out the seeds. That’s a great helper task, because I’m not a fan of that job.

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Even though I had three squashes on hand, we opted to just cook two because yeah right, like my kids were going to eat an entire half squash on their own. We put them in a glass 9×13 (to better show off my fake wood counters) and added some butter and brown sugar and cinnamon to each half.

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Then The Boy carefully poured in about 2 cups of water, and we put the whole thing, uncovered, into a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, we had this going on:

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We used a spoon to redistribute the sugary, buttery juice on all the flesh, and returned them to the oven for another 20 minutes. They could have done another 10 minutes, because they were still a little firm, but it was already 7 o’clock and we were hungry.

Because I can’t leave well enough alone, here’s the rest of the dinner, Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken with carrots, celery, onion and whole garlic cloves. Mmm.

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The verdict? He ate it! They all ate it! He even said “this is not bad.” High praise from The Boy! He even ate some of the carrots from the chicken dish without gagging! SUCCESS!

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