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Squashes are on sale at Open Harvest, what with it being fall and all, so I bought a couple of butternut squashes the other week and then pondered what to do with them. After flipping through the recipe files, I found this recipe for butternut squash bread pudding, which sounded worth a shot. I used milk instead of half-and-half, brown sugar instead of maple syrup (I don't keep maple syrup around), and didn't attempt to remove the baguette crusts (??!!), but the outcome was tasty. If I make it again I will amp up the spices more (especially the cinnamon).

I was also looking for an interesting way to use up cornmeal, and came across this recipe for "Toasted corn bread hash with brussels sprouts". Reading it over, I thought meh to the notion of mixing the cornbread and brussels sprouts, BUT the flavor combination sounded good. The fresh brussels sprouts at Open Harvest were a wee bit outside my budget, so I bought a couple of bags of frozen ones, which I sliced in half, tossed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salted and peppered, and roasted (at 425 I believe) for a spell. The texture of the frozen ones isn't as great, but overall it worked and I ate those things like candy on Sunday night. I just baked up a batch of cornbread to eat on the side.

But why stop there? This assortment needed some sort of legume accompaniment, so I went back to the good old Cafe Flora Cookbook and made up a batch of these Braised Black Lentils, although with French Green lentils because that's what I could find. Leftovers will be dinner for the week (that's where the last portion of the post title comes from).

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot or small red onion, minced
1 C lentils - black Beluga lentils, or French green (Le Puy) - a variety that retains its texture
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried thyme
4 C water
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper

Saute the garlic and shallot in the olive oil over medium heat until translucent (5-7 minutes). Then add the lentils, bay leaf, and thyme, and give them a stir to coat the lentils with the oily deliciousness. Then add the water, turn up the heat and bring to a boil, and then cover and simmer until the lentils are cooked (20-25 minutes). The original recipe says to drain off the excess liquid, but I say don't bother unless you feel like it.

This whole ensemble was fairly simple to prepare, and any of the dishes would work well for a vegetarian Thanksgiving feast. I love fall cooking that involves turning on the oven and baking and roasting a whole bunch of things. A big tip o' the hat to my mom for teaching me about amazing roasted brussels sprouts. I will also point out that the prepackaged frozen kind were simple to prep, even though I balk at the notion of recommending packaged frozen foods.

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