‘The Squash Dish’ – A Must-Have Thanksgiving Side

Looking at the different topics and options to write about this week as we head into Thanksgiving, I surprised myself with the subject matter that stood out to me. Why on earth would I choose the one area where I am the least equipped? Maybe because that’s par for the course in my life, in ministry and when I step into the kitchen to fix a meal.

Preparing Thanksgiving dinner (or any dinner for that matter) is definitely not on my list of ‘Top 10 Skills’ or joys. In fact, this past Sunday the 12 of us gathered around the table for a family meal consisting of the always delicious, Portillo’s. A home-cooked meal just wasn’t in the cards for us this Sunday, as I had just returned from Dallas, TX and was functioning on roughly 2.5 hours of sleep. Their loving response to my quick-fix dinner option, “This is better than anything you would’ve prepared anyways.”, trust me, the people closest to me are the best at speaking truth.

Our Thanksgiving meal traditions started 10 years ago when I was out of town a few days leading up to this autumnal holiday. That’s when I called in the reinforcements, a local BBQ joint, and purchased their ‘Thanksgiving Meal Pack’. This scrumptious feast included a smoked turkey, smoked stuffing, cornbread, mac and cheese and few other easy to heat up, freshly made sides. What more could you ask for?

To no surprise, the meal was a big hit and thus began my family’s request that I never cook Thanksgiving dinner again. So, as I share my favorite Thanksgiving recipes let me just say, my favorite recipe is the one that someone else has already prepared.

Over the past three years, I have started to swap out some of the BBQ joint favs and replaced them with my own. I now proudly make my own turkey again, however I do get my gravy from the infamous Popeye’s Chicken. The cornbread still comes from a local BBQ joint and the kids love to bring the traditional ‘Green Bean Salad’, but there is one dish that I make no matter what and it is this, “The Squash Dish”.

I’m not entirely sure where this recipe originated, but my sister-in-law got me hooked on it ever since the first time I smelled that delicious, sugar-caramelized bake. We had no choice but to make it an absolute ‘must’ in our household. Technically, it’s butternut squash, although it does have a few ingredients that may disqualify it from being considered a healthy side. Nonetheless, it’s just so stinkin’ tasty, I’m excited to share it with you. ENJOY!


Butternut Squash Bake

: One Butternut Squash  (can be done earlier and refrigerated)

*A large Butternut squash is typically enough to do a double batch

Cut squash in half, put 1 Tbsp butter in each cavity

Bake in pan with water for two hours (or until set)

Scoop out 

Mix Together: It will be liquidy 

2 cups mashed squash

⅓ cup melted butter

⅔ cup sugar

2 eggs

5oz evaporated milk

½ teaspoon vanilla

Pour into greased 8×8 pan 

(Double batch goes in 9×13)


Bake uncovered at 350  for 45 minutes (until set)


Topping, Mix Together:

½ cup of crushed corn flakes

¼ cup brown sugar

½ cup pecans (optional- I never add nuts)

2 Tbsp melted butter

Put toppings on and bake uncovered an additional 5-10 minutes.

Thoughtfully written by Mia Koehne.


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