12 August 2013

Recipe - Cheesburger Potato Bake

I am always looking for ways to incorporate more fresh produce into my meals, in ways that my boys will still eat. They decided to rename this dish "Cheese Burgatators!" They loved it, and the leftovers were great too!

CHEESEBURGER POTATO BAKE
Yield: 10-12 Hearty Servings

INGREDIENTS
3 lb Small Red or White Potatoes
1-1/2 cup (approximate) cooked pureed Butternut Squash (see note below)
1 medium Yellow or Sweet Onion, diced
1 lb Lean Ground Beef
3 T Flour
1/2 cup Milk or Cream
Scant 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Dry Ground Mustard
12 oz (3 cups) grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
Wash potatoes and cut into bite-size pieces. Boil potatoes in salted water until fork-tender, about 20 minutes.

While the potatoes cook, sautee onion and ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat until onions are soft and beef is browned throughout. Add plenty of salt and pepper to season the beef-onion mixture.

While the potatoes and beef cook, whisk the flour with the milk or cream in a saucepan, and season with nutmeg and mustard. Reduce heat and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in butternut squash puree (cook until hot if puree was cold). Remove from heat and add shredded cheddar, a handful at a time, stirring in a figure-8 motion until each handful is melted.

Drain cooked potatoes and place in 1 large casserole dish or 2 medium casserole dishes. Sprinkle beef mixture on top of potatoes, and spoon cheese sauce over everything. (Optional: Bake at 350 until bubbly, but since everything was fresh and hot when you put them together, you can serve right away if desired). Serve hot.

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BUTTERNUT SQUASH PUREE NOTE:
You have several options for cooked, pureed butternut squash.

1. BABY FOOD: Buy enough butternut squash baby food to equal 1 cup (make sure the only ingredients are squash and water).
For example: http://www.beechnut.com/Our%20Baby%20Food/product.asp?P=38976

2. FROZEN: Warm 1 10-oz box Frozen Butternut Squash with 1 cup of water (or chicken broth or beef broth, for more flavor) and blend to a smooth consistency.

3. FRESH: Peel the squash with a potato peeler (it will take 2-3 passes to get down to the bright orange flesh), cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and membranes with a spoon, cut off the ends, and cut into cubes. (I used a whole, large butternut squash, a little over 2 pounds after peeling and seeding). Use 1 cup of water or broth for each 1/2 pound or so (I used 2 cans of chicken broth). Boil in water or broth until soft, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Puree in batches, filling the blender no more than half-full (hold the lid on tightly to prevent an explosion from steam buildup if it is still warm - do not blend while hot!). Divide the puree at this point into 2-4 portions, depending on the size of the squash. (My 2-pound squash yielded 4 portions, about 1-1/2 cups each. I froze the rest of the portions individually to use in future recipes, like stirring into spaghetti sauce or substituting for oil in sweet baked goods! I used 1/4 cup of puree a few nights later in place of the milk when I made Kraft macaroni & cheese!)

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