Butternut squash, a tasty staple of low-calorie eating

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 Roasted Sweet and Spicy Butternut Squash.

Roasted Sweet and Spicy Butternut Squash. (Lisa McRee, Tribune Media Services / March 20, 2013)

By Lisa McRee for Oneforthetable.com

A true workhorse of a vegetable, butternut squash is always on my shopping list and in my inventory when it's available.

Sometimes I tuck it into a curry or a soup, sometimes I puree it, but most of the time I simply roast it with cayenne, cinnamon and salt, and then drizzle it with sugar-free maple syrup (which has just 20 calories per serving instead of 200!)

It's not only a delicious side dish with dinner; it's also a satisfying snack to take on the run, and a great way to top a spinach, walnut and cranberry salad the next day. Believe it or not, I even have it for breakfast sometimes because its cinnamony and syrupy warmth reminds me of hot cinnamon rolls!

By all means, play with the recipe. Butternut squash also loves sage. Just season squash with salt and pepper and add a handful of fresh chopped sage in the last few minutes of the cooking time. Or try fresh chopped rosemary or thyme.

Best of all, this is one of those dishes you can cook in the oven at one time and save for other uses.

Roasted Sweet and Spicy Butternut Squash

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch thick half moon slices

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup Mrs. Butterworth's Sugar Free Maple Syrup

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Spray a lined baking sheet with canola or olive oil.

Toss squash and spices together on the pan and then give it all another good spray of oil.

Roast for 30-35 minutes. You want to the edges to brown and caramelize, but pull it from the oven before it gets mushy.

Drizzle with syrup and serve.

(Lisa McRee was a network anchor who developed a way of cooking that has helped her keep extra weight off for good called The Skinny. Her blog is http://www.theskinny.us.com. One for the Table is Amy Ephron's online magazine that specializes in food, politics, and love. http://www.oneforthetable.com)

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