Winter squash

It's high time for winter squash, and there's a cornucopia of eye-catching varieties to choose from. (Andre J. Jackson/Detroit Free Press/MCT)

In a 3- to 4-quart slow cooker, mix onion and remaining ingredients except cream cheese.

Cover; cook mixture on low-heat setting for 6 to 8 hours.

In blender or food processor, place one-third to one-half of mixture. Cover; blend on high speed until smooth. Repeat with remaining squash mixture. Return mixture to slow cooker. Stir in cream cheese. Cover; cook on low heat about 30 minutes or until cheese is melted. Stir with wire whisk until smooth.

Cook's note: You may stir in a 1-pound bag of frozen mixed vegetables (thawed and drained) with the cream cheese.


Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

Nutrition information:
230 calories (66 percent from fat ), 17 grams fat (11 grams sat. fat ), 15 grams carbohydrates , 5 grams protein , 910 mg sodium , 50 mg cholesterol , 2 grams fiber.

Sausage stuffed sweet dumpling squash

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Serves: 4 (generously)

-- The bread cubes are optional, but using them gives more of a traditional stuffing consistency.

2 sweet dumpling, acorn or favorite small squash
1 pound bulk pork sausage, sweet or hot
1 medium onion, peeled, chopped
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 cups bread cubes, optional
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries