I am annoyed by picky eaters. I don't really make a big deal about it (unless those eaters are my children!), but inside I always think, "Really? You CAN'T eat this either?" I mean, really, anyone could learn to at least tolerate, if not enjoy, foods for the simple reason that they're good for you!
So, I'll humbly confess this: I don't care for winter squashes. You know, the butternut-acorn-orange-mushy-filling types. I don't know why, but I've never liked it. (Oh, I should make an exception: PUMPKIN--when baked in any sort of not-so-good-for-you baked good.) When at someone else's home, I'll eat a spoonful, just to be grown-up about it, but I really don't enjoy it. At all. I think it's the sweet flavor--it doesn't seem right for a vegetable. So, I really never cook it here at my own home. Well, not anymore, anyway. When I had babies, I used to dutifully cook it, mash it, and freeze it in baby-sized cubes to be served later. But even then, I never made it for the teeth-bearers of the family.
And, I think I've done my family a huge disservice. When I used to thaw and feed those baby-sized cubes to my offspring, they gobbled it up with happy, orange faces. But now, even though I don't voice my own opinion of distaste, those little ones don't care for squash. I'm thinking there's not been enough exposure...
I thought I'd try to overcome that aversion for all of us tonight. We received some FREE butternut squash, and I found a non-sweet, mashed-potato-like recipe for the orange veggie. And I ate it. So did Chris and all four munchkins. The one closest to baby-food days must have rekindled a memory of the love for the orange, because he ate it and ate it. I ate it and didn't dislike it (which says a lot, considering my past relationship with winter squash!) The others politely ate it (some more politely than others) without too much fuss of dislike (much of that probably had to do with our house rule that if you say you don't like something or otherwise comment negatively about the food Mom made, you receive another serving on your plate!) In fact, the new dish brought out a response I've never heard at our table before regarding winter squash--"I love it!" (Yup--littlest guy said that...he's so sweet!)
Overall, I think it was a success. After all, I can't tolerate picky eating--especially my own! So finding a recipe for a healthy food that we all can tolerate (and one of us LOVE!) seems like a success to me!!
Here's the recipe if you'd like to experiment on your own family...
3lb butternut squash, cooked and mashed (See below if you need instruction on this)
2 eggs beaten
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 medium onion chopped
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup crushed butter-flavored crackers
Combine eggs, cheese, onion, milk, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Mix well. Add egg mixture to the mashed squash and mix well. Transfer to a greased 2qt baking dish and top with crushed crackers. Bake uncovered @ 350 for 40-45 min or until knife comes out clean.
Serve and ENJOY!
Best method I've found for baking squash (including pumpkin!):
Wash squash very well (I even use a few drips of soap on mine).
Coat entire squash with olive oil (or another oil).
Put the squash directly on the rack and bake at 400degrees for one hour or until a fork slides in very easily.
Remove, let cool, cut it in half, remove seeds, peel off peel (comes off so easily!) and mash, chop, eat, etc.
(You may want to place a cookie sheet below the baking squash as a few drips can occur.)