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)

Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons maple syrup, optional
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Split squash through the stem and remove seeds and fibers. Place the squash halves, cut side down, in roasting pan. Add 1/2 inch of water and bake about 30 minutes or until squash is tender.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown the pork sausage and drain off about half the fat. Add the onion and mushrooms and saute until soft. Add the bread cubes, if using, and cranberries. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

When the squash are done, divide filling among the four. If you have extra filling, you can put it in a side dish. Drizzle the maple syrup on top of each squash and dot with butter if desired. Return the stuffed squash to the oven and bake another 10 minutes, uncovered, to crisp the top.

Adapted from Free Press archives and tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

Nutrition information:
370 calories (39 percent from fat ), 16 grams fat (5 grams sat. fat ), 49 grams carbohydrates , 14 grams protein , 363 mg sodium , 35 mg cholesterol , 6 grams fiber.

Spiced ambercup squash with glazed walnuts

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Serves: 6 (generously)

-- Microwave the whole squash about 5 minutes to make it easier to peel and cut.

1 ambercup squash or favorite squash, about 2 1/2 pounds
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
Sea salt to taste