Today we're so thankful for our family and friends, a fun afternoon of good food and conversation, a bright, crackling fire warming our home, and so many other blessings, like squash.
My name is Rosalie, and I might have a squash problem.
Sweet dumpling. Carnival. Butterkin. Butternut. Gold nugget. So many wonderful shapes, colors and flavors!
Roasted, mashed, or broiled, in sweet or savory baked goods, I love winter squash. Each time that winter squash have gone down to $0.99/lb this fall/winter, I've brought more home. We have quite a bit of puréed cooked squash in the freezer now! So when it was time to figure out the Thanksgiving menu, I was an obvious person to volunteer to bring my mother's traditional butternut squash bake. My parents always host a good-sized gathering, so I tripled the recipe; I got started a little later than I'd planned, and since it was so much deeper than usual, it had just barely finished baking by the time we were ready to leave. But it did get done!
I had some help prepping the squash yesterday: Little Bear was very happy to turn the handle while I scooped cooked squash into the food mill. Did I forget to show this off? We found this beautiful like-new stainless steel food mill at the thrift store a couple of weeks ago, waffled a little over the exorbitant-for-a-thrift-store price of $10, brought it home anyway, and looked it up online to discover it retails for $120 new. Well! Certainly another thing to be thankful for; it works perfectly, and never have I mashed 7 cups of anything so quickly and smoothly.
Kit helped with getting it ready to go in the oven this morning by sitting up in my arms and grabbing at everything. Some day very soon, the little lady is going to succeed in getting some sort of real food into her mouth. She managed to stick her hand and the tip of her nose into Matt's mashed potatoes at dinner today, but nothing has made it into her mouth yet.
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup milk, plus a splash more
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups mashed butternut squash
Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream together butter and sugar. Mix in eggs, milk, vanilla and squash. Pour into an 11x7 pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, until brown around the edges and set in the middle. If you want to, sprinkle on the following topping and return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
1/2 cup crisp rice cereal
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 Tablespoons butter, melted (optional)
I never make the topping when I make this for us at home, but I know better than to mess with a Thanksgiving tradition; I did put the topping on today, and then got to feel smug about my 3 year old carefully eating all the squash and leaving behind the sugary topping! If you have reluctant squash-eaters, though, the sweet and crunchy topping might help encourage them to give it a try.