Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chicken Night!

On November 1st, my tiny mini was having calendar time at preschool.  Her teacher asked the class, "It's November, does anyone know what holiday is in November?"  To which my tiny mini shouted, "Chicken Night!"

Or Turkey Day.  Close enough.

In the past, I have made a complete Thanksgiving dinner following the Pioneer Woman's recipes.  Her turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing recipes are to.die.for.  Seriously, if I were dying and could request you to make me one last meal, that would be it.  Of course, if you didn't have an entire day to cook that one last meal for me, I would settle for Cheez-Its, twizzlers, and a McDonald's Diet Coke.

This year my mom invited the McGhee family over for Thanksgiving.  And, while I would love to share all of her recipes with you, I can't.  Because my mom is one of those cooks that doesn't follow recipes, rather she just adds a little of "this" and a little of "that" along with a few sticks of butter and it tastes amazing.  

So the only Thanksgiving recipe I have to share with you today is a vegetable dish I have been making for years at Thanksgiving.  I only make this dish once a year, because it's one of those dishes that is really dessert disguised as a vegetable.  

Now, I saw that the week before Thanksgiving there was a "best-squash-ever" recipe floating around on pinterest.  Well, this is what I have to say about that.  I am over pinterest's "best _____ ever" recipes.  I have now tried at least 10 of them and have sadly discovered that they are all average, at best.  So, don't trust what you see on pinterest.  But, you can trust Heids McGhee.  If you're looking for a side dish that resembles a vegetable, but tastes like a dessert, here you go....

Squash casserole (I apologize to the source of this recipe. I have this saved on my computer from 7 years ago and can't track down where I got the recipe....I publicly admit that this deliciousness is not my own work).
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted         
  • 1/2 (16 ounce) package vanilla wafers, crushed
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
2.  Put butternut squash in the microwave and cook on high, until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Cut in half, scoop out seeds and cube. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add squash and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash.
3.  In a 9x13 inch casserole dish combine 3 cups mashed butternut squash, white sugar, milk, vanilla extract, salt, flour, eggs and 1/4 cup melted margarine.
4.  Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until set.
5.  In a medium bowl combine crushed vanilla wafers, 1/2 cup melted margarine and brown sugar. Crumble over top of cooked casserole and return to oven to brown.

I feel at this point, there are a few things I need to address.  #1.  Yes, that is processed Nilla Wafers.  #2.  Yes, that is a heck of a lot of butter.  #3.  Yes, that is a heck of a lot of sugar.

In my defense, I warned you...this is more dessert than veggie.  And guess what?  Eating veggies that taste like dessert make people happy.  And isn't that what Thanksgiving is all about?  Isn't that how those suffering pilgrims were hoping we would celebrate their pilgrimage?

Here's your squash, softened and ready to be cut into cubes.  

 Boil the squash until tender.

Mix your ingredients.

Scrape out the squash....

....and mash.

Add your other ingredients to the squash.

Pour into a dish and bake.  

While squash is baking, run around like a chicken with your head cut off getting minis showered and into their coordinating outfits.  Mop the bathroom floor, since the middle mini forgot to close the curtain while showering.  Change tiny mini's outfit after she wipes pink toothpaste all over it.  Then, realize boy minis need to be changed too, in order to keep them all coordinating.  Question Mr. McGhee's time management skills (really?  an hour to pack some beer in the cooler?)  Pause to watch Macy's Day parade.  

At this point, your squash should be firm and done baking.  Prepare your topping and add to the squash.  Return to the oven for a few minutes.  I did all of this, I promise.  Somehow I managed to forget to take pictures of the finished squash.  I also have zero pictures of my minis from Thanksgiving day, which is actually a good thing because if I did, then you would realize I was lying about the coordinating outfits.  

Happy eating!