Happy Friday, my friends! All I can think of right now is how crazy this "arctic blast" is! The temperature here in Austin dropped from 80 to 30 degrees in a matter of a day! Brrr….I'm thankful for my lil' black shadow, Kona, who is serving as my portable heater. I think he'd like to stretch his legs out and get some exercise...not a chance. Not when the weather's so cold it hurts.
Hope everyone stays safe and warm!
To kickoff the first weekend of December (No, 2013!! Don't go!!!), I have an amazing giveaway for you! But before you skip down to the bottom to find out about the goody, let's talk about this lightened-up butternut squash gratin, shall we?
For someone with a food blog, I sure haven't been spending much time in the kitchen lately. I believe the last meal I cooked was on Thanksgiving day. No wonder my normally disheveled kitchen looks squeaky clean...or at least according to my standards, anyway. I can't wait for this semester to be over so I can go back to turning my kitchen into a blast zone ;).
I made this butternut squash gratin a while back and unintentionally stowed it away in my archives. I don't know how it happened, but boy am I thankful for my absent-mindedness. With the holidays upon us and the endless get-togethers to come, this time of year always seems to provoke us to overindulge in foods that we know aren't all that good for our waists. You know what I'm talking about :). My arch nemesis, that I've been battling quite a bit lately, has been Blue Bell Ice Cream's limited edition Spicy Pumpkin Pecan..candied pecans with caramel swirls in spiced pumpkin ice cream. Mmm mmmm…oh, sorry. I got a bit sidetracked there. It's a wonder that I'm able to stick to just one serving. I DO have self-control! I digress yet again...
Whether you are hosting or attending a dinner party, this wholesome, bright-colored dish would make for a perfect addition! While it might look fancy, it couldn't be simpler to make. Not to mention your family and friends will thank you for the healthy contribution. Although I sure hope you won't be the only one.
I couldn't keep from picking at the panko bread crumb topping with cranberries, walnuts and garlic-infused butter. But I succeeded in putting the dish in the oven and walking away thanks to my favorite show, Parenthood. I'm finally almost caught up! But one Kleenex box short...
Once it comes out of the oven, sprinkle some fresh basil on top (our basil plants are no longer producing but they certainly had a good run) or any herb of your choice. I served the squash on top of kamut for the extra chewy texture and nutty flavor - it was divine. And even though I encouraged you to share, I only offered a single plate to the Hungryman and stashed the rest away in the fridge for me to enjoy throughout the week. I'm a very generous person…most of the time ;).
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 Tbs olive oil + for baking dish
- 1 Tbs butter
- 1-2 large garlic cloves minced (depends on your preference. I like a lot of garlic!)
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts
- ½ teaspoon salt and pepper
- ¼ cup basil roughly chopped
- Heat oven to 375F. Grease 13x9 in. baking dish with oil. Peel squash, slice in half lengthwise, and remove seeds. Cut into ½ in. slices. Arrange in baking dish w/ slices slightly overlapping each other (scallop pattern).
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat, add garlic, and cook until softened and fragrant, about 2-3 min. Stir frequently to avoid burning. In a separate bowl, combine panko, parmesan, walnuts, cranberries, and garlic-butter mixture.
- Coat squash slices with oil, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle panko mixture on top.
- Bake for approximately 40-50 minutes. Top with basil and serve.
Now onto the giveaway! I've teamed up with a group of amazing healthy food bloggers to give away a $500 Amazon gift card to one lucky reader! I don't know about you, but I can think of a lot of ways to put that $$ to good use this time of year.
The giveaway will be open from December 6, 2013 until December 11, 2013. You must be 18 years or older and live in the U.S.
Hope you'll stop by and say hello to all these awesome ladies who sure know their way around a kitchen! If you weren't hungry before, you def will be now. Healthy never looked or tasted so good!