I grew up in a family that can be quite traditional. At least when it comes to how we celebrate holidays.
Years ago I brought a Jell-o pretzel salad to an Easter dinner. All eyes sat fixed on it in the center of the table for quite some time before someone blurted out, “What’s that?” When I explained what THAT was, there was silence and then, “Oh.” And then table conversation continued. No one ate a single piece of it except my grandfather who was hard of hearing. He ate three pieces.
For the next family gathering I asked mom what I should bring and without skipping a beat she replied, “Oh, bring that pretzel salad you brought for Easter.” After reminding her of what had happened, she convinced me to bring it again. I did and it got rave reviews. I don’t think there was a piece left to take home. I chose to simply chalk it up to tradition. Each dish needs to go through a sort of initiation process before acceptance at the holiday table.
For many years I then brought the pretzel salad to family gatherings. It entered the realm of tradition. Since then I’ve pushed the envelope more, trying out new dishes here and there. The latest attempt was last Christmas. And surprisingly this new arrival got a positive review the first time around! In fact, mom phoned the following week because she wanted the recipe for a dinner party she was planning.
Best of all it’s incredibly easy, relatively healthy and it seems to have been a hit so I thought I’d pass it along to you.
Butternut Squash Apple Cranberry Bake
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (I take the easy route with a bag of frozen, cubed squash!)
2 large tart cooking apples cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1/2 C fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 C (half a stick) butter
1 T flour (I’ve used whole wheat flour.)
1 tsp salt (Optional – I don’t add this.)
½ T cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Slice and peel squash and apples.
3. Place squash cubes in ungreased 7×11-inch baking dish. Add apples on top and then cranberries.
4. Mix the flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and then sprinkle it on top. Dot with the butter.
Bake 50-60 minutes.