Crock Pot Adventures – Butternut and Sausage

This week’s Crock-Pot Adventure is once again based on marked down finds during a grocery run. Selecting items seemingly at random to combine into a meal is always fun and often challenging to the adventurous cook.

Butternut Squash & Sausage sounds pretty simple, and likely something that would take a couple of hours and two or three separate pans to create. I prefer to use my crock-pot whenever possible to create one dish meals. It leaves less of a mess and fewer pots to scrub in the wake of the meal.

The squash, Pancetta, onion and mushrooms all came from selected markdowns discovered during the weekly grocery run. While you might find all of these things in one store, our weekly run starts at Aldi, them moves to WalMart, Kroger, and sometimes HEB. The stores are all along a one mile stretch of road here in Conroe, making it fairly simple to make all those stops. The dishes that come out of our kitchen have shown a remarkable upswing in variety and healthier ingredients since this shopping regimen began.

Prep Time: About an hour (includes veggie handling)
Cook Time: 4-6 hours on low
Servings: 6-8

INGREDIENTS:
Olive oil or canola cooking spray
1 butternut squash, seeded, peeled and diced
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
4 oz Pancetta, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 pkg mushrooms, crimini or button, sliced or quartered
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dry parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
18 oz sausage, cut to preference
Salt & pepper to taste

DSC_0676Set up your crock-pot and insert a liner if desired. Lightly spray sides and bottom with oil.

 

 

 

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Arrange the squash, onion, Pancetta, diced garlic, and mushrooms in layers, spread to cover the bottom of the crock. Sprinkle dry spices evenly across the top of everything.

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Lay in sausage in an even layer. I cut 2 links into quarters to arrange around the sides of the pot, then laid the remaining 2 links along the top middle, as shown below.

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Seal up the crock and cook on low for 6-8 hours, depending on your pot’s heat levels.DSC_0683

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Serving suggestions:
When serving, add a sprinkle of grated Cheddar on top of the veggies for an added burst of flavor.

 

Offer garlic toast or crescent rolls on the side. Biscuits are also good, split and covered in the veggies.

 

The juices from this dish are fairly clear and may be used to just stir the whole thing into a soup style serving.

 

 

 

Other suggestions:
DSC_0678Reserve the seeds when you open and core a squash like the butternut or acorn varieties. I do this and give the seeds to a friend who is very into gardening and raising vegetables. Simply pop the seeds into a zippy bag and refrigerate it until you can deliver it to your gardening buddy or plant it yourself.

Enjoy!

–Ann Cathey

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