Butternut Squash Pie

Butternut Squash Pie

This pie would be a nice addition to a Thanksgiving table. I like butternut squash better than pumpkin, so I think this pie is a perfect alternative to pumpkin pie. I’m not totally against using store-bought pie shells. Reading the ingredients list of pre-made pie shells is pretty scary, though. I try to find ones that do not contain lard and have limited  or no added preservatives and chemicals. Wholly Wholesome makes organic pie shells that fit the bill. Of course, you can make your own so you know exactly what goes into it.

I slightly adapted the Butternut Squash Pie recipe found here.

Butternut Squash Pie

1 unbaked and chilled 9-inch pie shell (I buy frozen pie shells that do not contain lard)
1 1/2 cups pureed butternut squash (about 1 large butternut squash)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
3 large eggs
3/4 cup evaporated milk or half-and-half
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

To cook squash: Cut the squash in half lengthwise; remove stem and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash, cut side down, on a foil-lined oiled baking pan; add about 1/2 cup of water to the pan. Cover loosely with foil and bake at 400° for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the squash is tender and can be easily pierced with a fork. Let cool completely then peel and mash or puree the squash or put it through a food mill. Measure 1 1/2 cups of the squash and set aside.

Roasting Butternut Squash

Reduce oven to 350° F and position an oven rack in the center of the oven. In a mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat the squash with the brown sugar. Add eggs, evaporated milk, spices salt, flour, butter, and vanilla. Beat until well blended. Pour the filling into the chilled pie and place on the center oven rack. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until set. Check after about 35 minutes and loosely set a ring of foil or a pie crust protector over the browned crust so it won’t get too dark. When the filling is set, transfer the pie to a rack to cool. Serve just warm or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped topping or whipped cream.

Artichoke Mashed Potatoes

It’s ridiculous how good these are.  Two of my favorite vegetables in one dish.  In the picture, this dish doesn’t look all that exciting, but it tastes wonderful.  Definitely an easy way to dress up ordinary mashed potatoes.  I did things a little different than the recipe states….I blended the artichoke hearts with a little milk in the cup attachment of my Braun hand mixer and then folded the artichoke puree into the potatoes that I had already mashed (with butter and more milk) with a hand held potato masher. If you like your potatoes a little creamier, use a hand mixer to whip the potatoes.

Artichoke Mashed Potatoes 

6 large Idaho Potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 can artichoke hearts (non-marinated), drained
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk
salt & pepper to taste

Boil potatoes for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Drain.

In a large mixing bowl, pureé artichoke hearts with half the butter and milk, using a hand blender or mixer. Add potatoes and remaining butter and milk and mix until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe source:  The Idaho Potato Commission

Green Bean Casserole

I love green bean casserole. I don’t make it often, but when I do, I usually make the nostalgic version using canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and fried onions. I was perfectly happy with it.  I had never made green bean casserole from scratch until recently, when I had green beans, mushrooms, and half and half in the fridge that needed to be used. Wow! I didn’t go the extra step and make the fried onions to go in/on the casserole, but nonetheless, it was amazing!  I’m adding it to our Thanksgiving menu this year.

Green Bean Casserole

1 pound fresh green beans, washed, ends trimmed, and cut in half
1 8 ounce package mushrooms, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup half and half (more may be needed to reach desired consistency)
salt and pepper, to taste

1 large onion, very thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
To prepare onion topping (optional):  Toss the onions in the flour and shake off excess flour. Fry onions in hot ail in small batches until golden brown.  Remove from oil and let drain on paper towels.

To prepare green beans:  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook for 5 to 10 minutes (or until they reach desired doneness – remember, they will continue to cook in the oven). Drain green beans in a colander and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter.  Once melted, sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir. Cook for about 1 minute, not letting the flour burn. Decrease the heat to medium-low and whisk in the half-and-half. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring often. You may add more half and half to thin the sauce if it gets too thick.

Add the reserved green beans to the sauce. You may also add some of the fried onions (if using) to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Pour mixture into a small casserole dish. Top with the remaining onions (if using). Place into the oven and bake until bubbly, approximately 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Alternatively, breadcrumbs can be used to top the casserole instead of fried onions.