A "Sunny" Side Dish: Roasted Winter Squash Toss

I'm not exactly known as a 'gym rat' but I do like to work out a few times a week. I don't do anything too strenuous, just 40-50 minutes on the elliptical followed by some light weight exercises.   Now, when the weather is nice, I can easily be convinced to go long hikes or walks in the park. I find it stimulating, invigorating and I love being outdoors. I never get bored walking outside and am always going on new hikes thanks to 50 Hikes of the Lower Hudson Valley.  But boy can I get bored in the gym.  So how do I keep my legs working without going bonkers?  I watch the Food Network (of course!) and that makes the time fly by.  With the help of my culinary friends on the tube (Ina, Giada, Tyler or Sunny-- depending on what time I go), 45 minutes to an hour just whizzes by.
Anyway, that long story about my physical exercise routine probably could have been boiled down this: I saw Sunny Anderson make this dish that highlights winter produce the other day, while I was at the gym.  She used winter squashes, butternut and acorn, and made a rub using olive oil, cumin, garlic, chili flakes, sugar and cinnamon.  The addition of toasted almonds provides a nice and contrasting texture.  Then Sunny dressed the squash with orange zest and juice.   

This is a very simple way to prepare squash and it has a nice flavor.  It's the perfect side dish for a winter meal!  Oh, and with a prep time of under 10 minutes, you really can't go wrong...

Roasted Winter Squash Toss (Courtesy of Sunny Anderson)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons red chili flakes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (2 pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 (1 1/2 pound) acorn squash, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup almond slivers
1/2 orange, zested and juiced (about 1/3 cup juice and 1 tablespoon zest). The zest cuts down on the sharpness of the chili flakes...just a bit.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together garlic, olive oil, sugar, cumin, chili flakes and cinnamon. Add squash cubes and toss well to evenly coat. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Place on two sheet pans and bake until nicely caramelized and soft when poked with a fork, stirring squash halfway through baking, about 25 to 30 minutes. While baking, place almonds in a dry skillet over medium-high heat and toast, stirring often, until lightly golden, about 4 minutes. Transfer squash and almonds to a serving bowl, toss with orange juice and zest, and serve.