Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Two Ingredients, 1 Hour, 5 Meals

One way I've been trying to stretch our dollars is to make the most of the meals I prepare.

- I always make enough to have leftovers for lunch
- If possible, I double the recipe and freeze or freeze smaller portions for quick lunches
- I think of ways to use the ingredients for other meals, like leftover spaghetti for a pasta bake

One of my favorite recipes is one for Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage. I saw a recipe somewhere that inspired it, but I can't cite it now. It doesn't really matter anyway, I always take a recipe as more of a guideline than something to be strictly followed. Anyhoo, it's super simple:


two big butternut squash (or three smaller ones)
sausage of your choice (i like preservative and nitrate-free organic chicken apple)
one sweet onion*
olive oil*
balsamic vinegar*
herbs (optional)*
pure maple syrup (optional)*
brown rice*

*I'm assuming these ingredients as pantry staples in my "two ingredient" count.

Peel the squash and scoop out seeds. Dice into bite-sized chunks. Cut sausage and onion about the same size. Toss in a baking dish, reserving some squash. Drizzle with olive oil and season with herbs if you choose. I fly by the seat of my pants and make this a bit differently every time. Place the reserved squash in a pan of it's own. Roast both pans on 350 until squash is soft, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare brown rice.

Remove the pan of just squash. Drizzle the Squash and Sausage with balsamic vinegar (and a tad of pure maple syrup if you choose), and return it to the oven, under the broiler, for a few minutes. This will allow the vinegar to reduce a bit an the veggies to caramelize.

Here's what you've got:

1. Dinner- Balsamic and Maple Glazed Squash and Sausage over Rice

2. Baby Food- Puree that plain squash and freeze in ice cube tray. Don't wash the food processor yet...>>>

3. Pasta Sauce- Put leftover squash and onion with all the pan goodness (vinegar, herbs, etc) in your food processor and pulse. Freeze two cups for a delicious sauce to serve over whole-wheat bowties. Keep the rest in the food processor for...>>>

4. Soup-Add a touch of vegetable broth (or water if you don't have it) to the puree and blend until it has a soupy consistency. Serve for lunch or freeze for later.

5. Rice pudding- Spoon leftover rice into ramekins. Microwave 1C Milk until warm. Stir in 1T honey and 1/4t cinnamon. Beat an egg in a separate bowl and temper with a bit of the warm milk, then mix together. Pour custard over rice and bake in a 1" water bath in your already-hot oven for about 45 minutes, or until set.

Viola. All I bought was the squash and sauasage, and look what I have to show for it!


Mandi said...

Wow...you're on a roll lateley!

Lindsay said...

Very impressive!! Wish my husband liked squash :( He's super picky and allergic to milk, eggs, and soy. I've almost given up on cooking!

Megan said...

Wow, awesome idea! I can't wait to try it. Time saving meal ideas are always welcome my way...cereal for dinner just doesn't cut it!