Am I alone that when I hear the word casserole, I cringe just a little bit? Of course, in Minnesota, they are called a "hot dish" but don't get me started on weird Minnesota sayings and words. That could take all day.
You see, in my house growing up, casseroles tended to be a means of emptying out the fridge. Take whatever meat, veggie, cheese or leftover there was, mix it with a cream of something soup and viola....dinner! (Sorry Mom, but I still love you more than life even with the permanent scarring that was inflicted)
I'm glad my aversion to the word "casserole" didn't keep me from giving this recipe a try. It was a very different way for me to eat butternut squash. The recipes I've used before have brought out the sweetness of the squash but this is definitely a savory dish. My hubby and I really enjoyed it and loved the crunch of the pecans. The reviews were mixed from my kids, but that is why I served it with some hot homemade bread.....if you want more bread, eat your dinner first :)
Butternut Squash and Spinach Casserole
adapted from Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook
3 1/2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4" slices
3 large handfuls of baby spinach
3 Tb butter
1 Tb extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 C milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp dried thyme
1 C bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 C pecans
2 C grated cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray.
2. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the squash and cook for 6 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for one more minute. Drain and set aside.
3. Return the pot to the stove and add the butter and oil. Add onions and saute over medium high heat until limp. Remove from the heat and add the squash, spinach and everything else but a 1/2 C of the cheese. Mix to combine well.
4. Spread into the greased pan and sprinkle with the remaining cheese . You can also add a few more nuts on top if you desire. Bake for 50 minutes. Serve immediately.