Kabocha Squash Casserole

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Sweet potato casserole is a classic Thanksgiving dish and one of my favorites. I grew up with always having sweet potato casserole at Thanksgiving – we made it with marshmallows on top, and honestly that was the best part. My husband loves it even more than I do – his aunt always makes it, and she even makes an extra batch just for him to take home as leftovers because he loves it so much.

So of course when I was thinking about what to do for some Thanksgiving inspired dishes this year, some sort of casserole HAD to happen. I also had a Kabocha squash sitting on the counter staring at me and I thought…could I? SHOULD I?? Why not?

I opted to do a streusel topping instead of marshmallows as requested by the hubs, and I decided to swap the traditional pecans for hazelnuts since they are much more complimentary to the flavor of kabocha squash.

And you guys – it’s custard-y, it’s smooth, and it’s sweet, but not too sweet. My husband looked at me and said “it actually might be better than sweet potato??” All night he kept saying “I can’t believe that is squash!”

So it’s a winner, folks – and I’ve scaled it down for you, so this recipe makes the perfect amount for your small Thanksgiving gathering this year.

Enjoy!

ONE THING TO NOTE – Kabocha squash are hard to cut. When you are prepping the squash to roast for the filling, use a bread knife to break through the rind, and cut the squash in half. Also, an ice cream scoop is my favorite tool to use for scooping out the insides and seeds!

Have you made these? Let me know what you think or any questions you have in the comments below!


RECIPE (Serves 4-6)

INGREDIENTS:

For the filling:

  • 1 Kabocha squash
  • 1 tbsp. avocado oil, divided
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Butter

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • brown sugar
  • melted butter
  • flour

DIRECTIONS:

Heat your oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with foil. Prep your Kabocha squash by cutting it in half, scooping out the insides, and coating each side with half of the avocado oil and a pinch of salt. Place on your baking sheet, and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, until the flesh is very fork tender. Once roasted, remove the squash from the oven and let cool. Then scrape out the flesh with a spoon or a fork, essentially removing the squash rind. Turn your oven down to 350.

Place the squash in a pot along with the butter, sugar, milk, and egg and heat over medium-low heat until your butter melts and the ingredients are mostly mixed together. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture together until smooth, then remove the mixture from heat. Alternatively, if you want to skip the stove top, pre-melt your butter then pour the ingredients in a blender or food processor to blend.

After the filling is blended, pour into a baking dish (I like to use a 3×9 dish) and spread evenly.

To make the topping, combine your hazelnuts, flour, and brown sugar in a small bowl until crumbly and mixed evenly. Then, melt your butter and pour it into the dish, mixing evenly to make a wet mixture. Pour the mixture over the filling and spread evenly to top.

Once ready, put your casserole in the oven on the bottom rack (so the topping doesn’t burn) at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. You should see the sides start to brown and crisp, but the topping should not burn. If this happens, cover the casserole with foil.

Remove from the oven, let cool, and ENJOY!

P.S. if you have leftovers of this, make sure you re-heat in the microwave before eating…it’s not great cold 🙂


Ghee Roasted Cauliflower

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I can’t stop eating this cauliflower. So easy, and so oddly addicting. Like, who am I that I am actually sneaking some out of the fridge every hour? I decided to use ghee to coat when roasting, which gave me some strong movie popcorn vibes, and I do not regret it one bit.

While you could make this for dinner, I like to make this whenever I get a head of cauliflower in my weekly produce box, and eat out of it for snacks or when I get a craving throughout the day. It’s so satisfying that you won’t even think about the fact that you are snacking on cauliflower AND ENJOYING IT!

So give this one a try. I promise you won’t regret it.

One thing to note — you want to let your cauliflower get a little char, or burnt looking. I promise it will not taste like that, but that is how you know it will be so tender and yummy!

Have you made these? Let me know what you think or any questions you have in the comments below!


RECIPE (Serves 2-4)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. ghee
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking pan with parchment paper. Mix all of your ingredients in a large bowl, ensuring that the ghee coats the cauliflower evenly. Pour the cauliflower mixture on your baking pan and spread out evenly, and then roast for about 20 minutes, or until they are at the desired level of tenderness. Enjoy!


Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

Serve this as a side, or make it a meal of it’s own!

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Easy, breezy, beautiful…bacon asparagus wraps! 😜 I’ve been getting @imperfectfoods boxes, which I’ve been loving (fun fact: I used to work for a food bank, so I have a soft spot for accessible food and reducing food waste!), and this week my box came with asparagus and bacon. I don’t think I need to say any more about what I decided to do with it – the picture does it justice.⁠

These couldn’t be easier to make, and the majority of the time it takes is just cook time. You can even make these ahead of time and just pop back into the oven at 200 degrees for about 10 minutes to warm up. Like I said, easy breezy! ⁠

I’ll serve these as a side with some venison steaks, or I’ll add a fried egg (and maybe some everything bagel seasoning) and enjoy for breakfast or lunch. ⁠

Have you made these? Let me know what you think or any questions you have in the comments below!


RECIPE (Serves 4)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large bunch of asparagus⁠
  • 6 pieces of bacon (adjust for how many bunches you’re making)⁠
  • Olive oil (preferably the spray kind)⁠
  • Salt & pepper to taste⁠

DIRECTIONS:

Heat your oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet pan (I like to use parchment paper or a slipat). Trim the ends of the asparagus, and divide them into bunches of about 5 stalks each. Wrap each bunch in a piece of bacon, and place on your sheet pan. Once all of the bunches are on the sheet pan, spray to coat with olive oil, and sprinkle your desired amount of salt and pepper on top. Roast for about 20 mins, or until the bacon is done to your liking. Enjoy!


Trader Joe’s Bruschetta Dip

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Have you heard of @traderjoes bruschetta lentil dip? It’s just their bruschetta sauce and cooked lentils mixed together, and it is SO GOOD. I bought the ingredients the other day, but felt like I needed a little *more* this time around, so I dressed it up a bit with a few extra ingredients, which was a bad move on my part because I’m going to have to dress it up every time I make it from now on 😉⁠

This makes a lot – you’ll be set for the whole week, but you can use it in so many ways. I love it with some crackers as a dip or on top of some toast for an afternoon snack. ⁠

Have you made these? Let me know what you think or any questions you have in the comments below!


RECIPE (Serves 4-6)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 container @traderjoes Bruschetta Sauce⁠
  • 1lb. cooked black (or beluga) lentils⁠
  • 1/2 small white onion, chopped⁠
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder⁠
  • 3 tbsp. parsley, chopped (I prefer fresh, but dried works too!)⁠

DIRECTIONS:

Mix all of your ingredients, and enjoy!