Deedles Dish in a Nutshell

I am a Midwestern girl from a long line of cooks who doesn't think cooking needs to be complicated. Enjoy the recipes!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

I was just talking to my mom the other day about how I don't remember many "traditional" Thanksgiving meals growing up.  Yes, we would usually have turkey at my Grandma Purdy's house.  Usually mashed potatoes and gravy.  Probably a green bean casserole.  But we didn't usually do yams and squash or even cranberry sauce.  We didn't have stuffing either, at least from what I remember.  Keep in mind that I was a picky eater for awhile there so it is very likely that those things actually WERE at the dinner, I just chose to ignore them.  Either way, I didn't get to those traditional things until I was older. 

I've warmed to squash over the last few years but it's still not a favorite of mine.  When I came across this recipe, I thought it was the perfect combination of something I LOVE and something I'm learning to love.  And also a perfect side at a Thanksgiving dinner with friends.

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese
1 small butternut squash (about 1 lb) peeled, seeded and cut into one inch cubes
1 lb elbow macaroni
1 small onion, diced
1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 cups skim milk
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp fresh sage, minced
2 cups grated gouda cheese (not smoked, they recommend aged Marieke)
1 cup grated two year old aged parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of Cayenne pepper
1/2 cup crumbled gingersnap cookies (about 8 cookies)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tbsp olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 450.  Toss the squash with olive oil, salt and pepper to season on a foil-lined baking sheet for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and easy to stick a fork into.  Set aside and turn oven down to 350. 

2. While the squash is cooking, put cookies and pecans in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is as chunky or thin as you like. 

3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add macaroni and cook until al dente according to package instructions.

4. While the pasta cooks, heat a large pan over medium heat.  Add the butter, chopped onion and sage.  Saute about 4-5 minutes until onions are translucent.  Add the flour and stir to combine.  Let the mixture cook for 1-2 more minutes.  Whisk in stock and milk and let come to a boil to thicken up.

5. Next, add the cheeses, mustard, nutmeg and cayenne.  Stir to combine.  Then, mix in the squash.  Use a whisk to mash up the squash a little.  It's up to you on if you want to leave some chunks in the sauce or not.  Salt and pepper to taste.

6. Drain the cooked pasta and return it to the pot.  Pour the sauce over the pasta and combine well.  Pour the mac n cheese into a buttered casserole dish.  Sprinkle the gingersnap cookie pecan crumble over the top and drizzle with a little olive oil.

7. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and continue until lightly browned on top, about 30 minutes more.

This is time consuming but, as I said earlier, perfect for a different spin on a Thanksgiving favorite.

Good eatin'


Overnight Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are pretty much a requirement at every family and holiday gathering.  I even make them outside of those special occasions because I love them so much! Since I didn't make it home with family this Thanksgiving, I spent the day with my three best friends.  We each brought some dishes and Lila made a 12 lb, yes 12 lb, turkey for the four of us.  There was a specific request for mashed potatoes by Angela and I had to oblige. 

Making a dish for a holiday party can be tough because of timing.  I was making a couple of other things as well and getting everything ready and hot at the same time can be really hard.  These overnight mashed potatoes are perfect because you make them the night before and just heat them up the next day.  Simple as that!

Overnight Mashed Potatoes
2 1/2 lb red or gold potatoes
6 tbsp butter, divided
4 oz chive cream cheese, divided
2 cup light cream

Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks.  Place in a large pan and cover with cold water and salt.  Bring to a boil and cook until it is easy to slide a fork into the biggest piece, approximately 30 minutes.  Drain the potatoes and place them in a large mixing bowl.  Add 2 tbsp butter and the cream cheese, salt and pepper to taste.  Beat until the potatoes are creamy and whipped, adding 2 more tbsp butter halfway through.  Once the mixture is beat completely, pour it into a greased baking dish and refrigerate.  When you're ready the following day, dot with butter and a dash of paprika.  Heat in the oven at 325 for 30 to 45 minutes. 

This is not going to win you any awards for a healthy mashed potato dish but it is sooooo good and your guests and family will love it.

Good eatin',


It's a Thanksgiving Miracle!!! (I made a pie)

Hello, hello everyone out there in food blog land! I have been taking a breather from the blogging due to my insanely busy schedule this fall.  I went back to Iowa for some sad events that I would rather not discuss, was back AGAIN for one of my best friend's wedding (love you Kerri), visited my brother in San Francisco for a great sibling weekend and then just returned from Jamaica for the wedding of yet another bestie...whew!!! Yes, it has been a crazy few months but I am so excited for the holiday season.

I enjoy so much about the holidays.  I even love when the weather changes and starts getting chilly.  I get to cuddle with my cute little kitty that way! What I especially love about the holidays is the food.  No shocker there, I think that is most people's favorite parts.  I love the classics that I get to make with my family every holiday season but I also really like trying new recipes as well.

Unfortunately, this was the first Thanksgiving I did not get to spend with family.  I didn't realize how tough it would be but, I guess after 28 years, the routine is set in.  Since I couldn't be home, I decided to dive head first into some new recipes that I wanted to try.

I've said a million times in this blog that I am no baker.  I make a few things here and there and pretty much stick to those, rarely stepping outside of my comfort zone.  Interestingly, some of my co-workers encouraged me to make this recipe.  Sometimes our meetings get pretty intense, so I try to bring treats to lighten the mood and put smiles on people's faces.  This pie was a delicious Thanksgiving treat for our meeting last Wednesday. 

It was not easy, just ask my mom since I called her probably 8 times throughout the night.  That's what I don't like about's hard to know how things are going to be until you're already through the long and arduous process.  While I had little faith in my baking abilities, apparently they are in there somewhere because this pie was delicious.  Enjoy at your next holiday gathering!

Spiced Pumpkin Custard Pie
3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
7 tbsp shortening (I used Crisco)
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp ice water
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 15 oz can solid pack pumpkin
1 12 oz evaporated milk
whipped cream, optional (but not optional in my opinion, haha)
additional ground cinnamon, optional

1. Place pecans in a food processor; cover and process until finely ground.  In a large bowl, combine the pecans, flour, ginger and salt.  Cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly.  Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball.  Press dough onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9 in. pie plate. 

2. For filling, in a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, spices and salt until smooth.  Beat in pumpkin.  Gradually beat in milk.  Pour into crust.

3. Bake at 400 for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cover edges with foil during the last 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning if necessary.  Cool on a wire rack.  Garnish with whipped cream and additional cinnamon if desired.  Refrigerate leftovers.

The reason I was so nervous about this is that the filling was very "liquidy" as I was mixing it with my mixer.  I had to cook it longer than the time specified above but it could be for a few reasons.  A: my oven is awful right now and I don't think it gets very hot...B: I live at a higher elevation, which may have played a part as well. 

Anyway, the pie was a huge hit.  The crust was really tastey and easy to make as well.  My co-workers were very pleased with this delicious fall treat!

Good eatin',