Squash, my new potato.

photo courtesy of bhg.com

Butternut Squash and Sausage Shepherd’s pie (photo courtesy of bhg.com)

Now, growing up my family wasn’t too keen on cooked vegetables. I remember eating a lot of salads and fresh cut veggies.  My sister and I loved potatoes and we learned to eat some vegetables in stir-fry and casserole dishes; but, I do not remember one night having ever seen a bowl of peas on the table. It just did not happen. My mom earned quite a few gold stars for that, too. Still to this day, I pick the peas out of everything.

Things changed a bit when I went off to college (GO GATORS!) and started cooking for myself. There were many calls home to ask, “now, what did you put in that again…?” Some of our free time was spent watching the food network and my interest in different foods was peaked. I came home a couple times and cooked new things for my parents. I believe it was during these years that my mom was reintroduced to broccoli…

Last week, I was thumbing through the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine on my lunch hour and came across a couple recipes using butternut squash. Lately, I’m so often disappointed by magazine recipes because they are full of SCD illegal flour, sugar and starches. This one is different. I kept scrolling down the list waiting for the one core ingredient that I could not leave out, replace or make from scratch. Its almost perfect! Please check out the following recipe, barely adapted from BHG.

This dish has such good flavor. I even ate some peas! I have not had much experience eating or cooking hard winter squash before last weekend. I think there is a very good chance, butternut squash might be my new potato!


  • 2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage or lean ground beef (85%) [I used HOT sausage]
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 8 ounce package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth [I did not have any homemade, so I left it out]
  • 1/2 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (about 1 1/2 cups) [the one rule I break on occasion is for no sugar added canned tomatoes. you could skin and cook down 2pounds fresh tomatoes if you have time. I don’t right now.]
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce [illegal, just leave it out]
  • 1 cup frozen carrots
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Sliced green onion (optional)

    -Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Grease six 10 to 12-ounce individual casseroles or a 13×9″ pin with butter or coconut oil.

    -In a large vessel cook squash in lightly salted boiling water, covered, for 15 to 17 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain; return to pan. Mash with butter, Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside.

    -In a large skillet cook sausage over medium-high heat, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon until no longer pink. Transfer meat to a colander; drain well. Wipe out skillet with a paper towel.

    -In the same skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes more. Stir in broth, crushed tomatoes, rosemary, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to boiling; reduce heat to medium and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in meat, peas and carrots, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook 2 minutes. Pour mixture into prepared dish(es). Spread top with butternut squash. Place on a large baking sheet.

    -Bake, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until top is lightly browned. If desired, top with shaved Parmesan and sliced green onion. (serves 6-ish)



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