Butternut squash keeps for a very long time. I bought at one of the last farmers markets back in November that I still hadn’t gotten around to cooking, and earlier this week I noticed that it was starting to get soft on top. A Twitter friend gave me the idea to cook it up in the slow cooker. It was one of those I-should-have-thought-of-that moments. Of course, I should use my slow cooker to make it easy to cook the squash, puree it, and freeze the puree to use at another time. That way the squash wouldn’t go to waste.

After peeling and cutting the butternut squash, I placed a 3 1/2 quart slow cooker. I used a silicone brush to lightly coat the walls of the crock with olive oil before I put the squash in there. I sprinkled a little Kosher salt on top, and turned the slower cooker on low. I cooked until the squash was soft, removed the squash, and mashed it with a potato masher.

Now I have 1 1/2 cups of pureed butternut squash in my freezer and many ways to use it up. Of course, I can use it in butternut squash soup, but I love finding less obvious ways to use ingredients. It helps add variety to the dishes I serve. Here are 7 recipes that'll make the most of your butternut squash puree.

1. Butternut Squash and Parmesan Dip – This could be a side dish or a dip. I love the idea of using slightly sweet squash and salty Parmesan in a hot dip.

2. Spiced Butternut Squash Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting – The name of the recipes says it all. Yum.

3. Squash Pie – Instead of pumpkin, try butternut squash in a pie.

4. Butternut Squash Croquettes – I would have never thought to make the pureed squash into croquettes, but it could be worth a shot.

5. Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage Brown Butter – I have had butternut squash gnocchi in a sage brown butter before, and I imagine that this will be just as spectacular a combination.

6. Wild Harvest Quinoa Oatmeal – Pureed squash gets mixed into this quinoa breakfast dish along with pecans and dried cranberries. Seems like a real powerful way to start the day.

7. Butternut Squash Baked Vegetarian Taquitos – This sounds like a fabulously creative way to use the squash.

Now I wish I had more pureed squash because I want to make several of these recipes. I know I can buy more at the store. I have a feeling I will be.

How do you creatively use butternut squash puree in a recipe?

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