The countdown begins…

We are less than two weeks away from Thanksgiving and already my internal clock is counting down the minutes to the Big Meal. Thanksgiving dinner has so many moving parts and pieces that warrant (and demand) my complete attention: the turkey itself, the fabulous sides, the multiple desserts, and most importantly, the guests that I really want to see. In order to get it all accomplished, I need to think about this meal the way a Five Star General plans a military operation. Advance planning is key; I can’t leave anything to chance!

And, it’s the advance planning that lets me get creative-particularly with the sides. There are so many good and interesting ways to make traditional Thanksgiving dishes- and I think it is really fun to mix it up a bit, rotating dishes in and out over the years. I particularly am fond of anything that can be assembled a day or two in advance.

Since my internal Thanksgiving Countdown Clock has begun ticking away, I have begun trolling through my recipe files in search of the dishes that will make the cut for this year’s feast. I already have one on the team: Praline Topped Butternut Squash. You can make it a day or two in advance; its’ flavor is fab; and every time I make it, I am transported to the warm, happy kitchen from my college years where I first tasted this dish. So, it gets bonus points for good vibes too! Gotta love that!

Praline Topped Butternut Squash
Serves 8-10

For the topping:
½ c dark brown sugar
½ t cinnamon
3 T butter
½ c pecans

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until combined and crumbly.

For the squash:
1 ½ lbs butternut squash, peeled and cubed
olive oil
sea salt and pepper
4 T butter
2 gggs
1/3 c heavy cream
1/3 c dark rum

Preheat the oven to 400. Toss the squash pieces in olive oil and season with salt and pepper and roast for 20-25 minutes, until tender. Let cool until warm. Reduce oven temperature to 350.

In the bowl of a food processor, place the squash, butter and eggs and pulse until mixture is combined and smooth. Add the cream and rum and combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place mixture in a greased casserole and top with Praline Topping. Bake for 30 minutes at 350.

One Comment

  1. Charlotte
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I have a project worthy of the Dinner Dilemma. I have to make a bread for 50 people! And I need a good recipe, I hope you’ll take on the challenge. But here’s the catch, the bread recipe has to originate from a country of my heritage (namely, France, Germany, Ireland, England or America (this one is a last resort) I hope you can recommend a tasty and fun recipe. Thank you so much for your help. Chalotte

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