Re-posted from Juggling With Julia
Butternut squash. Chicken sausage. Spinach. Cheddar. A quartet of ingredients destined for greatness. As I've mentioned before, I am very fond of meals where everything I want is all in one dish. All I need to do is add a slice of whole grain bread, and I've got a simple, healthy, and satisfying meal. So, I was very excited to make Meg's recipe combining these three ingredients. It looked so tasty, and I just knew I would love the combo of flavors.
I only paused a moment, knowing there would be some sounds of dissent from the kids -- I just can't sell them on butternut squash (yet). In the end I thought, "Tough crunkies!" [a favorite saying of my fifth grade teacher, Mr. Towse]. Sometimes you have to press on even when your typically-adoring fans are booing you off the stage.
This dish was even better than I imagined. The mellow sweet flavor of the butternut combined with the savory cheese and sausage was so delicious! My mum and I both loved it, and I even won over the hubby, who claims to like neither squash nor spinach.
As expected, the kids weren't really open to trying it. Butternut squash is, in their eyes, Public Enemy #1. I actually made two versions of this dish to placate them a bit -- the second one using sweet potatoes and green beans in place of squash and spinach. It worked out okay. They picked through it and ate the sausage and some of the veggies and filled up on bread and milk. They left the table satisfied and there were no tears. That is huge considering the potential for a mutiny I had created. Onto Public Enemy #2 -- cauliflower!
Butternut Squash and Sausage Bake
adapted from Meg's Food Reality*
*Note: Meg's original version is gluten-free. This recipe version is not. Also, despite the fact that I halved the recipe for my own purposes, this is for a full 9x13 recipe.
3 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into thin slices (about 6 cups)
1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions, peeled and chopped (about 3 cups)
1 cup low-fat buttermilk OR 1 cup of low-fat milk with 1 tsp of apple vinegar
2 medium eggs, beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
2 cups coarsely grated cheddar cheese (I used Cabot 50% light cheddar)
1 package of chicken sausage, cut into small slices (I used Alfresco garlic and herb chicken sausage)
2 cups of frozen spinach or 2 cups fresh torn spinach
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
1) Cook squash in boiling water for 6 minutes. Drain it and set aside.
2) Place 1 tbsp of olive oil into a pan set on medium to low heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Then, add the chicken sausage and spinach. Cook on medium heat for 3 minutes.
3) Place in a bowl the warm squash, sausage mixture, buttermilk, eggs, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and 1 1/2 cups cheese. Mix with a spatula until the ingredients are well combined.
4) Spread the mixture evenly in the baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
5) Bake 15 minutes more. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
Alternate Version: If interested in sweet potato version, simply swap equal amounts of sweet potato and string beans for the squash and spinach, prepared in the same way.