Squash & Sausage Casserole with Pear Carrot Muffins

I’ve never been one for casseroles. In fact, I’ve always hated them. I’m also not an overly enthusiastic squash eater, but when I saw this recipe from my new favorite food blogger, I had to try it. I bought her cookbook right after Emmett was born. It was like 3 a.m., I was up for a middle-of-the-night nursing session, and I stumbled upon her site. I quickly purchased her cookbook, without even thinking, and didn’t remember I’d bought it until it showed up on my front step. There was a good bit of midnight online shopping in those bleary-eyed days.

Despite the impulsive way in which I bought the cookbook, it has certainly been worth the investment. I’ve made probably 12 recipes out of it and all are absolutely delicious! This casserole isn’t in the book, but it’s really fantastic and has earned itself a place in my fall favorites. So warm and nourishing, full of caramelized root veggies but made fresh with a healthy sprinkling of herbs.

And since no autumn dish is complete without a baked item (it’s a rule, if I say it is), these Pear Carrot Muffins are a perfect accompaniment. Emmett is no longer particularly interested in pureed food, so we’ve just started feeding him exactly what we’re eating for each meal. Between that and our attempt to do Whole 30 in October, I’ve been wracking my brain for ways to get us eating a more balanced diet. A recipe for similar muffins was on our Whole Family Rhythms list for the week, so we whipped them up together in the kitchen. These aren’t the sweetest muffins I’ve ever had, as there isn’t any added sugar, but they’re pretty delightful toasted and slathered with some fresh butter.

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Squash & Sausage Casserole
Adapted from Trois Fois Par Jour

INGREDIENTS
2 cups butternut squash, diced
2 cups baby potatoes, halved
1 cup yellow onion, diced
Dash of olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups mix of White Cheddar + Gruyere (from TJs)
Dash of olive oil
6 Italian sausages, casings removed
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons pesto (I used jarred)

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
In a large oven-safe dish, combine the squash, potatoes, onion, oil, fleur de sel, and pepper. Bake for 30–40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, heat a dash of olive oil in a pan and sear the sausage until nicely browned.
Add the cream and pesto, mix well, and pour over the vegetables.
Cover with cheese and bake until golden brown.

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Pear & Carrot Muffins
Adapted from Whole Family Rhythms

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/3 cup of maple syrup
1 egg
1/2 cup almond milk
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup peeled and grated carrots
1/2 cup peeled and grated pears

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Line a muffin tin.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Mix the wet ingredients, including grated carrots and apples, in a bowl.
Combine the dry and the wet to make a consistent batter.
Pour the batter into the muffin cups.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden on top and cooked through.

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