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I like to use dried cranberries in a side of roasted vegetables. In this incredibly simple recipe, I roast carrots and butternut squash, then toss them with slivered almonds and dried cranberries. The result is nutty, crunchy, roasted, sweet and savory. A wonderful mouthful.

Of course, as with all of my recipes, flexibility rules. Feel free to substitute whichever winter squash or root vegetables you prefer for the butternut and carrots. Likewise, my seasoning choices are tasty, but use whatever flavors you favor.

Also, this recipe is forgiving on cooking time and temperature. If it varies much from the 375 degrees called for below, just keep an eye on it. The vegetables should be nicely browned, lightly crisp and tender at the center.

> ROASTED SQUASH WITH ALMONDS AND CRANBERRIES

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks

2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1/4 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cumin

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1/3 cup almond slivers

1/2 cup dried cranberries (sweetened is fine)

Zest of 1 lemon

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

On the baking sheet, combine the squash and carrots. Drizzle the oil over the vegetables, then use your hands to mix until evenly coated. Sprinkle the thyme, garlic powder and cumin over the squash and carrots, then mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender inside and lightly browned and crisp outside. Add the almonds and cranberries, toss well, then transfer to a serving bowl. Top with lemon zest, then taste and adjust seasoning.

Serves 8.

Per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 210 calories; 90 calories from fat (38 percent of total calories); 9g fat (1g saturated; no trans fats); no cholesterol; 32g carbohydrate; 3g protein; 7g fiber; 320mg sodium.

Associated Press Food Editor J.M. Hirsch is author of the cookbook "High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking." Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JM--Hirsch or email jhirsch@ap.org.