Sunday, March 21, 2010

Recipe Contest Casserole

This weekend was a bit spontaneous. Instead of doing the same old around town, we (Will and I) decided to take a joy ride to Grand Forks, ND. Funny thing is, I’ve been to a lot of different states, but have never been to either of the Dakota’s and they are right next door!! So Friday we threw the necessities in a duffel bag and headed out for a two hour drive. And yes, unfortunately the Red River is already rising at a fast pace, so much that only one bridge crossing was opened.


We didn’t get into town until dinner time, and so we knew eating was on the agenda soon. We both decided on the Texas Roadhouse.

About the restaurant…

“Hand-cut steaks, award winning ribs, fresh-baked bread and made from scratch side items are the standard at Texas Roadhouse. All of our food is created from scratch with only the highest quality-freshest ingredients. We combine large portions and great value to give you Legendary Food at a reasonable price.

But we're not just about steaks. With great ribs, chicken dishes, fish, salads and lots more, we can satisfy almost any appetite. We guess that's why you all voted us #1 in both Menu Variety and Value in the 2004 Restaurant & Institution Magazine's Choice in Chains Guest Survey.”

Immediately upon entering, I loved the whole “ranch” themed atmosphere. Big barrels of peanuts were scattered around and you could throw the shells right on the floor—kind of fun! You get ridiculously good fresh-baked buns—not lying when I say fresh, they make em’ every 5 minutes—and they are served with an amazing cinnamon butter spread!

The menu offered so much good food to choose from, but I was craving some grilled pork chops which I got paired with a garden salad and baked potato—turned out to be a great choice!


The rest of our little getaway was filled with lots of shopping, and one last special stop to Cabella’s. Even if your not a hunter, fisherman, or any type of outdoors person, it’s still a really fun store to go in because it’s like a zoo, but with all fake animals instead. They do a beautiful job with all the setups!




Now onto something else exciting..I recently entered the 2010 “Better With Bisquick” contest which ended in March.


You could enter dishes in various categories—snacks, apps, main dishes, ethnic inspired, and a healthy twist. Mine would qualify for both main dish and healthy twist. The contest results will be posted April 13th here, so keep an eye out for the winners!

I modeled my dish to be somewhat like a baked ziti dish, but instead of pasta, butternut squash takes the stage and is mixed with a blend of hot Italian sausage, green peppers, diced tomatoes, spinach and ricotta cheese. The filling is then topped with a Parmesan/Bisquick mixture to create an Italian style casserole!

I present to you….

Italian Butternut Bisquick Bake



*1 c cubed butternut squash
*1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
*1/2 green pepper, diced
*2 Italian sausage, finely chopped
*1 clove garlic
*1 c tomato sauce
*1 c diced tomatoes, drained well
*1/4 c pesto
*1 c fat free ricotta cheese
*1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese
*1 c fresh baby spinach
*1 c Bisquick Heart Smart
*1/4 c Eggbeaters
*1/2 c milk
*1 Tbsp Italian seasoning blend
*1/2 tsp garlic powder
*1 1/2 tsp fennel seed
*Sprinkling of feta cheese, optional


1) Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease a 8 x 8 baking dish, set aside. Microwave cubed butternut squash for 4 minutes, let cool. Meanwhile, lightly spray skillet, turn to medium heat and add onions, peppers, Italian sausage, and garlic sauteeing until tender, about 3 minutes.
2) Lower heat to low and add in diced tomatoes and pesto. Stir until thoroughly combined--shut of heat and keep covered.
3)Stir together ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and spinach in a bowl. Heat for 20 seconds in microwave if nessecary. Spread ricotta mixture in the bottom of baking dish.
4) Next spread butternut squash evenly over cheese mixture. Top with mixture in skillet. Drizzle 1/2 c tomato sauce over sausage mixture.
5)Mix Bisquick, eggbeaters, milk, seasoning, and fennel seeds together with a wire whisk until combined. Pour evenly over the top of sausage mixture.
6)Put in preheated oven for a total of 30 minutes, removing at the 15 minute mark to add remaining 1/2 c tomato sauce evenly over the top with a rubber spatula.
7)Remove from oven, sprinkle with feta cheese if desired and let sit for 10 minutes--cut into 8 pieces.


Krista said...

OMG! Hot out of the oven buns every 5 minutes? The place must smell fab.

Glad to see you got out and did something different this weekend...Have a great week, Cassie!

Sook said...

Using bisquick is a fantastic idea!

sophia said...

Yay something savory!

I went to Texas Roadhouse the last time I visited Blacksburg...I actually did not like it. The rolls were great, but Im not a steak fan. I ordered the pulled pork sandwich and it was just...blah. heh. I should have ordered the steak instead, I suppose.

Meghan said...

My dad is obsessed with Texas Roadhouse! The rolls and butter are amazing!

Good luck with the contest! Looks like you've created a great dish :)

Michelle said...

Ahh how exciting!! I hope you win!! The casserole sounds delicious. Anything with some butternut squash in it rocks my world, that's for sure!!! :)

The restaurant sounds pretty cool. I am a sucker for bread baskets...hehehe

Hope you're doing well Cas!!!

katecooks said...

sounds like a yummy recipe, good luck! those buns look awesome btw...i love hot, fresh rolls!

Kim said...

Glad to hear you all had a great time! Sounds like a fun trip. We love the Texas Roadhouse and have never had a bad meal there.

I hope you win the Bisquick contest!

Erica said...

What a fun little trip- its nice to do mini getaways, isn't it? Love your entry- keep us up to date on the outcome!!