Monday, October 31, 2011

Roasted Buttercup Squash

Squash. It sounds funny. It looks funny. It tastes funny delicious.

For a long time I've been a fan of acorn squash. In fact, I made some a few weeks ago for the husband and myself. I took the uber-easy way out and microwaved it. Ain't nothin' wrong with taking the easy way if it means your getting a good vegetable into your gullet.

Earlier in September, the girls and I whipped up some bowl-licking-good butternut squash soup to kick off fall. I had to make sure I shared that recipe because my friend, Jill, wants to make it for part of her Thanksgiving dinner. In case you're planning your Turkey Day menu, it would be a delectable choice for your buffet table, too. It's perfectly autumnal, and you can make it ahead of time.

Then I read an article in Real Simple magazine the other day about all the different varieties of squash. I was, of course, completely intrigued. There were several varieties of squash I hadn't yet gotten my hands on. Buttercup squash caught my eye because it was described as sweet. I maaaay have a bit of a sweet tooth, so I got my hands on a buttercup squash as soon as possible.

When you make buttercup squash (because you really should), there is one thing I'll warn you about. It looks and tastes a bit drier than acorn squash. I stirred in a bit of water and, I'll be honest, lots of butter to remedy this situation. The husband was pretty skeptical when he saw the slightly flaky-looking orange flesh, but he was completely sold after one bite. Yes, folks, this squash is delicious.

So, next time your at the market, grab the squash that interests you the most. If there's not a recipe here on Hot Dinner Happy Home for the variety you choose, shoot me an email (, and I'll take on the challenge. I'll test it out and tell you what I think. And I'll share the results right here. Get ready for gourd bonanza, folks!

P.S. Since I've been mentioning Real Simple a lot lately, I think my mother-in-law deserves a shout-out for giving me the magazine subscription as a gift last Christmas. The gift that keeps on giving. Thanks, Mom!!

Roasted Buttercup Squash
Serves: 4-6

1 (3.5 pound) butternut squash
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Butter (to your preference)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to pierce the skin of the squash in several places. Place squash in a glass baking dish lined with parchment paper (for easy clean up.) Microwave on high for 10 minutes to speed up the cooking process. (If you're not in a hurry, feel free to skip this step. Just cook the squash longer in the oven.) Once the oven is preheated, place baking dish with the squash on the center rack and bake for 45 minutes, until a knife can slide into the squash easily.

Let the squash rest for a few minutes until it's easy enough to handle. Cut the squash in half, scoop out and discard the strings and seeds. Scoop the flesh out of the squash and place it in a bowl. Add brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste, and as much butter as you'd like, then mash it all together. Serve warm with a hearty pat of butter dripping down the sides.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Black Bean and Cheese Chimichangas

The husband was watching the Packers game last Sunday, and I decided to make him some hot dinner. Sunday night meals often consists of PB&J or cereal, but the husband had a hard day working in the garage, and I thought he deserved something special.

I would fry him something.

I should mention that the husband loves fried food. I should also mention that I'm afraid of frying food. Shortly after we got hitched, I tried to make taquitos. My first attempt at frying went, shall we say, poorly. It tasted like we were eating little, round sponges of oil. Bleck. Also, with dubious ventilation in our kitchen, it smelled like the state fair in our house for far too long. Not classy.

But despite my fear, I was determined to fry up some grub for the husband. I tweaked a taquito filling recipe I found in Real Simple last month, and went to town. The first two chimichangas didn't turn out quite right. They were...burnt.

Take two, however, was much better. When I presented the chimichangas to the husband, I was a bit nervous. Would they meet the same fate as my taquitos? To my utter delight, the husband had a big smile on his face after tasting my creation. "These are GOOD!" he exclaimed.

From now on I will be known as Erin, the happy housewife who's not afraid to fry.

Black Bean and Cheese Chimichangas
Serves 2-4

15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon lime juice (juice of 1/2 lime)
Salt and pepper
4 flour tortillas
Vegetable oil for frying

In a medium-sized bowl, mash together beans, cheese, chili powder, garlic powder, and lime juice.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Evenly divide bean mixture among tortillas. Roll tortillas up tightly.

Heat 1/2" of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. (Err on the medium side of medium-high.) Test to make sure the oil is hot enough for frying by dropping a small piece of tortilla into the oil. If the oil bubbles immediately and the tortilla rises up to the top, the oil is the right temperature. (If the oil is too cold, you'll end up with a soggy, greasy mess. A la my tacquito situation.)

Gently place the rolled-up tortillas into the oil, seam-side down. Fry for about 2 minutes on each side until the tortillas are crisp and golden.

Set tortillas on a paper-towel lined plate to sop up any extra oil. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Put the Kettle On! by Lady of the House

About five years ago I discovered Good Earth's Sweet and Spicy tea. Now, no Autumn is complete or darn near as cozy without it. A seemingly magical blend of cinnamon, orange, ginger and a slew of other lovely ingredients make it the perfect afternoon pick-me-up. Be sure to grab a couple boxes at the store. You're going to be sharing with all your friends, believe me.

Here's to cozy daily rituals, stopping the clock for a bit, and easing into Autumn.

{ Lady of the House }

Monday, October 24, 2011

I went to the Big Apple, and I took a big bite.

A few weeks ago, the husband and I spent a long weekend in New York City with Ryan and Niki, some of our dearest friends.  Although our trip was booked months ago, we happened upon an insanely gorgeous weekend at the end of October. It was 80 degrees and sunny the entire time. It was like fall took a hiatus just for our trip. Holla, fall. Thanks for watching our backs on that one.

Although we enjoyed the Statue of Liberty, Cirque du Soleil, and plenty of shopping, one of our primary agenda items was exploring the culinary delights of NYC. And explore we did.

We totally dorked out and took pictures everywhere so I could share our food adventures with the you folks here at Hot Dinner Happy Home. Hope this inspires you to take your own culinary tour, even if it's just around your own town. Good food is there for the eating, people.

The Doughnut Plant
Check them out online:
Dear hipsters, thanks for taking one of my favorite breakfast foods and making it oh-so-cool. We couldn't even handle ourselves at The Doughnut Plant. I wanted to try absolutely everything on the menu, and, between the four of us, we almost did. Although I am admittedly a cake doughnut kind of gal, the Creme Brulee doughnut was something magical. It was creme brulee. And doughnut. At the same time.

Other recommended doughnuts: carrot cake, pistachio (ye gads), vanilla bean, peanut butter & jelly (holy cow), and coconut cream.

Dean and Deluca
Check them out online:
Dean & Deluca is fancy food. It is clean and beautiful and all the produce has been buffed to a high gloss. The people who work there are friendly. They offer you samples of their wares to make sure you're happy with the not-so-cheap cheese you're about to purchase. And you will be happy. Because it's Dean & Deluca.

This is my D & D challenge for you: Ask to sample the ugliest delicious cheese they offer. You will be afraid, your knees make buckle, but stay strong. Just taste it. Savor it. And swoon. Oh, Dean & Deluca.

Street Pizza
Don't pay more than $1.50. Eat it like a taco. 'Nuf said.

Schiller's Liquor Bar
Check them out online:
When you walk into Schiller's, you feel like you won a golden ticket to the coolest party in town. People are giving air kisses, and it's not looking the least bit contrived. They're wearing nerd glasses and party dresses. They're tall and gangly and beautiful and awesome. They can't help it; coolness is their natural state. Their fabulousness exudes from them. Whatever you do, try your best not to feel insecure. They are like dogs who smell fear. Just be cool. Just. Be. Cool.

Order a glass of "decent" red wine and something that comes with french fries.

Make sure your significant other orders the sliders so you can eat one. Share a round of deviled eggs. Didn't know deviled eggs were "in" again? Yeah. Me neither. But I'm so glad the people at Schiller's did.

Rue 57
Check them out online:
Well, hello, Paris! What are you doing in New York? Bustling waitstaff. White linens. Champagne cocktails made for day drinking. We were there for brunch and enjoyed the menu from the breakfast burrito to the omelette Lyon.

The homemade granola is served with Greek yogurt that's been strained to make it extra creamy and then delicately drizzled with honey. I know because I asked.

Molly's Cupcakes
Check them out online:
Say you're wandering the streets of New York, seeing what there is to see, and you stumble upon a little cupcake shop. Neat. Then you note that the cupcake shop has won a contest on the Food Network. You're interest is piqued. When you see that they sell filled cupcakes, you giggle and shimmy and press your nose to the glass separating you from your sugar high. Ladies and gentlemen of Hot Dinner Happy Home, may I present the Cake Batter Cupcake:

Check them out online:
Again with the French food. I have a thing for it that can't be helped. The French know their way around a kitchen. They have some kind of magic in their souls that seeps out with results like coq au vin. Pastis, oh, Pastis. You need to go there.

Meals at this gem are served with the finest people-watching in town. I don't think Niki and I said a word the entire meal; we were too busy savoring every crumb and admiring the beautiful people strolling past our table.

Order steak frites because it's perfectly French. Sop up the meat juices with crispy, salty french fries and wash it down with a cocktail. Then order the sticky toffee pudding for dessert. You're too full for dessert, you say? Order a coffee and wait a few minutes until you can force it down. It was the most unbelievable thing I've ever tasted. For serious. The clouds parted and angels sang. They sang, "Sticky Toffee Pudding!!" It sounded strangely like Rufus Wainwright.

Berkli Parc Cafe
Check them out online:
When you walk into Berkli Parc Cafe, you become a graphic designer who works out of his home. Or a grad student studying anthropology because her parents have enough money to pay her private school tuition and then support her when she can't get a job. Or maybe you're writing a novel with a heroine named Neve who wears opaque tights. Whatever you're doing, it needs to be done on a Macbook at Berkli Parc Cafe.

Now let me tell you about the Thanksgiving sandwich. In addition to turkey, it boasts cranberry chutney, and, get this, stuffing. It's Thanksgiving leftovers without the hard work. I love.

And if your husband isn't interested in a froo-froo sandwich, he can wander three doors down to a little eatery called Fried Dumplings. He should order...fried dumplings.

Thanks for being all I hoped, New York.

P.S. Thanks to my sister for many of the fabulous recommendations on this list. She is much more awesome than I and knows her way around cool-kid establishments everywhere.

P.P.S. Here's another NYC tip: Make reservations. You're not Jay-Z; there isn't going to be a table and a bottle of Cristal waiting when you walk in the door.

P.P.P.S. If you are Jay-Z...OMG. I have arrived.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Even Easier Herbed Quinoa

Here in Milwaukee, it's that rainy, chilly weather that we comes with autumn, and the cold mornings are forcing me to stay in bed far too long. Seriously. I hit the snooze button for an hour yesterday. And today, after an extra 30 minutes of beauty sleep, the poor husband started muttering, "Are you waking up yet?" every time my alarm wooshed.

And, yes, my alarm wooshes. It's a "nature" alarm clock with three calming sounds to wake to. Mind you, I purchased this alarm clock for about $10, so the sounds aren't as natural as you'd think. Although advertised as babbling brook, thunderstorm, and ocean, it's more like flushing toilet, burglar crashing around the kitchen, and shovel scraping against the pavement. I go with the "wooshing" ocean sound.

Anyway, back to the crummy weather. With the mercury dropping precipitously, it was high time to harvest the last of the herbs languishing in my back porch herb garden. I clipped a few sprigs of basil and mint, and inhaled the scent of summer. Then I shivered, and went back inside to finish dinner.

Tootle-oo, summer. Until next year.

Even Easier Herbed Quinoa*
Serves: 4

1 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons chopped herbs (I recommend basil and mint.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Stir together all ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm or cold.

*This is a simplified version of Herbed Quinoa that I've posted on Hot Dinner Happy Home in the past. I had some leftover quinoa in the fridge, so I just doctored it up. Turn this into a more filling dish by adding goat cheese. Mmmm.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My, Don't We Look Nice? by Lady of the House

I've had a box of brownie mix on the counter for a few days, but inspiration hadn't yet set in. Well, thankfully yesterday it did. May I present to you, All-Dolled-Up Brownies? These are brownies as you know them, but imagine they have a glam squad helping them get ready.

I split the mix between two pans to insure they were slim, and I dropped the heat 25 degrees after the first ten minutes, ending up cooking them requisite time, but at a slightly cooler temperature. Just watch 'em.

The bummer with the frosting is that the brownies must be entirely cool before you get going in that department. Be patient.

And, for the fun part... Add some bling with a dash of colored sugar. Whisper to yourself, "Work it!!" as you take them from blah to la-di-de-licious.

{ Lady of the House }

Monday, October 17, 2011

Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

I was tickled to start seeing Brussels sprouts at the grocery store this fall. Some people are anti-Brussels sprouts. Sure they're a little stinky and strange, but they are so good. And I figure sometimes I'm a little stinky and strange, so why discriminate?

Typically I roast my Brussels sprouts to caramelize their flavor and add a bit of sweetness. But this time I wanted to try something else. After a quick search on the interweb, I found a recipe for "Brussels Sprouts for People Who Think They Hate Brussels Sprouts." I absolutely had to try it.

I thought these were delish, but I like Brussels sprouts to start out with. If you do hate Brussels Sprouts, let me know if these win you over. And if you want to try roasting Brussels sprouts, try this recipe: Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Brussels Sprouts. It's still my favorite.

Parmesan Brussels Sprouts
Serves: 4
Adapted from The Healthy Kitchen via

1 pound Brussels sprouts
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (or more if you like things spicy)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, trim the ends off the Brussels sprouts, remove any outer leaves that are discolored, and cut sprouts in half. Add sprouts and a hearty pinch of salt to the boiling water, and cook until sprouts are just crisp tender, about 4 minutes.

Drain the sprouts and rinse them in cold water to stop the cooking and lock in that bright green color.

Wipe out and dry the pot you used to cook the Brussels sprouts. Add olive oil and turn the heat to medium. Cook the red pepper flakes and garlic for about one minute, until fragrant. Add sprouts and nutmeg and cook for another minute. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until it melts.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ham & Cheese Toasties

My parents are visiting from my hometown of Buffalo, NY. I love it when my parents come to visit. Even though I'm a grown-up now (or so they say), my parents always take extra good care of me when they're in town. It's like I'm their little girl again.

Also, my parents have known me for my entire life. (Obviously.) They know the good, the bad, and the really crazy about Erin. So if our guest room (a.k.a. my closet) is a little, ahem, disorganized, they aren't terribly surprised. And if there's a little dust bunny hiding in the corner, that's ok with them. They love me anyway.

When they rolled into town on Wednesday night, I was running a bit behind at work. The husband played host for a few hours until I got home, and since the gang was entertained by baseball playoffs, I popped by the grocery store to grab something for dinner. I have to admit, I was tired and didn't feel like whipping up a four course meal. I wanted something really simple. So I made my version of a family classic: Ham and Cheese Toasties.

And by the way, my parents still love me, even when I don't make a four course dinner.

Ham and Cheese Toasties
Serves: 4

4 pretzel rolls, sliced in half
3 tablespoons room temperature butter
2 tablespoons honey mustard
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
12 slices maple-glazed ham (about 1/2 pound)
4 slices Havarti cheese (If you don't have Havarti, double the cheddar or use your favorite cheese.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Separate the pretzel rolls and spread butter on both halves of each roll.

Spread mustard on top of the butter on both halves of each roll. Evenly divide the cheddar cheese onto the bottom halves of each roll.

Pile three slices of ham on each sandwich, then top with the Havarti. Close up the sandwich with the top buns and wrap each sandwich with aluminum foil. Bake sandwiches for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Dad's sandwich had a toothpick in it because he wanted his Toastie sans mustard.

P.S. These are great to serve a crowd during a football game because you can make them ahead of time and bake them when you're ready to eat. Also, the aluminum foil wrapper helps contain the mess.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Easy Does It by Lady of the House

Forgive me folks, but it just so happens to be Summer here in San Francisco...and by Summer, I mean perfect 70's and skies a downright cheery shade of blue. We've earned our time watching the raindrops fall, so do allow me this slightly inappropriate dinner recipe for October. Once you have this to your lips, you'll be cozy. Promise.

Start like I did--a deer in headlights at Whole Foods. (Ya, that was me that totally hit you with my cart. Good thing my Baby's got an on-command cheezy smile. God bless that little extrovert!) Grab some vegetables that look lovely, but even more so if they were all tossed lightly in olive oil and sauteed.

Now, run along to the fishmonger, and smile pretty because you're about to ask him or her to get you that 3/4 pound fillet of salmon--no, not that one--the one just beside--yes, the one behind the--yep, that's it!--and you're going to ask this person to skin it. I usually ask the Baby to flash the cheezy smile at this point if I feel things are going downhill. You can try your own version. (Please feel free to email me a photo. This, I wanna see!)

Before you head for the check out, grab your favorite bottle of Teriyaki sauce. All you gotta do is chop, and I'm telling you, dinner is literally on the table.

Here's what you do...
-cube your salmon, and while you do, just think about all those fabulous omega 3's. That little happy moment aside, toss them in a healthy splat of teriyaki. (BTW. If Erin and I ever write a cook book, I expect we will need a glossary for all the ridiculous onomatopoeia's we regularly and quite effectively use.)
-prep your veggies. I chopped carrot sticks, green beans, one jazzy, psychedelic green pepper, and a zucchini.
-throw the stubborn stuff in the pan first. In went the green beans and carrots. A dash of olive oil, a splash of teriyaki. Get busy.
-next your squishier variety. In went the zucchini and pepper.
-finally, the pretty salmon cubes that sit patiently will do best plopped in the middle of the pan. I recommend taking out your fave spoonula and getting all the marinade in with the veggies as well.
-wait a bit. Turn the fish gently, and somewhat regularly. (We are avoiding the rubbery chicken that's typically served with this sort of thing.) Check your biggest piece of salmon, and grab the forks and plates when you think everything is set.

This is a meal best dealt hot off the pan. It should be steaming as you're having you're first bite. A nice bottle of white or a Pinot as we did, the pretty napkins, maybe a candle. I say, welcome Autumn with all the zhuzh of Summer.

{ Lady of the House }

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cider Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

Have I ever told you about my love affair with apples? I get all starry-eyed in the fall for a number of reasons, apple season being a big one. They are sweet. They are crunchy. They are chock-full of healthy things. They don't need to be peeled. They can be eaten in front of the TV. They keep the doctor away. They are my favorite fruit.

Another apple-icious (yep, I think I just invented a new word) treat the husband and I enjoy is cider. I had some sitting in my fridge and thought it might add pizzazz to roasted root veggies. A quick search on the epicurious app on my phone, and I was inspired to use butter instead of olive oil, my standard for roasting. Why? Because butter tastes awesome, and don't you forget it.

Butter + Cider + Carrots + Parsnips = True Vegetable Love

I have another fall crush.

Cider Roasted Carrots and Parsnips
Serves: 4

1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4" coins
1 pound parsnips, peeled, halved (if large), and sliced into 1/4" coins
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup apple cider

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place carrots and parsnips in a large, shallow sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Using your hands, add butter and toss together the vegetables. Pour cider over the top.

Tightly cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil, stir, and bake for about 10 more minutes, until the vegetables are crisp tender. (Watch the vegetables carefully during the last 10 minutes to make sure the sugar in the cider doesn't burn.)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Spinach Dip

Lately I feel like whatever I do, I'm in a hurry. Hurry to work. Hurry to meetings. Hurry to the grocery store. Hurry home. Hurry to see friends. I was even hurrying through my meals. So, I'm trying to sloooooow dowwwwwn.

It's not easy.

Last Friday, we were invited to our friends' house for burgers and Wii. It was just what I needed after a hustle and bustle week. Of course, I got out of work later than expected, and had to hurry, hurry through making my contribution to the evening: pre-dinner munchies. It was a darn good thing that Therese recommended a super easy dip recipe for me to make. "Just make the spinach dip on the back of an envelope of Knorr vegetable soup mix. It's really good!"

It was good. And easy. And fast.

I didn't let it sit for the requisite 2 hours, but no one judged me for it. That's what friends are for: feeding you burgers, playing Wii, and not judging you for dip from an envelope that didn't sit for 2 hours. I'm making this stuff again.

Spinach Dip
Serves: lots!
Adapted from: Knorr

10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
8 ounces light sour cream
8 ounces plain Greek yogurt
3/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 envelope Knorr vegetable soup mix
1 8 ounce can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
Sliced raw veggies, crackers, etc. for serving

Thoroughly combine all ingredients and refrigerate for two hours so the flavors have a chance to meld. Serve with your favorite vegetables, crackers, or pita chips for dipping. Or, if you're feeling ambitious, buy a round loaf of bread, scoop out the insides, and serve the dip in a bread bowl.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Public Service Announcement

We wanted to take a brief respite from our typical posts to remind you of a few important things:

  1. Hot Dinner Happy Home is on Facebook! If you're a fan, make it official and like us on Facebook. Then our updates will show up on your news feed. Just click here to visit our page. 
  2. We tweet, too. (So high tech, right?) You can follow Erin (@hotdnnrhppyhome) and the Lady of the House (@HDHHLady). Give us a holler, and we'll holler back!
  3. Want to get our posts emailed to you when they're hot off the press? Sign up in that handy box on the right. Yep, the one that says, "Enter your email address."
  4. If you think Hot Dinner Happy Home is the you-know-what (BEST!), you're friends might think so, too. Tell 'em about us. We always like new friends. 
  5. Most importantly, remember that mashed potatoes make a gross noise when they plop onto the kitchen floor. Try to avoid that. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Easy Acorn Squash

Over the past couple weeks I've been pulling my fall clothes out of storage as the weather has gotten progressively chillier. There was a pang of sadness as I sealed the giant Tupperware storage bin containing my sundresses, but then I looked at the cold-weather glory before me: cozy sweaters, tweed jackets, corduroys that go "swish, swish, swish" when I walk. Ahh, fabulous fall.

And then came the time for me to try on these autumn ensembles. Apparently, a summer of frozen custard and hot dogs wasn't kind to my derriere. 

Needless to say, I'll be focusing on the baggy sweater portion of my fall wardrobe for the next few weeks (maybe months, please let it not be years) as I attempt to eat a bit more healthfully. Considering my idea of "dieting" is watching Richard Simmons Sweat to the Oldies as I eat a brownie or two, this could be interesting. 

And with that, here are some vegetables. Give me strength...

Easy Acorn Squash
Serves: 2

1 (2-3 pound) acorn squash
1 tablespoon brown sugar (to taste)
Salt and pepper 
A teeny, tiny pinch of sweet curry powder (optional)

Using a sharp knife, pierce the skin of the acorn squash in about 10 places to allow steam to escape. (Skipping this step will result in you scouring your microwave due to exploded squash guts all over the place.) Place the acorn squash on a plate to catch any juices that might leak out and then place it in your microwave. Microwave on high power for about 10 minutes, rotating the squash several times to ensure even cooking, until you can pierce the flesh easily with a knife. 

Carefully remove the squash to a cutting board and slice it in half. Let the squash rest for a few minutes until it's cool enough to handle. (This cooling part always takes longer than I think it will, and I end up burning my fingers because I'm in a hurry. Don't be like me.) Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and string from the squash and toss them into your compost pile. Then scoop the flesh into a bowl. Stir in brown sugar, salt and pepper, and, if you'd like, a very tiny pinch of curry powder until everything is well combined. 

Serve with butter on the side so your dinner companion doesn't have to suffer if his or her pants do fit. 

P.S. If you taste your acorn squash and think it needs a bit more sugar, try adding more salt first. I know it's not logical, but I've found the salt really pulls out the natural sweetness of the squash, and that usually does the trick. 

P.P.S. The fish pictured with the acorn squash in the first photo is Pan Seared Tilapia. It's awesome. You should make that, too.