Did I mention that these Kitchen Play contests are pretty simple? You just pick one of the recipes, make it as-is or change it up, whatever you prefer. Then blog about it and post a link to your blog post on Kitchen Play. Unlike some contests, you don't lose the rights to your recipe. And, gee, you just post on your own blog, so if you're stuck for inspiration on what to post, these can help you brainstorm a bit.
Oh yeah. And there are prizes. Those are nice, too.
I decided to riff off a recipe for Spicy Pumpkin Soup Shooters. My first riff was that I didn't make a soup. Second, instead of pumpkin, I used fresh winter squash. After all, pumpkin is a variety of squash, and to be honest it's easier to find good winter squash than it is to find a decent baking pumpkin. After I was done riffing, I used some (but not all) of the same spices as were in the original soup.
I chose a delicata squash because it's small. One squash makes two small servings. Just enough for a side dish with dinner, without feeling like you've over-squashed yourself.
This recipe is fast, since the squash is cooked through first in the microwave and then baked with the spices and a bit of butter to brown it a bit. You could bake it all the way in the oven, if you've got the time. Or, if you've got no time at all, skip the oven and nuke it again after adding the butter and spices.
Simple Seasoned Squash
1 delicata squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
2 teaspoons butter
Seasonings, to taste: coriander powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika, salt, pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Place the squash, cut side down, on a microwavable plate or baking dish. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the plate. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high until the squash are cooked through - about 10 minutes.
If the plate/dish you used for microwaving is also oven safe, you can use the same dish. Otherwise, use a small baking sheet or pan. Place the squash cut-side up and put 1 teaspoon of butter into each squash half, spreading it over the surface. Sprinkle the squash with the seasonings, and place in the oven. (If you're using a Pyrex dish, you should have a little water in the bottom of the dish - it's not recommended to bake with them completely dry.) Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the squash browns a little.
You can microwave and season the squash in advance and refrigerate them until you're ready to bake. They'll take longer to bake - figure about 15-20 minutes for them to warm through and get a little brown.