Thoughts By Natalie

friday dinner recap: butternut squash casserole

After skipping Friday dinner for several weeks due to having friends in town and going out of town, I sort of dreaded this week’s dinner. It felt like such a burden and a chore, and yet in my selfishness I realized that the whole purpose behind it is to serve Brian in a loving way. Then I felt a little guilty, and decided to change my attitude.

Since it had fairly minimal ingredients and prep (two requirements for me with cooking), and looked like it would have a big “wow” factor (another requirement), I decided to make the Butternut Squash and Macaroni Casserole I found on the Whole Foods Market recipe page. I paired it with the world’s most delicious broccoli—also known as the way Rebecca Patterson taught me how to make it last week!

Roasted Broccoli
Recipe courtesy of Rebecca Patterson

Broccoli florets
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (F). Line a baking sheet with foil and put the broccoli on it. Coat the broccoli entirely with olive oil, (if you’re a “drizzler” like me, you’ll need more than that—each piece should be covered), and season with salt and pepper. It should be generously salted, but have more pepper than salt. Place in the oven on the bottom rack and cook for 25 minutes, or until the broccoli looks “crispy” and blackened a bit.

Butternut Squash and Macaroni Casserole
Recipe from Whole Foods Market

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped sage
3/4 pound dried elbow macaroni
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9- x 13-inch casserole dish; set aside. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add squash, coconut milk, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until squash is tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in sage and simmer 1 minute more. (This part can be made ahead, up to 1 day in advance.) Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until tender but still firm, about 8 minutes. Rinse in cold water, drain well and transfer to a large bowl. Transfer squash mixture to bowl with macaroni. Add walnuts, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Transfer to prepared dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake until just golden brown and hot throughout, about 30 minutes.

NOTE: If you have a nut allergy, you can easily omit the walnuts without affecting the flavor at all.

What are you cooking this week?

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  • Ida
    October 15, 2012 at 3:20 am

    sounds yummie…thank you!…
    Ida…(Lauren Tien’s Mom)

    • Natalie Lynn Borton
      October 15, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      You’re welcome! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did :)

  • Diane
    October 15, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    I was at Cathy’s this past weekend and she made the most amazing avocado gelato – avocadoes, a can of coconut milk from Kroger, and sugar – frozen. Topped with a few chocolate chips – delicious!

    Your Friday night meal looked great! BTW – Happy Birthday!

    • Natalie Lynn Borton
      October 15, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      Yes, I can’t wait to try the recipes you two made!! Sounds so yummy. Thanks for the birthday wishes :)

  • Allie
    October 16, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    This sounds sooo delish, I’m going to try it! Thanks!

    • Natalie Lynn Borton
      October 16, 2012 at 10:01 pm

      You’re welcome. Let me know what you think!

  • Adrienne Y.
    October 29, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    I am making this tonight Natalie!!!