Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Puree with Baked Chicken Breast & Roasted Brussels Sprouts

This time of year (and pretty much until spring) I develop a slight obsession with sweet potatoes and butternut squash. I love everything about them from their bright color to their texture to their natural sweetness. The thing is, I’ve only ever cooked these veggies one way: Roasted. In fact, I’ve never even used them as ingredients in other dishes such as pastas, soups, or stews. This week, however, I took one small step toward changing that and combined my two beloved ingredients in a butternut squash & sweet potato puree. It was one of the easiest, yet tastiest things I’ve ever made and I can assure you it’ll be making an appearance on my plate time and again this winter. And let’s not kid ourselves with the fancy puree name (I learned never to make that mistake after my kale-braising adventure). I simply mashed those suckers.

If you’ve ever stared down a butternut squash at the store, had no idea what to do with it, and then made a beeline for the pre-cut variety, trust me I’ve been there. But making that unruly squash look just like those chunks that come in the plastic container is easier than you’ve ever imagined. Of course, it’ll take a little more time, but with practice it’s only a couple of extra minutes and well worth the money you’ll save as well as the satisfaction you’ll reap. Here’s what you do:

  1. Hold the squash in one hand and peel, going from top to bottom. (I recommend a good quality peeler such as one made my OXO.) 
  2. Place the peeled squash on its side and cut off the ends.  Slice the squash from top to bottom.
  3. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. 
  4. Flip each half to face cut-side down (the opposite way from the photo above). Cut one of the halves into 4-6 vertical slices (the long way) and then cut horizontally to make 1-inch cubes. Repeat with the other half. 

Voila! Roast…mash…or do other things with it that I haven’t yet tried!

Mingling with its sweet potato buddy.

Easy peasy, right?

Last night I paired the puree with roasted Brussels sprouts (because I can never get enough of those, either) and baked chicken breast. Bonus: the Brussels and chicken cooked in the oven while I made the puree. Everything was finished in less than 40 minutes, making this a simple (and healthy) weeknight meal.

Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Puree
Ingredients
1 sweet potato, peeled & cubed
1 butternut squash (any size), cubed (follow instructions above)
1 Tbsp butter
Salt & pepper
Dash of cinnamon

Preparation
Place cubed sweet potato and butternut squash in a pot (I used the big one I use to make soup). Fill with water until water is about 1 inch above veggies. Cover and bring to a boil on the stove. Continue boiling for 15-20 minutes until veggies are fork-tender. Drain. Return squash and potato to pot. Add butter, salt, and pepper. Using a handheld electric mixer, mash until totally smooth (this happened in under a minute). You could also use a potato masher to create the puree. Add cinnamon and mix to combine. Adjust seasonings as desired (I recommend lots of pepper).

Adapted from Smells Like Home 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Ingredients
Brussels sprouts (any quantity)
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350. Rinse Brussels sprouts. Remove tough ends, cut in half, and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil (about 1 Tbsp total), season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-45 minutes, tossing halfway, depending on desired doneness (I like mine dark brown and slightly crunchy.)

Baked Chicken Breast
Preheat oven to 350. Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and paprika. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet or oven-safe dish (such as a casserole dish) sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 30 minutes.

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