Saturday, November 12, 2011

Holiday-worthy recipe: Butternut squash and bread stuffing

This has been a popular recipe the past two Thanksgivings, so I'm posting it again. You can buy already cut-up chunks of butternut squash at stores such as Trader Joe's or Kroger's (in bags in the produce department), which makes it so much easier to use. This stuffing recipe is super-healthy, thanks to the beta-carotein and fiber in the squash; the high-fiber whole wheat bread; protein from the eggs; the diced vegetable base; and the raisins and nuts. (If you have nut-sensitive people to feed, of course you can omit those.)
What might surprise you a bit however is how doggone good this stuffing tastes. It will be a real winner at your table, guaranteed!
Another bonus: you can make this recipe in advance; just refrigerate unbaked and pop it into the oven on turkey day.

Butternut Squash, Fruit and Nut Dressing
(Serves 6-8)

2 1/2 cups butternut squash cut into one to 1 ½- inch cubes Note: many supermarkets carry peeled and seeded butternut squash, refrigerated, in the produce section
5 cups whole-grain bread cubes (from 4 large slices of bread). Note: Bread should either be toasted before you cut into cubes or left out overnight so that it’s “stale.” If you have actual stale whole-grain bread, use that.
2 T canola oil
½ cup chopped celery and/or carrots
½ cup diced onion, leeks or shallots
2 eggs, lightly beaten, or equivalent amount of egg whites or egg substitute
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
½ teaspoon dried thyme or 1 T fresh thyme
½ cup golden raisins, dried cranberries or a mix of both
½ cup chopped walnuts
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Place the squash in a steamer insert inside a 2-quart saucepan. Add ½ cup water, sprinkle with salt, cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and cook until squash is still al dente, about 3-4 minutes depending on thickness of the cubes. Remove from heat and rinse squash under cold running water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add vegetables (celery, onions, etc.) to pan and sauté, stirring, until veggies are soft, about 3-4 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes.
3. Combine remaining ingredients (eggs through salt and pepper) with cooled veggies in a large mixing bowl. Add bread and squash; stir well.
4. Turn into an oiled baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 60 minutes in a preheated, 350- degree oven. NOTE: you can refrigerate the stuffing in the baking dish, uncooked, for up to one day in advance.
5. Let cool slightly before serving.

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