Last week I traveled to Texas for my grandmother’s funeral. The few days I was there were filled with family, memories, and of course food. Neighbors and church friends dropped off BBQ and casseroles. We gathered as a family for lunches and dinners. Needs were provided for, and space was made to remember my grandmother amidst the business of planning the funeral. We sat around and talked about our best times at the house my grandfather built. We recalled our favorite and not so favorite meals. So many of my memories with my grandmother involved food in some way. Fishing in the lake by her house and then having catfish for dinner. Working in her garden. Playing games on the dining table. Watching her fry chicken, which everyone agreed was her best meal that none of us are able to recreate. It was such a bittersweet time with family, and I’m so glad I got to be there.
Food has such a power to connect us, across the table and across generations.
While I was there, I went through my grandmother’s old cookbooks and found a handwritten tome that included recipes by my great grandmothers, great aunts, both of my grandmothers, family friends, and magazine/newspaper clippings throughout the last 60 years. The first entry is dated June 19, 1954! I’ve been slowly going through it looking for recipes I want to try and also finding things I will never make (SO much jello). So be on the lookout for some old fashioned, South Texas food. I don’t think I’ll make EVERY recipe, but I’m definitely going to make my way through this book!
So, I’m back home. I’m still digging through the emotions of the last week, and its actually cooling down here in Atlanta. Comforting foods could not be more welcome. If you are looking for something delicious and comforting and autumnal for your menu this week, give my Stuffed Butternut Squash a try! It’s sweet, a little spicy, and tastes like fall due to the sage and rosemary. Its also a great “clean out the fridge” recipe. Feel free to add any leftover vegetables to the mix! I love adding kale or spinach. And chances are there will be more filling than will fit back into the squash shells, so throw and egg on the leftovers and you have an easy breakfast the next day! The 4 of us (2 adults + 2 kids), ate 1 medium squash. In order to feed 4 adults, you may want 2 small-medium squashes.
- 1-2 small/medium butternut squash
- 1 lb turkey sausage
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- red pepper flakes to taste, optional
- 1 tbsp finely chopped sage
- 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Cut squash in half and remove the seeds.
- Roast squash for about 1 hour, until fork-tender. Let cool.
- While squash is cooking/cooling, get started on the filling.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet, over medium heat. I like my big cast-iron one.
- Add onion and bell pepper, and season with salt+pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes
- Add garlic and cook another minute or so.
- Add turkey sausage and brown it up.
- Stir in herbs.
- Once it’s cool enough to handle, scoop out the squash, leaving about 1/4 inch around the edges to help hold its shape. Add squash to the skillet.
- Mix everything together and taste to see if any seasonings need adjusting (more salt, more spice, more herbs, etc.)
- Scoop filling back into squash shells. There will probably be more filling than will fit. Save it for breakfast tomorrow!
- Put back into the oven for 15 minutes to warm back up.
- Top with parmesan cheese, and turn on the broiler for 1-2 minutes to crisp up the top.
- Remove from oven and enjoy! These are pretty easy to cut in half (across the short side) if you are sharing a bigger squash.
Since this recipe does take a while due to roasting the squash, it would be a great one to prep beforehand. Just roast the squash while doing your meal prep for the week, or while roasting vegetables for another meal. Throw it in the fridge until you are ready to stuff it!