Butternut squash is a beauty that tastes similar to a sweet potato. It weights between 2 to 5 pounds and 1 pound more or less yields about 2 cups per pound pending cooking. The riper this fruit more intense orange color, drier, and sweeter nutty flavor. The reason used in soups butternut is tad stringy much like pumpkin. In fact the nickname outside the U.S. is New Zealand pumpkin. Here are frugal alternatives during Thanksgiving or Christmas served as a side and extend the bounty of your holidays cooking without spending quite a fortune. And options an ex-caterer advises to make butternut squash your specialty at home.
Basic Roasted Butternut Squash (savory vegan side)
2 large butternut squash (Peeled and cut into 1-inch chunk, about 6 cups)
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of dry Herb Blend (1 tablespoon each garlic, rosemary & thyme)
Salt & Pepper for taste
Toss ingredients together in a bowl. Line a 1-inch deep baking tray with parchment paper. Spread mixture evenly on tray and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour or till fork tender. Serving portions size as a side 1/2 cup.
Reserve the remaining roasted butternut squash divide in half about 2 cups each half and freeze for up to 2 to 6 months for later. Just thaw the morning before in the fridge before using in any of the following recipes. The other option you can prepare two casseroles in disposable aluminum pans and freeze for up to 2 weeks just thaw in fridge the night before and bake next evening. Hint: you can roast ahead and place in microwave safe bowl to heat and serve later. You can roast with olive oil only and season to taste later this gives the option to have a base that can be used in other recipes such as a replacement for pumpkin in muffins.
Turkey & Butternut Casserole (Savory)
2 cups cooked butternut squash
1 small box (7oz.) of chicken or turkey stuffing mix
2 cups of turkey, chopped
1 bag, (10oz) frozen California mixed vegetables
1 can cream of chicken soup mix (diluted with broth)
1 can chicken broth
Pepper to taste
Beat egg and blend celery soup mix, add mixed vegetable, squash, squash and stuffing mix blend well. Spoon into a casserole dish and cover with foil at this point you have two options: freeze or bake covered at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Hint: This is a base recipe see Ham & Butternut Casserole recipe.
Wash your butternut squash, pierce with a knife and microwave for 3-minutes. The microwave squash makes it easier to manipulate this tough fruit for cutting, removing seeds and peeling with a good vegetable peeler. Just cut lengthwise with a sharp kitchen knife, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, peel skin and cut into chunks. It can also be grilled so instead just cut into larger pieces.
Other Savory Recipe Options:
1) Don’t like the soups listed well change them use something you would like cheddar, potato & etc.
2 The herb blend there is prepared blends and other herb combination you can make.
3) If you love cheese add shredded cheese and feel free to add flavor to the Turkey version with crumbled leftover bacon.
4) Don’t have chicken broth save money water will do and reduce your sodium content.
5) No condensed soups or stuffing mix use turkey grave & leftover stuffing reduce chicken broth to 1/4 cup and bake.
6) Not a fan of the frozen mixed vegetables, choose what you like or have as leftovers: peas, green beans and etc.
Go Sweet Recipe Options:
1) Don’t like the savory roasted version (especially, kids) go sweet replace the vinegar with apple cider or orange juice, for herb blend use cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Omit salt & pepper for 3 tablespoons of sugar or drizzle with honey before roasting.
2) Now you can’t use the leftover sweet roast for the savory casserole recipes but you can use it for sweet potato style casserole bakes or just mash and use as pumpkin for baking.
3) Another option is puree and more apple cider, dash of cayenne for a classic sweet n hot soup.