Friday, November 1, 2013

Getting Squashed

It is November 1. That is crazy, people! It is time to get your thankful on plus haul out secret family recipes and begin planning for your traditional Thanksgiving feast.

Or, if you are like me, you will want to strike a balance between the tried and true recipes and new-to-you recipes. Recipes for pies and jello and potatoes and stuffing and....


Who likes squash? For most of my growing up years, my mom would buy one of those squares of squash from the freezer section, and she and my brother would share it. The rest of us couldn't stand it.

But, then in my 18th year, we moved to the countryside, and my dad had the grand idea to plant a whole lot of squash. It is probably no exaggeration to say that we ended up with a ton of squash. Obviously more mouths than just mom's and brother's were needed to consume that amount.

We all had to acquire a taste for butternut squash and fast.

I now have 5 go-to squash recipes. Recipes that vary in consistency and spectrum. Three are sweet, and two are savory. Three require mashed squash, two use squash slices. Whether you are into subtle or blatant squash-ness, there is something here for everyone.

Also, squash is very plentiful at grocery stores this time of year. It is firm and delicious. The older it gets, the sweeter the flesh becomes.

But, let start first with the basics...

How to Bake a Butternut Squash
-Half the squash lengthwise
-Remove seeds
-Lightly season with salt and pepper on cut face
-Stab through the skin with a fork 3-4 times per half
-Place face down on a baking sheet with sides
-Pour just enough water in pan to cover the bottom
-Bake at 350 degrees for 60-90 minutes, until fork tender
-Scoop pulp out of skins.
-Mash with a potato masher.


Then you can use this cooked squash for any of the next three recipes...

Either of these first two recipes are perfect for the traditional Thanksgiving Day meal. 

Almost Dessert Butternut Squash Bake
1/3 cup butter or 1/3 cup margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 (5 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups mashed cooked butternut squash

1/2 cup Rice Krispies
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons butter or 2 tablespoons margarine, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar (optional)

In a bowl, cream butter and sugar and add the 2 eggs, 5 oz evaporated milk, and vanilla. Add the 2 cups of squash. Pour into a 11 x 7 inch baking pan. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle on and bake another 5 minutes.

Twice Baked Butternut Squash
8-10 cups mashed butternut squash (2 medium or large squash, baked and mashed)
2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter
2 t paprika
1/3 cup fresh chopped chives
1/4 fresh bread crumbs, lightly toasted
4 strips of bacon, fried and crumbled (optional)

With a hand mixer, mix all ingredients together except the bread crumbs and bacon. Place in a greased 3 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with crumbs and bacon. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through.

Butternut Squash Sweet Bread makes for a tasty alternative to rolls or biscuits. It is great with Turkey dinner, or Black Friday breakfast.

Butternut Squash Bread
3-1/2 cups flour
2 t baking soda
1-1/2 t salt
2 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
2 cups mashed squash

Beat squash, eggs, water and oil. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a loaf comes out clean. Cool before removing from pans.

This recipe is easy to make but boasts of complex flavors. It is best with a baked chicken or pork chops.

Marinated Squash
2 medium or 1 large butternut squash
1/2 cup olive oil, separated
salt and pepper
1/4 red wine vinegar
1/2 medium red onion, sliced paper thin
1 clove garlic, sliced paper thin
1 T dried oregano
1/2 t red chili flakes
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Peel, half length-wise, seed, and slice the squash into 3/4" pieces. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until fork tender.

Immediately after placing the squash in the oven, combine the marinade ingredients-1/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, onion, garlic, chili flakes, and oregano. Let sit until the squash is finished baking. Pour evenly over the squash and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Top with the mint and serve.

This final squash recipe is comfort food. It works for Thanksgiving or Sunday dinner. 

Squash Apple Bake
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and sliced into 3/4" slices
1/3 cup orange juice or apple cider
3 T brown sugar
1 T butter, melted
3 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

Layer the squash and apples into a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with salt. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon. Combine the sugar, butter and juice and pour over all. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until tender.

Are you ready to get your squash on?