Anyway. A couple months ago I was asked to bring squash casserole to a gathering. It honestly sounded super gross to me. Why is it called squash? Isn't squash such an unappetizing word? And I'd never made any kind of squash before. I found a recipe that seemed easy on my favorite ol' standby recipe site, allrecipes.com. The squash casserole wound up getting rave reviews. Success! So I made it again this past weekend. This time I was bringing it to a dinner for about half our congregation at my inlaws' house. Yikes!! I'm always nervous bringing ANYTHING to my inlaws', since my mother in law is an amazing cook, and its always nerveracking serving something to a ton of people. So I was a bit mental on Saturday. But thankfully it turned out and everyone loved it, even bringing it up again at meeting the next day and requesting I bring two next time so everyone can have thirds! I decided to share the recipe here so you can try it too - its always nice to have well-loved, much-requested recipes in your collection, and I am not a smug "oh that is an old family secret" person who doesn't share yummy recipes. So, here you go.
This recipe is not healthy. It is not Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, or anything-else-you-can't-have-free. But it could easily be tweaked for whatever your dietary needs are. As is, its delicious, sweet, gooey, crunchy, and almost too good to have with dinner. It should be dessert.
You know something will be delicious if it requires these bad boys: flour, butter, and sugar!
Butternut Squash Casserole
(here is a link to the recipe - go there if you want a nice tidy printable. I thought about creating one myself, but the laundry is calling.)
1 butternut squash
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
9 oz. package vanilla wafers, crushed
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
Of course I had trouble right off the bat, both times I've made this recipe. The first time I halfed, peeled, and de-seeded the squash, diced it up, placed it in a large glass measuring cup, microwaved it til it was tender, then mashed it up. On Saturday I followed the directions on the squash's sticker, which said to slice in half, de-seed, bake in a dish with 1/4" water for a certain amount of time at a certain temperature. The squash was not nearly ready to cut and mash, so I then had to peel, cube, and microwave it like I did the first time. Lame. So, prep your squash however works for you!!
In a 9x13 baking dish, mix up the sugar, milk, eggs, flour, vanilla, and pinch of salt. This is where I like to have fun and make things look pretty. But milk and sugar don't make for a pretty photo, and when you have a 4 year old helper, things just don't go as perfectly as one would like, food-stylist-and-photography-wise.
Then add in the squash and combine everything really well. At this point I was quite frazzled and running late, so stopped taking photos. If you are eating this at home, now is the time to pop it in a 425-degree oven for about 45 minutes. If you are taking this dish to someone else's house, put a lid or plastic wrap on really, really tightly. I doubled the recipe, so my dish was filled to the very, very top, which meant it sloshed all over during our drive, and made a giant mess. (Sidenote: I received this awesome thing as a wedding present and it is absolutely great for transporting hot dishes, or dishes ready to be baked. But don't expect the lid to keep everything in, if you are filling the dish to the brim. Beecause it doesn't. My carrying case is currently in the wash. Better to wash the case, though, instead of the entire trunk.)
Oh, and at some point you'll need to mix up the topping. Smashing up the cookies is a really fun thing to have your kids help with:
Once the cookies are thoroughly smashed, mix in the brown sugar, and then drizzle in the melted butter and stir it all up really well. You could just eat this by itself, if you wanted to make yourself ill, that is. After the casserole has baked about 45 minutes and looks 'set,' take it out of the oven and crumble the topping on. Put back in the oven and bake another 15 minutes or so. You want the topping to be brown, crusty, and gooey (sounds appetizing, right?).
I am sorry I didn't get any photos of the casserole once it was finished, but we were at a hectic dinner party and I wasn't about to get my camera out and find a spot with good natural light and hold up a loooong line of hungry people. Just trust me that it is AMAZING and you will be the hit of the party when you bring this dish. People will be blissing out. You can thank me later! Although my mother in law is not thanking me. Apparently the bottom of her oven is covered in crusted butter which oozed over the side as the overflowing casserole baked. I told her now that I'm a grown-up I need large, JW-potluck-sized cookware, so maybe I'll score some for Family Day this year!
PS: Every time I hear "butternut squash," I think of a certain episode of Friends. If you have 2 minutes and 38 seconds to waste (which I'm guessing you do, if you are reading this), watch this little clip. Squatternut bosh!! Hilarious. Happy Monday!